"Life is a loaf," my friend Britt Blaser (@brittb) says. "Some loaves have a lot of slices. Some just a few. But every life is a loaf." He first told me that when we both had many fewer slices than we do now.
As a veteran wartime aviator, Britt has also come closer to having his loaf baked than I have. I mean, literally. As he tells it in Fire Flight at Katum, "Everything went pretty much according to plan until one day when the wing started burning off." Among his conclusions is this gem: "Five strong young sphincter muscles acting in unison on seat cushions CAN keep a C-130 in the air one minute longer than it has a right to fly."
Here's the thing about life's loaf slices: the more there are, the thinner they get. Every year seems a little bit shorter. Because for each of us, it is. That's why every retrospective on our current passing year seems a little less meaningful, a little more trivial, a little less adequate a way to tell of stuff that matters.
I no more wrote than read that book which is
The self I am, half-hidden as it is
From one and all who see within a kiss
The lounging formless blackness of an abyss.
How could I think the brief years were enough
To prove the reality of endless love?
Delmore's loaf was nineteen short of my own count so far. But he's saying stuff there that matters fully. Such as that years are brief and love is endless.
Here's another: At every moment we are all almost finished and barely started.
And there you have three reasons why robots will never replace us.
Not next year. Not ever.