The end of August. The fact is undeniable.
This day always seems to be bittersweet to me. The end of August always brings the beginning of September. That signals “Fall” in my little mind. And as the dominoes start to cascade and tumble, so goes the way of the days. The Autumn brings cooler weather, and eventually, that very numbing word, Winter.
On the other hand, it is my brother’s birthday. I am the youngest of seven kids. And this brother, this Jerry Kronenberger, falls 4th in line. It sounds like he is getting in on the tail end of things, being fourth. But I always think of him as being in the upper echelon. The upper kids. Nonetheless, even though I am the “baby” of the group, I see more of Jerry than any of the others. I guess proximity has a lot to do with visibility.
But my brother Jerry is truly one of the good guys. He is the kind of person who will give you a hand, no matter how very busy he is. He always seems to be looking for ways to help people, for ways to fix things. He tries to make the world a little better, everywhere he goes. I’m telling you. Jerry is about as kind-hearted as they come.
It speaks nothing to the actual date though. He shares this birthday with some seedy characters.
Caligula, most notably. His full name was Caligula Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. He was the 3rd Roman Emperor. And everyone knows how bad this guy was. His reputation is one of a tyrant. He used to revel in cruelty. And, he was quite extravagant and sexually perverse. On a creepy level.
He died when he was 28 years old. Assassinated. Sometimes bad deeds come back to haunt the doer.
And then there was Commodus. He too, was a Roman Emperor. He had a big long name too. I think if you were an Emperor, you had to come up with at least four names, or something. His was Commodus Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus. No quiz later.
This guy was co-emperor with his father Marcus Aurelius — who was a pretty good guy. But his Dad died in 180.
Commodus was mostly known for his passion for the gladiatorial games. Thumbs down. He even got in the arena himself a few times. But the guy was completely eccentric in all ways. And this raised anger and ire of many in Rome. So they killed him. Yep. Assassination. Again. Thirty-one years old.
August 31st. The list keeps going. Rocky Marciano died in a plane crash on this day in 1969. And Princess Diana died in a car crash, in 1997.
Oh, it all seems like doom and gloom. But good things have happened on this day too. Like in 1928, Kurt Weill’s “The Threepenny Opera” opened in Berlin. That has to be good right? Unless, of course, you can’t stand Opera, what with all the screaming and hollering with tense music in the background.
Well. My brother was born on this day. And I know that is good.
You just can never tell, until you look within.
Because. No matter what the particular date, with its baggage, or lack thereof: This could be the big day for any of us. That magic wonderful day. When we do that great thing, and the wonderful sparks fly, and planets spin all at once. The extremely good day when the sails turn, and the wind blows in a big dose of clarity, and courage, and strength, and joy. Yep. I’m thinking. This is the day. August 31. To rise. Not Fall.
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
― W.B. Yeats
Believe in your heart that you’re meant to live a life full of passion, purpose, magic, and miracles.”
― R. T. Bennett
“Children see magic because they look for it.”
― Christopher Moore