17 March 2009

Whiskey, Jesus and the Search for Sensible Solutions

This post is dedicated to the good soul Braja Sevaki (Lost and Found in India) and her husband Jahnudvipa and the driver that was taking them to the airport. In case you had not heard, they were in a terrible car accident (see HERE). Please let us all continue to pray for their speedy recovery.

Persuaded, paraded, inebriated, and down
Still aware of everything life carries on without
'Cause there's one too many faces with dollar sign smiles
Got to find the shortest path to the bar for a while

The Universe is not a place conducive to life making sense, except in some limited ways related to basic physics and chemistry and other narrowed fields of study. A thrown rock will hit something, and something may be damaged. Fire will burn a lot of which it touches. Slamming the door on a hand will hurt. These are things that are known. But we understand physics and chemistry and most other things only because we limit the field of study, to make it easier to parse the information. Inevitably, the chosen set of information will be incomplete because it does not, and cannot, include every possibility.

This would seem to go a long way towards explaining why the agglomeration of events that we call life very often doesn’t make sense, no matter how hard we try to explain it.

There's a trouble around, it's never far away
The same trouble's been around for a life and a day
I can't forget the sound, 'cause it's here to stay
The sound of people chasing money and money getting away

The current Global Financial Economic Crisis serves as a good example. It strains credulity to believe that anyone, even alleged financial experts, truly understands what is going on. Things are so complicated, interrelated and intertwined. It is impossible to know with certainty the effects on the system arising from disturbances within the individual parts. Broad guesses can be made, but fine-grain detail is a whole other matter, and there are the effects of synergy to consider.

It is this far-reaching uncertainty, this inability to completely make known the unknown, and having to act without knowing that drives people into the arms of anxiety. Or even mad in some cases. Understandable, really. Humans like problems to have tidy solutions. They like information in neat, discrete packets that are easy to understand and digest. Pity, really.

Life just isn’t like that. The significant events that shape us, good and bad, often leave us wondering just what the hell happened. Or more importantly, they leave us wondering WHY the hell did things happen. The death of a loved one. A broken marriage. A horrible car crash: these are the things that wound us, take our breath away and leave us in a heap trying to make sense of the nonsensical. This is where we get desperate for solutions.

In between the dirt and disgust there must be
Some air to breathe and something to believe
Liquor and guns the sign says quite plain
Somehow life goes on in a place so insane

Solutions. Desperate people will grasp at anything that seems to offer a solution to the problem of their pain. Since their respective inventions, alcohol and religion have been hugely popular among humans in general, as potential solutions to their problems. It is not difficult, at least in the United States, to get access to both. It also isn’t hard to see their appeal. Both offer at least the appearance of a solution to one’s problems. On a temporary basis, this is true. Indulgence in one or both can temporarily numb a person to past awfulness or impending doom.

There is always a morning after, when the head is pounding, the mouth full of cotton and the body shaking from whatever substance had been swallowed the night before. And then the remorse sets in, and the awful knowledge that the source of your pain, the problem, the thing that didn’t make sense before is still there. Sitting on you. Not making sense.

This is not an endorsement or a condemnation of any set of solutions. Whiskey is arguably more fun than Jesus; on the other hand, it might be said that Jesus has more salubrious effects on ones’ health. In the end, too much of either doesn’t make sense, just like the Universe.

Jack Daniels and Jesus Christ: odd bedfellows it seems. As a permanent solution, each path seems just as nonsensical as the universal problems they purport to solve. They can only offer temporary solutions to permanent problems. That’s okay, too, they don’t have to work forever.

They just have to work for Now.

A long way from happiness
In a three-hour-away town
Whiskey bottle over Jesus
Not forever, just for now
Not forever, just for now

(Italicized lyrics from “Whiskey Bottle” by Uncle Tupelo, from the album No Depression)


  1. I'm so excited, Irish.

    I knew you'd come through on St. Paddy's Day.

    Now I'll read your post. . .

  2. LOL, me tooooo I was just wondering when we would see you again!

  3. Jesus and Jack Daniels may not offer solutions but they help us to get through our troubles.

    Jesus has never gotten me into trouble.

    Can't say the same for Jack. ;)

    Well said, Irish. Glad to see you back!

