“United we stand-divided we fall” — The Liberty Song, John Dickinson

The test of a true friend is their willingness, upon your request, to offer a hand to one of your friends; someone they may not even know.

As I read Michael Moore’s autobiography “Here Comes Trouble” I was stunned by the avalanche of hate that descended upon him as a result of his acceptance speech at the Oscars after he won the famed prize for his first film “Bowling for Columbine”.  While a few luminaries like Meryl Streep and Martin Scorsese clapped wildly in approval, others like Robert Duvall went on the attack. Upon returning to his hometown in Michigan he and his wife were bared from their own property by three truckloads of horse manure piled waist high in their driveway and signs reading COMMIE and TRAITOR tacked on their trees.

As threats of murder came from Glen Beck and other Fox News acolytes, the crazies, feeling empowered, came a callin’ via mail, phone and Internet. Soon after it would take a team of nine X-Navy Seals to give protection 24/7 for several years from the Fatwa the violent Orwellian reaction produced including many real attempts on his life.

It was Kurt Vonnegut, Billy Pilgrim himself, who phoned to extend a comforting hand to Michael that brought him out of a two-year funk and back in the open to produce and direct the war criminal indictment documentary of G.W. Bush; Fahrenheit 911. It was during one of their dinners at Kurt’s home that the master of letters told Michael that he had stopped contemplating the meaning of life since his son Mark had finally figured it out for him.

I used to be fond of surmising that life had no meaning; that it was simply a random evolutionary series of events. Yet I’ve always been interested to know what other thought about this penultimate existential question. The more I admired a particular person the more I wanted to know their take, though I have found despite one’s station in life, everyone has an answer and some are very compelling.

The Dali Lama will say kindness is his religion and that sits well with me. My good friend Peter told me that “Life has only the meaning that we give it” and I adopted that gem for my own as soon as I heard it, knowing instantly it was better and truer than mine. Now from the mouth of babes comes the one answer even greater than the one I’ve carried around now these many decades.

“We’re here to help each other get through this thing; whatever it is” said Mark Vonnegut. I think we have a winner; the proclamation that we are all in this together. It is a sentiment that gives me courage and makes of life a beautiful and radiant thing.

Kurt will fade into history as we all do but no civilization worth anything will forget Slaughterhouse Five. That work of brilliance and dreams helped me get through this thing whatever it is. And as I reflect on my legacy, I can conjure that no greater praise from those I leave behind, hopefully some many years from now, could surpass their acknowledgement that simply; “he helped me get through this thing”.


About circusinpurgatory
Nick Masesso Jr’s fictionalized short stories, poetry and prose have been published in the Starry Night Review, Elegant Thorn Review, Language and and Vagabond Press; the Battered Suitcase. His latest book “Armor of Innocence” and first book “Walking the Midway in Purgatory, a Journal” are available on-line and through bookstores.

3 Responses to Friends

  1. James Mcfarland says:

    9.4 rating… the clean air helps your writing

    • Although I expected a new post ( as labeled on WordPress Header ), I wasn’t an iota disappointed reading FRIENDS a second time, completely forgetting that truth can get you killed in the Land of Free Speech and Goodwill. Balls means glory for Moore, in the Home of the Brave.

  2. Reblogged this on Nick Masesso, Jr..

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