Just Doing It
“Sometimes there are obvious solutions—eat a cracker, ask for help, write sentences—and sometimes not. Don’t look the former in the mouth, don’t let the latter overwhelm, and don’t mistake the two.”
By Jason Dubow
A s Nike, not the Greek goddess but the morally nebulous corporation, says (after Gary Gilmore, of all people), “Just Do It!”
What I started, and failed, to do: tell the story of the high school admissions process.What I will do instead: share some not intentionally related, which is not to say unrelated, thoughts: remnants, potentialities, orphans.
Don’t expect much in the way of explanation, not today, I’m not in the mood.
I’ve found that if I wait long enough to unpack (North Adams, sister, President’s Weekend), it’s time to go again (Seattle, brother, Passover).
How and why did I allow myself to get waylaid yesterday morning by the type of household tasks—buying and replacing doorknobs, setting up wireless capability on my office printer—that inevitably end in frustration and failure, my writerly intentions asunder? Okay, I will tell you the end of the high school admissions story, but just that. SchoolLess will be attending an excellent high school—“artsy,” progressive with a hint (cue to Skeptic doing her happy dance) of rigor, appropriately fostering, and conveniently located. And they were generous with financial aid, causing (the German word for this slips my mind at the moment) immediate and simultaneous feelings of deservement and guilt. It’s a good fit, if not his first choice, perhaps the best. That’s what I mean, my love, when I say look on the bright side.
A recipe for failure: we want our children to be resilient without ever having to face real disappointment or to acknowledge unsurpassable obstacles or limitations. In extremis, that recipe run amok as the duchess’s “lovely light luscious delectable cake,” consider the Park Slope Ice Cream Truck War. Frozen breast milk parfait, anyone?
There will always be something for Skeptic to be anxious about. She will be ever harrowed. If it’s who she is, if it’s who she wants to be, I can accept this. On the other hand, see under: Xanax. All the cool moms are doing it!
Sometimes there are obvious solutions—eat a cracker, ask for help, write sentences—and sometimes not. Don’t look the former in the mouth, don’t let the latter overwhelm, and don’t mistake the two.
I have a surreal soul.
In response to my recent prostrating, Anonymous says, “I try to give myself a break. Do you?” I answer: “Not enough . . . or too much . . . ,” which suggests this sad truth: never a happy medium, damnation at every turn.
Line from a Crosby, Still, Nash and Young song (man, I could listen to Bob Dylan Radio on Pandora all day): “When I was faster I was always behind.” Can’t remember the name of the song or album and, the new me (!), I’m not going to bother looking it up. [Update: the old me couldn’t help himself, looked it up, bought the album, and hasn’t stopped listening to it since.]
Be the beauty and the beholder.
Yes, Jen from Brooklyn was right when she commented: “I laughed at your comparison to Hemingway. I just kept thinking, ‘Of course he’s not Hemingway – he CARES about his family!’” Is it possible that every creative genius who ever lived—my god, even Gandhi, the mahatma of mahatmas—struck a Faustian bargain “sacrificing a rounded personal life for the sake of an all-consuming mission?”
Friends of SchoolLess—kids of relative privilege, for the record—have been giving him more than a bit of all’s-fair-on-the-playground-of-life shit about going to private school. They are not mean, thoughtless, insecure, or jealous at heart—I know them, for one thing; and I’m working at being more of a benefit of the doubt kind of guy, for another—but, nonetheless, SchoolLess, blessed and cursed with acute sensitivity as he is, takes it all too much to his heart.
Solitude matters. I yearn for it.
I forgot to mention that Pi Day was also on my list of occasions when I thought I might, perhaps, maybe, if I could get my ass off the couch and the stars aligned, write a little something. We did, however, thanks to some prodding from SmallerMan, have pie for dessert.
Picasso: “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” And these days that growing up happens younger and younger.
I never promised you a rose garden and here it is.
My favorite flower is the lovely, underappreciated, protean dandelion.
That’s all folks. Done for the day.
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