- #2 Son went to the chiropractor, had his back diagnosed. No herniated disc, just a strain of the muscles.
- My Doctor visit. My b.p. is 130/80. My weight is 188 lbs, a 29 lb loss since mid-October, when last I saw him. I don’t know what the A1C value is yet. I am close to “normal” on the Body Mass Index, 26.9 where 25 is deemed not overweight. All in all, it was a successful visit.
- Birthday. We went to dinner. I had a good time and the food was good, not spectacular.
- Cold weather. It is cold. Tomorrow it will warm up to 36°, 8° warmer than today. By Thursday the temperature will be back to the 50’s.
- Swimming: I swam 12,500 meters in 5 days. That is 7.7 miles. I am satisfied with that total distance.
How do I begin? And where? Number Two Son, age 30, (Yes he is an adult) called me and asked what it feels like to have a slipped disc. I explain as best I can and he shares that he hurt his back.
Somehow or other, he wants to diagnose and treat this problem on his own. All kind of crazy, but he says one thing, “They drug test if I file a Wokers’ Comp claim.” Suddenly, all the flanking maneuveres begin to make sense. He doesn’t want to test positive for marijuana, the use of which is illegal in Virginia.
But I get to work assisting him, and do way too much to help with his problem. He is seeing a chiropractor I know and have used on Monday at 5:00 PM. With luck the problem will be correcting itself over the weekend.
I don’t suspect my son is a heavy pot smoker, but he is now organizing his life around his habit. NOT. GOOD.
I get stressed because he has Asperger’s Syndrome. Even if he wasn’t using 4-20, he tends to argue, over-think, analyze, and question even the simplest of predicaments. Here two things are key. 1) He has hurt his back. 2) A medical professional needs to assess the injury. Concealing drug use complicates a simple task.
Here’s hoping for the best possible outcome. He sees the chiro. The chiro does his magic. He feels better. He realizes that he is planning his life around his marijuana habit. And stops using. We shall see.
My 30 year old younger son came for dinner. We had an eye round roast, mashed potatoes, with mushroom gravy. He wanted macaroni and cheese with my homemade cheese sauce too. Being smart, I figured I could fix Mac & Cheese another night and rope him into another visit. I don’t think there has ever been a parent who hasn’t wished their adult children could magically be 7 or 8 or whatever their child’s “cute age” was, again. But he turned out OK and I am still high from the visit.
He had this idea about unloading baggage from a moving train, as if it were a huge problem. I think the venture capitalists would rather put their money into Artificial Intelligence, rather than a minor problem in a moribund form of transportation. But what do I know?
Here’s a thought. Female breasts are there to feed babies.
Yeah I know, we (men, mostly) have put more significance into breasts other than their biological purpose. Because of their purpose, they help define femininity. That’s not a bad thing.
Part of our dystopic thinking has us alienate ourselves from the natural world, such as the purposes of our physical bodies. We exist, in part, in no way solely and totally, to survive and perpetuate our species and our cultures and communities. It follows that men and women have roles that the sexes dictate. Now I know women can do more than bear children and breast-feed. I know that men can do more than donate sperm in the facilitation of conception. I also know that families are the basic social unit and exist in order that children may survive and flourish.
Oddly enough, I feel that I have to apologize for the way things are, that I must acknowledge the validity of every variant from that “traditional” norm. Now I know that same sex partners are doing as good a job of raising children as heterosexual couples. But ultimately there has to be a point of departure. Making every bond and friendship, the equivalent of a family, no matter how valuable or tenuous they may be, distorts and devalues the family. They are, ultimately, artificial constructs. Families exist because individual identities become subservient to the larger paradigm of family. husband/wife, father/mother.
This is not to discount our individuality, our own uniqueness as persons. But there is a place and a time for the ego to submerge.
I am in The Villages, Florida. It is a mega-retirement complex with lots of golf courses, golf carts, and retired types who golf. I do not golf. Among the other activities is drinking. I do not drink. The Villages have a reputation for high incidences of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. I don’t engage in promiscuous sex. So what’s a fella to do?
1) Visit my brother-in-law and note the progress of his Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). It’s a bitch of a disease but he and his wife are dealing with it with grace and courage. Truly inspiring.
2). Sit in the air conditioning, just like at home.
3). Go walking. There are interesting birds. This is a great blue heron, I tbink. He did not divulge any information about his identity.
When we sit in the lenai at my brother-in-law’s, we can make out the form of an alligator, just below the surface of the water in the pond. There are other birds, egrets, loons, and ducks.
All in all, very peaceful. But I want to go back to Virginia and Hurricane Florence (Henderson? A Brady Bunch homage?)
It has been 24 years since I had my last drink. When I consider that I drank for 25 years, I’m entering that year when I will have been sober for as many years as I drank.
I had a lot of sick, self-serving thinking. As I move further down the sobriety path, I discover a little each day how that selfishness damaged those around me.
I’m tired now. There will be more.
H L Mencken once famously defined Puritanism as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy.”
I thought of the Mencken quote because of our propensity to peg our happiness to the political situation. Our cultural Puritanism has two competing and conflicting schools of thought, both attached to conflicting and competing schools of moral progress.
