Thursday, December 21, 2006

Written shortly after the November elections


We are people so blessed, but our blessing’s a curse
For it seals shut our eyes as it fattens our purse.

We celebrate selfishness posing as love.
We lift up each wolf in the clothes of a dove.

We’ve opened our minds (and diluted the truth),
We despise age’s wisdom (we’d rather have youth).

We totter on fences, one foot on each side.
Our pleasure’s our purpose—we’re here for the ride.

We are certainly blessed—we are fat, we are free...

Never has death crept in so silently.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

From the minds of children...

...come some pretty strange ideas.

On my way to work today I saw a car abandoned in the bike lane. Now, it wasn't a particularly huge car--maybe a Corolla or something similar--but the entire thing fit in the bike lane. I don't know how many times I've driven this street. Probably four times a day for over a year, and that's a conservative guess. But never in my life would I have imagined that the bike lane could practically be an extra car lane. It fascinates me still. But the reason I bring this all up is the train of thought that it started. It all goes back to my dad.

My dad is an insanely smart man. He knows bunches about everything, it seems. Often, when you ask him a question involving knowledge (not a when's-dinner-type question), you'd better precede it with "In a yes or no answer..." or you'll be listening for at least 3 months. And knowing my father and his boundless wisdom makes me love this story even more. When he was a wee, tow-headed boy, he was afraid to learn to ride his bike. Not because he was afraid to fail, not because he didn't want to get hurt. No, he was afraid to start riding his bike because he thought the bike lane was the double yellow line that divided the road! It never occured to him that he had never seen a single person cycling in between the yellow lines; somehow, that idea had just fixed itself in his brain and IT WAS TRUE!

Because of the way our minds love tangents, I found myself reminiscing about my own vehicular misconception as a young teenager. Maybe a year before I got my permit, I was riding on the interstate with my mom and she mentioned, off-hand, that one should not stop in the middle of the highway. Perfectly logical. Well, for some reason, that was seared into my brain as "you're not allowed to use your brakes on the highway." For months, I silently fretted over this: "But what if I need to slow down??? Do I just coast to a more reasonable speed? What if traffic doesn't allow me to do that???" I was scared to death about highway driving, and I wasn't even allowed to drive yet. Luckily, this myth was dispelled when I did in fact get my driving permit. And today I proudly apply my brakes on highways across the country.

So this little story got a smile out of me, then jolted me further back in my childhood to my very first memory of a miscommunication. When I lived in England, we had a drawer in the kitchen where all manner of pens lived, including highlighters. There was one highlighter in particular that was extraordinarily bright yellow. It was the first thing you noticed upon opening the drawer. Well, one fateful day, I needed a pen. Naturally, I went for the drawer and, as usual, my gaze went straight to the highlighter. But that day, I saw something I had never read before. WARNING, the highlighter announced. AVOID EYE CONTACT. Of course, what it meant was don't try to use the highlighter on your eyeball, but this was England, remember, and they have a funny way of phrasing things. So, to my young, mostly-American mind, this meant DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, LOOK AT THE HIGHLIGHTER. IT IS BRIGHTER THAN 1000 BLAZING SUNS AND WILL PERMANENTLY SEAR YOUR RETINAS, THUS RENDERING YOU BLIND FOR ALL ETERNITY. MWAHAHAHA. Or something similar to that (not sure if I had a concept of the "evil laugh" at this point). From that day on, every time I opened the pen drawer, I had to search for a pen by feel because I would immediately close my eyes or look away. It made things very difficult, but I was sure that a slight inconvience in pen selection was a whole lot better than being RENDERED BLIND FOR ALL ETERNITY. I honestly could not figure out why they would sell pens that caused instant eye damage, or why my parents would keep it in the house, but of course, I never thought to ask.

Then, last month, I realized my error.

Just kidding. I don't remember when I came around, but it was years ago. But it brings me to another random thought. The programmer who is helping build our website at work has a page of funny fake computer error messages. My favorite:


Indeed. Indeed.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Psalm 33:17

Horsepower is a vain hope for deliverance.
The blackest asphalt, no matter how smooth or how far it stretches, cannot save.
The distance between a memory and me sets nothing right.

Sin, like love, transcends space and time.
Luckily, love is the more persistent of the two.