Peej O’Rourke, on the discovery that he has a very silly and embarrassing form of cancer, has some interesting things to say about Life, the Universe and Everything:

I consider evolution to be more than a scientific theory. I think it’s a call to God. God created a free universe. He could have created any kind of universe he wanted. But a universe without freedom would have been static and meaningless — the taxpayer-funded-art-in-public-places universe.

Rather, God created a universe full of cosmic whatchmajiggers and subatomic whosits free to interact. And interact they did, becoming matter and organic matter and organic matter that replicated itself and life. And that life was completely free, as amoral as my cancer cells.

Life forms could exercise freedom to an idiotic extent, growing uncontrolled, thoughtless and greedy to the point that they killed the source of their own fool existence. But, with the help of death, matter began to learn right from wrong — how to save itself and its ilk, how to nurture, how to love (or, anyway, how to build a Facebook page) and how to know God and his rules.

Death is so important that God visited death upon his own son, thereby helping us learn right from wrong well enough that we may escape death forever and live eternally in God’s grace. (Although this option is not usually open to reporters.)

I’m not promising that the pope will back me up about all of the above. But it’s the best I can do by my poor lights about the subject of mortality and free will.

Thus, the next time I glimpse death … well, I’m not going over and introducing myself. I’m not giving the grim reaper fist daps. But I’ll remind myself to try, at least, to thank God for death. And then I’ll thank God, with all my heart, for whiskey.

I’ve noticed an increase in spiritual themes in O’Rourke’s recent writing. Mememto mori, I suppose. This is a good thing on at least two levels. First, of course, is that I believe his faith to be genuine and, so it would appear, growing. Second, this may represent a new voice, one that I think O’Rourke has been straining to find for quite some time. His earlier satirical essays on politics and culchah from the 80’s and 90’s were positively brilliant in their cigar-chomping, whiskey-guzzling worldly cynicism, but I’ve always felt that he peaked with All The Trouble In The World (published 13 years ago, if you can believe that), and has been fading since then. If he can channel his quick eye and natural Irish humor in the direction he appears to be going, I’d like to think that he can reemerge as a top-rank essayist.

Via Arts & Letters Daily.