He stood at the window of the empty cafe and watched the activities in the square and he said that it was good that God kept the truths of life from the young as they were starting out or else they’d have no heart to start at all.
― Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
Cormac McCarthy and I seem to have read the same page in the book of Life. And once again I am grateful that – except for a few charlatans who insist they can foretell the future – my journey through life plays out like a game of Blind Man’s Bluff, with surprises and sorrows around every bend in the road. I cannot skip ahead and spoil things by knowing what happens next, as I might do with a novel or a film. Frankly, I would not want to know what’s going to happen in my life.
There are no spoilers here, for good or ill.
Tragedy. Comedy. Drama.
Those three show up over and over again in any life.
Despite the slew of films which I’ve watched over my lifetime, films that usually end with happiness, Life doesn’t always work out the way a director directs the action. And that, right there, is why I – and many others – often gravitate to stories filled with predictable, warm-fuzzy endings.
Films play on the human yearning for good outcomes. Of course, not all films end well, showcasing as they do the burbling sewage that lies beneath the veneer of civilization. But many do offer some redemption, a tick of hope, a promise of future happiness.
Children deserve to enjoy a state of primeval innocence as long as possible. For all too soon, the apocalyptic Four Horsemen coming riding, crushing innocence with war, poverty, hunger, death.* Read Alan Gratz’s novel, Refugee, which confirms my statement about children’s inevitable exposure to the Four Horsemen.
There is one thing that is certain in Life: no one who emerges from the womb will avoid the rendezvous on the road to Samarra.**
*Traditional interpretation includes Conquest/Religion, War, Famine, and Death.