There’s a brief period in the development of a toddler when all they can say is “hi,” but they’ll say it to pretty much anyone. They don’t limit the audience, nor do they go beyond the basic message of greeting to offer lots of their own opinions or judgments or whatnot. I feel like we should all, as much as possible, get back to that state. So, hi.
Tiny things remembered with improbable fondness
It’s possible I remember too much.
If there’s a seamless way to thank someone for a small kindness from years ago without seeming like a total weirdo, I haven’t found it. The response such an expression of gratitude invites is less “Wow, I remember that too,” more “I let you merge into traffic in 2003, and you still think of it and have tracked me down to thank me for it now? Hold on, let me call the police.”
Slight exaggeration, but not really.
So I’m left with all these fond recollections and well-wishes for people I haven’t spoken to in years, and little idea of how to deliver them directly without seeming like a nut.
Is the answer just to pay the goodwill forward to people I’m crossing paths with now?
That’s fine, as far as it goes, but not wholly satisfying. I want the original people to know.
In examining the Facebook page of a local cleanup group, I noticed a number of people referring to those who litter as “trash-holes.” Just a fun in-joke, I’m sure, but the language suggests a personal enmity that doesn’t appeal to me as a motivation to do anything. In fact, it might put me off of the whole enterprise if I thought we were doing a nice thing only because we’re mad at someone. Words make worlds, don’t they?
My latest read is How Magicians Think by Joshua Jay. The universe of books about magic for the general public that aren’t organized around teaching tricks is quite small. Jim Steinmeyer (Hiding the Elephant, The Glorious Deception) has penned some bracing ones on magic history. In How Magicians Think, Jay’s project is more immediate: he’s trying to cultivate an understanding and appreciation of magic, in the manner of a film appreciation course or a documentary dive into a lively, obscure corner of existence. He breaks it down in 52 chapters that offer thoughtful answers to the sorts of questions people tend to ask a magician, on the odd occasion when they manage to encounter one. It’s quick, fun reading.
(Oh, I finished A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by the way. The ending was a bit tidy, wasn’t it?)
The vaccine is free
In my city, there is currently a 32-year-old father of two, who hadn’t been vaccinated against COVID, in a medically-induced coma, with his family asking for prayers and help with medical bills. I hope he recovers, and I hope his plight inspires more people around here to get vaccinated. Nobody is invincible, even in the 18-34 age group.
Are these Sunday posts working for you? You are not leaving (or joining) the list in droves, so I assume all is relatively okay. But your thoughts are still welcome.