Thursday, June 25, 2015

As Summer Fades

Note: This is a re-run: Consider it a memo to me and you both, presented not after summer has faded, but in advance—not like last time.
In Alice (from memory) the king says to his wife, “The horror of that moment I shall never forget.” The queen leans forward and says, “You will, dear, if you don’t make a memo of it.”

But first: A little humor is always in order.
Some folks didn’t get an old memo, from 2002…

As you know, there is a confederate flag flap going on in the U.S. Opinions are mixed, and the State of Virginia has joined the fray by announcing it is phasing out its confederate vehicle license plates. (I’m as surprised as you) Meanwhile, science fiction writer John Scalzi has covered the topic on his blog, back in 2002. It’s hilarious to read him calling the gallant Confederate States of America, CSA, a bunch of losers. Loooosers.

I did read every word of Scalzi’s dense post myself, and I can say: Please don’t think you’re “s’posed to” read every word of his detractors, or “s’posed to” skim every line those idiots write. I didn’t. I just skipped down to Scalzi’s hilarious rebuttals. Here’s the link.

Summer Fades

Another summer is fading into fall. The morning radio folks say, “It went so fast!” They ask, “How did that happen?”

I ask this too, of myself. It’s not as if I merely drifted or fell asleep at the switch. No, every weekend I seriously meant to— but I didn’t— and then, there I was: Having a not-so-happy weekend with “a skeleton at the feast.” Maybe I’m too serious.

And at the fading of every Sunday’s light I’d say, “Well, maybe next weekend…” Yes, I’m too serious. It’s a human thing, isn’t it?

In fairness, when it comes to procrastination, I’m sure even carpenters and kings delay buying more cabbages until their supply runs out. I’m still smiling over a certain soldier, General Rick Hillier. His posting was supposed to be at the end of summer. But then H.Q. moved up the schedule. “The move is next week!” There he was, with only one week to get all his yard work and chores done… only to have the army, at the end of the week, put the date back again to the end of summer.

The ever-so-disciplined general was ever so pleased. The soldier wrote, (p 136) “In hindsight, it was the best thing that could have happened. Because it had prodded me into getting the things on that list done in record time… If I hadn’t had the pleasure of that first phone call from Cam, I would have procrastinated and ended up cramming all that work into the last week that I was home.” Well. What can a less disciplined guy like me do but smile, and join the ranks of carpenters, kings and generals?

Summers fly, as the years flow by. Someday, if I can cut back on the junk food, I’ll be as old, and maybe as wise, as that 60 Minutes TV humorist, Andy Rooney. Old Rooney is almost offensively realistic—thank God for his humor—about the gap between what is real and what Home and Garden magazine, and everybody else, says we “really should” do.

I’m reminded of that war game-and-history magazine by Avalon-Hill (the games sold paid for the history research) One day during the cold war they speculated on what would happen, if there was a war, and the Soviets had to reinforce the Pacific coast using their Trans-Siberian Railroad. The editors published their careful war game calculations, based on many things, including total Soviet rolling stock. Then a number of model-railroad enthusiasts wrote in to say that, based on the numbers, the Reds could in fact move considerably more supplies… The editors responded, tiredly, saying they based their figures not on what the Reds could do, but on what, given human nature, they probably would do.

I get it. As educator Kurt Hahn often said, “Human nature is very prevalent.”

Meanwhile, the summer isn’t quite over yet. “All righty, then!” Maybe I could right away get to –uh—to feeling productive by writing a memo to myself, for next year. Call it Summer Fades.

Sean Crawford
and, as flags are flapping,
June 2015.26

Footnote: The book quoted is A Soldier First subtitled Bullets, Bureaucrats and the Politics of War, HarprerCollins Publishers Ltd 2009

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