Thursday, February 18, 2010


Had some connectivity problems. That's not a metaphor. But I'm back! Yes, you missed me. Of course you did. Your drab, shabby little life is hardly worth noticing, without me in it to imbue it with any meaning it might have. What would you do without me. Well, you had to go a time without me, so you know what you'd do. Nothing. Pathetic. Oh, Jack H, you say, how we admire and revere you. Please tell us what to think and believe, so that we won't be so useless and unpleasantly homely. And I'm all, Sure, loser, it's what I do, rescue stray dogs from the dungpit of their so-called lives. Cuz I'm so beautiful and intelligent. I just can't get over it, how smart I am, and hot. It's amazing. Sexually desirable. Yep. Ahhhh.

But I have to agree that sometimes other people also sometimes have excellent ideas. Like the guy who's saying that the most important relationship a man has is with his wife, not with his kids. Come home from work, and, first, spend time with the wife. Sends a message to the kids, not that they're not important, but that there is a profound stability in their lives. Yes. How right. It's another of those hard lessons, though, like buckling yourself in first, as the plane goes down. Let the kids wait a few minutes before you play with them. Take fifteen minutes of alone time, unwind time, with the mother of your children. She's worth it. She needs it and deserves it. Then play with the kids. It's not that they're second-most important. It's that there is an order of things, a way of doing things. Like you don't ogle another man's wife. Not done.

I used to be a father to fatherless kids. I was very affectionate, because no one else was. Now I'm not around fatherless kids, and so I preserve a certain reserve with the kids I am around. It's about boundaries. Were I do get to know some child better, I'd be less reserved. But just as a male friend must always preserve propriety with a man's wife, there has to be a calm, an appropriate adultness around kids. This, of course, with regard to men who are actually men, and fulfill their duties as fathers, regardless of idiosyncrasies of style.

I said some unflattering things about my father tonight. It boils down to the fact that he was not gentle. He was a father the way he was a trainer of dogs. All about punishment. What is the purpose of punishment? Justice, and correction. If the lesson is learned, there is no need for correction. As for justice, the lesson of punishment is necessary only if mercy will not suffice. Are there no lessons from mercy? I would be a more happy man, a blessed man beyond those blessings I acknowledge, if I had come of age in an environment characterized by patience.

Samuel Johnson said that to see connections that are not obvious is more rare than genius. Part of that must be contained in a state of mind, a mental preparedness, that is eager to find honest pleasure, in life.


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