There was Homer sitting in one of my lawn chairs looking ever-so-much like Rodin’s The Thinker.
I was sitting in a favorite chair by the front window reading from my vast collection of fantasy novels, reflecting on the fantasy I was living in. I wondered if some of the novels weren’t esoteric histories, and then I looked out of the window and noticed Homer coming across the street to talk me up. Or at least, that’s what I thought. I sat there for a couple of minutes waiting for his knock on the back door, but it never came. I wondered if he had gone into my garage to borrow or return a tool. We shared like that.
After a few minutes, I couldn’t take the wondering any more and put the book down and got up and went to the garage. Homer wasn’t there. I walked through the garage and out the back door and looked into the yard. There was Homer sitting in one of my lawn chairs looking ever-so-much like Rodin’s The Thinker.
I walked over. “Hey, what do you think of this fall?” I asked.”
Are you referring to the pleasant autumn weather or the collapse of civilization as we know it?
Homer looked up. “Are you referring to the pleasant autumn weather,” he returned, “or the collapse of civilization as we know it?”
I laughed and waited. After a considerable rumination he said, “I’m trying to think about how I might be thinking, but I can’t. I have no idea what to think. The future? I realize we can’t really know it, but at least I can usually come up with a couple of ideas of how it might work out. Today, I’m completely baffled.”
I got down on my hands and knees and put my forehead against the grass and lifted myself into a tripod headstand, a yoga move I had learned from one of my earlier masters. Upside down, I spoke. “Perhaps it will be easier to understand what you are saying if I am inverted,” I blurted. Now he laughed, and I let myself down and took the chair beside him.
I once read a very convincing conspiracy theory…
“I once read a very convincing conspiracy theory, all full of biblical timelines and configurations, and I don’t remember all the details, but it all added up to the world coming to an end in 2044. And you know how those things can have quite convincing arguments? Well, I didn’t even think of trying to refute it, I just adopted it as a good goal. I will be one hundred and three years old in 2044, and wouldn’t it be nice to live up until the end?” I looked over and smiled.
“Do you believe that?” asked Homer.
“Well, not exactly,” I said, “but it’s always good to have goals. Goals are like anchors that we can throw into the future, and when we don’t feel like we know exactly where we are or what to do, we can reach out for those goals and wench ourselves forward on them. So I like to set goals, like living until I’m 103.”
“I like that,” he said, “good advice.” Homer stood up. “C’mon over to my house; we can sit on the back porch and have a beer with Henrietta.”
He started walking towards the driveway. I fell in beside him. “Henrietta?” I asked.
“Henrietta Hen,” he said, “that’s what I call her when she starts cluckin’.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: I asked Larry if 2044 was really in the Bible. He told me: Not really. Biblical numerologists make a thing of adding up the prophecies. Some prophecies predicted near-future events and some distant future, like the coming of Christ. One obscure scholar thought that would be in 2044, and without even checking it out, I adopted it into my life’s game plan. I would live until 2044. I will be 103 then. It’s a little joke I have with my kids. And I worked it into my story with my imaginary friend, Homer.
– Larry Berger. Hashtag Lewisburg City Paper #129. December 2020. Connect with Larry at sinksgrovepress.wordpress.com