Friday, March 28, 2008

A Manifesto of Sorts

Blurred vision. I've always been intrigued by it. Those times when you have to squint a bit to see what's really going on, when you have to stare extra hard at the outline of something to try to figure it out, when the shapes are so amorphous, you can only guess. Sometimes I like to drive without my glasses. Sometimes I like to lie awake in the morning in winter and stare at the mesh of tree branches outside the window and watch those branches define different kinds of faces, no matter where I look. A century ago, there were people who never saw a clear sight their entire lives; if my Amero-centric vision weren't so blurred, I'd probably realize that it's still true today in many parts of the world.

Blurred vision requires an imagination to fill in the rest. And so the title of this blog.

It's not about drinking; it's about optimism. Even stupid, silly, no-justification-for-it optimism. There is (or was) a great bluegrass band called The Seldom Scene and when I saw them once in Pittsburgh, they covered this song:

"Well the hard times we've had
Don't look so bad
Through the bottom of the glass."

Hey, the statement is still true if you're only drinking water. It's easy optimism, perhaps made easier and then harder with some alcohol. But so what? Shouldn't optimism be easy? Shouldn't hope? Shouldn't faith? I'm mean, you don't say, "Hey, I'm working really hard on my faith today. And after my workout, I'm going to devote a couple of hours to hoping." You either got it or you don't. Me, I got it.

So, I like to look at life and I like to look at it in an optimistic context. I find Cormac McCarthy's The Road hopeful. The Cure makes me smile and even laugh. A bad meal makes me think about how it could have been better. And sex? Do I even need to explain why sex is hope? Even the poor sap from the Seldom Scene song gets it, though his lover has left him:

Well I found a new someone you may say she's trash
Well she ain't much to see
But she looks good to me
Through the bottom of the glass.

I know it sounds like a sleazy, drunken bar pick-up, but it's funnier than it is sad because of the guy's self-awareness of his decision and because in the middle of his misery, he's found a way to win. Maybe not the best way, but hey.

Odd thing, though. If you've ever really looked through the bottom of one of those glasses, you can't see much of anything at all.

Still, a toast, not to what was, but to what can be or even to what could have been.



troutking said...

I agree---optimism is the only way to live, fraught with peril though that may be sometimes. That's why I like to say I'm the second biggest optimist in American history...after Custer. It's an old line from that famous philsopher and pasta fan Tommy Lasorda.

Also, optimists are voting for Obama apparently:

Bob said...