The former television character, Rosanne, of the popular TV show from the 1980’s, finds out that her husband has been going around with another woman. When confronted, he admits to having had an affair with someone, but complains that it didn’t mean anything to him. Rosanne is decidedly put off by this statement. She cannot imagine how someone could have a sexual relationship with someone else, and yet, it would not mean anything to them. Coupling those two concepts together in Rosanne’s mind does not make sense to her. She’s decidedly astounded with confusion.
I don’t blame her.
In the popular movie, Saving Private Ryan, the Private talks to the Captain, after having refused to abandon the French bridge he’s been left behind to guard, with only a hand-full of brave men to face an unknown force of Germans, who are on their way to take the bridgehead. The idea of how he cannot seem to picture how any of his fallen brothers looked in life, has left to his mind a blank. He cannot conger up the images of them in his mind at all, and the idea bothers him. The Captain suggests he think of something they all did together, to gain that vantage point of being able to remember his fallen brothers.
They had all fallen, in service to their country.
The Private comes up with this wonderful, adolescent tale of getting this astoundingly ugly young woman up into the hay loft of the barn on the family farm, in Iowa, where Ryan quotes one brother as having told another, that he’s a young man, that he should not be doing this thing of taking this ugly girl in this way, when he’s such a young man. The Private finds himself laughing about his fallen brothers. Almost all of the Americans involved in defending that bridgehead are killed, in the process of saving Private Ryan.
The quotation from Abraham Lincoln is a stirring touch in this movie. I’d quote it if I could.
Toward the end of the Private’s life, he asks his wife the question I’d like to ask my dear Mary Kathryn at the end of my own life. It turns out to be the final advice the Captain ever gave to the Private, in a whisper, a moment before the Captain dies from his combat wounds, preserving their bridgehead from the Germans. “Am I a good man?” the old veteran cryptically asks his wife in their elder years. His wife looks at him with an unanswerable look in her eyes. She doesn’t know how to respond to the weight of such a question to the satisfaction of the surviving veteran.
But, of course he is, is all his wife can think of to tell him.
It’s as if he, alone, can muster the gravity of his own question.
I’ve had a lifetime of rejections and loneliness, ever since I found it necessary to reject my very wonderful Mary Kathryn, whom I’ve always been devoted to in my heart, with all of my most sacred memories of life, for some forty-odd years of solitude, by this late date without her in my life. It’s true enough. I’ve been so utterly alone without her. I’ve suffered a loneliness and deprivation of not having my own generations, for an entire lifetime. I have no generations! She married another man, which she became free enough to marry, after the Lord my God counseled me to allow her to do it.
Now, at this late date, if some mere girl, of 20 or 22, thinks I’m going to be more than willing to become putty in her hands, by simply disrespecting my personal space in the service of her job, she’s got another thought coming. Oh yes, I’m a man, alright. And she’s got all the body I’ve described of her having, in another document I’ve already published before I planned to publish this one. So, that girl also has all the bravado to go right along with all that body, in her careless youth, to go along with her careless bravado. But I have a very definite vulnerability to be taken into consideration, before she tries something else youthful and wild, to my person, right in front of me. I have no intention of trusting her again.
It’s something she’ll have to find herself answering to, that she’s not likely to understand.
I’m decidedly disinterested in helping her with any of her issues, including everyone I ever meet again, if I must. I refuse to help anyone to keep a job they’re handling entirely too carelessly, for the sake of a little bit of time in my personal rack, with any decidedly attractive, young mink, who has a way of behaving as though she doesn’t care whether I’m a fall risk or whether I’m not.
Besides, nearly everyone else I’ve ever met in this life has rejected me. No one has cared that much about my feelings. It’s been a long, lonely road of not ever having seen anything of my own family, because they don’t exist. My mother and aunt have always encouraged me to remain single, after I talked to them both about the Lord’s admonition for me to remain single, without my Mary Kathryn.
I’m definitely not going to be careless, wild and silly at this late date in my life, for anyone else’s benefit, regardless of the consequences for this one silly girl, just because I’ve got too much to lose at these perpetual loose ends of mine, at this late date in my life. When I was a patient in rehab, learning how to walk again, Joshua made quite a point of cautioning me to take every responsibility for keeping myself from falling again, because of the ever-present peril that I would definitely be under, for the remainder of my lifetime. I could very easily fall and break things in my right hip or right leg, that could never be mended again. The likelihood exists.
The reality of this state of affairs has been impressed upon me.
When I broke off with my wonderful Mary Kathryn, at the dawn of our adulthood, I did so with a heavy heart, because I happen to understand who she actually was to me. She was the love of my life, and that was all there was to it. There was no idle chatter between us, about the idea that I was breaking up with her, when the time came. She made no amount of ceremony about breaking up with me at my lead. She only fled from me in a rush of emotion I’ve never known anything about, just as soon as I made my meaning clear to her in the first place. I’ve done my very best to try to replace her or get back in touch with her, in one way or another. The only satisfaction I can find, that I can achieve without her, is to remain without anyone.
This issue is not a game to me.
I’m quite serious.
This would surprise my old friend, Louis, for one person this statement would not fit in the mind of. It’s been his observation that I’ve never been a one-woman man. Well, I’m not dead, and I’m not blind, but the idea that I’m expected to consider someone young and reckless, when I’ve become a perpetual fall risk, is nothing but the most significant folly that I flatly refuse to commit, because I’m not at all interested in paying the price tag of the carelessness as that.
I’m grateful that I’m capable of Walking, at this late date in my life. I’d like to do more of it. This thing called Walking, is a cherished reality in my life, and if any silly girl wants to preserve her job, working here at Powder Ridge, she should have thought about my very unique vulnerabilities, a little bit sooner, before she ever misbehaved so impetuously, right in front of the likes of me. I braved the wrath of the mob, when I informed on my drug connection, to some people I was quite certain happened to be the police, back when I was a young man at the university.
The girl will recover from losing this job easily enough. She’s even likely to learn something from the loss of it. She’s not the least bit ruined, if she’s going to be fired from her job tonight or tomorrow morning, the way I expect she will be, but if I ever injure my hip or leg again, the likelihood that I’ll never walk again, as long as I live, that I’ll be ruined forever, is very great.
I don’t like those odds. I don’t like them one darned bit, and it’s about time I started being more aloof from more of the employees around this place, on a more regular basis. I left the Program for fear of falling and ruining my hip at the hands of that silly girl called Patti. She was so careless with my risk of falling, too. I’ll make a responsible complaint to preserve my own ability to Walk again, by the same token. I’m not playing with anybody about such an issue.
It’s not my passions, or my loneliness, that’s at stake here. The girl I’m referring to has nothing to offer me that I don’t have already. It’s my ability to continue to be able to Walk that’s the central issue, here. So, the girl’s young and wild, and I’m just not. Not anymore I’m not. I relinquish nothing by talking to my friend on the staff about that damned girl. My sister counseled me to talk to the girl myself, first, but my sister does not understand the vulnerability I’m working against here, or the peril I’m working against, either one. My sister hasn’t seen me since well before I broke my hip. She’s been struggling with a bad foot for a long time, but has no clear picture of these circumstances of mine, to refer to in her own mind.
This lusty naiad of a silly girl can go find another job, easily enough.