There was a little girl, Who had a little curl, Right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, She was very good indeed, But when she was bad she was horrid.
That little rhyme was one of many my mother recited to me when I was a small lad. The first five and a half lines were always spoken in sing-song sort of way. When she got to the word "horrid," my mom always scrunched up her nose and changed her voice dramatically -- almost witch-like. These two syllables delivered in such a way would make the two of us laugh as hard as possible for much longer than it took to say the rhyme. Even though I knew it was coming, hearing her say it suddenly became the funniest thing in the world to me.
That's a nice little memory for me to hold on to... but it's one that I hadn't thought about in many years. It all came back to me tonight because I was thinking that I could sum up the past year (and the year before that, too) in much the same way. When 2010 was good, it was very good indeed. When it was bad, it was horrid. Unless something changes in the next eight days, however, the good has far outweighed the horridness. I'll take that.
I'm ashamed to say that until I watched a PBS documentary at 3am Monday morning, I was oblivious to the life and contributions of Pete Seeger -- communist subversive that he once was (or at least made out to be).
"Where Have All The Flowers Gone?" and "Turn, Turn, Turn!" and "If I Had a Hammer" are all Seeger works. How did I not know this? The documentary featured footage of him performing at Wolf Trap and I found some of the same stuff today on YouTube.
I now have the chorus to this old spiritual stuck in my head... which isn't exactly a bad thing. The words ring very true: "You've got to walk that lonesome valley. You've got to walk it by yourself. Nobody here can walk it for you. You've got to walk it by yourself."
Current Mood: sleepy
Current Music:Lonesome Valley / Pete Seeger & Arlo Guthrie
Like many people, I can still tell you all the details of my day nine years ago. I know where I was, what I was doing and how I felt when the world ceased to be normal. I've moved on since then -- in so many ways. Every time September rolls around, it feel like 9-11 could be just months ago instead of years. In other ways, it doesn't seem like nine years is enough to do all that I've done since that day... Graduate college, move away, become a career firefighter, get promoted a couple of times, get engaged, buy a house and get married. But every year, all of the details come back and I always remember.
I think too many people have started to forget. If there was one good thing that came from the devastation of 9-11, it was the unity that our country experienced. Standing here on this anniversary, I feel very little of that unity at all. In fact, I dare say that our country is as fragmented as I've seen it in my 32 years. Everybody seems to hate everybody else. The world seems so polarized. I keep waiting for the Ghostbusters to show up and find the unhappy slime running through the sewer.
We must remember. We must remember the 2,980 people murdered. We must remember the firefighters who entered those towers expecting to die -- but who did it anyway. We must certainly remember the 343 firefighters who never made it back to their firehouse or their families. We must remember how we felt. We must remember how we dwelled on our similarities more than our differences in the days and weeks afterward. We must remember how we came together as one. We must remember.
For the record... It's sunny, 72 degrees, most everything is green and there is football to be played today. As much as I love the spring, when everything comes alive again... The end of summer may be my most favorite time of year.
If heaven could be anything you wanted, I do believe my version might be a college football game day in the autumn -- when shorts are needed in the day and sleeves necessary at night... Before the leaves drop... Before everything dies... And when it's early enough in the season that anyone's team might be a winner.
Unfortunately, this is The South. As gorgeous as today is, it's likely to be 98 this time next week.
The deadline for all work to be turned in on my summer class was Monday night at 11:59 pm. These are the time stamps for the last five assignments I submitted. I believe this is what they call sneaking in by the hair of your chinny chin chin -- or some other hair, if that's your pleasure.
This is where I usually post, "when am I ever going to learn to not procrastinate?" Well, it looks like that lesson is never going to soak in. So, I'm not going to beat myself up over it this time around. I'm just happy another class is in the books.
Current Mood: relieved
Current Music:Bugs dive-bombing the kitchen window
The very first entry from "A Window Into My World" -- Friday, June 2, 2000:
Du Jour: "You know someone once said life's a stage
and each must play a part. Fate had me playing in love with you as my sweetheart.
Act one was where we met. I loved you at first glance. You read your lines
so cleverly and never missed a cue. Then came act two. You seemed to change.
You acted strange. And why I've never known. Honey, you lied when you said
you lied when you said you loved me and I had no cause to doubt you. But
I'd rather go on hearing your lies than to go on living without you. Now
the stage is bare and I'm standing there with emptiness all around. And if
you won't come back to me, then they can bring the curtain down." (Elvis
Yep, that's Elvis talking.
