When I was 14, going through the worst pangs of adolescent angst, railing against the unfairness of the world in general and my parents in particular, I thought age would bring all the answers. "At 18, I'll know the answers," I'd breathe tearfully to myself each night.
But 9 years have passed since I turne d 18, and I still can't say I have the answers. Not only for the big questions - the whoppers - the "Why am I here"s and the "What's the meaning of life"s - but even for the small ones... the simple questions of why some people are the way they are, and why we aren't all happy and blithe, like Sunday's child, and why regardless of how much I gym, I don't seem to lose any weight.
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, "The world is so full of wonderful things, I'm sure we should all be happy as kings." Well put, Bob, but the world doesn't seem to be listening. Every magazine you read is full of the woes of the world. The Middle Eastern conflict. Hutus and Tutsis trying to wipe each other off the face of the planet. Manipur. Serbs and Croats. It seems to be endless.
And for what?
"The story of Bangladesh
Is an ancient one, again made fresh
By blind men who carry out commands
Which flow out of the laws upon which nations stand
Which say to sacrifice a people for a land."
You're probably thinking, hey, where's my dose of humour for the week? All I can say is, dunno. It's one of those days when the world seems out of control and my head is filled with question marks. Stop this planet, I want to get off, I think. Regardless of the free trip around the sun.
In one of the Dirk Gently books, Dirk had this pocket calculator, which could only display results of 4 and below. The minute any computation got out of hand (read: > 4), the screen would display the line "A suffusion of yellow". So that's the answer. What's life all about? A suffusion of yellow.
In conclusion, I quote Calvin: "I think the surest sign that there's intelligent life out there is that none of it has made any attempt to contact us."