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CSotD: Post Holiday Mode

While we’re recovering up here in the US from a flood of MLK-themed political statements in which people failed to rise to the occasion, Cathy Wilcox kindly explains it all from a neutral viewpoint in Australia.

I take some comfort in the fact that they’ve got plenty of their own problems down there and an even more ghastly refugee crisis than ours, but, of course, she’s right that it you fiddle around and pass the buck long enough, the public will lose focus or at least appear to.

At least she’s right that most governments seem to operate on that principle.

 

Though Guy Venables points out that perhaps bureaucracy could be the the answer to the Ukraine crisis.

I like the idea: It could be like that time in World War I when they laid down their weapons for a soccer match, only with hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers lined up getting sticks shoved up their noses.

Though it’s only a joke. Yesterday the Olympic organizers in Beijing announced that they aren’t going to sell any tickets to foreigners because of the covid crisis, which is a different sort of joke, since the games are starting in less than a month. If they’ve still got tickets, the only question remaining is “Who asked you?”

I suppose the answer is “NBC,” since they continue to push the events, the check having been cashed and nobody offering any refunds.

Ah well. On to less international concerns.

 

Arlo (AMS) is right. There is a type of dream that leaves you more exhausted than if you’d simply stayed awake, and I’d rather have insomnia than a dream in which I’m working.

Though I managed to top it the other night with a nightmare in which I was offered my old newspaper job back but then sat down with the publisher to realize that he had no idea what I did and no interest in letting me do it my way.

In my waking world, I’ve seen, and walked away from, a couple of those situations at real newspapers, but in this nightmare, I needed the job and couldn’t simply bail out.

 

The good thing for people today is that, as On The Fastrack (KFS) explains it, they are getting a chance to stop, look around and escape. The Great Resignation may be one of those marking points in history that we only appreciate in retrospect.

As Dethany says, this may not be a detailed analysis, but, then again, it’s not wrong, either.

I never walked away from a bad job before I’d found something else, but the longest it took me was about four months and I can take anything for four months. In the current job market, it shouldn’t take much longer than that.

However, I’ll admit that having kids early enough in life to be empty-nested at 45 gave me an advantage in mobility.

Still, industry is going to have to adjust to a workforce that isn’t blindly running on an endless treadmill anymore, except in the occasional nightmare. In socks. On linoleum.

 

Shifting from the corporate to the personal, Barney & Clyde (WPWG) hit a somber note the other day.

Kids don’t often have the option of stepping off their own little treadmills, but I don’t know how often the question would be asked so directly. I think most kids know they won’t get a useful answer anyway.

 

It brings to mind this classic 2001 exchange from Shirley and Son (AMS), which was soon enough after my divorce that I could relate, but long enough after that I could laugh.

Its brilliance is that Louis accepts the standard milquetoast explanation, while the punchline offers the missing insights that lurk behind all those bland, non-revealing explanations.

Delia Ephron’s “Funny Sauce,” by contrast, was published only two years after our divorce, so the humor was hilarious but extraordinarily painful.

As in, for example, the chapter on “The Joint Custody Game,” which is played by sending your son back to his other home in the most tattered clothes available, in order to force the other parent to take him shopping.

Further, she explained, you earn bonus points if he wears the suit bought by the other parent for his bar mitzvah to your second wedding.

Hahahaha. Ouch.

Here’s the real answer: Don’t answer, beyond those polite, meaningless bromides.

The kids will eventually put the pieces together for themselves, and it won’t likely take until they are 70 and you are dead.

However long it takes, you’ll come out ahead for not having burdened them with your pain-ridden version of things in details they didn’t want to hear.

It really is a game in which the only way to win is not to play.

 

Different sort of parental explanation in this Maddie Dai New Yorker piece.

It reminds me of a display of portraits of royalty I saw in Denmark many years ago, possibly at Elsinore but in some castle or other. They were arranged chronologically, which also meant, given the incestuous nature of 16th and 17th century royalty, that you could observe the noses becoming more pointed and elongated and the foreheads receding until, at the end, they looked like big-eyed greyhounds in wigs and satin.

Denmark is a land where everyone is Lutheran and nobody goes to church. It is also, I think, a land that loves their queen but finds the whole royalty business kind of silly.

Which is not inconsistent. I suspect that, if they spent a lot of tax money so that Margarethe and her family could lord it about creating scandals and lolling in wretched excess, their level of affection for her might begin to fade.

Wish I could think of a current example.

 

Finally today, Dana Summers (AMS) salutes the medical breakthrough in which a porcine heart was transplanted into a human.

This resulted in a brief flurry of hopeful coverage about the value of the medical breakthrough, followed quickly by horrified stories about how the recipient was an ex-con, because that’s who we are.

Which reminds me that, when John Wayne received a pig’s valve in his heart back in 1978, the standing joke was that there’d be little chance of tissue rejection.

 

Community Comments

#1 ANDREA DENNINGER
January/18/2022
@ 9:58 am

“There is a type of dream that leaves you more exhausted than if you’d simply stayed awake, and I’d rather have insomnia than a dream in which I’m working.”

After 16 years of a retirement from a job I had for 30 years, I STILL dream I’m back in the library, shelving books, dealing with students, etc. Good thing I can take naps whenever I please, sans dreams.

#2 Susan Crites
January/18/2022
@ 6:32 pm

“…the only way to win is not to play.”

I understood that reference.

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