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Showing posts from December, 2012

Shuffle

In my mind, I'm superimposing a 30-year-old snapshot over the scene actually taking place. My father is prone on the carpet with my sister, two daughters and I sitting in a semi circle around him. A deck of playing cards has been shuffled and divided among us. My father is holding center court, explaining the game of Dirty Hearts like he was a reading an excerpt of the Illiad.


I remember this.



My father is hardly a florid or theatrical man, but has a way of making explanations seem monumental and deconstructing abstractions, like love or racism, into black and white grids of logic. After his military career, I hoped Daddy might become an educator. I could imagine him as the unyielding middle school teacher pushing unsuspecting underachievers to unexpected personal heights.  Or the college professor with "sold out" course sections every semester. Sadly, he wasn't the least bit interested in classrooms or lecture halls (he also has an exhausted tolerance for insolence a…

Standing and Waiting

I always felt for the kids who were picked last for everything. Even now, my chest will ache at some silver screen footage of kids hoping for a pudgy finger to point in their direction, of them standing and waiting for someone to call their name and rescue them from another gym class Debacle.

In school, I was seldom among the first kids to get picked for kickball teams and group projects.  I was rarely the last kid standing, either. Falling in the middle, and playground politics being as volatile as they were, I could never be sure if "today might be the Last Kid day." It wasn't until I was finally making my way to one team or the other that the adrenaline and waves of anxiety would subside and I could, once again, acknowledge the existence and plight of other human beings. Relief was quickly replaced by pangs of guilt as the remaining cluster of classmates awkwardly stood and waited for someone to call their name, for someone to rescue them from Last.

I thought of this …