Look at values around artificial contraception as just one example. One idea of moral progress can include a belief in artificial birth control and limitation of family size. Attached to this tenet, is the belief that women have the freedom to decide individually when, if at all, to become mothers. Another school of moral progress can reject artificial birth control with no limit on family size. Emphasis is on “family”, not family size. That no moral progress is attainable if the most basic social structure, the family, is derided or devalued. Concomitant with this value is the value that families consist of two parents, male and female, mother and father.
One Puritan school fears that there are people out there making babies with no thought to the strained resources of our fragile and limited planet. The other school fears that people are out there happily fornicating and copulating, with no thought to any principle besides hedonistic pleasure-seeking.
Our Puritanism has us wed to the goal of progressing toward, if not outright establishing, a political Utopia, with “Liberty and Justice for all”, but with competing ideas of what Liberty and Justice may be. We stumble along our road of Progress, never really happy unless we control the toll gates.
This is what a free society looks like. It carries a tension between competing ideas, both committed to a notion of The Common Good.
Today is a big day for me, what with me being a father and all. I’m at the stage of life where no ties, tobacco pipes, fishing lures, golf balls, or single malt Scotch whisky are wanted, needed, or desired. In my earlier post, Cast Iron Pleasures, I extolled the praises of my wife’s gift.
Today was a day of resting. #1 Son is in the final stages of moving to Church Hill, an historic Richmond neighborhood. So a visit would have been a strain. #2 Son wanted to take me to a cool restaurant, Indian Fields Tavern, located in a converted farmhouse on Rte 5, Charles City County. This is the back road to Williamsburg, that bicyclists and motorcyclists use for the excursion. It is a cool place. I was gratified to know that #2 son enjoys this restaurant and this rather quaint road as much as I do.
It is tempting to fill the post with a long digression on the historic significance of #1 son’s new residence and #2 son’s discovery of an area important in both the Colonial era and the American Civil War, but I will save that.
What’s on my mind is how my wife’s job on the late shift at Target (a good place to work, btw) turns my sleep schedule all askew. Today I missed Mass. I just was too tired, even to go to the late afternoon Mass. So I did a bit of contemplation at home.
I had worked out (swimming) five days in a row, so I needed a day’s rest. All in all, this Father’s Day was good.
Journalism has become little more than a head game. For both sides. One media commentator has just called the National Anthem “problematic” , thus changing the trajectory of the seemingly perpetual protest over the transgressions, real or imagined, of the ruling class to the words of Francis Scott Key’s poem itself. It’s the second verse, don’t you see? What? You don’t know it? You don’t care one whit about it? It doesn’t define you as an American? The idea is to give self-hatred a deeper cut, rubbing salt in the wounds.
Believe it or not, we still have a free exchange of ideas, and unrestricted breadth and depth of intellectual inquiry in this country. However, we often get the impression that one school of thought dominates the scholarship. The dominant paradigm in academic thought for about 100 years has been some permutation or another on the Class Struggle, e.g. workers vs capitalists,”have-nots” vs “haves”, Slaves vs Masters, oppressed vs oppressors.. The historiography of the American Civil War is a case in point. Any analysis that suggests abolition and/or perpetuation of slavery as merely one reason for the war is suspect. Dogma by the Marxist historians, admitted (as in the case of WEB Dubois) or de facto, has been promulgated. Dogma slides easily into myth. The search for truth is not the same as proclaiming a new popular mythology. Symbols of the old mythology thus become problematic; those attached to the old symbols are obviously not with the New Mythology, (insert Truth for Mythology).
What does this have to do with Nihilism? Nihilism is the devaluation and obliteration of all ideals, no matter how noble, such that nothing but a baseness of human motive and aspiration is left.
We come to live for gratification of appetite, sexual, sensual, gustatory. We have, as a culture, come to value feelings, particularly pleasurable ones, as the end of human pursuits. The adrenalin rush is the greatest aspiration in our culture. We seek it from sex, roller coasters, computer games, and tragically, war itself.
Saint Paul addressed this in one sentence, in describing the prevalent Roman culture of the First Century.
“Their God is the belly.”- Phillipians 3:19
The noble aspirations that distinguish the American character are largely devalued. I am speaking not merely of values expressed by Jefferson, Lincoln, Douglass, Anthony or King, but even more basic values, like fathers and mothers committed to the survival and integrity of their families. This isn’t only economic well-being, but the preservation of values that keep families and, by extension, societies, together. A father, in living the value that violence is wrong, makes a stronger point to his children than all the rhetoric of politicians on gun control. But where are fathers today? Where are families, for that matter?
So, in a world where there are no values, how can we even presume to Make America Great Again? The Trump revolution, you see, is bigger than its obviously flawed champion. Americans need to aspire to more. And that more, extends beyond the goals of both leftist nihilists and capitalist materialists.
Marci, over at KoolAid Moms is celebrating her daughter’s birthday. Today is my younger son’s 30th. We are going to an Indian restaurant. My sister is joining us. I am pretty exctied, because once a child hits adulthood, seeing him/her is sketchy.
He is adopted. But he has been with me (us) since his birth. His mother and I did a private placement adoption, that side-stepped adoption agencies. In the thirty years, there has seen my recovery from alcoholism, divorce, the passing of his mother. He has ADD and Asperger’s Syndrome. But he is not his diagnosis. He is just a wonderful young man.
I believe I will go get the makings for root beer floats and we will come home and have them for dessert. He likes them.