Friday, December 7, 2012

Pumping Irony

Earlier this week I finished a rather creative essay that was spurred along by a gym conversation--or perhaps a question--a question posed by two young guys who wanted to know if I'd ever considered competing in a bodybuilding competition.  (Answer:  I did compete once, at age 40 . . . I don't plan to compete again, at any age.)

But my essay was about the ironies of the question itself:  why, for example, would they have asked me this question now that I'm twenty-five pounds lighter and don't have any muscle?  Or why would younger guys want to know the answer to this question when they could have asked me about some of life's deeper questions, such as . . . what brings you out to the gym at 5 a.m. in the first place?

The older I get, the deeper life's ironies.  I learn more, but have fewer answers.  I am wiser (or am I?), but I don't have the energies to carry through on my best and most-extravagant intentions.  I am more deeply invested in life and living for those around me, but there are more people to live for and not enough of me to go around.

Ironies of nature.  Ironies of ageing.  Ironies of life.

So now I am left with my next conundrum:  what do I do with my essay, "Pumping Irony"?  Do I box it up (like the hundreds of other essays that line my closet shelves or litter my floppy disks)?  Do it let it gather dust? Or do I send it along to some editor in the hope that she might find it excruciatingly beautiful, or honestly written, or wildly humorous?  

And wouldn't it be ironic if the editor wrote back and said, "I would have taken this essay, but as it turns out, I just happened to publish one last week that was written by an older fellow."  

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