Sunday, January 29, 2017


Blowing my didge whilst strumming
I hate funerals.  I hate funerals and I know why.

Churches are where beautiful faces marry beautiful faces
Where the wrinkled ones bury their dead.  
 (I wrote this poem in 1977.) 

Funerals remind me of my mortality.  I guess I just don’t want to die.  It’s as simple as that.   I am afraid to be dead.  Though I’ve been close to death twice and survived twice (obviously), I know that I’m not immortal.  

My first brush with death is the time I got shot; the second brush was when I was driving down a rain-drenched highway.

It was summertime and I was 13.  I was riding a horse crossing over a bridge on the Notekeu Creek.  Friends of mine were in a rowboat floating down the creek, shooting frogs with their .22 rifles.  Seeing me, they gleefully decided to startle the horse, shooting at the base of the bridge, hoping the horse would buck.  The horse did buck and the boat rocked and a stray bullet went into my back, through my right shoulder blade there it lodged until our country doctor pulled it out with a set of three foot thongs.  I spent the rest of the summer in hospital.

The second death near miss I was 20 years old and driving 80 miles per hour down a rain-drenched 43 Highway heading east between the Saskatchewan towns of Vanguard and Gravelbourg.  My car began to hydroplane and it slid into a 360 degree turn in the right lane of the road.  At the start of the drift, heading for the ditch, I remember thinking I don’t have my seatbelt on, and I knew I was likely going to die in a rollover.  But I never hit the ditch.  In seemingly slow motion my car spun a complete 360 right on the road top!  Whew!  My jitters lasted a week after and not-so-strangely returning now as I write about it.

Anyway, after attending a funeral I contemplate life, my life, contemplating the antediluvian questions:  What is the meaning of life?  What is the purpose of MY life?

  • What is the meaning of life? 

Hmmm … I think we can all agree that life is a vortex of calm and angst, pleasure and pain, love and hate, resolve and regret -- to live is to suffer, the skinny of Zen, so to speak.

For theists, the planet majority of faithful Christians simply insist that God has a plan.  
For the positive psychologists, the meaning of life is to utilize our strengths for an investment in something larger than ourselves.  For neuroscientists, all we do as humans is to behave toward pleasure and reward, and motivation, motivation being mostly for more pleasure and reward.
For the evolutionist, the meaning is simply sexual, to procreate and continue the species.
Parapsychologists insist there is, in the big cosmos sweep, a cosmic consciousness, to which we all ought to contribute in our hippy-dippy ways.  Of course, some of us are more fervent in this regard than others.

No matter … it does seem like some of us need a reason or a purpose for existing.  I am one of those people, and it does appear that I, and others of this ilk, are totally alone and responsible in discovering this particular purpose for ourselves. 

Only when I decide my life purpose, will I enjoy a deep sense of satisfaction for the rest of my days.

And so

  • What is the purpose of MY life?
And what, pray Lord (irony intended) do I have to do to determine my life path for the next 13 years?  (I say 13 years because … accordingly, females on the Western side of the planet live until they are 82; males live until 78.  I am a 65 year old addlepated male, and so I’ve just 13 years left.  Yikes!  I’m hoping 13 is not my lucky number.)  I’ll begin my search without, to seek my answer within.

I’ll begin with a Zen-to-go summary of therapies for which I’m braggartly proficient.

  • Reality Therapy (RT) was my first academic study and it served me well.  RT got me into guidance, got me into private practice, got me my Master’s degree in Educational Psychology.

Who are you? What do you want? What are you been doing about it? Is doing what you’re doing working for you?  (Of course it is not … because if it were working … YOU WOULDN’T BE HERE.)

  • Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) was my first pragmatic system when I did contract work.  (The agency I for which I contracted insisted that I follow this model.)

SFBT is characterized by the rather hypnotic Miracle Question (MQ).  You wake up one morning and YOUR PROBLEM IS GONE … How would you know?  Describe your imaginary problem-free day …. How would your life be if it were perfect? … And so when you wake up tomorrow morning behave exactly as if your world was perfect and everyone around you is responding according to your perfect world picture.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is another model I employed at yet another counseling agency.

