Friday, March 21

Do-It-Yourself Funerals

Latest issue of Charter, Gonzaga's premier journal of scholarship and opinion, went online just recently, and here is the link to my submission, Do-It-Yourself Funerals. Still doubt my humor chops, but I sincerely did not want to write anything mopey for this issue whose theme was 'Death.' Fine essays, including investigations of the philosophy, science and religious aspects of death, are all present, so be sure to take your time while there.

Wednesday, March 12

I love you

As of late particular friends have been pestering me about this, that never say "I love you." This is not entirely true. I end most every e-mail and Skype call with the sister or parents or grandparents with that. I just do not say it to aforementioned friends.

Now, assume that I am mature enough to not squinch my face up and stick my tongue out when love is mentioned and can differentiate between romantic, friendly and every other form of love that English has compressed into a single, unwieldy, awkward word. This knocks down one obvious out and explanation for my actions, and as I do care very much for my friends, this has undoubtedly contributed to friends' accusations that I am either emotionally stunted or very distant from such feelings. Here is the deal.

I posted on the subject of love years back and still believe in what I wrote, that love is sacrifice of the highest order, and before I give any verbal indication that such an incredible relationship exists, I want to know that it is true and want to be precise. My actions towards my friends thus far, which consist of little more than hanging out and doing stuff together and whatnot, have, in my understanding, indicated nothing more than modest sacrifice, nothing greater than friendship. To say, "I love you" only to later find myself unwilling to make the appropriate sacrifice when it comes down to brass tacks is harsh and even cruel.

There is a way out of this. "I love you" is not a statement describing an already existing and demonstrated relationship but a promise. While we may not have been put up against the wall and forced to prove who it is we ultimately care about and will sacrifice ourselves for, to say "I love you" is a promise that we will decide for the other. But this bothers me. As I often so often heard and read, love is not a game. Quite the opposite, everything I thing have heard and read suggests that love is a big deal, too big a deal, mayhaps, to be promised to any extent.

A problem emerges. What are we left with then? We are not all the protagonists of romantic comedies and, when there is no other option to get in touch with our one and only, cannot demonstrate the depths of our love by stealing an airplane, thus getting over our fear of authority and heights, parachuting into Yankees stadium, thereby disrupting the World Series, and then standing up to whichever steroid-enhanced and rage-filled player comes to physically protest our action with a bat in hand. In fact, it is very likely that the brass tacks and hard decisions will never come. Our lives will progress from birth to death and the circumstances never demand anything so great of us. That may even be preferable because, really, even if the right sacrifice is made, something still had to be sacrificed and it is probably better that no one had to sacrifice anything at all in the first place. If that is the case, all that we have are the small things, preparing a special meal at the end of a strenuous day, simply talking, really listening, to demonstrate our love.

Maybe then love and the indicator that is "I love you" are habits in line with Aristotle's virtues. We practice the little, daily sacrifices because that is all we can do until they become so a part of our being that to do otherwise, even when the situation is much more drastic than stopping on the way back from work to pick up a special book the other has been looking forward to, is near inconceivable. Then a loving relationship is the one where not doing the selfish thing requires conscious thought and action because they have become so unnatural.

Now I must ponder whether my relationships are as such.

Thursday, March 6


Know what this blog has been lacking in for the past few months? Pictures by me. Know why? Because Mr. Hard Disk who lived in my computer decided to make friends with Ms. Defect, never considering his responsibilities to protect the pictures Dame Hard Drive carried. Their loss presented a critical blow to the posting of my pictures to Spice of Life, that is until I remembered I had posted all my decent shots to Facebook and could just pull them from there to post here. Hurray for that.

I am fond of this picture, less for the aesthetic properties, which I have attempted to draw out in most of my other pictures, than the message I was trying, and feel I succeeded, to communicate. The young skateboarder is a little out-of-focus and his position and the angle may not be the most dynamic, but perfecting these was not so interesting to me as the theme of this picture. What attracted me to him, his friend and his father as subjects were just how ridiculously out-of-place they looked at this skatepark, these suburbanites spending an afternoon at a park where chain-smokers next to their beater cars at the opposite end appear to be dealing drugs.

Obviously, the kid is not the most comfortable on his skateboard. A far sight better than his off-camera friend, the subject is still struggling to maintain his balance in simple forward motion, no tricks yet. His father, also off-camera but included in another picture I plan on posting, is sitting next to his shiny white convertible Beetle. Never thought of the Abercrombie & Fitch crowd as one interested in graffiti either. The chance of getting paint all over your too-expensive T-shirt cannot be appealing. For me, his off-balance stance is simply the physical representation how disconcerting this all must be.