Cloister Commentary, Day 19: “Please Don’t Bury Me” (April 7, 2020)

This stuff can kill us, is killing us at a very rapid rate. If it doesn’t, something else will, we are assured. It’s just that we’re getting reminders at a rapid rate, too, from thousands we do not know to the few who we imagined could live forever (they may, through their work) but understood could not, like that old crust John Prine. I’d like to recommend his work to those unfamiliar with it, because it has the soul nutrition we need to put these days in perspective. Take, for example, the mortality song I have shared below, which he wrote before he turned 30. A grinning, shrugging, generous acceptance–and an invitation to kiss his ass goodbye.

In other news, Nicole and I moved the lawn furniture out into the backyard and onto the deck. That was a simple action that made us both feel good, and gave our external felines Goldpaw and BB hope for more strokes than usual. I actually executed a decent Zoom class–I just said eff it and used my phone–and participated in two other video sessions, with some Stephens folks (having to lean on it more heavily than this part-timer, they’re tiring of it but are digging in) and my parents, to whom I told the vanilla-ice-cream-loving penguin joke (this time). I tried to tell it to the fabulous furry Frissell brothers, George and Lee, via text–in short bursts to match the timing necessary if we had been together in person–but Lee let me get all the way to the verge of the Paragraph Four punch line before he inserted it himself (George had told it to him long ago). Never trust a Texan. I won’t tell you the one he told me, a COVID-19 joke worthy of Ken Weaver’s immortal but scarce Texas Crude.

Short, contained note: it’s all I can do to keep from screaming at our judicial, executive, representative, and military leadership right now, but fortunately, Mike, I tucked away The Inchiridion the other day and found the necessary restraint. I suspect you may have returned to it in recent hours. Your leadership deserves no screams, only praise.

Streaming for Shut-Ins:

I like to offer full albums, but this single song is a must for the moment.

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