Homer

220px-Homer_British_Museum
"I lived in the present then without understanding that I was also living timelessly."

Every homeowner seems part Homer Simpson and part Homer the ancient Greek poet. We live as everyman and exist as part of a mythic and heroic drama. We seem stuck in a role where we must repeatedly demonstrate our innate ineptness while also inhabiting an extended allegory. We catch ourselves demonstrating just how utterly clueless we are while simultaneously inspiring following generations. We mostly engage in utterly mundane activities which, viewed from broader perspectives, somehow embody an entire era, an archetype we would not recognized if we noticed it peering back out of the mirror before us. We are not either pattern we so convincingly embody.

The popularity of aluminum siding clearly demonstrates how gullible homeowners can be.
The disordered piles of once-promising labor-saving devices cluttering every garage further amplifies my point. Homeowners seem more than fifty percent rube, each eventually catching on to the depth of the deceptions they so easily fell for. They learn to live with this contradiction between their intentions and their behavior. Some seem to tout these differences. Others utterly fail to conceal them. Authenticity might be over-rated and beside the point. The spouse well-understands just what a deep down duff-us they married. Appreciation transcends these superficialities.

Homer doubtless had a lousy home life. Consumed with the compulsion to spin a coherent yarn, the very completeness of which utter undermines any notion that it might be taken literally. Those who choose to live a metaphorical existence must accept that their intentions will be endless misunderstood, that ultimately nobody understands them, and might ultimately reasonably conclude that they do not understand themselves. I think it a reasonable assumption that Homer did not spend his declining years sipping port in a wing-backed chair enjoying the quiet adulation of his peers. More likely, he was held in deep suspicion by everyone except, perhaps, his long-suffering spouse, who most probably understood the nature of her humble hubby's wound that would never heal. He lived, she reasoned, for the ages, the present hardly mattered.

The homeowner inhabits the uncertain space between the two Homers, neither particularly heroic in practice, both perhaps heroic only in retrospect. I fondly recall constructing the crooked fence I built forty years ago, the one I clumsily assembled to last for the ages. It surprisingly survives. It's still as crooked as the day I finished it and as solid as the original concrete footings which I mixed in a child's plastic wading pool. Like the poet Homer, that construction was more an act of discovery than exposition, a blind search for coherence within what certainly seemed like an otherwise incoherent world. I muttered plenty of D-ohs as I taught myself my to-be timeless craft. I could not repeat my performance without having to again start the learning curve from the far left bottom of the graph. I could not have known just how able the finished product might paint me over time. I lived in the present then without understanding that I was also living timelessly.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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