I posted this selfie on Facebook and right away someone commented on the ego wall in the background. I didn’t think to square the frames and plaques first, and wish I had.
I’m a little obsessive about stuff like that. When there’s a Zoom meeting coming up, I take care to position the camera to center the office bookcase in the background, avoiding the clutter to either side. Even though I love changing header images on my Facebook profile and am always on the lookout for striking artwork or photos to use there, I don’t use fake backgrounds on Zoom calls. I confess, I enjoy looking at the home office details behind guests being interviewed remotely on news shows, and should I ever be interviewed over Zoom or Skype by Rachel Maddow I’d put a lot of thought into what viewers are going to see behind me. I might even straighten up the books on the shelves.
Contractors came to install Donna’s replacement kitchen shelves this morning. I unloaded the adjoining bookcase for them and took Mister B for a walk while they worked. Donna talked them into installing the old shelves in her sewing room, because waste not want not, and she’s a happy camper now. The work is done, the cookbooks back in place, it’s a beautiful day in Tucson, and I’m a happy camper too.
One hates to confess weakness, but until this morning, I struggled with the words etymology, the study of word origins, and entomology, the study of insects, sometimes starting to say or type one when I mean the other, always having to pause to check the dictionary. Well, that’s bullshit and I’ve had enough. Today I resolve to once and for all to master both words.
I’ve won these wars before. Past campaigns include learning and always observing the pedantic but precise meanings of gantlet and gauntlet. Over the years, I’ve committed to memory the correct spellings of misspell, definitely, and cemetery. Once I make the effort, such lessons are engraved for life. I only wish I’d figured that out in high school. I wish everyone had figured this out in high school, because people are, with few exceptions, smarter than they think.
Of course many smart people resolve not to learn, making them effectively not smart. I judge people not on their potential but on what they do, “do” including disdain for facts in favor of tribal resentments and spite. Like those who insist half a million COVID deaths are made up, that those 500,000 would have died anyway from old age or cancer or diabetes or whatever, that the medical deep state stamped COVID on all those death certificates to advance a leftist political agenda. It’s no coincidence that such people confuse words, can’t spell, and fail to master the subtleties of their, there, and they’re.
Are they redeemable? Sure, the potential exists in almost everyone. But 30 to 40% of our fellow citizens stubbornly choose to stay the way they are, to stay in their ignorant bubbles, and just as that makes them effectively not smart, so it makes them effectively unredeemable. They aren’t going to change and we can’t do much about it. I try to follow Einstein’s advice: “Make believe all the time that you are living, so to speak, on Mars among alien creatures and blot out any deeper interest in the actions of those creatures. Make friends with a few animals. Then you will become a cheerful man once more and nothing will be able to trouble you.”
That’s a good thought to end any post with, and so I shall.
© 2021, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.