I don't know how many hundreds of times I've heard that song in the last
22 years... but I can tell you that I've never paid as much attention to
the spoken words as I did yesterday. I was playing with some music and stopped
to listen to what the king was saying. You know, really listen. And it hit
me. Because the king described (in spooky detail) a relationship I just ended
a few months ago... and one that I've been struggling to not so much "get
over," but to simply understand what happened.
That could be my fatal flaw. I have to know everything. It wasn't my first
word as a kid... but I'm sure "why" was somewhere near the top. Even as a
toddler learning to speak, I never took anything at face value. I had to
know more. I was curious about everything and I never grew out of that stage.
I know there is almost always more than meets the eye... and I know that
some people have a problem with honesty... and so I usually want to figure
everything out for myself. Now, by mentioning honesty (or a lack thereof)
and wanting to figure things out... it brings me back to Elvis
and to Lindsay Alexander.
Lindsay was a friend of a friend. I
can't remember the first time I laid eyes on her...
but I remember hearing someone talking about setting her up
with a guy friend of mine and him saying no.
I couldn't believe that. How could he pass up Lindsay?
There wasn't one particular thing about her that interested
me, but I knew that I wanted to know her better. In
late October, 1999 she was among a group of folks
that went to a hockey game and concert at the local arena.
Again, I couldn't place it... but there was something
special about her. Little did I know that in the next five
months, Lindsay would make her mark on my life
It's now been almost eight months since that hockey game...
and the king's words ring true. Lindsay played the part
perfectly. She told me she loved me. She wanted me to feel the same
way... and when I decided that I loved her, too... she changed.
Her "love" suddenly faded. We decided to end it. She moved on
to others and left me wondering (as I have done
so many times before in my life) why things happened
the way they did.
I've noticed a unique problem created by the popularity of social media -- what to do with the online profiles of dead people. Specifically, I'm talking about Facebook.
A person's wall can make for a nice memorial and I imagine it might help some with the healing process. However, there should be a box that someone can check to mark someone deceased -- if for no other reason than to keep them from popping up in the "suggestions" section.
Several times now, my home page has suggested I "Catch up on Facebook" with a person that is no longer of this world. That's just strange. It might even qualify as disturbing for someone more emotional than myself.
Off the top of my head, I don't know of any current, pop-culture buzzwords that I absolutely despise. This is probably because I, as a general rule, completely ignore the type of people who would say things like "incentivize" with any hint of seriousness. If you're being funny? That's completely different. I tend to make up words myself from time to time... Or use really big ones... But rarely with a straight face.
I do know that in the years immediately following 9-11, I thought "homeland" was the silliest word ever. Of course, that could have been because of the two people who said it the most -- George W. Bush and Tom Ridge. Strangely, I always thought the latter was far dumber than the former. Even now, I'm not a big fan of homeland. But, again, it's probably because of the context of the word and what it's come to mean -- blue-shirted security guards at the airport who seem to hate me as much as they hate their job.
Honorable mention would be "24/7." For some reason, that used to drive me bat shit, but I can't begin to tell you why. My hatred has since subsided. I've even caught myself saying the phrase every now and then. Maybe that means there is hope for homeland.
Fourteen years ago, I was a senior in high school. I had a near fatal case of senioritis and one of the few things that saved me from flunking in the spring semester was our SENIOR TERM PAPER.
Typing it in italicized caps doesn't really do the thing justice. If there was some way I could embed an mp3 of trumpets heralding, it might better represent the significance this paper carried our senior year. I don't remember how weighted it was within our grade, but I do remember that the importance of this paper was hammered into our brains all three years of high school. We were told how many of these papers we'd have to write in college. We were told how important it was to our grade and how that everything we learned would be used in the SENIOR TERM PAPER.
Well, I knocked it out in similar fashion to how I've completed most every other significant assignment of the last two decades -- at the last minute. And much like modern day, I did it with Jessie spending quality time proofreading it and preventing me from sounding like a complete idiot. I pulled up my grade, passed senior English and graduated high school ready to take on the world and somewhat fearful of these many term papers I'd have to write in college.
I'm not sure how I did it, but do you know how many research papers I wrote before I graduated with my bachelor's degree? None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Zero. I did plenty of writing in college, but none it had to conform to APA or MLA style. I have a bachelor's degree on my wall -- one I worked fairly hard to earn -- and didn't have to properly cite one single source to get it.
Well, I'm making up for that now working on an associate's degree that I don't have to have.