How many times have I been down hard
and looked up and saw him smiling like a shining dime?
Hope that he would stay and tell me why
he was so happy, if he had the time
Oh, I wish there was a way to race him,
catch a flyin' horse and chase him,
everybody's goin' to the moon! (me and you!)
Everybody's goin' -- it'll be quite soon!
It's customary songs like this use a word like spoon,
of the light of the silvery --
we'll take a flight to the silvery -- (you know!)
everybody's goin' to the moon!
-- The Three Degrees, in "The French Connection" (1971)
"What kind of future is THIS? And where ARE the damn picturephones? They PROMISED me PICTUREPHONES!"
-- Biff, "This Modern World" (2002)
WELL, HERE WE ARE. Another year older, another year wiser, looking hopefully but cautiously towards the future. (Still no lunar colonies and still no home videophones, but never mind).
For us personally, 2004 was not a bad year, although certainly not a good one. We lost people close to us, but we did all right at work and did all right financially and did all right in terms of our personal life. For the world, one could perhaps describe 2004 in the aggregate as relatively awful. It was not the worst year we have had, of course; but the tragedies of the South Asian tsunami and the Darfur genocide marred things significantly. Add in the Madrid train bombings, the Florida hurricanes, and various other manmade and natural disasters, and it seemed like a worse year than most in recent history.
But this is not to say it was all bad -- we had stability and slow growth and the power of international terrorism waned a bit. Whatever one thinks of the election results from around the world, the only bad effects from them were emotional. The world economy got a bit stronger, and in most places, didn't overheat. There were no nuclear explosions, no industrial-scale poisonings, no acts of barbarism which shook the foundations of civilization. All in all, that's something for which to be thankful. For the chaos such events would cause would, in the end, prove far more devastating in human terms than the waves which swamped the coasts of Indonesia and Thailand and Burma -- and the deaths would go, as the analysts say, "unseen."
But what of 2005? We would not hazard a guess as to the vagaries of Fortune; but we do hope it will prove a better year than this last. We are admittedly more hopeful on a personal scale than we are looking at the world stage. But even on that former front, we wonder what time will bring.
For we are often reminded of our own weaknesses and failings and the crosses which we bear; and once in a great while, the thought escapes from the back of our mind: will this year will be the year when Bad Things Happen to us, as opposed to some rhetorical Good Person? We suppose we feel rather lucky in that regard -- we have not yet had the tragedies and diseases and general low points in life which so many others have suffered.
Yet along with that thought comes hope and appreciation, the knowledge that while the inevitable will someday visit us all, we personally have had a good run of things. Sometimes that has been wild and crazy and even surreal, but it has thus far been a good run nonetheless, and hopefully that shall continue. We could not dare to ask for more. So with that, we shall do our best to enjoy what we have been given, and continue to take life as it comes.Posted by Benjamin Kepple at January 3, 2005 10:18 PM | TrackBack