Now this subject can become deep and/or hairy, but I’m not going that far. I’ve read my Sartre who knew about being and nothingness. Camus was a popular, celebrated Algerian Existentialist, writer and playwright. I could grasp Camus at least and I thought it would be cool to be like him, but then I was only a college sophomore at the time and thought it would be groovy to be a French poet, too. Sophomores are invincible. Camus’ The Stranger remains high on my list of the greatest books ever written. Albert Camus died in an auto crash. That didn’t seem so cool.
I am only a tortoise and like all animals, The Tortoise knows that she is what she is. We’re like trees in that sense. There’s a final form into which we grow, have our being and then depart — well, not really. Being organic, we ultimately contribute to the next round of being, be it animal or vegetable. We’re all content with that, we Chelonians — probably because we do not know discontent. In a way we do. We just can’t utter a word on the feeling.
But you Homo Sapiens, you do have your burdens. You’re saddled with intellect, knowledge, hopefully wisdom, hope, expectation, drive, folly et cetera. If you’re Camus you believe in human solidarity and you act like it. There’s no escape from action. A Camusian must choose to act and suicide is not one of the choices. Like my species you and Camus need food and shelter, but you also need skivvies, bras, tuxedoes, uniforms, et cetera. For some of you these things must be fashionable and alluring, not just serviceable. You get my drift. I needn’t go on.
Some want to be something else, hence the absurdity of my being a French poet. A tortoise cannot become a gazelle, however much she longs for grace and swiftness. You’re supposed to learn this stuff in fables and fairy tales. The point is that Broderick Crawford couldn’t have won a handsome contest over Tab Hunter. Younger folks won’t get that. It’s the beauty and beast thing. Broderick Crawford was a fine man and played a great highway patrolman. Now, there’s a way humans can salve their discontent. You can act, well, some are better than others.
You know what I think? I think you’re all growing into some final form that’s programmed in your eggs as altered by your sperm. You’re not going to be strong as an oak, well, except as a metaphor. So you’re not so different or superior to a tortoise. Someday each of you will look back, see your career and say “Aw nuts!” or “Not so bad, considering.”
Anyway, I have to go. I promised the wife a long ride in the old Studebaker.