What is this holiday even about?

After a nice time with my in-laws, it’s back to the grind. Actually, I’m a college professor and so I’m off work for a month. I’m not really even sure when classes start back. Late January / early February. I’ll tune in as the time draws near.

I spent a good chunk of the day at the “Express” Wellness. The room was full of hacking, coughing, angry and sad-looking people. I’m sure they’re all wonderful folks; everybody looks bad when they’re sick. There were babies crying, elderly people (one poor lady just shuffled along without her feet ever leaving the ground), and and a mom fighting the receptionist over insurance verification. ‘Tis the season.

I stood in the corner and read about the government shutdown. Waiting room chairs freak me out.

Turns out I’m not contagious. The doctor did mention that he could write me a note to get me out of work for a few days. I told him that wouldn’t be necessary. I’m sure he assumed I’d be heading back to the coal mines or steel mill like a champ.

I kind of wanted a legitimate, sympathy-enducing diagnosis. I wanted validation. I paid a $50 co-pay for validation. I was diagnosed with post-nasal drip. I’ve started a gofundme. Thanks for any help you can provide.

The weather is lousy. Cold and rainy. If it’s going to be cold, I’d at least like some snow.

Do you realize that we take on New Year’s resolutions during something called “cold and flu season”? Talk about destined to fail. I didn’t see the sun today, feel like crap, and I’m supposed to take on the world. I think March is a much better time to take on a resolution.

My 7-year old asked a profound question yesterday (New Year’s Day). What is this holiday even about?

Any day could be New Year’s Day. Right? It’s fairly arbitrary. Like your birthday. There is, actually, some interesting history about our calendar, which you can read here.

I think she was used to hearing stories. This holiday is about Jesus’ birth. This holiday is about Jesus’ resurrection. This holiday is about sending over-priced flowers and balloons to loved-ones—all of which will die and fall (the flowers and balloons; not the loved ones, but maybe them too). New Year’s Day is merely a marker as we hurl around the sun counting down the days until the end of the world.

So…

Happy New Year, everybody!

Liturgical Animals

We started Spring Break out with a trip to the OKC Zoo. We had to park what felt like miles away. As we walked, I told my girls to take notice of the people. They're animals too. We're all animals.

In the words of the philosopher James K.A. Smith, humans are liturgical animals.

sidenote: Kara took note of the "Walmart birds" at the groundhog exhibit. Those stupid birds are everywhere.

I also had a chance to do some people watching at the zoo, I mean at the mall. Entrance is free and so are the rides. Nora and I rode the escalator multiple times.

Spring Break is a time to reset, to take stock, to power up before the big push of the final weeks of the spring semester. I always buy a new book for Spring Break. This year's purchase: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. Picked up a new sketchbook too.

Things are starting out well, and it's only day one.

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Thank You

a Thanksgiving Day poem

 

Thank you, Mike’s Body Shop for fixing our mini-van’s lift gate so that it no longer hits my wife in the back as she loads groceries and buckets of paint.

 

Thank you, One-eyed Willy, you old rapscallion with both your treasure and your traps.

 

Thank you, deer buck that was shot in the side, and then in the rear for good measure, so that we may enjoy your meat.

 

Thank you, slow slow process of turning a deer from a live thing, bounding over a dry creek bed, to a dead thing, hanging from a workshop ceiling.

 

Thank you, pulleys and laws of physics and bone knives and laws of nature and blood on my shoes.

 

Thank you, deer buck, tongue hanging out and off to the side, eyes wide open, no longer here and unbothered by what we’re doing to you.

 

Thank you, slow slow food dehydrator purchased from Academy Sports + Outdoors several Christmases ago.

 

Thank you, vomit on the kitchen tile, which makes us grateful for modern medicine and Clorox wipes.

 

Thank you, United Grocery Store for being open on Thanksgiving so that we might buy milk, sturdy paper plates, Crisco, and more Clorox wipes.

 

Thank you, United Grocery Store checkout girl working the 7 a.m. – noon shift with the sweet smile, and for saying, “Happy Thanksgiving.”

 

Thank you, United Methodist Church bell-tower for your sweet melody radiating into cold air in slightly sour tones, pinging the hearts of unsuspecting listeners—trash taker-outers and hunters just outside of town.

 

Thank you, “I Love to Tell the Story” for that dark-sounding note on the word “true.”

 

Thank you, Steve Jobs for this laptop at which I write. Thank you for understanding that computers could be personal and would ultimately be tools of empowerment and not instruments of repression and mere data collection.

 

Thank you, democratization of technology that bolsters truer democracy and leads to the ruin of evil dictators, Harvey Weinstein-types, and racist fraternities.

 

Thank you, United Grocery Store checkout girl for yet another sweet smile when I returned for chicken broth 25 minutes later.

 

Thank you, sweet saints, telling true stories, holding babies while peeling potatoes, saints that answer not to names but to sounds—consonant-vowel, consonant-vowel—uttered by coarse tongues.

 

—clf

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