Monday, November 23, 2009

"Incidentally, this record is available in the foyer"--Eric Idle

As with any death, TJ's has had its attending share of absurdities and inanities. Folks are still posting on his Facebook page (if you believe he can hear you, as I do, and we'll get to that in a sec, can't you just talk to him directly?); his Facebook page is still up almost seven weeks after his death; a local theater company that is ten grand in the hole and who bears someone close to it who declared personal bankruptcy over a year ago has started a "memorial fund" in TJ's name (yes, that last one was awkwardly worded, strictly for legal reasons); TJ donated money to said theater company last year, but had no intention of acting for it again (if you disagree on the previous point, you're calling TJ a liar); he had last acted for said theater company at a staged reading in September 2007 and in one of its plays in April 2006; the aforementioned individual close to said theater company used to literally beg me to write about it, despite the fact I repeatedly declined (TJ was a brilliant actor, but with few exceptions, the best part of the company's repertory); TJ had stepped down from the board of said company years ago because he thought it was poorly managed financially (TJ excelled at investing and cash-related matters); because TJ's family knew none of the above, the aforementioned individual has turned TJ's death into an ostensibly charitable money-making opportunity, despite the fact TJ, while being incredibly charitable with money and time, never would have contorted the death of any of his friends for his own purposes, and he did consider said individual a friend, which makes the whole shebang that much more of a clusterfuck.

Having said that, I, of course, have no control over any of it. Which is where the whole "letting go" thing comes in. And circling back to an earlier point, yes, I do believe TJ hears his loved ones, not because he was messianic or something but because that is what I believe. And clearly, others believe it, too, or they wouldn't keep writing to him on his Facebook page. But this is among the things that bemuse me: if you believe he can hear you, certainly Facebook is not the conduit, is it? As I've written of here and elsewhere, during different points of my life, I've been a believer, an agnostic, and an atheist. I respect anyone who arrives at his or her conclusion after vast periods of reflection and not based merely on the geographic locale into which he or she was born.

For the past few years, I have again believed in an omniscient deity, fully stipulating, as I have with each of my prior beliefs, that I might be wrong. Ultimately, I believe we leave this life not knowing certain things and the best we can deduce is, at its core, an educated guess. I have family and friends of all philosophical and theological stripes: the thing that unites them is that each has an active mind and a kind heart. And I believe these are the most important traits of all.

With all this in mind and prompted by my friend Eric's recent and brilliant interview w/ John Cleese, I opted to view Monty Python's Life of Brian, The Meaning of Life, and Search for the Holy Grail back-to-back yesterday, each for roughly the millionth time. And, of course, while I understand the underlying and collected meaning of them is essentially agnostic, the god I believe in would be the first to find these films masterworks and utterly fucking hilarious. I will not believe in a god who does not believe in Python.

So here are the lyrics to my favorite Python song, that obviously, closes The Life of Brian, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life":

"Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble; give a whistle
This will help things turn out for the best

Always look on the bright side of life
Always look on the light side of life

If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly, chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle
That's the thing

Always look on the bright side of life
Always look on the bright side of life

For life is quite absurd
And death's the final word
You must always face the curtain
With a bow
Forget about your sin
Give the audience a grin
Enjoy it
It's your last your last chance, anyhow.

So, always look on the bright side of death
Just before you draw your terminal breath
Life's a piece of shit
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke
It's true
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you

And, always look on the bright side of life
Always look on the right side of life
(C'mon, Brian! Cheer up!)
Always look on the bright side of life
Always look on the bright side of life
(What are you gonna do?
You come from nothing--you're going back to nothing
What do you lose?
Always look on the right side of life
(Nothing will come from nothing!
Cheer up, you ol' bugger!)
Always look on the bright side of life

No comments: