October 30, 2006

A Eulogy
Are monks and hippies and poets relevant? No, we are deliberately irrelevant. We live with an ingrained irrelevance which is proper to every human being. The marginal man accepts the basic irrelevance of the human condition, an irrelevance which is manifested above all by the fact of death...The monk or the marginal person, the meditative person or the poet is to go beyond death even in this life, to go beyond the dichotomy of life and death and to be, therefore, a witness to life.

-Thomas Merton
She was an interesting person and always something a figure of wonderment to me, maybe a tinge of jealousy for her extreme lack of utilitarianism. She had a strong sense of self-respect married with a sweetness and benevolence, and others respected and liked her despite the fact that, in society’s eyes, she might be considered a failure. She weighed well over 300 lbs and was unable to get a job for the last decade or more. She lived for years by running up a huge credit card debt, unbeknownst to her father who made her house payments for her. She watched every soap opera and every popular television show. Her knowledge of television and actors was sweeping and encyclopedic. In her there was a “gentle waste” similar to that of baseball players. Neither ostensibly contributes much useful to society, and yet one is applauded and the other often derided. Obviously a society could not run if everyone were like the recently deceased, and yet could society run if no one was like her? If no one, purely as an example, rested fearlessly in their awareness of the dignity of every man and woman? She was, in a way, a wildlife refuge area that you may have never seen or heard about, but merely knowing that such an untouched, unspoiled area exists in this madding world was a comfort. And better, we learned after she died of her volunteer activities and her knitting of clothes for nieces and nephews.

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