Thus spake the inner self

Well, that was short lived — my excursion into the outside world of someone else’s tragedy. [See here]

A brief respite from my own self-absorbed misery, which, later that night, returned with a vengeance, as though to say, You think you can avoid me that easily, escape from yourself by immersing your morbid mind in someone else’s misery. No way, José (my inner self is not really Spanish, but it likes to assume different identities).

So you’re saying, I belligerently replied, that I will never be free of this burden of grief for my dead wife, not to mention two brothers and a son?

That’s exactly what I’m saying, said my ruthless inner self. Face it, amigo (oh, it’s on a Spanish kick tonight), you are inconsolable.

My immediate impulse was to tell my inner self to go fuck itself, but I poured myself another brandy and thought more upon it.

Okay, I said, summoning up as much conviction as I could, then so be it, inconsolable I shall be.

For the rest of your life, taunted my inner self.

Oh, so sorely tempted was I to tell it to go, well you know what, but I gulped down my brandy and declared, All right already, for the rest of my lousy life.

Wear it well, instructed my inner self, and bear it well, with courage and dignity. Do that for your wife, and the rest of them, but mostly for your wife.

Yes, of course, I pondered more to myself than to my inner self, she would have done that, had our fates been reversed.

Ah, oui, mon ami (what are you French now?!), now you’re catching on.

I think I can do that, I said.

You can do it, my inner self said, and now I’m going to bed — I’ll leave you to finish the brandy.

Jolted out of self-pity by hellfire horror

The outside world slapped me in the face today. It yanked me out of my pit of self-pity and gave me a damn good shaking.

I was already weary with grief exhaustion and bereavement burnout, so I was ready for a jolt from the real world. I was sick of whining, sometime wailing, about the dreadful tragedy of my insignificant life — the deaths, over the years, of every member of my immediate family, including my son, and more recently, the hardest blow of all, the death of my wife.


My sorrow was re-directed to the 34 people who burned to death while trapped below deck with no escape hatch when the boat they were on was engulfed in flames off the southern coast of California.

They could be heard screaming and banging on the locked door as the inferno consumed them in a hideously painful death. It didn’t help that all five crew members jumped overboard to save themselves, leaving the passengers to their doom.

The ‘dive boat’ The Conception was on a three-day scuba diving trip when it caught fire while anchored off Santa Cruz Island overnight Monday. The passengers were sleeping in tight quarters below deck when they were trapped by the blaze, the Daily Mail reported. The five crew members had separate sleeping quarters and escaped the inferno in a dinghy.

Daily Mail story here 

A hellish incident like that puts things in perspective for an aging man lamenting his loneliness in a bungalow in the mid-Hudson valley.

Dramatic footage from chopper cam

Photos: Daily Mail