A List of Five Things That Don’t Last Forever

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Issue III: Winter 2010

by Joseph Pesco

I simply can’t make a list. I’ve got to explore the origins of the list first. Allow me to neglect you for a short span of time while I arrange my work environment. I’ll try to say something to you while I’m tidying.

First, it’s a fine winter day. I’ll open the blinds and let some sun in. I’ve always loved the view out this window. I’ve written several novels sitting at this desk in front of that window. This is a good place to neglect time, don’t you think?

Please, don’t answer. I said I was going to neglect you, and here I am talking away without complaint. Five things that don’t last forever. Time lasts forever, our time does not. Isn’t that unfortunate? Though mortality is too morbid a thought to contemplate directly before the holidays.

Therefore, I’ll keep on going. Let’s put something on the list. Jobs don’t last forever. Again, though I’ve had terrible luck with employment, that’d be morbid before the holidays so I will put it on the list and not pick it when I pick something from the list. Getting back to the view out this window. Do you see how the ground slopes away for nearly two blocks? All these houses have been here nearly forever. The houses over that ridge, after the ground starts to rise again, some of those houses have a view of the ocean.

Now there is something else that doesn’t always last forever. I’ve been living here for close to thirty years and I’ve seen half the houses change hands. Some good friends left, and I’ve made some new friends. Funny thing though, the clunkers never seem to go. They do though. I’ll make that number two though I’m splitting hairs because some friends seem to last forever. Come to think of it, aren’t childhood friends suppose to last forever?

I used an IBM Selectric typewriter for those first two novels. There’s something that should have lasted forever. The two best things humanity ever created were the IBM Selectric and the BLT, side of fries. Don’t  believe me–check on the Internet. I’m sure somebody has done a poll. Hopefully, the BLT will last forever. We couldn’t replace the BLT with anything else. Gosh, are you keeping up? And now you’ve got my full attention. Why don’t you sit on that chair. Move it closer, don’t be shy, that’s my interview chair, so to speak. But not today when this room is all cluttered. Go ahead, move the television out of the way, it’s not plugged in.

Friends, job, and residences, that could be number three. Automobiles can be number four.

I used to travel when I was young, then I bought this place with the proceeds of my third book. The fourth didn’t sell and I ran into a dry spot. The house was almost lost, and I lost my notoriety. I had to teach in a junior college for ten years before I wrote another novel that a publisher would consider. I got to know a lot of these families in this little town during those ten years. Sometimes I sit here in the early morning hours and with the lights out watch the day start. I was going to say that college doesn’t last forever; I won’t, though, because I’ve got to consider if I believe that.

Do you want some coffee? It rots my guts sometimes, though I do enjoy it. I hate to do this to you, this whole list thing has got me thinking. We are the only things that don’t last forever. You thought of that already, haven’t you? You were guessing if I’d come to the same conclusion.

Let me tell you a quick story. When I was growing up–and this is the truth, though it’s commonly known stuff–when I was growing up back in New York graffiti was everywhere. Then one day we went to a museum and the guide pointed out graffiti on an artifact. Then you found out about cave paintings, and time capsules, and about ancient Roman soldiers scratching their names on the walls of towns they’d captured…well, you know where I’m going with this.

Let’s take automobiles off the list because even if your car goes to a trade-in yard the automobile might last forever in one form or another. Let’s put us on the list because we are only important to ourselves while we’re alive.

I was going to go with the automobile and discuss how the automobile won’t last forever. After all, there are no more horse drawn wagons, right? Then again, if an automobile is defined as a self-propelled wagon, the automobile might last forever.

Let’s change the topic for a minute. It’s only a little more than a mile to the ocean. I haven’t seen the ocean from over that ridge in many years now. That’s kind of how it is when you get old. I got no call for going over there to sit by the ocean, and besides I know better places.

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