Infinity Squared Chapter 3
Infinity Squared…Chapter 3
This is the third chapter of my third book…Infinity Squared. It is a continuing story about a fellow who met a deity and was given knowledge of what is coming in the afterlife. I wrote this six years ago. While it seems a little bleak, it sets the stage for the end of his life where all the things he was told were coming, came. The idea of the books was to create a place to view life in an objective way. I had to play fast and loose with science and physics…such is fiction.
“The first half of life consists of the capacity to enjoy without the chance; the last half consists of the chance without the capacity.” Mark Twain
Here I am, man at his worst. Weakened by age and becoming useless in the eyes of the world around me. As we age in this society, we slowly sink out of sight and become unimportant even in our own eyes. We have retirement homes, senior condos and whole communities designed to warehouse the aged. When we no longer see them as viable, we don’t want to see them at all.
The world we inhabit is a place of youthful exuberance. What the members of the rock and roll band Kansas called “this brainstorm of youth.” I still recall it. I know of what they spoke. I remember being scary smart for a decade or two.
Now I’m sitting in my den writing this on my 56th birthday and though I’m not quite to the point of being put out to pasture, I’m already of the age where the world looks at me differently than it did a short 10 years ago. I’m on the downward trek towards societal uselessness. It is where just about everyone ends up.
At this point in our lives if we’re not the owner of the business or at least one of the bosses, our employer is always on the lookout for a way to replace us with someone less expensive. We are forced to work harder and smarter. You’d think as we got older things would wind down some, but that isn’t the case. If we do wind down, they get a kid to take our spot. They don’t work all that hard but they cost a whole lot less.
Memory is the key to success. When I was young, I could remember everything. I could grasp complex issues at a conceptual level and wring a solution out of a bare minimum of facts. If I had the experience and knowledge of now with the mind I had then, I would have made a serious impact. As it is, I was like the majority, closely managing my own life and family. I didn’t make the jump to fame, fortune and influence. In the back of my mind, even when I was successful I was disappointed.
It isn’t only the English who lead lives of quiet desperation. It is anyone with a strong mind who makes choices that limit influence. These choices are always emotional in nature. Emotion is influenced by the irrational more than the rational so decisions made based on this input can be problematic.
Life is a series of tedious days strung together to form sections of life where our desire begs the next day to be the one where something extraordinary happens. I had one of those days. Most people never do. I met a deity. I didn’t tell anybody. I’m disappointed in myself for the silence but not to the point of being crazy. There is nothing more ironic than a rational man confronted with what he thinks is the supernatural.
It took becoming insignificant due to my age for me to come clean with what I am and what I know. I understand that explaining this revelation won’t make a serious impact because only the young and famous make an impact. Almost no one becomes famous as an old man.
Being an aging biological creature isn’t pretty. It’s a slow series of changes. We grow frail, get sick, lose parts, lose interest and then die. Along the way, we have small flashes of greatness. We fall in love. We get married. We live to see our children born. We achieve some of the goals we set for ourselves. All, is fleeting. The marriage becomes comfortable and the children grow up and move away. The prospect of retirement and nothingness looms large. Hair gets thin. Waist gets thick. We fear our retirement where we’ll have to live more frugally than we did while working because we didn’t live frugally while working. The country is starting to go to crap so maybe the government will feed us.
If we step back and look at the bigger picture, this single life is a microcosm of the fate of the human race. Our civilizations are born and have flashes of greatness. We abandon them to ruins and they fade away to dust. What we put on this earth is built on top of the grandeur of the past and it too slowly decays to be replaced by the next set of humans and they too see their greatness fade. Our singular lives are still short and our ends brutal. Not much has really changed with the advent of technology. The end is simply louder and is accompanied with flashing lights.
In the past, our lives ended before the drooling years began. I know this all sounds bitter and hopeless. That’s because life is bitter and hopeless for the most part. It’s mercifully short. Yet we cling to it and we desire it to go on forever at least when we’re young.
Vitality is our most precious commodity and at the point where we finally have the wisdom and knowledge to make things happen, we’re shoved aside so the young can repeat the mistakes made when we were the young. We’re then relegated to telling stories to our increasingly disinterested grandkids that can’t wait to shove their parents aside to take their turn at the helm.
At long last, we have with only our memories if disease doesn’t take those too. I find myself simply waiting for the next thing to replace a life that actually ended years ago. I sit and I watch TV, listen to the music of my youth and read tales of adventures I’ll never experience in this world. What’s truly disturbing and more than a little disappointing is having déjà vu while dozing in my easy chair.
Phillip J Hubbell is a writer/author, project manager, job seeker living in the American Midwest.