Monday, July 27, 2009

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

A few weeks ago I read, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. It was a beautifully written and universally empathetic tale set in the deep south in the 1940's. I was shocked to learn she was only 23 years old when she wrote it. It was a solicitous summer read, and its characters will undoubtedly linger with me a long time from now.

I love not only the way she writes, but the way she observes and her social awareness. Here are some excerpts:

"My people were brought from the great plains, and the dark, green jungles. On the long chained journeys to the coast they died by the thousands. Only the strong survived. Chained in the foul ships that brought them here they died again. Only the hardy Negroes with will could live. Beaten and chained and sold on the block, the least of these strong ones perished again. And finally through the bitter years the strongest of my people are still here. Their sons and daughters, their grandsons and great grandsons."

"But say a man does know. He sees the world as it is and he looks back thousands of years to see how it all come about. He watches the slow agglutination of capital and power and he sees its pinnacle today. He sees America as a crazy house... He sees a whole damn army of unemployed and billions of dollars and thousands of miles of land wasted... He sees how when people suffer just so much they get mean and ugly and something dies in them. But the main thing he sees is that the whole system of the world is built on a lie. And although it's as plain as the shining sun—the don't-knows have lived with that lie so long they just can't see it."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wasn't Me

Today two police detectives came to my office inquiring about individuals who have been up to no good. They showed me pictures. I didn’t know who the people were. This actually happens pretty regularly; my office/apartment building was once the dwelling place of many low-down, shady, no good characters…this was before my company took it over. Believe it or not, low-down, shady, no good characters oftentimes fail to fill out “Change of Address” forms when they move, so the coppers come a knockin’ every so often.

When these cops walked in, I was in the middle of something and the maintenance guy goes, “Kate, these men would like to speak to you about someone” and immediately I’m startled and then, for some odd reason, forgetting that this happens all the time, I think this must have something to do with ME and someone I know. So, they’re showing me pictures and no, I don’t know them and no, I have never seen them. But I’m still feeling nervous- like afraid that despite that fact that I have absolutely no idea who this man (often referred to as “Goldy Teeth”) is, these cops will think I am lying.

Does this ever happen to you?

Like, I’ll be at work and we’ll be in a meeting and someone will say, “So ‘n so moved in at 3am last night- did anyone know about that?” And I mean, no- why the HELL would anyone authorize that? (This question in itself should indicate the great minds at work in my office…) But there I sit, worried and anxious that somehow they’re going to think it was ME…and then I get even more nervous, because I’m worried that it’s visible that I’m anxious and that my visible discomfort will give me away. Give me away for what?! I DIDN’T DO IT!

This strange behavior (like many unexplained adult behaviors) can be traced directly back to my childhood- usually when things turned up broken or missing it WAS my fault and I WOULD lie…

One time I broke the fancy cup in the bathroom during a family party and acted like I had no idea who did it and when my mom was trying to figure it out, she ended blaming it on my grandpa simply because he was old and feeble- “Ohhh, it must have been grandpa.”, She said, “He probably didn’t even realize it. Oh, jeez…he’s really slowing down.” I felt terrible. Here’s my kind, old, endearing grandfather getting blamed for my clumsiness and general disrespect for other people’s things. But even then, consumed with guilt…I could-not-reveal-the-truth!

I cut my own hair when I was four and when my mom asked me about, I flat out told her I had no idea who did it. I had no idea who took my Crayola scissors and left a pile of blond hair on the carpet, leaving me with a huge chunk of my bangs missing…“So, you’re telling me, someone must have just SNUCK in here and chopped your hair off?! I don’t THINK so, missy!”

One time, while practicing my golf swing, I accidentally caused our chandelier to crash down on our dining room table full of Waterford crystal. That one was in front of the family, though…couldn’t lie about that one.

Anyway, I’ve cleaned up my act. I’ve matured, become more intelligent, and y’know, I’ve generally started taking responsibility for most of my actions. I say “most” because every so often, taking responsibility gets a little…annoying. Don’t judge. I know you feel me on this.

So, I carry on and bear the weight of my past sins and maybe, in time, the farther away I get from the days of Crayola scissors and cruelty to senior citizens, I will be able to stand proud and unflinchingly proclaim, “I didn’t do it!” without the constant worry of unmerited suspicion, brought upon by myself.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


So, I know I'm many days and many dollars short on this realization, but in the world of ME, this just in: George Carlin is comic brilliance defined.

The other night I spent an hour and a half just watching clips of his stand-up on youtube and was amazed by the content of his material. In my opinion (it is my blog, after all), really good humor comes from incredibly perceptive minds, and never is that more evident than in Carlin's brand of comedy. He uses this perceptiveness and farce to shed light on our ridiculous and ultimately destructive human behavior.

Here are some highlights...

We Like War

You Have No Rights


Our Similarities

War On Homlessness