Roger has just now read that phenomenal essay by Joseph Epstein that I shared here more than 2 weeks ago. In response, he wrote to me privately, which I in turn share with you (with Roger's permission)...
Of course, Roger's comments flatter me, just as Cash's video haunts me. I suspect Roger knew this would be.
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist
Just read the essay on your blog. That's a keeper. Some great lines to remember. One big advantage of age is the perspective it brings... and the wisdom that time will run out before we know much.
One of my favorite music videos is Johnny Cash's version of Hurt. It was his last as he died later that year (2003)... four months after the death of his wife. He basically sings his own epitaph. He was 71. The original was written by the lead singer of Nine Inch Nails nine years earlier. It was intended as a fatalistic view of life, written when the author was in despair over drug abuse and had been rejected by the love of his life. When he saw Johnny Cash's video he found himself weeping and realized that the song no longer belonged to him. Cash intended it for good. You perhaps have seen it. The producer has written that it strikes a chord with many who write him to thank him for it.
Cash artfully expresses his darkest thoughts with his brightest hopes. He juxtaposes his own pain, self inflicted and otherwise, with his redemption by Christ. There is a good deal to read between the lines. I have watched the video dozens of times. Each segment seems to be woven into a purposeful conclusion. Perhaps the most fascinating thing to me is that Cash wears his neuropathy on his face and the only emotion he shows is anguish. He died of autonomic neuropathy, a complication of diabetes.
Anyway, the Epstein essay of life at 70 made me think of Cash. I miss him. I followed his roller coaster life since I was in high school. I have always been attracted to his transparency and candor. I have retired police friends who are not aging well. Some have died young. Others wear their neuropathy on their face. I feel like a survivor.
Here is Johnny Cash, reflecting at 71...
I don't get to your blog often, but when I do I stay a while and enjoy myself. You have many unique gifts and share them freely. Yes, we are kindred introspective spirits. It was you that encouraged me to express myself on the old Gilder forum and kept giving me positive feedback. I really had kept so much hidden... even from myself. In this chapter of life I am spending lots of time with the horses and less time on the computer. Life is good.
Best to you.