CBT is a behavior therapy purportedly combined with simultaneous reflection and introspection.

  • Hypnotherapy is now my favorite.  Hypnotherapy is therapist suggested imagery creating for the client surreal experiences to be re-enacted immediately thereafter.

Therapy knowledge is fine, but how does therapy fit into world notions about life purpose?  Hmmm … again … here is another Zen-to-go summary, this time on world views.

  • Utilitarianism is the greatest happiness principle.  Whatever brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people is the way to do life.

  • Nihilism means life is without any objective meaning, a God-is-dead determining direction.

  • But if there are no objective values, does this mean that life is meaningless?  From this thinking, Existential psychotherapy comes quickly to mind.

From the existentialist view, if life has no objective meaning, then one seeking meaning must simply create a life meaning from within.  I can do this; subjectively I can find my purpose.

Writing, I believe, is an extension of thinking, and as I’ve written over the years, there is one particular theme that seems always in concert with this blog.  I am a BUSKOLOGIST.  I am a BUSKEROO.  And because I’m a buskologist and buskeroo, I could certainly be a traveling minstrel, similar to those medieval poets and musicians who sang while thrumming their stringed instruments.  Yes, I could be an itinerant troubadour, a singer especially of folk songs.

Alas, my guitar suits such a billing but my didgeridoo does not. 

A didgeridoo player is called a didgeridoo player or a didge player or a didger or a didgeridooer or a dooer.  A drifter is one who follows the fun from locale to another, moving on when the laughter in any particular locale is gone.

Hmmm … What would a traveling didgeridoo player be called?  a DRIFTING DIDGERIDOOER?  a DRIFTING DOO’ER?

Yesterday afternoon I presented this question to Craig, Erin, and Doug (B SHARP guitar shop staff) and within a blink, Doug came up with DIDGERING DRIFTER!   (Thank you, Doug!)

DIDGERING DRIFTERa world drifter who plays the didgeridoo and lives life as a series of discoveries.

And aha epiphany!  I could be an Adonic didgering drifter.  Aha!  Aha!  Aha!

(Factoid:  This is hardly a sea change from my present condition.)

In my CHAUCERIAN PARADE today I’ve only one, who is no longer marching, the grandfather of my very best friend, Colby Williams.  Here is Doc’s obit:

Duane "Doc" WILLIAMS

Duane "Doc" Williams
April 18, 1929 - January 13, 2017
Our lives have been incredibly changed since our much loved father/grandfather Doc passed away on January 13, 2017. He was predeceased by his parents, Dorothy and Roy Williams; his brothers, Jimmy and Ken Williams; and his sister, Margaret Hewson. He is survived by his children, Marcia, Marc and Lisa, Jamie, Tyler and Leslie; and his grandchildren, Haley, Colby, MacKenzie and Drew. Doc was born on a farm near Leross, SK. He spent his youth working on the farm, playing ball and playing music in the surrounding area. It is not surprising that he met Grace, the love of his life, on the ball field. They remained inseparable until she passed away in June 2009. After they moved to Regina, Doc worked at Ipsco for almost 30 years. Music and sports continued to be a big part of his life. Initially he played ball with the Regina Red Sox Baseball Team and Kappy Kaplan's Royals Fastball Team and continued to play for 30 + years in the Regina Men's Softball League. During the winter months, he played hockey, curled and spent evenings at home playing the banjo, guitar and organ. As time went on, he became a player/coach on teams with his sons and nephews and continued to coach them all for many years. One of Doc's greatest joys was his grandchildren. In the early years he shared his love of music with them and initiated many games in the back yard. He passed his athletic prowess and love of sports on to his children and his legacy continues to live on through his grandchildren. It gave him great pleasure to watch them over the years. Some of our greatest family gatherings were on a ball field or in a hockey rink. We have lost a great friend but take joy in knowing he has gone to join his best friend. Please join us in a celebration of Doc's life: Heritage United Church, Saturday, January 21, 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Program to start by 2:15 p.m. We welcome people to share "Doc" memories during the program. In lieu of flowers a team.

In professional hockey circles, the best descriptor of a person is “He’s a good guy.”  (Don Cherry and Brad Hornung will back me up on this.) 


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