Friday, May 25, 2007

Da do Run Run

Ran in along the water today, the sun at the right height to dazzle and amaze. I was reminded of the summer I spent among the Finger Lakes, where a woman and I played man and farmwif. We lived in a windowed closet in her mother's rented house. During the day, I worked odd jobs while she tended the garden and, ostensibly, worked on her PhD. Now she is a well-regarded feminist sociologist, and I hope she is happy. How she reconciles the--what seemed to be--happiness of being supported by a man (the deal was that so long as lunch was waiting when I arrived, I would hand over my pay over to the "Mrs.") with her subsequent worldview is something that I still wonder about.

Many men are, to put it politely, "uncomplicated." Food, "comfort," and some ego-stroking is about all it takes, really. Strangely, I would argue that a fair number of men even leave it up to women to maximize the gene pool (which I believe falls in line, statistically speaking, with women being better able to "marry up").

Today, with the sun glinting deep into my eyes, I was willing to consider my position of "privilege." Is all that I have, all that I have "achieved" really simply the product of being an American male of European descent? Or, to nuance the argument a bit, is the utility (a.k.a. "Happiness," i.e., third among the "Life, Liberty,..." troika) I enjoy unduly influenced by my status?



Let us for the moment say that, yes, I enjoy a standard of living higher than one might expect given my talents and abilities; further, given my parents' second-generation immigrant, lower-middle-class upbringings, my "success," such as it is, has somehow outstripped my intended fate.

That scenario reminds me of the derision my father (reported that he) suffered from his family who believed that one should not try to exceed one's station, i.e., aspire. mother (and grandmother...and other relatives...and siblings...) all exhibit similar discomfort to some degree.

One of my favorite comments from my grandmother regarding another of my relatives is "that girl is smart (said approvingly), but not too smart (again, approvingly." The implication being that if one is "too smart," then one is somehow...suboptimal.

As an aside: my family are a complete mystery to me as well; I understand neither their motivations nor their aspirations (or, as I see it--likely incorrectly--lack thereof). In this, I am my father's child.

Other random observation: I see multitudes of women out busting their butts: running, biking, rowing, Tai chi'ing, whatever. Why, then, does that physical endeavor rarely translate to work? What sort of aspiration/suppression is going on? Is it internal or external motivation?

I was never so happy as when I was a soldier. I wish I could find the cartoon that went something like this:
Soldiers in the mud, carrying increasingly bulky/heavy supplies:
Private Snuffy: "This sucks!"
Airborne Ranger: "Dang, his don't suck e-NOUGH!"
Special Forces: "God I LOVE that this sucks!"
Airforce pilot overhead: "Sure looks like it sucks down there."
Airfoce officer, from bunker: "Dang, Movie Channel's out again: that sucks!"

Rules for Deployed U.S. Marines:
1. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.
2. Decide to be aggressive enough, quickly enough.
3. Have a plan.
4. Have a back-up plan, because the first one probably won't work.
5. Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
6. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun whose caliber does not start with a "4".
7. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo, cheap; Life, expensive.
8. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend.
(Lateral & diagonal preferred.)
9. Use cover or concealment as much as possible.
10. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.
11. Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
12. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics.
They will only remember who lived.
13. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating your intention to shoot.

Okay, I'm really off track now; I just wanted to comment on my time in the Finger Lakes region; I miss Dr. Frank's gewurtraminer.

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