Life’s Six Nouns

thats_life“I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and king,” sang the guy who knew what each word meant in his own life.

If you think about your life as a musical composition you might appreciate what Sinatra was singing about.  A symphony is comprised of movements that savors where you presently are or moves you on to life’s next movement.

We can luxuriate being “king” but that title definitely has a “shelve life.” As of this writing, Queen Elizabeth II is the longest reigning leader in the world (with little power or authority but still lots of pomp) right behind Fidel Castro who recently passed away. (Both of them governed islands. Coincidence?!)

The magic of life in all its musical notes teaches and reinforces; teaches again and then reinforces once more – complete with sharp and flat notes that either others intone upon us or they’re the notes loudly playing in our own heads.  (“Growing Pains,” anyone?)

Don’t worry about me taking each of those nouns apart and boring you with a list. But how about those times (As in, all the time?) when all those “Sinatra Nouns” play in our head.

“Puppet, Pauper, Pirate, Poet, Pawn, King.” (Should have chosen “Prince” for the last noun – symmetry, oh well.)

You’re at work and I’m at the altar at Mass and we enact a daily symphony of six movements in one resounding, unrepeatable performance.

Puppet, for the corporation we represent; Pauper for the payment we never think is enough; Pirate for retelling stories others told us and making them our own; Poet, we do have moments when the words spoken are truly ours; Pawn, who else can do our job either better or more cheaply and King, we’re the one doing it right now, this very moment and we love it.

All of this is accomplished in one or two sentences and said to a fellow employee on a typical morning and you walk away singing Frank’s next verse…

“I’ve been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing
Each time I find myself layin’ flat on my face
I just pick myself up and get back in the race..

Interesting rendition of an old Frank song


About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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