Every inch

Dear J-

When I’m on weekend time I collect, as best I can, some stories that maybe would be interesting to you, stories, perhaps, or topics or memories; this serves as a scrapbook of sorts, of what can be written. I have kept this blog for nearly ten years now and I’m sure there’s always going to be something new to write about every day, though what I have to say may not be that interesting (or I might start to repeat myself, horrors).

I initially thought to talk about my own experience with the police but thought it may come across as tone-deaf as Nate Silver deploying his white privilege in relating his own arrest story (long story short, in the pre-9/11 days, our dogs got into a fight — we were living in an apartment at the time — and the neighbors called the cops; everyone had a good laugh afterwards but there’s so many what-ifs that qualify that story I don’t even want to think about it). Then I thought to put up the numbers; let’s say we knew each other starting from when they hopped me up to the sixth grade when I was eleven and our closer association ended when we graduated, six years later. That puts it at six years versus (how many?) since and just plain numbers don’t tell the story eloquently.

Think about it this way instead, then. How many years while you’re vulnerable and growing up matter — how many of those years stick out in your memories — compared to how many years once you’re out and interacting with the world in a reasonably adult manner? This is not just you reliving some Glory Days (cue appropriate Springsteen track) while you moan about how much better you had it before. Those days are gone, and would you want to have them back again? There are parts that were nice, in isolation, and it wouldn’t be bad to have those back again, but on the whole I like our story now better than ever.

I think my favorite line in the ear worm that Meghan Trainor has deployed in All About that Bass is “Every inch of you is perfect / from the bottom to the top.” The general flabbiness of my body tells a story of how we spend too much time worrying about the wrong things, maybe, and with different priorities than we used to have growing up (would I be willing to do yard work for a few hours on the weekend? window washing? cars?). We impart these lessons to kids who are more willing to help than you might think, after all. what legacies do we leave for future generations to find?

Mike

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