Cliffhanger

Cliffhanger: (n) an ending that leaves the audience in suspense.

I can’t watch the movie.

I’m talking about “Cliffhanger,” with Sylvester Stallone.

There’s one scene that is just not able to be viewed. Suspended on a single rope, Stallone tries to lift a women up to him so that he can take
them both to safety on the edge of the cliff. It goes badly. Her glove slips off and she tumbles–thousands of feet?–to the ground below. The camera follows the face of a very disappointed Stallone.

Not me. I’m wondering what it’s like to fall three thousand feet to your death.

It’s why I could never jump out of an airplane. I would have to convince myself that I’m prepared to die, just in case everything fails. Because the sensation of falling is not one that is acceptable to the human psyche.

Of course, I feel that way about all deaths.

I think the old song, “The Gambler,” says it well. “The best you can hope for is to die in your sleep.”

Of course, that’s kind of creepy, too. You nod off and the next thing you know, well…is nothing you know.

Death truly is the greatest cliffhanger in our human journey. We’re not going to know what it’s really like until we get there, and by the time we get there, it’s much too late to build up the courage and spunk to “do it well.”

Sometimes I think about what the worst deaths would be, as compared to a more tolerable demise. But in the end, you’re either getting smashed or being forbidden air.

Great choice.

We’re all heading for the cliffhanger. Matter of fact, some of you reading this essay are already uncomfortable, wishing I would get to a final sentence and stop talking about this crazy shit.

So I will do…

 

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Anderson, Marion

dictionary with letter A

Anderson, Marion: (1888-1959): U.S. Opera singer initially barred from giving concerts in the United States because of racial discrimination. She gained international success and became the first black singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

It is the great lie that leads to the perpetual delusion: a pound of effort brings a pound of result.

This delusion has created a society of expectant, demanding and frustrated participants who spend more time complaining about the rejection of their efforts than they do devising more intelligent angles.

When I see the definition of a pioneer like Marion, it nearly brings tears to my eyes. Not only did this woman have to go through all of the training, education, struggles, auditions and vocal exercises to become an adept opera singer, equal to those around her, but because she was a woman and had dark skin, she had to exceed the quality of her peers.

Hers was a life that required one hundred pounds of effort for every one pound of result.

I am both humbled and encouraged by such a story.

  • Humbled because I realize how unwilling I am to endure tribulation and difficulty to acquire what I perceive to be my just share.
  • But I am also encouraged that there is within the human heart the passion and energy to overcome persecution and dispel bigotry through the display of excellence.

The Daughters of the American Revolution refused to let her sing at their convention because she was black. Eleanor Roosevelt scheduled her to perform on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It was a much better gig.

But you see, sometimes you must be willing to endure the loss of a present possibility to gain a future bonanza.

What caused Marion to do that? What gave this woman the spunk and spiritual moxie to ignore the ignorance around her and sing like a bird?

I don’t know.

But I’m glad it’s not magic. I’m glad it’s not limited to the black race or just to women.

It is available to anyone who is ready to shed the delusion of equality and persevere with great energy … by continuing to do what we do when others say we don’t.

 

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