August 11, 2008

Life Sucks, Ain't Life Great

I was planning a quick piece on Socrates, but Seinfeld spoke to me instead.  He is headlining at Caesars Palace in Celine Dion's space, where Bette Midler, Elton John and Cher all perform from time to time.  Celine Dion finished her 5 year run last December (I remember the night well because I had one of my very rare straight flushes that night just down the hall), but as far as I'm concerned it's her space until someone dominates that particular scene again.  I don't mean Vegas, since that's just not possible anymore.  I mean the Coliseum at Caesers Palace.  Seinfeld easily filled the 4298 seats last Saturday night.  We laughed for 2 straight hours.  Well, maybe not straight during the audience warm-up, but for 90 minutes straight after that.  I'm not going to quote any of his jokes, but stop reading now if it will spoil things for you if I discuss the theme that caught my attention.  Oops, too late.  I put it in the title.  Sorry.  Life sucks.  But being in Vegas, that was great.  I mean, life's great, when it doesn't suck.  Jerry's right about that.   He said it himself, his life is just like all of ours, it sucks.  But he felt great about being there.  He said so.  Hey, how you doing?  I'm great.  I got sick last week.  Oh, that sucks.  But that little play on words by itself wouldn't have gotten Seinfeld in and Socrates out.  No, no.  It was the philosophical (psychological?) point he made that for we (us?) humans it's all one and the same thing (I'm paraphrasing).  Sucks, great, great, sucks, same thing.  What?  How's that?  Well, now I have to briefly repeat one (just one of a thousand) of his jokes.  He explained it so well, the way only Jerry Seinfeld can do.  Out he walks from the ice cream parlor with his doubledip cone, when the ice cream falls off the cone, plops on the sidewalk.  Down he looks and says, "oh,   great."   There you have it.  That's it.  So I got to agree,  life sucks, ain't life great.



  1. One of the basic tenents of Buddhism is that all life is a state of suffering. Sounds a lot like life sucks, doesn't it? Of course as Seinfeld and yourself point out...When life doesn't suck, ain't it GREAT! When those cathartic moments come and alleviate suffering, for a while life becomes sublime. Even though we know it's just standard deviation at work, it somehow makes it all worthwhile.

    Who knew you, Seinfeld, and I seem to be part buddhist?


  2. Txlostwolf, reading your comment made me realize I mistitled my posting. Man, life sucks, ain't life great! Does this change your thinking any? I think it makes Seinfeld look a bit more positive than I made him look. My bad. Can life become sublime without anyone or anything alleviating suffering?

  3. I find I often seem to misconvey how I feel about something. Upon rereading my comment I find I did it again. I sound considerably more negative than I am. I suppose I focused on the dichotomy too much. I really do believe that despair and elation are temporal positions on the standard deviation bell curve. The question you pose at the end is one that has interested me most of my life. Most religions would say yes and call it Nirvana, Rapture, or the Void. But I note a permanent state of this somewhat nebulous state is never in the now but always reserved for the future. So I think the answer is no. Walking down the mountain to get the rock is as good as it gets and , to my mind, that's no small thing.

    Of course if I have misread you again and all you meant to say is, Life is Neat. I totally agree.



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