A few days ago, a Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza occurred in San Diego, California. Four barges of fireworks were ignited, due to some technical glitch, at the same time. Instead of a twenty minute show of "oohs" and "ahhs," there was a twenty second barrage of sound and fire in the sky. For many, this would be described as "an epic fail." My son chose not to see it that way. "Are you kidding?" he enthused, "I'd pay to see that." Once again we see that beauty is, at least pyrotechnically, in the eyes of the beholder.
It also got me thinking about Tralfamadorians again. Their concept of time, specifically the one espoused in "Slaughterhouse Five," suggests that past, present and future exist all at once. For this reason, they see everything as predetermined. Everything is as it was and will be. For a Tralfamadorian, the show in San Diego was every bit as enjoyable as a three hour display. It's also helping me think about the recent flurry of activity that surrounded my fiftieth birthday. For nearly two weeks, friends and family hovered about, sent greetings and remembrances of my time on Planet Earth. All that attention was, at once, both edifying and embarrassing. Why fifty is any more significant than forty-nine or fifty-one was lost on me at times. Then I was caught up in that whole "half century" notion. Yet, in the big, Tralfamadorian picture, it was all a show of enthusiasm for all the years I've been here, as well as those I will ever be here. With that perspective, two weeks is a blink of an eye when considering a lifetime. And those fireworks in San Diego are still going on.