Posts Tagged ‘known’

Detail Devil

7 February 2010

Dear J-

There are no new ideas in sitcom land, apparently (Modern Family, meet Arrested Development; The Middle, I understand that Malcolm in the Middle is looking for half its title; modern dysfunctional friend ensembles, how about Seinfeld or Cheers or Taxi or M*A*S*H), but that’s a complaint that is itself not new either; five years ago or five years from now, let me know what’s not new on TV tonight. Now that the Super Bowl is over (I am plaeasantly surprised, first that I actually sat down and watched a half of football this year, secondly that the team I wanted to win actually won) everyone can stop treading lightly around the 800-lb gorilla event of American TV. Then again, the Winter Games will be consuming our lives pretty soon here.

Weekends are not always the easiest; I sometimes look forward to the drudgery of work as an antidote to the controlled chaos of a Saturday. We work together to tag-team the insistent demands for the next thing: sit here, put this on, let’s play with this-and-that and I know it’s not a contest, it’s not an accounting of who did what for how long — but you can’t help but tick off little tallies. You don’t want to use it, but your tongue is inextricably drawn to speak; words fly out without warning, too late now.

You’re back to the devil you dread because it’s reliable and something you know. Rather than spending time exploring the unknown, we prefer what we know, what we can deal with (or not, as may be applicable). We are looking at at least two cousins’ weddings this year, one of which could involve a cross-country trip to New York, and the thought of two five-hour flights with a three year-old terrifies me, frankly. I admire the adventurers but perhaps from a distance, too far a distance. What’s here is comfortable; there’s a whole scary world out there, right?

Mike

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Thanks Be

26 November 2008

Dear J-

It’s a short week, which makes it an odd week. After going in early this morning, we came out with some daylight (it’s rainy out there again tonight) and marveled at the novelty of being able to see where you’re going. The world hasn’t been plunged into perpetual darkness; I just need to pick up some habit that takes me outdoors occasionally during the day.

Still the earth keeps spinning. The recent ruling in Florida reveals more hope for the future; some of the arguments for the law banning the right for gay couples to adopt sound firmly rooted in the same tortured pseudologic used to justify all sorts of abridged rights in the past. The moral absolutists in the crowd don’t realize that when there’s always a wedge to drive between people, at some point, you run out of ground to stand on; if you truly believe in the individual, there’s always some point of differentiation between you and everyone.

We fear the unknown in terms of the known; we phrase things in small words and hope that the point comes across by relating it to concrete examples. The late surge for the Yes on 8 folks came with ads decrying the teaching of same-sex marriage in schools — much of the early returns showing a comfortable lead for No on 8 came from the abstraction of the idea: how would allowing same-sex marriages affect our marriage, our lives? The answer, then and now: it wouldn’t, it won’t. Yet you drag emotion into it and kids — oh, kids — and anyone would react strongly. It speaks to the secret fear that gay is a choice and gives wings to the lie that repression is a better choice than education.

Mike