Searching for the meaning of life

By Bob Huber

If you have a left-handed dictionary in your bathroom like I do, you know the many blissful hours that can be spent in scholarly, fun-filled repose. I fostered my own reference book back in the dark ages and added to it over the years, which made my wife Marilyn comment, “If you’re clever and marry the right girl, you might even get your own name in it someday.”
You see, my home-made dictionary is a book of definitions by people who know better but can’t control themselves. There are no quotes by Bob Huber, because I’m just a humble collector of snippets, not a wiseacre celebrity who spits out memorable proclamations.
But I can open my dictionary to any page and wallow in joyous study. In fact, I’ll do it right now. (Pages flipping.) Hmmm, let’s stop on page 128. The first word is “Life.”
Here are some of life’s meanings by their politically incorrect authors. Begin each one with “Life is …”
… “A bother.” (E. B. White)
… “A breathing spell.” (Anonymous, the famous Greek philosopher)
… “A sentence that begins and ends with a yawn.” (Anon Jr.)
… “The ultimate incurable disease.” (Anon III)
… “The original do-it-yourself project.” (F. G. Wilbur)
… “Nothing but buttoning and unbuttoning.” (Lord Rosebery)
… “A fortress.” (Napoleon)
… “A fairy tale.” (Hans Christian Anderson)
… “A joke.” (John Gay)
… “A full bottle.” (Richard Burton)
… “A tragedy.” (Jonathan Swift)
… “A flame.” (George Bernard Shaw)
… “A shuttle.” (Shakespeare)
… “A one-way street.” (Anon)
… “A dream.” (La Beaumelle)
… “A state of warfare.” (Seneca)
… “A ledger in which everyone means to write one story but ends up writing another.” (James M. Barrie)
… “Sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.” (O. Henry)
… “A carnival.” (Souvestre)
… “Not a spectacle or a feat, but a predicament.” (George Santayana)
… “A tale told by an idiot.” (Shakespeare)
… “One long dirty trick.” (Thorne Smith)
… “A longish doze, interrupted by fits and starts of bewildered semi-alertness.” (Clifton Fadiman)
… “A sentence that man has to serve for the crime of being born.” (Calderon)
… :The flight of a sparrow who thinks he is an eagle.” (Yellow Crab)
… “A vapour that appeareth for a little time then vanisheth away.” (The Bible)
… “A punishment for transgressions committed under an earlier form.” (Hindu saying)
… “A tale told in an idiom, full of unsoundness and fury, signifying nonism.” (James Thurber)
… “Ten percent what you make it and 90 percent how you take it.” (Irving Berlin)
… “”An artichoke — you have to go through so much to get so little.” (Tad)
… “A span of time where the first half is ruined by parents and the second half by children.” (The Phoenix Flame)
… “Playing a violin solo in public as you learn the instrument.” (Bulver-Lytton)
… “One long process of getting tired.” (Samuel Butler)
… “From diapers to dignity to decomposition.” (Don Herold)
… “A predicament which precedes death.” (Thoreau)
… “Just one stop sign after another.” (Shell Oil Co.)
… “An experiment being conducted on one of the minor planets.” (Anon Jr.)
… “A tick in an eternity.” (Thoreau)
… “A mouse that roars.” (Bob Huber)
Hey, get your own left-handed dictionary, and you too can be famous.

Bob Huber is a retired journalist living in Portales.