The classic romance comedy The Princess Bride has one of my favorite existential lines.
It occurs when our hero Wesley is recounting his life as an abductee of the Dread Pirate Roberts, explaining how Roberts made him a valet.
“You can try it for tonight. I’ll most
likely kill you in the morning.”
Three years he said that. “Good
night, Westley. Good work. Sleep
well. I’ll most likely kill you
in the morning.”
Dread Pirate Roberts is an intriguing stand-in for the universe or, if you prefer, God.
The universe is a harsh, dangerous and crazy mysterious place. Bad shit happens to everyone at times. Some deserve it. Many do not. And life is always uncertain until it ends in the certainty of death.
You might well die today, or tomorrow, or the day after that.
But if you’re canny and lucky, it might let you live for another day.
So, watch for snakes in tall grass. Look both ways before you cross the road. Eat right and exercise. Generally speaking, avoid stupid mistakes that could turn deadly.
Of course, even if you do all that, the universe will get you in the end. It’s designed that way.
Maybe there is, after all, an afterlife. Or maybe there will come a day when we live in immortal bodies powered by bioceramic minds (or whatever). Perhaps at that point the Dread Pirate Roberts will not be quite so dreaded … though I doubt it.
Until then, however, offer up your good works as God’s valet. Do what you can. And sleep well, friends.
Featured image from RootOfAllLight, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0