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“The past is never where you think you left it.” –Katherine Anne Porter


The distinction between before and after the clock strikes one, cracks me up like a funhouse mirror. The very idea of distinguishing between early and late makes me laugh with the gods of science.

“The distinction between the past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” –Albert Einstein

The distinction is as stubbornly persistent as the mouse racing up and down the clock in the nursery rhyme, for it is made of the same stuff as Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book, where Hickory Dickory Dock is first published around 1744.

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” -William Faulkner

Like Jules Verne’s Time Machine, the distinction is an invention of imagination, made factual by the printed, spoken, and sung words that permit us to believe it exists. In other words, any distinction we believe exists between the day before and the day after these words are written or heard, is a seriously funny joke.

The clockmaker and the cartoonist are debating the quality of time. The clockmaker argues that time is serious, the cartoonist that it’s funny. The debate swings back and forth around the clock without a clear winner. So the moderator, a mouse wearing red shorts, yellow shoes and matching gloves, squeaks, “Mr. Ingersoll, Mr. Disney, I think we can settle the distinction in a seriously funny way.”

To laugh at the distinction between the day before and the day after you get a Mickey Mouse watch for your birthday, is to laugh at the distinction between the day before and the day after Doomsday?

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.” –Charles M. Schulz

True, the distinction between before and after any instant of our life is an illusion.

“Time is indeed the theater and seat of illusions; nothing is so ductile and elastic.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

With our conscious choice of words about the illusory stuff Father Time is made of, we each create our own finite or infinite life story in the everyday.  If you are not too stubborn to write a seriously funny philosophical joke on this topic in your comments, you could help us all to laugh with the gods.

 “There is hope for the future because God has a sense of humor and we are funny to God.” –Bill Cosby

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