Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

(Demanding Role)'s Day

The problem with Father's Day (or Mother's Day, or Secretary's Day, or Personal Bodyguard's day if they had one) is that the person is usually being honored for doing a demanding job that, given a moment's peace and rest, they would rather not have to deal with. So, when everyone says, "Let's make Dad feel special" (or Mom, or Nancy, or Guido) they usually do it in a way that requires (you guessed it) more demanding attention from Dad.

The ugly truth is that Mom and Dad really don't want people doing something extraordinary to make them feel special, because extraordinary things are work, even when you are theoretically on the receiving end. Even if you do something relatively low-risk like going out to eat, it still takes time and planning.

What Mom and Dad really want is perfectly ordinary ways to make them special. Usually, "Give me a little peace. Let me just sit here in a comfy chair and read in a quiet house. Let me sleep. Let me have my own way for once." This is known to every mother and father, but is of course unspeakable because it betrays the awful truth that sometimes this role isn't all it's cracked up to be. And when your five-year-old brings you his hand-made, hand-wrapped something-or-other as a token of his love, you know that he doesn't need hear your true desires, which, if voiced, would sound something like, "I love you more than life itself. Now go away."

And, if you think about it, the whole holiday is counter-productive in the whole "punished by rewards" sense. Of course we like to hear from our loved ones that they love and appreciate us. But when the gesture is enforced by a compulsory holiday, it means slightly less. It has shades of King Lear. Do you really think we're doing all this to get an ugly tie and a new crescent wrench?

But, of course, part of being a good person is knowing how to gracefully receive a gift and a compliment. So we smile, we say thank you, we bask in the love we feel and is felt by those around us. Mostly we're just glad that the ordinary days are what are so precious to us.


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