The Life Span of Souls
15 January 2008 Comments Off
No longer will people seeking dry details about bits and bytes, speeds and feeds, chip-sets and semiconductor properties of rare earth elements need to consult with a boring old engineer who probably has adhesive tape mending the bow on his coke bottle glasses.
Which reminds me, this is for me a Day of the Dead. It was the coke-bottle glasses. Frank failed only the mention of highwater pants. My dad was a physicist, back in the day, and one hell of a talker, besides brilliant. The government used to send him out to debate Ernest Stenglass. Andy the Mouth, they called him, and his passion for the safety of nuclear power was both pure and absolute. A man who brought himself up by his own bootstraps, so to speak, whom people referred to as Dr. Hull even though he had never received a doctorate. Probably one of the first physicists ever to, as an adult, go “back to school.”
Thereby immediately impoverishing his children, who already scratched from a pretty low tray, as little chickens will do when there’s nothing more. Andy drove a bus, studied, we saw him once in a while, and in the late Fifties was accepted at Vanderbilt, whence to Oak Ridge, a novel of its own. I read that he was immensely well-regarded at Shoreham, where he spent nearly thirty years until his death.
What does it all mean? I was across the country, unable to attend his death or funeral. In my mind, he is always who he was. The dead never age. Never grow old, never wrinkle, never leave us, but remain in what must be Heaven or Hell: the way they always were, to us. Perhaps that is why the spirits hang around and suffer, but sorry. It is no more possible for us to change Memory than they to graduate from So-So to Beloved. Who get to leave Limbo—which must be an endlessly boring place (joke)—for the ultimate address, Heaven.
The rest stick around and pester so as not to go directly to h-e-double-toothpicks, but I’m telling you (them) it’s useless. The ghosts cannot change their tactics, nor we our memories. Eternity being what it is.
At any rate, bless the person who fathered me, on the eighty-eighth anniversary of his birth.