Better or Worse

Published February 7th, 2020 by Oldmenadmin

"For better or worse"

We have all heard the words, usually spoken to a pair of people who have seen little of either. Youth is indeed wasted upon the young, their appreciation of what life is ann could be limited by their experience and imagination. Moreover, their imagined narratives have been handed to them, pre-packed for consumption and with an attendant sound track. 

It hardly seems fair.

I have had my share of "betters" and cannot say, given that I am a dealer in pain and bad news, that I have any "worses" to lay in the balance. I expect to collect some, of course, but I cannot really claim that I have suffered in the way I have seen others endure. I am, at the moment, quite happy to remain that way.

That does not mean I have not considered the significance of the phrase. Which one of us is not pleased to carry on when the good times roll? When success, and pleasure( carnal, aesthetic, career, or otherwise) come rolling in, one after the other? Rather, we grip the sides of the ride-wagon and hold on, grinning. Success breeds discontent, I am aware, but that is after the adrenaline rush, when the "Is that all there is?" kicks in. It came as a shock to me, once my first child was born, watching him sucking greedily at my wife's breast, how absolutely confident I was that I would face down the next slavering saber-tooth cat who threatened them, whether successful or not. I have never practiced the arts of war, nor hunted nor wielded a weapon (hockey sticks aside) but my confidence was dense and opaque to my inspection.

Most of us look for an escape clause only when the "worse" appears. Any chronic debilitating disease is hard on marriages.  Moreover, they are disproportionately hard on them when the woman is the victim, I am ashamed to say. Having never been in that situation, although playing it out in my mind any number of times (which doesn't count), I hope I do the right thing were it ever to be a choice. Men are not native nurturers. Women nurture and men mentor. Those are are comfort zones. That is why we need to promise, wadding up all the possibilities into one iron-clad statement that we swear we will uphold, doing it before our families and in the eyes of the creator of all existence. Even then it does not always work.

The phrase "for better or worse," crept into my next book "The Silence and the Gods" as a touchstone for a number of relationships, of various cultures, and with checkered success. Some couples won, some healed, some lost and some were told to pay up. For that reason, I am including FBOW as one of the sayings of the Sisi. A promise is a dangerous thing.

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