clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

"It's Almost Time to Shuffle Off to Buffalo": Of Things Said, Unsaid, and Left for Others to Say

[Insert Gob Bluth's intro music here.]
[Insert Gob Bluth's intro music here.]

I strongly suspect that the way I feel now is, on a smaller scale, not unlike what I will feel a few years hence, as my children prepare to go away to college. It is, in essence, this: There’s stuff I’ve been trying to say for a while, but I don’t know if I’ve been saying it well enough to be understood, or if what I’ve said has been believed, or if maybe I’ve said so much that the really important stuff got lost, so, right here, right now, with what little time I have left, I really need to deal with the big picture, to go back to the beginning and summarize, to highlight the fine details in the context of the larger themes, to get down to the heart of the fundamental questions, without getting distracted or bogged down in the stupid silly irrelevant ephemeral crap of the moment that won’t amount to a thing 20 years from now. To do all that, in the short span I have left, what do I say?

Do I explain again why we are who we are, and why that matters? If memory serves (and it well may not), it was Jefferson who said that, in matters of principle, we were to stand like a rock, while, in matters of fashion, we were to swim with the current, but how do we tell the difference, and at what point do enough concessions to the tenor of the times amount to an abnegation of principle? To what degree must we accept that changes we espouse are unlikely to occur, or that values we deem absolutely essential are simply doomed?

Must I insist that it is our duty to tilt at windmills, to affirm that the past not only isn’t dead, it isn’t even past? Such a course seems inevitably to lead, ever and always, to disappointment, producing only bloodlettings that never will leave us. Is that the fate I want to ensure endures? On the other hand, though foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, rational consistency is the mark of integrity, and we could use a little of that, even---especially---in changing times.

That word is the crux of the matter, though, isn’t it? Time. The three archetypal American novels, William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men, respectively end with the words “place,” “past,” and “Time,” the last one capitalized, to emphasize its importance. It’s all about that, it always has been all about that, and maybe that’s why Larry Munson was forever focusing on the clock, on its movement, vel non, on its refusal to do what we needed it to do, working invariably against our interests, up there on the Sanford Stadium scoreboard, which, my word, may just as well have been Quentin Compson’s watch up there, for all the favors it did us, and Larry tried to tell us, was always warning us that there was no time, there was just no time, and now there almost literally is no time left, and, if I haven’t said it by now, I’m just going to have to live with the knowledge that I’m never going to get it said, that, if it is said, it will not be said by me, and it may not get said at all, and it may not need to be said, it may be a part of a place and a past whose Time has elapsed.

The thing of it is, at some point in the course of every human endeavor, we’re all Curt Henderson looking out the airplane window and smiling wistfully at the sight of a white Ford Thunderbird cruising down the contracting ribbon of highway, and, when it’s time to take that scholarship from the local Moose Lodge, we’re all past the point of wondering whether we’ve said all that needed saying. Oh, no, I’ve said too much; I’ve said enough.

Go ‘Dawgs!

Like Dawg Sports on Facebook