For several years my life has been, well, stagnant; more positively, monotonous. To crack open a superlative, undulating. To stretch to an elative, “calm” would get the guernsey. Thus, when people ask me how I am, my usual reply has been “fair to middling”, “same old, same old”, or “not too foul” (which in Latin sounds like non nimis poidas).

But this changed two weeks ago. Two major pieces of news reached me: one good, one bad. My younger sister announced her engagement, and doctors discovered three malignant growths in my father’s liver and one “hot spot” (a group of cells that seems to be taking on the characteristics of a tumour) behind his bladder. Only an MRI scan will tell the specialists if the tumours are operable. If not, chemo- and radiotherapy will be the MO, I guess. (MO = Modus Operandum, not Missouri.)

Philosophically speaking, Hegelianism would say that these two events will synthesize my life into a new form of “okay”. I say, that’s life. There is a positive aspect to Dad’s news, though. The imminence of death, or the possibility of it, gets us thinking about what truly matters and helps us to focus how we live.

The bad news about my sister’s wedding is that because I’m single and there are restrictions on numbers, I can’t bring a date. I would have chosen June 6, 1944; failing that, a girl named Simone. As it is, I guess I’ll be at the singles’ table again.