Title

For S----, a Teacher

All the news was bad this month for a jaded idealist, what they called David Carr. Philip Levine’s was pancreatic. Bob Simon survived wars and captivity with grace, only to die in a Town Car in Manhattan. 

Scientists announced the earth ruined: Oceans barren in 35 years, West Coast reduced to ashes and dust. They made a case for brimstoning the sky, hubris piled on hubris, like stratospheric thunderheads. Another extinction event. A great dying.

Everything is relative, apologists say, things have always been falling apart. 

By

February 22, 2015
 
 

All the news was bad this month for a jaded idealist, what they called David Carr. Philip Levine’s was pancreatic. Bob Simon survived wars and captivity with grace, only to die in a Town Car in Manhattan. 

Scientists announced the earth ruined: Oceans barren in 35 years, West Coast reduced to ashes and dust. They made a case for brimstoning the sky, hubris piled on hubris, like stratospheric thunderheads. Another extinction event. A great dying.

Everything is relative, apologists say, things have always been falling apart. 

Why does it affect you so much, do you think? the therapist asked. I’d wept recounting the discovery of photos of Nazi girls eating fresh blueberries and laughing at the SS retreat a few miles from Auschwitz.

The genius dog falls off a cliff into the abyss, and his human son cries out, Mr. Peabody! Dad! My younger son turns his face to the recliner and weeps. He already knows why. 

All month I had the tab open in the background, anticipated it difficult in a difficult time: your memorial, streamed from Temple. Elegists say you were broadly loved, full of brightness, good humor, and artistry. An idealistic career change, too-brief consciousness used to teach and play.

We never met, so my why is your example. Why, to delay cliff’s edge at immense cost, demonstrating it’s possible both to know the world and to love. 

Theories these days have shelf lives like cereal: Big Bang; Big Bang—Now with Heat Death; Big Bang with Big Crunch and Even More Big Bang! The latest thinking on why is that good things too always were and will be. 

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