Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Leaky Boats

Since I am quite fond of similes and metaphors—though admittedly sometimes hard-pressed to tell them apart—I’m always coming up with new ones to describe my perceived position in and reaction to life. This morning it occurred to me that each of us is afloat on the vast sea of time in a very small and leaky boat. Most people are too busy with living their lives and going to work and having children and watching “reality” shows and paying off credit cards and being generally distracted that they don’t notice their boat is sinking until it is too late.

I, alas, have been aware of my little boat and its inevitable fate all my life. I have made buckets out of words, bailing frantically to slow down the inevitable, or at least in hopes that when the boat does sink, taking me, its captain, with it, the buckets may bob around for a bit longer.

Though I’ve not peeked over the stern to check, I would guess my boat is named R.M.S. Egoism; the reason for the “Egoism” is clear, but the “R.M.S.” is a bit more subtle. R.M.S. stands for “Royal Mail Ship” and my little boat, while not in service to the English crown, is nonetheless devoted, after all, to carrying messages. Of course, it also does not escape me that the Titanic was, in fact, designated R.M.S. Titanic.

There’s the old saying that to suspect you may be crazy is pretty solid proof that you aren’t, since those who are truly insane almost universally deny being so. I think I can identify with that, though I’m sometimes not sure from which end of the sentence. I do know that when I am not busy building buckets for bailing, the awareness of the rising waters truly frightens me, and I have to force myself away from whatever may be distracting me and build another bucket.

Of course the fact that I spend so much time recording my life that there is little time left to actually live and enjoy it isn’t lost on me, and is in fact a source of constant bemusement. Who, after all, really cares, other than me? If I were in fact able to record every single second of my life, who, after all, would have the time to read it, even if they had any desire to do so? Subtracting every second of a lifetime from the vast sea of eternity still leaves a lot more eternity than life.

My single greatest fear, often repeated in these blogs, is of being forgotten…of becoming only one more lost-to-memory name on tombstone in a cemetery full of others whose markers are the only evidence to prove they ever existed. I do not fool myself into thinking that I am anyone particularly special to anyone but myself, or that my words will ever be in the same category as those of the great writers, but it would really be nice for someone, far in the future, to come across one of my books or my poems or (unlikely) one of my blogs and through them get some idea of not only who I was, but that they may idly wish I were alive so that we could sit down and have a conversation.

And a mental picture just formed in my mind as I thought again of the Titanic, of its fate, and of the fate of all our little boats. The image is of a full moon in a cloudless sky glinting on the vast, dark, calm surface of time, on which a few small buckets float. I would so like for one of them to be mine.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (


Kage Alan said...

My dear Dorien...if you suspect your ship is sinking, then you merely turn it into a submarine and continue on. Where there's a will, there's an imagination.

Dorien/Roger said...

I like your thinking, Kage!

Diana said...

I wish I could sit down and have a conversation with you right now, never mind wait until you're gone. You're such a fascinating man and always give me pause to think and digest your blogs. You keep me aware of not taking things for granted and I hope to be reading your blogs for a long time to come.

Dorien/Roger said...

That's very nice of you to say, Diana. I, also, hope to be writing blogs for you to read "for a long time to come."