    Peace - Rene

  4. The universe is a puzzle. Good to see you checking in. Hope your new job is treating you well.

  5. It's the luck of the Irish- right? That's what we all just had a taste of....

  6. Wonderful thoughts. "They just have to work for Now." So true...

    Hope all is well with YOU and the new job. Happy St. Paddy's day. Cheers.

  7. OK Irish, I'm back with the time to read it ( I was rushed off before ), and WOW, that is so right on the money, in so many ways.

    My favorite line, its still there sitting on you....

  8. Thank you for gracing us with a post today. And for dedicating it to Braja, whom we are all thinking of and praying for. As usual, you delivered. Thanks friend.

  9. Nice to have you back today, friend.

  10. How nice to have your post not be about St. Patrick's day, as we know it today, but about life, tough life.
    Thanks, and prayers for Braja and her people.

  11. To the Irish, Jack and Jesus make perfect bedfellows (though round here it's usually Jameson's). ;)

    Hang in there, brother.. I will be praying for you.

  12. You've been missed. Jameson's (or any whiskey for that matter) makes me throw up. Pretty embarrassing when you're in Ireland, in an old shoe factory, drinking your face off AND your friends under the table and someone suggests Jameson's. Whoops.

  13. The Great Gaels of Ireland,
    The men that God made mad
    For all their wars were merry,
    And all their songs were sad.

    Praise the Lord and pass the bourbon!

  14. Good to have you back Irish. Well written as always, and right on point.

  15. Nicely put, Irish.

    I was just looking at your name in my blogroll a little earlier today, and wondering when you'd grace us with your pithy presence. Good on ya, as they say down under (for no explicable reason).

  16. I was thinking about your blog all day! I knew you'd have something to say on this day of all days! :) Cheers to you my dear! Of course, Braja, her husband and the cab driver are in my thoughts. There is a lot of love out and about in these parts of the virtual woods!

    "May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead."

  17. If prayers and good wishes from this blogger community was all Braja, her hubs and driver had...they'd be some lucky folks! So...I am sure they are being inundated with love and prayers from their close family and friends! They're certain to heal fast! Blessings Gumbo!! Hugs, Lisa

  18. Love the lyrics running through.

    Sorry, I should really say something about the post, not just be dazzled by its formation...

    It can be hard to find a balance. Whiskey makes me relax, but doesn't bring me peace, Jesus does, and he also brings contentment.

    There. How profound am I?!?!

  19. Great post. Whiskey versus Jesus, nice way to jump back into things!

  20. Actually, I prefer a bottle of fizz. As for the rest? I've stopped asking why. There are no answers to my questions. Great post Irish. I actually 'get' this one:)

  21. Ahhh, Irish. Once again you've said what I think, far more eloquently than I thought it.

    I miss you dear - it's good to have you back for the nonce.

  22. Irish,

    Nice to see your name pop up. Hope all is well and the job is working out.


  23. Welcome back, squire! And belated Happy Irishness Day...

  24. Wonderful, Irish. I've still got my candle lit for Braja.

  25. I'm thinking, praying for Braja and her husband.

  26. Some would argue that Jesus is the only permanent solution.

    Wonderful post as always.

  27. you don't know me, and i don't know you. but i read your blog from time to time, and i don't know if i've ever been simultaneously so deflated and relieved. good post. :)

  28. The universe may not really be random, but it sure looks like it from our vantage point. Thank God for...God!

  29. Irish - I couldn't have said it better. The twist and turns of life should make us all sit down and realize that it is too short and not work risking. It is all too precious - I am praying for Braja and those involved - as far as Jesus and Jack Daniels - I have not had much experience with Jack but Jesus - some and all I can say is for some weird way, they go hand in hand in good times and in bad.

    Glad to see you are back.

  30. I may not read your posts every day ( guilty) but when I do Im inspired and enlightened. Keep it up Irish!

  31. oh my gosh this is so true. I wonder how much attendance at religious service (and not just the Jesus kind) has grown? I wonder if the churches and other houses of spirituality will see a financial boon in these days? As for whisky...I am more a Jack and Ginger (ale) kinda gal, i know it may sound gross to some, but I discovered it when I was out of Diet Coke, but had a diet ginger ale laying around, and man, it was refreshing!...hmmm it IS Friday night, isn't it....WELCOME BACK IG, and my prayers are in the wind for Braja as well!

  32. Good to hear from you, IG!



"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

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