Sep 302009

Jay Nordlinger writes a never-miss-it column called Impromptus at National Review Online.  In today’s piece, one of the things he discussed was Michelle Obama’s recent interview with Prevention, and his observation that the Obamas “don’t appear to have a heckuva lot of trouble looking out for No. 1.”  Unchecked self-regard easily becomes selfishness.

His column prompted some (unfortunately unattributed) correspondence from a reader that I’d like to share with you:

It was with sad acceptance that I read your passages . . . I say acceptance because I have seen all too often that [a priority on self] is the way all too many people feel they must live their lives. I am sad about it because this attitude is so determinedly self-defeating. Here’s the seemingly contradictory truth about being human: You can get anything you want by helping other people get what they want. True joy is found only in serving others, not in serving yourself.

I’m a fairly successful man in his forties with a wife and two kids. I am steady, calm, and blissfully happy in my life. I know what I’ve got going for me; sometimes I revel in it. I’m a good father and a good husband, if I say so myself. However, in order to be those things, I had to realize that it’s not about me. It’s about them. As I live my life for them, the rewards that I get back far outstrip the minimal, immediate cost to me.

Living your life for yourself is like squeezing a handful of sand: The harder you clench, the faster it slips through your fingers, leaving you with nothing. But if you open your hand up flat, you can hold that sand all day.

This is a fundamental human truth that our current social structure is working hard to deny. Everyone’s working for self-actualization, self-gratification, and self-realization, when all one needs to do is step back and take the focus off self, putting it on others. Do that, and the rest falls into place. Amazing, innit?

Pause and love that with me for a moment.

There is much to be said about having yourself together before you can effectively live for others.  But I really don’t think that’s the spirit of the me-me-me chorus, do you?

I look at some of the ways I do things, and I’m satisfied (and God knows, no one who knows me would say I have a problem with not loving myself enough).  I look at others, and recognize areas for improvement.

But in terms of my earthly aspirations, it’s hard to put it any more elegantly than in this letter.  Bravo, sir.

 Posted by at 7:12 pm
Sep 292009

I’ve written before that the thing I most wish I’d thought of is carbon offsets.  Modern-day indulgences for chronically guilt-ridden tree-hugging dirt-munching druids?  Oh, hell yes.  Buy nine and get the tenth free.  Do it now, before I stomp this baby bunny rabbit to death and bury it in a Styrofoam cooler packed with Freon in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

I think the runner-up, though, is “distressed” merchandise.  You are familiar with such, I trust.  It’s a common furniture and clothing design motif, in which it appears that a new item has been dropped off the back of a truck, dusted off, and marked up 50%.  Whoever came up with that was a genius.

“Hal, this armoire’s beat all to shit.  We’re gonna have to mark it way down.”

“Oh no, Mike.  It’s, uh…’distressed.’  We’ll mark it way up!”

Transit damage?  No problem.  It’s distressed.  Shopworn?  Distressed.  Spotty QC at the overseas factory?  Distressed, grasshopper.

This stuff all seems so devastatingly simple after it’s already thought up.

 Posted by at 5:09 pm
Sep 282009
  • Hey, guess what?  Iran has another nuclear facility.  Under a mountain.  On a military base.  Also, they’re testing missiles with a 1,200-mile range.  Worry not, though; we’re meeting them Thursday to discuss it.  My guess is that the time for diplomatic engagement is over, and the time for more diplomatic engagement is beginning.  Dear fanatical, apocalyptic regime pursuing Armageddon:  we are about to speak very forcefully to you about this!  (In these delicate matters, you stay with what works.)
  • Our esteemed president wants longer school days, as well as longer school years.  Presumably this will mean even more time for spending tax dollars to teach fawning, adulatory song and dance routines to young children who lack critical thinking skills.
  • It seems that Guantanamo isn’t going to close on Obama’s timetableFilm at effin’ eleven! But hey, know what?  That’s Bush’s fault, too.
  • No worries, though.  It’s all good.  Obama’s got time to jet off to Copenhagen to “pitch” Chicago for the 2016 Olympics (and as Ramesh Ponnuru pointed out, does anyone actually think he’d be going if it weren’t already decided?).  On another note, is there enough money on the planet for all of the greasing and kicking back that’s going to have to be done for an Olympics in Chicago?  We may be facing a corruption vortex that swallows the universe here.  Hey, maybe we can get ACORN to sell tickets!

Happy Monday to you.  Still knuckled down and checking off the days to the midterms, here.  How about you?

 Posted by at 12:25 pm
Sep 272009

tidecorner2Started, stopped, and started again.

I’ll have an occasional blog post at Tide Corner this fall.  You can get the whole blog here, or get only my posts here.

It’s not what I thought it would be when I answered the call this summer, but if I have something to say about Alabama football—and I think I do, from time to time—then it’s a cool outlet.  Roll Tide!

 Posted by at 9:36 pm
Sep 252009

Lea’s sister came to sit for us tonight so we could go to the Jam, but then the weather was dicey, and even if it didn’t rain it was going to be a mud bog, like I remember the (second? Drivin n Cryin was there) one being, so we decided to pass altogether and go to Pauli’s instead, and she had halibut and I had scallops, both of which were excellent, and after that we went to Books-a-Million, where we found some things for the boys and I bought some watch porn, and then we stopped and got some supplies for watching football tomorrow, and came on home, where I would have been in bed a long time ago, but Lea’s sister and I stayed up talking religion and philosophy, and now I’m about to go to bed, and probably if I hadn’t had that lengthy weighty conversation with my sister-in-law tonight you’d have gotten a better post than this, and by the way, I noticed a few minutes ago that I had the asparagus pee thing going on, and isn’t that weird when that happens?

I hope you have a good weekend.

 Posted by at 10:49 pm
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