Life

Walking with Grief…

*

‘I cried like some grandmother, I wanted to tear my teeth out, I didn’t know what I wanted to do.’ – Walter E.Kurtz, Apocalypse Now.

*

The ‘Good Colonel’ is here reacting to a particularly distressing, and at first sight vicious, and meaningless act of war.

However, a culture that can organise the systematic removal of the inoculated arms of its children must have a pretty clear conception of where it is at, of precisely what it means to be there, and also of just how to remain in that place.

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‘Good Grief, Charlie Brown…’ – Lucy, Peanuts.

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Can grief ever be good?

Charles M. Schulz clearly thought so.

The phrase runs like a litany through Charlie Brown’s debut T. V. outing casting noble failure on all his best efforts and simultaneously highlighting the noble failure of all life to make any kind of a lasting impression.

Sometimes Schulz talks like a prophet and at other times like a lost soul.

With this particular ‘bon mot‘ he talks like both at the same time.

The meta-gag of this same episode is Charlie’s dream of sending the football soaring through the sky.

It never happens.

Lucy always removes the ball at the last.

It is Charlie who soars… to end… lying flat on his back, gazing up at the sky.

A living cadaver capable of pondering its own plight, and ours.

We have the terms ‘a proper Charlie’ and ‘a right Charlie’ for those unfortunates who end up looking like chumps in life’s Divine Comedy.

Are these phrases ‘Chaplin derived’ or much earlier?

King Charles I of England lost his head, and his life, for clinging on to an outmoded principle.

Scotland’s Bonnie Prince ended his life in ignominy and exile but even before that he was a Charlie.

A clown’s name for a clown’s game?

Perhaps.

That principle?

The Divine Right of Kings.

To do what?

To rule…

Or, to rue the almighty hash the politicians have made of it?

No, not that, simply to rule.

To run the measure over the populace and let ‘the Gods’ or ‘the Fates’ decide, which they do anyway, ultimately…

*

‘Death’s at the bottom of everything…’ – Major Calloway, The Third Man.

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4 thoughts on “Walking with Grief…”

  1. I walked a mile with Pleasure;
    She chattered all the way,
    But left me none the wiser
    For all she had to say.

    I walked a mile with Sorrow
    And ne’er a word said she;
    But oh, the things I learned from her
    When Sorrow walked with me!

    Along the Road by Robert Browning Hamilton

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A lovely and thoughtful post Stuart. I don’t think we use the name Charlies in quite the same way her in the states, but Good Grief is part of my lexicon and I’d never thought about it before!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And…
    we walk all around a place and forget that the absence of the footprints on our walk reveals other shadow shapes of what we wanted to avoid. Reading silences and emptinesses can teach a lot…

    Liked by 1 person

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