On the Utility of Miracles

(CUSHY Ride) One can get used to this.

(CUSHY Ride) One can get used to this.

The year’s drawing to a close and it’s All Saints Day. It’s a fitting time to survey the corpses of broken promises and unfulfilled hopes.

This year’s catalogue isn’t all that bad. We get better at forecasting the older we get: the more modest our aspirations, the less bitter our regret.

But let me put aside the tallying for now. The year still has two months left; some of the corpses may have life in them yet.


For the first time in perhaps three years, my lower back is virtually pain-free. Some absences are more acute than presence. I still marvel at the fact that I can sneeze these days without the attendant spasm.

And, no, this didn’t even make it to my list of modest aspirations. The most I was hoping for was the maintenance of the status quo.

Does an unexpected minor miracle compensate for a dozen unmet expectations and thwarted ambitions?

Probably not. But then again, no one forecasts miracles. A bonus doesn’t make up for a loss, but it makes their endurance infinitely easier.


Another bonus (this one not as solemn): I’ve had a gold BMW 3 Series sedan at my disposal for the last two weeks. Having a BMW has never even been on my list of extravagant aspirations (gold-colored or otherwise).  This model is old, with over 120,000 kilometers on the odometer, but its leather-covered seats contour themselves nicely to my now pain-free lower back.

It goes from 0 to 80 km/h with worrisome alacrity. Whenever the acceleration happens, I think to myself: what do people do with this much speed gained at so little effort?

(And then I catch myself and have another thought: what do I gain from questioning every miracle—extravagant or otherwise?)

That’s when I settle my pain-free lower back more firmly into the soft leather cushions.


The year’s drawing to a close. My back’s remained steadily pain-free and J. hasn’t asked for his BMW back yet.

Let’s see what the next two months have in store.

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