Here’s a test to find
whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it
— Richard Bach,
My birthday this year
fell on the official celebration of Presidents Day. First thing I
did on my birthday morning was put out my American flag. Later,
someone on Facebook told me that “On this day in 1801, Thomas
Jefferson is elected the third president of the United States. The
election constitutes the first peaceful transfer of power from one
political party to another in the United States.”
Add to this the fact
that Ronald Reagan, born on Feb. 6, is also an Aquarian like me, and
Presidents Day is covered.
Avi Nelson, filling in
from 7 to 10 a.m. on WRKO, led a discussion about who exactly is
honored on Presidents Day: Opinions range from the traditional “only
Washington” to combining Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays to
including all the presidents of the United States. I grew up with
“only Washington,” am happy to include Lincoln, Jefferson and
Reagan, but that flag on my porch wasn’t honoring Obama.
If it’s true that my
mission on earth isn’t finished, then I hope to last long enough to
help banish the Obama influence on my country. The typical Aquarian
traits of friendliness and tolerance shouldn’t trump the Aquarian
love of freedom.
In the afternoon, Chip
took me to Peabody Essex Museum to see the final day of the
“Impressionists on the Water” exhibit, followed by Mexican food in
the mall. Later, we watched the beginning of the second season of
“House of Cards” — we got the Netflix free trial to watch the “Mitt”
documentary, then quickly became hooked on the Kevin Spacey
political series, catching up with the first season in a few
I was watching the
Olympic ice dancing when I officially turned 71, while eating my
traditional chocolate cookie/Cool Whip refrigerator cake.
You may recall that I
couldn’t make this treat for my son’s birthday when he was visiting
because the Nabisco cookies were no longer anywhere to be found; I
felt this could be a sign that my mission on earth was finished. But
the cookies have returned to the shelves, so onward to the next
Birthdays, and life in
general, can be so wonderful. There are holidays, museums, great
food — including dessert. Olympic champions take your breath away,
and during a birthday week, it’s nice to see an old-timer like Bode
Miller win his sixth career medal. Skaters spin and leap to some of
your favorite music.
My birthday tradition
is to do exactly what I want on my birthday (same as on the other
days, except I don’t let myself feel guilty about the other things
that aren’t getting done). This year, I had fun with Facebook, new
in my life since the last birthday, getting many delightful birthday
greetings. There were also the traditional phone calls and cards
from family and old friends.
Many days of our life,
we can watch excellent television, read good books, maybe travel, or
just sit and watch the seasons pass. Here’s the point I want to
make. None of it matters if freedom fails. I think I accurately
recall a scene in the movie “Dr. Zhivago,” in which the protagonist,
played by Omar Sharif, on his way to prison in Siberia, gets a
chance to briefly leave the train and finds himself in a birch
forest; he’s filled with joy by its beauty. I know there are people
who live in appalling political circumstances and still find
pleasure in the small life left to them. I don’t think I’d be like
that: I want life MY way, surrounded by the Bill of Rights
(as I learned it, not as some of them are presently defined).
Growing old is also
limiting, of course. I once asked an older friend, “How are you?”
and he said, “Fine, as long as I can get my prescriptions.” That was
a new thought for me as I realized: I, along with many of my
friends, already depend on a variety of little pills for chronic
medical concerns! Come the revolution, it’s no longer a matter of
getting, armed, to the hills ahead of the federalistas, but of
finding a pharmacy there.
So, my birthday is
over; the first day of the rest of my life began with a visit from
Salem’s A&A Services, Sean Luddy on a ladder tied to the back porch,
attacking the dams around my rooflines with his ice pick and
probably preventing a water disaster I’d rather not have to face.
This is the lesson.
When you have a potential problem with your home, call a reliable
contractor. When you have a potential disaster in your country,
elect a better congressman, senator, president. We all have our
small roles to play in this coming election cycle: a column, a
letter to the editor, talk radio calls and Facebook postings,
discussions with family and friends, active support for a candidate.
If you’re still alive
and reading this, your mission on earth may also be to help save
America, Election Day, November 2014, 2016.