Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The Faults Of Other People
My friend Hank once wrote an essay titled "The Faults Of Other People" about being forced to endure an academic diversity workshop where all parties were supposed to reveal their hidden stereotypes about race, sex, disability, and so on. Despite reassurances that none of what they said would be held against them or ever revealed, much like an AA meeting, nobody would say much of anything out of fear. Nobody ever admitted to telling a racist joke or not stopping someone from telling one, nobody admitted to their own upbringings or sins that had been committed against them. And let's face it, lack of honesty is always a phenomenal bore. But I've never been a fan of people who classify themselves as "honest" because in my limited experience, it sometimes serves as code for an asshole who uses the truth to bludgeon other people when it suits them.
So herein lies the dilemma when discussing our own faults and of course, a favorite and infinitely more pleasurable subject, the faults of other people. Today would have been Hank's 39th birthday had he lived. What would he have said about being on the verge of forty? To me, he will always be young in that deeply precocious way, the way some people are when they have borne up under a heavy burden. Of course, in the workshop, he was forced to write about his blindness and what people thought about it. All the stereotypes swirled -- the good ones about it giving you supernatural insight or musical talent (according to Hank, one trip to a blind camp talent show will disabuse you of this notion) and the way the word blind is used in our language as a negative, when someone is doing something misguided or stupid. But as Hank would say, no matter what our actual sight, we see what we want to see until the truth, whatever version that we cannot deny, strikes us.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
“Are you upset little friend? Have you been lying awake worrying? Well, don't worry...I'm here. The flood waters will recede, the famine will end, the sun will shine tomorrow, and I will always be here to take care of you." -Charlie Brown to Snoopy
Drinking short story collection suggestion: Delicate Edible Birds Lauren Groff
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday! Happy birthday to my dear Stacey!