Woke up this morning to my son holding a dead, dried up lizard in my face. "Look Mom! It has yellow stuff in it! His name is Scarface." I looked at it and then really looked at it. It's side was torn open. Who's to say what happened. The cat looked guilty, maybe Konan got him. He was avoiding eye contact at breakfast. He has been known to eat lizards and cockroaches and then barf up the whole boulibase like mess on the floor.
Nice!! "Put that thing outside, it's got all kinds of diseases and then go wash your hands!" That is life I guess. Here one moment, dried up lizard the next.
I'm not sure about this transmigration theme in Ulysses (reincarnation) but if it is true, was the lizard on his way to being human, or was he a human who was on his way to being a lizard? Is it forward and backward or both? I can see this reptilian conversation:
"Hey, I'm Gill but I used to be Mao. Maybe you heard of me; I was kinda a big deal."
The other, "Really, I just want to eat flies. I have no idea what your talking about!"
What would Hitler and Stalin warrant, something less like a mosquito, a fly, a gnat? All fitting, but I don't want to insult any of the aforementioned.
I'm sorry to say, there was no glamorous send off for the crusty lizard. I think my son threw him into a bush, kind of depressing, like being put in a paupers grave.
A focus in Ulysses is the funeral for Dignam, a friend of Mr. Bloom. Attending this funeral are several other people including Stephan Dedalus' father (although Bloom and Stephen have yet to meet). This is the same funeral that the irritating M'Coy wants Bloom to put his name on the registrar so he doesn't have to bother attending. Humans are beastly sometimes, and some more than others. Mr. Bloom's mind roams all over the place as the eulogy is delivered, as all our minds do at such an event.
"The gravediggers took up their spades and flung heavy clods of clay in on the coffin. Mr. Bloom turned his face. "And if he (Dignam) was alive all the time? Whew! By Jingo, that would be awful! No, no: he is dead, of course. Of course he is dead. Monday he died. They ought to have some law to peirce the heart and make sure or an electric clock or a telephone in the coffin and some kind of a canvas airhole. Flag of Distress. Three days. Rather long to keep them in summer."
And then he moves onto thinking about saving space by burying people upright. Lastly, he thinks of his father's suicide. "Thought he was asleep at first. Then saw yellow streaks on his face. Had slipped down to the foot of the bed....Pull the pillow away and finish it off on the floor since he's doomed."
How can we be thinking of what's for lunch at a funeral, or anything else but grief and the dear departed. I thought back to funerals I've attended. My grandparents whom I loved dearly. Thinking, who is going to speak? Who will break down? Who won't? Who is worried about the will? It seems absurd, but we all do it. It is worse if you really don't know the person that well. In example, being at a distant relation's funeral, who was quite substantial especially in the hind quarters, and thinking does this cost more, like the airlines. I guess he won't be around to file a discrimination suit. How does a conversation like this go down? Imagine having to deliver that news.
"Mr. and Mrs. McDonald, I realize this is an emotional time for you both. However, your father was a substantial man of the heart and in other ways as well."
I guess these distractions are our way of not thinking about death. Or to remove ourselves from the inevitable? "We are but a dried up lizard tossed in a bush."