2019-02-13 / Opinion

THE WEEKLY POST

‘Cooking Sausage’
by Bud Hearn

To anticipate or to possess, that’s the question. Which satisfies most?

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It’s Sunday morning, cool, high 60’s. Brilliant sunshine, slight breeze, quiet house. The Bulldog Nation is at rest, their anticipation become reality… Dawgs whip Gators. Bogey, our dog, sleeps while the sausage sizzles. Can life get better?

Yes, and No. Depends on one’s expectations. There’s a constant polarity that vacillates between these two extremes: Now and Future. Can we have it both ways? It presents a dilemma.

For this morning, at least in this very minute, it’s difficult to decide which is best…the anticipated taste of the frying pig or the momentary aroma of it cooking. It’s a toss-up, but a swoon either way.

Back in high school we used to debate insolvable dilemmas, like: “Is there more pleasure in anticipation than in possession?” Such profundity is wasted on young boys who can’t even spell anticipation.

They have enough problems trying to figure out the mystery of girls. Besides, if I recall, all we possessed were the clothes on our backs. Anticipation and dreams were all we had to hold on to.

This morning Alexi plays Carly Simon’s 1971 tune, Anticipation:

Anticipation, anticipation

Is making me late,

Is keeping me waiting…

And stay right here ‘cause these are the good old days.

It stirs a quote by Dr. Frank Crane, the eminent but long-deceased theologian, on the subject: “The best part of anyone’s life is the future. It’s that which determines the quality of the present and gives significance to the past.”

I look at the steaming cup of coffee in my favorite mug and debate the generality of this comment. Maybe Dr. Crane didn’t like coffee.

So, I ask myself, “Self, which is more important at this very moment, tomorrow, or now?”

My Self, which is probably like your Self, tends to be a hedonistic spirit. It answers with this simple comment: “Use your brain, nitwit. Drink up. Tomorrow’s coffee is no good for today.” No debate here.

It seems that anticipation, as opposed to the reality of the present, is more illusionary. Perhaps even delusionary and is subject to the vicissitudes of cosmic variables impossible to compute.

Face it…we have two options to choose from when we anticipate the future: the best, or the worst. Experience tends to support the notion that neither work out as good or as bad as we imagine. The present moment, whether good or bad, is precisely what it is…no more, no less, no debate.

Suppose you just won the lottery. What to do? Money’s no problem. Live it up. Maybe travel, see the world. Anticipation of adventure soars as you book fine hotels, restaurants, first class seats.

Then the phone rings. The doctor calls. Mentions chemo. Anticipation can turn on a dime. Suddenly a hot cup of morning coffee takes on new meaning.

Everybody anticipates something. At the Lincoln Center in Manhattan this week an audience will wait in eager anticipation. They’ll join Vladimir and Estragon in eager anticipation for Godot to show. For three acts they will wait, debate and expect, but in the end, of course, Godot never shows. Life delights in dashed hopes.

Out on Main Street there’s a loud roar. Nobody’s satisfied. Anxious voices clamor for change. Vitriol overflows in the streets, fueled by the raging torrent of media assassinations. People are impatient. ‘Now’ is the operative battle cry. But not everywhere.

Somewhere a balance is brewing. Somewhere high school students continue to explore the mysteries of life, contemplate the future and anticipate a life of enormous wonder.

Somewhere “Sons and daughters will prophecy, young men will see visions and old men will dream dreams.” The future will continue to mushroom from the compost of the present.

In giving Dr. Crane some benefit of the doubt on his thesis, perhaps this is what he meant: The future lies before us, undiscovered, anxious for anticipation to flesh it out.

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But this Sunday morning, it’s a mute debate. Bogey and I enjoy the simultaneous fulfillment of ‘anticipation-become-possession,’ at least for the moment and until I take the last bite of the sausage.

Truly, these are the good old days, such as they are.

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