Sunday, June 26, 2005

Birthdays of the Dead

A bit of a complaint.
An old friend wrote me two e mails, the first being something about Moliere, the French playwright of the what, 17th, 15th, century? And the second read: Happy birthday Sartre. Not Jean-Paul, or Jean Paul Sartre or any other version of a complete name. The latter philosopher lived in the 20th century, but was not a close acquaintance of either of us by any means. ]
Immediately, as I have no edit button in my brain, I shot back a smart remark for him to reserve that type of erudition for women he hoped to meet at the beach and that perhaps said women would be more impressed by his mere mention of great writers and thinkers of the past.
This, as usual met with less than enthusiastic reception, but I had no care.
I can’t deal with people celebrating birthdays of the dead. I just barely condone celebrations of the birth of living people, but still find it unseemly to have to give gifts to people just because they give themselves parties. I have no real complaint about parties for children unless they are first (and possibly second) birthdays in which case the celebratee is probably not aware of what the hubbub is about.
I found it disappointing when the Birthdays of Washington and Lincoln became little more than an excuse for white sales, something that does not actually apply any more.
While I am mentioning the linen sales, I must also remark that no stores are fooling me to rush to a sale, when I noticed that there is some kind of weekly discount deal in progress.
Nonetheless, I take umbrage for the celebration in honor of people who cannot appreciate the effort.
I also wonder what is to become of toys and gifts left at roadside shrines. I first saw these near bridges in Rome, Italy, and found them to be funky art installations.
As it turns out, these impromptu gatherings of items now accompany the deaths, mostly of children, and mostly in poor neighborhoods where the children of the participants may not have toys of their own. I wonder, if after people leave the site, small unfortunates can avail themselves of these toys left for departed souls, or if they must pass by daily and covet playthings which day by day become more soiled and ruined, losing color and substance until the pile of items goes the way of the intended recipient.

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