Eulogy for Jeff Bayliss

April 14, 2014

Today was the memorial service for my younger brother Jeff. It was nice to see so many family and friends, I even recognized some of Jeff’s old fraternity brothers and a friend or two of his from high school.

When the floor opened up for folks to say something, if they were so moved, several people got up and related a story or two.  However, I did not feel “right,” in doing so after other family members and friends were formally introduced to speak. It was an “open secret” that Jeff and I were not friends, to put it politely. I did, however, have a prepared eulogy and will share it here.

“It was a late Wednesday night. Michelle and I were walking into an Arby’s restaurant, in Gettysburg, where would often go for diner after our semi-monthly Toastmaster’s meeting. Toastmaster’s is where you practice giving and evaluating speeches in front of a peer group.

The phone rings. It’s Jeff. Gee I haven’t spoken to him in a long while I wonder what’s up.

Hey Jeff. How’s it going? My heart sinks, and I could barely speak, as he telling me he has cancer, and that it is bad.

All I could muster was “Oh Jeff. I am so sorry,” as I let tears roll down my cheeks.

To you, my family and friends, in true you don’t know what you have until it’s gone fashion, all I can say to you now is:

Reach out to your brothers and your sisters, your friends and neighbors. Even if for some reason you’re not getting along. Reconcile. Call your fathers, your mothers, your sons, and your daughters… if only to say; “Hi, how ya’ do-in?”

The life given to us by nature is short. The memory of a life well spent is eternal. Like my brother Jeff, lets make sure our lives, are lives well spent.”

Jeffrey Bayliss.
1962-2014

Desiderata – Poetry or Prose?

Do you recognize when poets use imaginary and rhythm to convey meanings and emotions? Do you know the differences between poetry and prose?

The main difference between Poetry and Prose is…

1. Poetry has rhythm, cadence and rhyming words.

2. Prose has a more natural flow, like speaking.

3. Then in the early 19th century, some poets began using what became known as Prose-Poetry:  written in prose but keeps the poetic qualities such as heightened imagery and emotional effects.

calm lake
Tranquility helps beat depression.

Written in 1927 by American writer Max Ehrmannin, the poem “Desiderata” is written in the style of Prose-Poetry. Desiderata, by the way, means something desired as a necessity.

“Desiderata”

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Although penned in 1927, “Desiderata” didn’t become very well known until the 60’s and 70s when it was widely distributed as a poster and recorded by popular artists of the time.  Ahh, the 60’s 70’s… Free Love, Rock & Roll, and especially the Satire.

Do you remember “The National Lampoon?”  This was a magazine that parodied almost everything, including the “Desiderata.”  I’d like to present the National Lampoon’s  “Deteriorata,”  which is almost as relevant today as it was 50+ years ago!

“Deteriorata”

Go placidly Amid the noise and waste. And remember what comfort there may be In owning a piece thereof.

Avoid quiet and passive persons Unless you are in need of sleep. Rotate your tires.

Speak glowingly of those greater than yourself And heed well their advice, Even though they be turkeys.   Know what to kiss… and when!

Consider that two wrongs never make a right But that THREE… do.

Wherever possible, put people on hold.

Be comforted that in the face of all aridity and disillusionment, And despite the changing fortunes of time, There is always a big future in computer maintenance.

Remember the Pueblo.   Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.

Know yourself. If you need help, call the FBI. Exercise caution in your daily affairs,

Especially with those persons closest to you. That lemon on your left, for instance.

Be assured that a walk through the ocean of most souls would scarcely get your feet wet.

Fall not in love therefore; It will stick to your face.

Gracefully surrender the things of youth: The birds, clean air, tuna, Taiwan

And let not the sands of time, Get in your lunch.  Hire people with hooks.

For a good time call 606-4311; Ask for “Ken.”   Take heart amid the deepening gloom that your dog is finally getting enough cheese.

And reflect that whatever misfortune may be your lot, It could only be worse in Milwaukee.

You are a fluke of the universe.   You have no right to be here.

And whether you can hear it or not the universe is laughing behind your back.

Therefore, make peace with your god whatever you conceive him to be:

Hairy thunderer, or cosmic muffin. With all its hopes, dreams, promises and urban renewal The world continues to deteriorate.  GIVE UP!