June 5, 2008
As a young boy, I did not know what was going on in the classroom. There was no such thing as ADHD or LD back then. It was dismissed as laziness or stupidity. Participles, logarithms, declension, reading, speed, memorization, and athletic coordination – I was always on shaky ground.
My handwriting was neanderthal and my study habits avoidant. I spent my school days furtively staring out big windows. Birds were my envy as they flew across the ever changing sky. On dreary wet days I turned to my pencil (missile) and pen (rocket ship).
I was the oldest of two, then three, then four, then five, then six, and later seven. It became progressively easier to underachieve in this burgeoning post war blue collar Catholic family.
My dad worked three jobs. Mom cooked, sewed, scrubbed, ironed, washed, mopped, and all the while monitored an ever expanding gaggle of robust strong willed children . We eventually overwhelmed her resources. We were like big fleshy ants.
Play and television were my refuge. The tube allowed me to escape instantly. Far away places, adventure, and fame were my fantasies. I would spend hours in bed before sleep concocting gallant stories in my mind with me as the intrepid hero.
My favorite thing of all was Boy Scouts. It allowed me to go camping and play with fire – to go away and have adventure – to take on whatever nature could dish out. It taught me I could do things well. I learned stuff like Morse code and survival skills. I became Order of the Arrow and attended National Leadership Camp. Too bad I let my buddies talk me into quitting. They thought boy scouts was uncool.
I traded confidence and growth for “cool”. It was like trading hiking boots for hair gel.
November 19, 2007
I am often didactic. I know it can be a turn-off. I am sorry. I can’t help myself.
I believe our human problems are solvable. I believe there is wisdom at our disposal. Yet our consciousness is busy with busy work. We are all busy keeping once-useful now-archaic notions alive.
Ideas such as privilege or eternal damnation seem axiomatic to most. They legitimize division and dismissal. Yet my faith and observation is that God shares everything and never gives up on anyone.
I sense urgency in the air and within myself. Each day brings more sad news. But the tragic has become entertainment rather than a call to action. The very things we ought to be alarmed about become our anesthesia.
People are innately philosophical. If they are given the opportunity (including the freedom and encouragement to think independently) they will find a way to get along.
I need to be a part of that process in several different ways.
November 18, 2007
November 17, 2007
November 16, 2007
I was raised a Roman Catholic. I attended Catholic schools my entire educational life. I have been taught by Benedictine nuns, Marist brothers, and Jesuit priests.
I consider myself fortunate that I was required to study Theology and Philosophy. It is sad to realize that the vast majority of college graduates today are not required to do so. “Teach people to think for corporations and not for themselves”, seems an apt portrayal of modern educational programming.
In some of my poems I criticize organized religion in general and Catholicism in particular. I focus on Catholic because that is what I know best. I hope insiders of other faiths continue to criticize the incongruence and extremism in theirs.