For every symptoms that is eased,
another is made worse;
that’s Murphy’s law, and I am pleased
to write it vividly in verse.
A constant quantity of tears
affects the world, and I
have sown and reaped them through the years,
but will, until I die,
continue stoically to praise
more than the tears the laughter
with which I try to live my days,
and happily thereafter.
Inspired by the axiom Lucky learns from Pozzo in Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot”:
(Lyrically.) The tears of the world are a constant quality. For each one who begins to weep, somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh. (He laughs.) Let us then no speak ill of our generation, it is not unhappier than it predecessors.
Eric Griffiths, reviewing a performance of “Waiting for Godot” with Ian McKellen as Estragon and Patrick Stewart as Vladimir, writesin the TLS, May 15, 2009, that Beckett stuck to this steady-state dismalness over may years before he loaned it to Pozzo late in 1948, and in 1936 quoted Murphy as saying: “For every symptom that is eased, another is made worse.”
© 2009 Gershon Hepner 5/19/09