"Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent."

Some days, often in May when the bees are buzzing, the nectar is flowing and each day is longer than the next, I feel like introducing myself to strangers:
Hello, my name is Michael, and I'm mortal. And you are, too. It's a luverly day. Let's dance!
Or sing, or tell stories, or plant, or clam, or fish, or sing, or skate, or spin, or weave, or grind wheat, or bake bread, or strum a guitar, or hum on a kazoo, or just bask in the sunshine doing nothing at all.

But I never do. OK, sometimes I do, but never in the classroom. Very few of these things are taught, and even then, only taught as "electives."

Living well, and consciously, and joyously, requires knowing mortality. Not in some existential sense, not as an allegory, not as a spiritual retreat, not as some far away event that happens in foreign lands.

But in the fecal leaking, gas belching, groaning agonal breaths that await each and every one of us, short of an errant bolt of lightning out of the blue (or a rather ordinary car crash).

Pretending otherwise constrains us in ways we cannot imagine.

So in Room B362 we raise critters, and we deal with death. We sow, we water, we feed, and occasionally we mourn. On rare occasions we even dance. Yep....

Plastiquinones matter. So does ATP synthase and phospholipid bilayers and cyclic AMP. I teach them because I am required to, and because they interest me.

But I also teach that everything alive, dies. Everything alive is connected to everything else that's alive.

What I don't teach is that Microsoft will outlive me, though it will. I also don't teach that life will outlive Microsoft. If I didn't believe that, though, I couldn't teach children.

I love teaching, and I love living.
The title is from Walt Kelly, my hero.

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