Old memories and french toast

I’m in a happy state of mind right now. My belly’s full of french toast. My good wife made a loaf and a half’s worth, some to eat this morning, most to freeze for others so we can both have a yummy hot breakfast on cold days to come without either of us having to bust our tails. So now I want to write something, because I’m full of yummy french toast.

Fair warning, this is going to be a long and rambling entry because I’ve been away from the blog so long. I’m fully aware what TLDR means, even at 50. So if you crave constant action and suspense rather than deep thought and introspection, you’re welcome to watch these videos instead:

They should all play in order, but if they don’t, the link to the playlist is right here. Knock yourself out.

Fishing at Lake Vermilion in Minnesota is one reason I haven’t been blogging lately. I went the middle of August with my dad and two of my brothers. We had a good time and yes, I “filmed” it, a good three hours worth at least of it in glorious 1080p high definition this time, part of it with an obsolete Kodak camcorder and part of it with one of my employer’s fine non-GPS products, a Garmin VIRB. Editing that sucker down to something presentable should kill a few cold winter days.

So far as the past few weeks where I haven’t been fishing, I wish I could tell you it’s because I’ve been putting hour after hour into making my first self-published book, The Rain Song, a legitimate novel if not an outright work of art instead of the overwritten emotionally-stunted POS the original version is. I wish I could say that.

I can’t say that.

I haven’t been writing at all.

Which, applying a Calvinistic approach to some of the entries on the “Sheer Arrogance” pages of this blog, makes me one of the more evil hypocrites to ever walk this Earth. I know. Writers write, you haven’t been writing; therefore, you have no right to call yourself a writer. Begone, poseur, and let us never mention your name again.

That’s a lot of nonsense, frankly. I have a life, and I have been living it, and living it is time-consuming, and consumed time lived well doesn’t leave a lot of room for navel-gazing. You want rationalization? There it is, and for most people it’s legitimate. I’m no exception. It’s been a busy time.

So why am I writing this blog entry now?  Guilt? Pressure? Narcissistic tendencies bubbling back to the surface? A stubborn refusal to grow up and accept what my life has become, even though it may not include being a successful novelist with millions sold?

Nah, none of that. It’s an old yearbook page.

A Facebook friend of mine, for reasons all her own I do not know, has been posting class pictures from an elementary school yearbook. She had the wrong person tagged as me in one, so I politely let her know.

This morning she posted the right one. And there they all were, out of the dust of sixth grade, Mrs. Bodine’s first-ever class at Neil Armstrong Elementary, circa 1975-76. Me, in big dorky plastic-framed glasses, a striped orange-and-green dress shirt and with my hair in its usual never-combed state. My best friend of those days a few pictures down, looking happy and confident and ready for anything that came, three things I could never manage. My first serious unrequited crush a few rows down, looking elegant and graceful and intelligent, three things I could never appear. All these blessedly normal kids… and me. A flood of memories pouring back of what was, in spite of so many awkward and stupid things, a very good year.

And suddenly I wanted to write something.


Except about those experiences, of course. Jean Shepherd I am not and will never be. Sorry.

So who am I?

Why not figure it out, then write about it?

Or vice-versa?

Maybe I will, after having some more French toast. Hm? 🙂


Anyone who disagrees with this entry is evil*

First, the asterisk means I don’t really believe that.  See, I’m not an absolutist.  I know what I believe and why I believe it, but I don’t automatically assume it’s the absolute truth.  For one thing, I firmly believe that’s an insult to God Who Alone is the absolute truth.  For another, history is rife with examples of horrible things that happened solely because someone thought he knew the absolute truth and therefore whatever he did to uphold it was justified.  I believe such thinking is the root of all evil.  I also honestly, perhaps naively, believe that most people at their core understand this, especially after the century we came out of only eleven years ago.

So  I wasn’t expecting to get hit with a two-by-four like this one  from a very serious young woman on a message board a couple days ago:

Abortion is absolutely never wrong under any circumstance. Women > fetus. Every single time. The 1 in 3 of us women who have had an abortion, including myself, do not have to apologize for it, and we DON’T apologize for it. It doesn’t matter what kind of “omg save the babies” BS people want to put up. If you are anti-choice, you are anti-woman.

Lots of places I could sidetrack myself on that one, easily.  I have a difficult time believing a full third of the 157.2 million women in this country, 52.4 million, have had abortions.  And there are plenty more reasons than “omg save the babies” to be against it.  I don’t want to go into either of those, and I really don’t want to fall into the all-or-nothing trap that the abortion argument in this country inevitably leads to.  That’s not the point.  That’s not what scared the hell out of me to read.

What scared the hell out of me to read was that sentence Abortion is absolutely never wrong under any circumstance.  That is some of the most stunningly wrongheaded thinking I’ve encountered from another human being in a long, long time; and its wrongheadedness has nothing to do with abortion.

Here’s the problem:  NOTHING is “absolutely never wrong under any circumstance.”

To claim that something involving human beings on any level is “absolutely never wrong” is to invite someone to make it wrong, and someone to make it wrong is never difficult to find.  The abuses of the Inquisition came from people who thought anything to help their cause was “absolutely never wrong.”  The enslavement of races came from people thinking their judgement of “lesser” peoples was “absolutely never wrong.”

Do I need to name the examples of the last century of people who thought they were “absolutely never wrong?”  How many millions died due to them last century alone?  Do you really need me to tell you who they are?

There’s been a lot written already this election year about how angry we all are.  No doubt, I’ve seen it.  Has it occurred to anyone this may be why?  That most of us know absolutist thinking when we see it, know the evil that comes from it, know the damage it can cause, and wherever we can are putting our feet down and saying “no more?”

For this young lady’s sake, I hope so.  It frightens me that in this day and age anyone can claim that something is “absolutely never wrong under any circumstance.”  In those words lie great evil waiting to be born.