Sunday, November 22, 2015

Happy Birthday, Monsieur Voltaire!

‎"Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.”

― Voltaire


 Voltaire is one of my first tier heroes. Reading about him today, this little ditty from childhood popped into my head.

"Chantons, chantons, sing a little Paris song...
 Chantons, chantons, everybody sing along...
Let's all sing when any little thing goes wrong!
Toodle oodle oo, toodle oodle lay
 Everyone chantez, chantez
Tooodle oodle oo, toodle oodle lay
Everyone chantez!"

    It's a silly song, nonetheless imprinted indelibly on my cerebrum, never to be erased.

It was odd, but after the disaster in Paris on November 13, my first thought was that I was not where I was supposed to be, that rather than rejoice I wasn't in Paris that night,  as one might expect, I felt misplaced, as though I'd abandoned that city I adore, let it down somehow by my absence.
  I adore the French for a number of reasons, some of which were nobly exemplified by several citizens  interviewed on the streets soon after the disaster; so very French in their determination to endure and carry on without bitterness or rancor, no "dead or alive" threats of vengeance ... preserving that joie de vivre even in mourning, and this from a people who in the last century have known brutal oppression, who have good reason to be bitter, but instead choose to sing in the lifeboats.

Alors: Vive la France! Je t'aime.