But there is a way of despising the dandelion which is not that of the dreary pessimist, but of the more offensive optimist. It can be done in various ways; one of which is saying, You can get much better dandelions at Selfridge's, or You can get much cheaper dandelions at Woolworth's. Another way is to observe with a casual drawl, Of course nobody but Gamboli in Vienna really understands dandelions, or saying that nobody would put up with the old-fashioned dandelion since the super-dandelion has been grown in the Frankfurt Palm Garden; or merely sneering at the stinginess of providing dandelions, when all the best hostesses give you an orchid for your buttonhole and a bouquet of rare exotics to take away with you. These are all methods of undervaluing the thing by comparison; for it is not familiarity but comparison that breeds contempt. And all such captious comparisons are ultimately based on the strange and staggering heresy that a human being has a right to dandelions; that in some extraordinary fashion we can demand the very pick of all the dandelions in the garden of Paradise; that we owe no thanks for them at all and need feel no wonder at them at all; and above all no wonder at being thought worthy to receive them. Instead of saying, like the old religious poet, What is man that Thou carest for him, or the son of man that Thou regardest him? we are to say like the discontented cabman, What's this? or like the bad-tempered Major in the club, Is this a chop fit for a gentleman? Now I not only dislike this attitude quite as much as the Swinburnian pessimistic attitude, but I think it comes to very much the same thing; to the actual loss of appetite for the chop or the dish of dandelion-tea. And the name of it is Presumption and the name of its twin brother is Despair. This is the principle I was maintaining when I seemed an optimist to Mr. Max Beerbohm; and this is the principle I am still maintaining when I should undoubtedly seem a pessimist to Mr. Gordon Selfridge. The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and there is no sense in having more of them if you have less appreciation of them.
G.K. Chesterton
Here's my question: What age are you when you're in Heaven? I mean, if it's Heaven, you should be at your beauty-queen best and I doubt that all the people who die of old age are wandering around toothless and bald. It opens up a whole additional realm of questions, too. If you hang yourself, do you walk around all gross and blue, with your tongue spitting out of your mouth? If you are killed in a war, do you spend eternity minus the leg that got blown up by a mine?I figure that maybe you get a choice. You fill out the application form that asks you if you want a star view or a cloud view, if you like chicken or fish or manna for dinner, what age you'd like to be seen as by everyone else. Like me, for example, I might pick seventeen, in the hopes I grow boobs by then and even if I am a pruny centegenarian by the time I die, in Heaven, I'd be young and pretty.Once at a dinner party I heard my father say that even though he was old old old, in his heart he was twenty-one. So maybe there is a place in your life you ear out like a rut, or even better, like the soft spot on the couch. And no matter what else happens to you, you come back to that.The problem, I suppose, is that everyone's different. What happens in Heaven when all these people are trying to find each other after so many years spent apart? Say that you die and start looking around for your husband, who died five years ago. what if you're picturing him at seventy, but he hit his groove at sixteen and is wandering around suave as can be?Or what if you're Kate and you die at sixteen, but in Heaven you choose to look thirty-five, an age you never got to be here on Earth. How would anyone ever be able to find you?'s Keeper
Jodi Picoult