Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Time flies, you’re the pilot

“TIME” topped the list of the most common nouns used by English speakers. “Year” took third, “day” in fifth, and “week” turned at the 17th slot in a list drawn by Oxford University Press—it’s the outfit that puts out the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, deemed as the definitive guide to the twists and turns in an evolving tongue.

“Life” turned up at 9th on the list, “work” on the 16th rung.

The researchers noted that gunshot words—those of single syllables— comprise 90 percent of the top 100 words listed. The noun list was compiled for a more interesting view of the English language.

“Money” logged in at 65th—which implies its not so superior importance in the scheme of things we desire and aspire. How did Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat point up what it takes to fill the human well of longing? “A jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou, (and thou, and thou…) with me in the wilderness, ah, wilderness were Paradise enow!”

Pressing out fruit juices and fermenting ‘em to turn up a decent drink takes time. After a thorough kneading, yeasted dough is allowed a rest for sometime. It rises, is kneaded some more, then, cut up into suitable morsels—baking ‘em takes time. And thou getting with me into a wilderness of sweets, that can take a lot of time. A two-bit Eden or any throwback to Paradise? That takes a lot of tilling, spreading manure into soil, and growing a melange of flowers and foliage, ah, seed to full-grown pechay takes 45 days— such painstaking tasks chomp up huge chunks of time.

Ah, it took a 40-day fast in the barren wilderness before Satan turned up to ply the greatest temptations to the Son of Man. First test—hush all-too immediate hunger pangs of an empty tummy, quick, splurge. The tested stuck to His fast. Second test—all the world’s material possessions plus political and military power to boot, just obey the devil. Pelf and power were refused. Third test—give in to folly, say, do a pratfall into a cliff just to see if angels would come to the rescue. Satan was rebuffed. Every test was passed. Those same tests pester humanity up to our present time— and we fail each one every time.

Okay, we’re obsessed with time. We afford it paramount importance. So it’s sounded out oftenest in workaday talk, probably in inane chatter or brainless blabber. Maybe in sweet nothings and endearments poured in feverish stream into a beloved’s earlobes. Why, the world’s best pick-up line— divulged recently by a gaggle of Japanese researchers— packs no hint of sex. It’s worded this way: “This time next year, let’s laugh together and have a great time.”

Dion Boucicault: “Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them.”

Henry David Thoreau: “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”

Time heals all wounds, wounds all heels— why, History can be an all-too patient assassin waiting, lurking in sun or shadow, taking its own sweet time before unleashing a flurry of killing blows before sweeping culprits into the dustbin. Yes, ambuscades take careful planning—that takes a lot of time. The execution can be swift, in too little or no time at all, hah!

Remember Parkinson’s Law? Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Fact is, there are no expansions. Only dilations or a bloating often characteristic of corpses going through decay. Same volume of bureaucratic work-- that can be done in a jiffy— is stretched out into ages to allow for more salary payments for very little accomplishments.

By our reckoning, time is the most precious commodity. So there’s time management. There’s quality time devoted to kindling or stoking the fires of hearth.

So I spend most times with my Beloved—the missus, my children, our home. The expenditure is worth the bountiful returns, I guess. There are ties that have to bound with a lot of patience, a lot of quantity time.

Do I need the approval or acceptance of others who have so much time on their hands but are frittering it away? Ah, how they’d putter and do running commentary about small tasks I complete or choose not to. They just stand in the way—and in due time, I’ll get to ‘em. Meanwhile I don’t have to waste my time. It’s a sane option. We’d rather not injure eternity, it’s much fun slashing a carotid artery or a femoral vein in just a flick of time.

Or let time quietly kill ‘em, bit by bit by bit. Time wounds all heels.

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