O, For a Cot in the Wilderness!

There's so much chatter in the world today. Everybody's talking. Everybody's blabbing. Everybody's saying something to somebody else, whether or not that somebody else really wants to hear it.

It seems that everybody is putting in his or her own "two cents worth" ... sometimes without making any sense whatsoever. In today's world there's so much talk and so little action. It goes on and on. From politicians trying to get your vote to advertisers promising whiter teeth and a trimmer waistline, it's just one yapping mouth after another.

And the chatter never seems to be interrupted, even while operating heavy machinery. Out on the mail route I see driver after driver chatting away on their cell phone, oblivious to what's going on around them, swerving this way and that, crossing over the yellow line, and cutting back just in the nick of time to avoid disaster. Oh, the things we do to add a level of adventure to our lives! I ask, what conversation could possibly be so important as to risk a fiery death ... or at very least, dismemberment?!

All this chatter and noise, all this yapping and talking, all this blabbing and more blabbing. And yet here I am adding to the chatter and noise and yapping and talking and blabbing and more blabbing with this latest blog entry. Here I am once again putting in my two cents worth ... possibly without making much sense at all!

It's all too much! I need peace. I need quiet. I need tranquility. I need a clean, well-lighted place as Hemingway once wrote. It all leads me to finally exclaim ... O, for a cot in the wilderness!

My goal in life ... besides to master the art of pipe smoking, and to become a better person, and to listen more, and to talk less, and to attend church regularly, and to read the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and to learn how to change the brakes on my cars, and to age gracefully (and with a full head of hair), and to maintain a maximum body weight of 180 pounds (which means I need to shed ten pounds as of this morning's weigh-in), and to ride aloft in a glider (and not puke up my lunch), and to visit Ireland and England someday (and Italy), and to write the great American novel, and to win the Nobel Prize for literature, and to live to age 100 (and thus witness Comet Halley's triumphant return in 2062) ... phew ... is to achieve that cot in the wilderness!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I've had it up to here with this new millennium. We didn't know how good we had it back there in the 20th century ... despite two world wars, and the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, and the Cold War, and the threat of nuclear war, and the Great Depression, and a number of recessions, and inflation, and Watergate, and the energy crisis, and ... okay so the 20th century wasn't so great!

But so far, the 21st century is for the birds as far as I'm concerned. Terrorism, war, the whole Middle East thing, school shootings, college shootings, Vice Presidential hunting accidents, NASA gunmen, NASA love triangles, hurricanes, tsunamis, global warming, rising gasoline prices, outrageous college tuitions, tainted dog food, bird flu, body piercing, Dancing With the Stars ... it's all nuts! There isn't a scrap of peacefulness to be found. So, my goal is to tune out all the baloney that surrounds me and to somehow, someway, someday achieve that cot in the wilderness!

I'm thinking Maine. A rustic setting. Maybe an old farmhouse or a log cabin. Somewhere I can write and read and smoke my pipe in peace and feed my dog organic dog food that isn't made in China using God knows what for ingredients (hey, isn't that where the bird flu originated?). Far away from the craziness of this 21st century existence. Let everyone else go boldly into the new millennium. As for me, I'll stick with the good ol' 20th century.

O, for a cot in the wilderness! Or at very least, a hammock!

Jack Sheedy

Footnote: Webster provides two definitions for the word "cot": 1) a small collapsible bed, and 2) a small house - I'll take either one! The term "O, for a cot in the wilderness!" can be found in the book Cape Cod Pilot in reference to Dr. Abner Hersey of Barnstable while battling smallpox in 1786. Also, the term "O, for a cot in some wilderness" can be found in the journal entries of Capt. Joshua Sears of East Dennis, on September 13, 1857, and again on March 10, 1858, when he wrote, "Oh, for a home in some vast wilderness, where the waves of the ocean will trouble me no more." Not to be confused with my great-great-grandfather, Capt. Jack Sheedy, who once remarked, "O, for a shower and a shave, 'cause after two months at sea I reek like the ol' sea dog!"

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