2011 Year in Review
Blue Whales
Christmas Carol
Duty to Object
Evenhanded Pursuit of Truth
Flood and Bush
Never There or Here
Review: Sufjan Stevens' Age of Adz
Space Flight
Success With Values
Terrible Kids Music
The Nineties
Year in Review

Mrs. Sykes

I am conflicted. I wonder as I type the previous sentence if it is a surprise to people who know me best. I doubt that it is. I think the people who know me best know I spend a great deal of time in this mental state. Strangely, others who are only acquainted with me probably find the exact opposite to be true.

In the current installment, I am conflicted about this website, but not really about the site. The site is a microcosm, a symptom of a larger issue.

Ego Building Blocks

Mrs. Sykes was my elementary school principal. (I think she would be proud that use the correct spelling of that term.) I greatly admired this wonderful woman. Each time she addressed an audience where I was attendance she stressed one concept above all others. “You are special children.” I remember sitting indian-style (not a kosher term anymore, must call it criss-cross applesauce) soaking in these words–think Ralphie from A Christmas Story in front of the radio listening to the code to save Little Orphan Annie. She was imparting a secret that we at Jefferson elementary were gifted above all others.

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Alligator Arms

“If you don’t understand me, then I don’t need you. In fact, I don’t really like you, so I don’t care how you feel about me.”

“You talking to me?”

I know exactly what Wheat means when he says that. I have a streak of that sentiment a mile wide inside me, and it runs to the bone. My first, instinctive response when someone crosses me, insults me, criticizes me, or even disagrees with me, is “Fine. Who needs you? Go [choose your own impolite verb] yourself.” Less so than it used to be, but to this day I still find myself reacting like this. Instantly, before I can think about it, a cold, reptile fury rises up inside of me, and I can feel my internal Department of State breaking off all diplomatic relations with the offending person.

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The Stories We Tell About Ourselves

In Ursula Leguin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, A major plot device of the book is knowing the secret name of a person or object. Everyone, and thing for that matter, in the fictional world she created has a secret name, and if you learn that name you have power over the person. I’m pretty sure this idea, as cool as it was, was gleaned from other cultures in the world like the Native Americans, and Egyptians. Wheat, and in turn Water, most recently shared insights not into the world but into themselves, and I will try to be brave and follow suit, even though someone might know my true self and have some power over me.

"Behold it is I, Bubba"

“Behold it is I, Bubba!”

Still Not Competitive

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I’m not really a sports person – at all. I think this adds to my uncompetitive nature. This is a distinctly un-American trait, I know. By definition sports has winners and losers. This can take the negative formulation that “If I make other people lose, then I win”, which to me doesn’t seem like that much of a success. While I don’t hold to this particular winners/losers model of defining success it far from lets me off the hook. It is not that I am left without powerful critics. I am left with the relentless, ever present critic …myself.

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