Do not go gentle

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

It’s Thanksgiving, so our deadlines are early. It’s a deadline arrhythmia. It’s unnatural. As I sit here, I’m not writing this column during an organic week when the natural mental percolations have burbled in the back of my mind until I know where the column will end, if not the road it will take there. No, this week I’m clueless. I’m a suddenly awakened slumberer thrust into a dark hall and asked to find my way to an unmarked room.

I’ve written about this before. Time is a constant issue for journalists. When thinking of verb tense or the timing of publication, concepts such as then, now, yesterday, Tuesday have to be reconsidered every time one appears in print. It’s one of the things editors do to make sure the paper is as accurate as possible.

But time isn’t real. I think about Socrates’ view in the Phaedo. I hope this is a passable paraphrase, when he was discussing the reasons the State should be able to decide whether he lived or died, whether he should drink the hemlock-spiced wine. It went something like this: If this world is all there is, there’s no time before or after us, then none of this makes any difference. But if there is something to come after, what cowards are we to shiver in fear of it?

Fuck it, man. I will not go cowering into that blackness, and not because of fear of the unknown. I guess Dylan Thomas had it going on:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The only things that stand between us and greatness are inertia and fear. Are you willing to let time (a mere concept) or your awareness of the decreasing sand in the top chamber of the hour glass, decide whether you will live and maybe by living well, never ever go into that good night?

Wow, how self-indulgent. Excuse me while I get a Kleenex for my keyboard.