Johnny on The Fourth

Johnny’s Birthday Reflection “Independence Day?”
Friday, The Fourth of July is my birthday and that seems to have more weight than it has for a long time. I’m going to be fifty-nine. That’s right, it’s my last year to say I’m Fifty-anything. I try to have a good attitude about getting older but now we live in the world of the terminally young and I’m affected by that like almost everybody else. This isn’t going to be a whiney, self-indulgent complaint about getting old; I already have one of those ready and I’ll be dragging it out next year when I hit Sixty {if I ‘hit” it).
Anyway, the meaning behind the day off and all the fireworks and all that is: Independence Day. The Founding Fathers declared that the 13 colonies weren’t possessions of England anymore, or The Mother country, as it was called. It makes me think of the idea of independence, generally. Are any of us really independent? I say, Hell No – we’re at the mercy of Everything, from the ticking heart in our chests to some A-hole who has one too many and can slam into us on the freeway or whatever. Between Mother Nature, the Biological Imperative, The Human Dilemma, Entropy, The IRS, Global Warming and the jackasses who run things – I don’t feel the least bit independent. Do you guys, really? But, in keeping with the paradoxical nature of reality: this awareness of being vulnerable and having Mother Nature and everything else up my ass like a hand in a sock puppet is the same thing that helps me actually feel a kind of independence! Screw it! I ain’t in charge. Anything can happen and will some day, so I’m going to let go of a whole bunch of willful worrying and not even sweat it! I’m not the umpire; I’m just another dumbass ballplayer. I’ll try to control what I think I can control but I’m not kidding myself. One day, this’ll all be over and what I’ve always thought of as “me” will eventually be like one more drop of water over Niagra Falls and I won’t even be forgotten. It’s a little sad but strangely exhilarating at the same time.
Funny, isn’t it? Realizing my utter dependence on Everything and the way I’m so embedded actually provides a sense of something like Independence. Make any sense? If not…so what? Making “sense” is overrated. It doesn’t really go all that far. But…please remember to drive carefully – don’t be a designated drunk driver! If you drink a fifth on The Fourth you might not come forth on the fifth. Happy Independence Day, everybody!