Wu Fu

Yesterday, we had lunch with Dad and his attendant and then all decamped to the Asia Society.  SOS was interested in the exhibit on symbols of power and prestige in dynastic China and Dad was, as always, game for any excursion (whether or not he remembers the event).

SIDEBAR:  Do I know SOS is not even 11 years old?  Yes, yes, I do.  Do I know where the crazy smart genes come from?  Yes, yes, I do.  And I can tell you the donor’s ID number if that helps in your family planning.

So, we saw some examples of magnificent craftsmanship and artistry in 3000 year-old pottery, and paper scrolls.  Except for my amazement at the intricacy of the designs, this type of exhibition makes my eyes roll back into my head.  SNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOZE.

SIDEBAR:  And you all thought I was being modest about referring you to the donor for whence comes SOS’s brains and interests.  Clearly, I am ready to go to the gym and increase my muscle-to-gray matter ratio, rather than look at pottery that is uingapiatchka’d (Yiddish for rococo style on steroids).

SOS was fascinated.  “E-Mom, remind me again about the difference between the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas?”  I obliged, because I am a reasonably well educated, if meat-headed philistine.


I saw it.  The plate with five bats hovering over peaches (not so awesome) and the description of its symbolism (totally awesome).  And the wisdom of the ages and the commonality of human hopes, dreams and desires hit me in a Eureka!! moment.

And then I saw the symbolism everywhere in the pottery in the exhibition.  Wu Fu.

WU FU.  The word for bats and happiness are the same.  Five bats; five elements of happiness:



health and peace,


a natural (good) death.

Happiness is retrospective.  Happiness is a life in balance; happiness is a life, viewed on balance.

So, Wu Fu cannot be measured in a moment.  Even if that moment is hanging out with some of the most precious people on earth to you on the porch of the Camp Wingate dining hall or on the Mayan riviera (even if you are photo-shopped into the pictures because the flu kept you away).

I looked over at Dad, who was leaning in to hear what SOS thinks about the treasure from the Khmers, and, I thought, whoa, Dad has four out of five.  Please, G-d, let him (and us) have his fifth happiness.

And I thought of my dear friend, who is fighting for longevity in the face of cancer.  Please, please, G-d, remember her with all five Wu Fu.  Because if she has Wu Fu, then her college friends’ Wu Fu meters will increase exponentially.

Because Wu Fu is a boomerang.  When you have it, share it. 

And then we will Wu Fu the world.

It can happen.  It begins with us.