The Fayette Citizen-Opinion Page

Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Time has its way, like a swim pool

Laugh Lines

Every man, woman and child has something in common. We go through time like Madonna goes through men.

Think of time as mass. It's like water in a bucket. The problem is, the pail has a hole. It's dripping out, slowly, painfully. (Can you tell I have a birthday coming up?) For a large portion of our lives we don't even pay attention to the leak. We play with the rift. We slap at the droplets. We sometimes even tip the bucket a bit and let some spill out over the side. "Who cares, the bucket is so full."

Then in another part of our life, we suddenly become consumed with the water that has spilled out. Knowing it cannot be put back in, we mourn the expended, the escaped liquid. All the while, more precious time is dripping by unnoticed.

Maybe we need to change our perspective of what time is. It might be more like an irresistible force, a big John Goodman trying to get at a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The only thing between him and the food is our measly existence. It can't be stopped. Can you tell I have a birthday coming up?

So, do we fight time; putting every ounce of our strength and courage and force into holding back the tide? Do we go kicking and screaming and slapping? Or, do we just face the inevitable and step aside without making a ripple, a dent, a peep? After all, we know we can't stop it. Sure, we can't stop time, but we can fill it, pressurize it, with things that are important, vital and worthy. Isn't that why "Seinfeld" is in syndication?

When I was a child I used to have a recurring dream. In this dream, there is this giant who has fallen asleep. My life my time in this dream is spent living around this sleeping giant.

Someone told me that this is a common dream. When he wakes he will kill me, and then my life will be over. Thus, I must live silently, hushed and still, trying not to wake him.

Many of us spend too much of our lives like that, thinking we have a longer time the less we disturb. Nothing could be farther from the truth The giant is the one who is dead and we die when we live our lives so quietly that we, ourselves, fall to sleep.

Time is really more like an empty swimming pool. There is a small hose filling it constantly, relentlessly. Now we can sit around thinking, "I'll go swimming when it's full," but, by the time it's full it's too late to swim. There is so much to do while it is filling. We can first wade around and play in the shallows, then we can swim as it rises. We can even dive in with a great belly flop, long before it has ebbed. We can fill it with toys and friends. We can even fill it with goldfish if we like; it's our pool. Sure, people will tell you goldfish in a pool are stupid, but there is plenty of room. And, whose pool is it anyway?

If life can be as a house or like a box of chocolates or like an episode of " Friends" even, I am sure it can be like a swimming pool. And, how about if the pool is just for swimming lessons? And when it's full, when time has had its way, we have to move on to the ocean?

Can you tell I have a birthday coming up? I better learn to swim.

[Visit Billy Murphy on the Internet at]

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