Weeks with at least one good epiphany are the best. Even when we are young, those sudden discoveries about the meaning of something or what is essential about a situation or a person imbues us with the sense we’ve gotten at least a little bit closer to wisdom. It can be an intoxicating feeling.
These days and at this age, I don’t think it’s asking too much to expect an epiphany on a weekly basis. Lord knows, the opportunities for illumination on the path to wisdom and a greater understanding should be abundant in this environment.
It’s rich with situations that could lead to epiphanies: a new president in Washington, an old president at Mar-a-Lago whose company has just been indicted, the building collapse in Surfside. But no epiphany. Maybe if I looked closer at the Free Britney movement I could experience one, but I’m just not inclined to do that.
So I’m going to settle for no epiphany and take a small group of “aha” moments. They may not have led to an understanding of the meaning of life, but I got a chuckle out of them.
I was in a sports bar this week. Well, not really in it, more adjacent to it. Not an actual sports bar to be accurate, more like the actual bar of a Mexican restaurant where I could see the television screens from my table. One screen was showing the Three Stooges and the others were tuned to some sports channel, probably ESPN or some variant thereof.
Unable to hear what was being said (and not wanting or needing to), I could only read what was on the screen to determine the topic. In bold letters, it was there: “The Value of the Tight End.” I suspected someone at the network was having a little fun with that one.
After some commentator, one who looked like he could speak credibly to that value, finished speaking, the topic title moved from the top of the screen to the bottom and changed to “Assessing the Value of the Tight End in the NFL,” at which point I knew two guys in a control room somewhere knew exactly what they were doing. Aha.
I had a brief but interesting conversation with a waiter this week. When my friend excused herself to go inside from the patio, she put on her mask, at which point the waiter commented on her doing so. He said most of the servers were vaccinated, implying that mask-wearing wasn’t really necessary. I mumbled something about “abundance of caution,” hoping to end the exchange.
But he moved on, speaking of not knowing anyone under the age of 50 who had gotten COVID and those who had shook it off like a bad cold. I struggled for a minute to think what was the best response—is this what it is a called a “teaching moment”?—but then he segued into how the Simpsons had predicted the whole thing as well as the election of Donald Trump. I turned my attention to the martini I had just been served, which wasn’t my first or even second, and decided to keep my mouth shut and think of Darwin.
I did revisit one of my favorite political films this week, one which I had deliberately avoided over these last few years. All the King’s Men has always been worth the periodic watch, with its cautionary tale similar to, if not based on, the life of Huey Long. It’s full of intrigue, graft, and corruption, but it all seems just a bit quaint in today’s world.
Imagine a former politician actually committing suicide these days because of a bit of bribery coming to light after 25 years. Who would believe that plot line in a political novel or film today? When we speak of political suicide these days, we don’t mean it literally. If politicians committed hara-kiri in the face of scandal now, how many members of Congress would be left alive, much less in office?
So I’m standing in readiness for a real epiphany, an actual breakthrough moment. I need more than a double entendre or nostalgia for simpler times to get from “aha” to something that makes me slap my forehead and say, “Insight! Insight!”
One last thing I wondered about this week. When those “People You May Know” show up on your feed, does that mean you are showing up in a similar fashion on theirs?