Happy Birthday Manu
First I bless my beautiful son, born this day 15 years ago. I'm sorry I am not there to celebrate with you. You're so cool. I am privileged that you chose me as your dad. May your spirit and light continue to shine and your smile bring comfort and happiness to those who surround you. May you find that which is the highest and best expression of yourself, and may that carry you to the place that Hashem has set aside for you. You are amazing. And don't you ever let anyone make you think any different.
So I let the time pass from ten minutes to two hours. Now I sleep. I had many thoughts yesterday that I'd like to share, about garbage, and getting old, parenting, fireflies, and you all.
I pushed it to the end before Shabbat, again, but didn't worry too much. Last week it took half an hour to get the minyan. I think I got there like ten minutes late this week, and the minyan walked in just a few minutes later.
Kayla kept it simple the way Sharleen does. I'm like “I don't get why you always make such a large spread.” And she starts listing the stuff she didn't make.
Leon was really sweet. They had an exhausting week and he brought flowers home. It was funny. Earlier in teh day, I'd thought that I didn't recall previously seeing cut flowers there, and wondered if anyone was allergic.
I think I mentioned they got a pool table. Well, tired as I was, I practiced before bed, and on rising. But instead of just shooting randomly, most of the time I was repeating a shot over and over until I got it in. But for all that, I think Leon just has better mapping abilities. He just makes it look so easy, no matter the equipment.
But I think I dwelled the most inside of a Jeff Pulver conversation. I'm connecting that after the fact. He spoke about bringing an experience of awe to the world.
So I woke up in plenty of time to get to synagogue. And I was walking, and there was this bent stainless steel spoon on the road. And it got me thinking how far we've come that such a thing is a throw away item. When my mom was young, steel was something that rusted, and your steel implements had to be dried after use. I still think she has some chicken shears upstairs that fall into this category. In Napoleon's day Aluminum was more expensive than gold. Even though it's like 17% of the earth's core, it doesn' exist out there in it's pure form. It wasn't until they figured out how to refine it electrically that it just became a matter of energy input to create as much of it as we want. So it was pretty wild to think about how far we've come that these rarities, these great advances in science and technology don't even phase us.
And then there was a Reese's wrapper. And I thought of The Music Man, “the cracker barrel being obselete.” This was already a fading memory in my youth. I expect it would probably take a strech of the imagination for most of today's youth to even conjure what a cracker barrel might be. Or to think that it was a big deal for some kids to go with their dad once a week to a soda shop and pay a nickel for an eight ounce coke in a bottle, an experience and a drink that were savored. Today, eight ounces isn't even a size in soda.
But we still live with people for whom one chocolate bar was a treat that was shared amongst the kids, and in Israel, they competed for the big cow in the middle of the Elite bar.
I'm not saying they were better about throwing the wrapper in the garbage then, although I suspect they were just because the rarity made it an at-home thing, not something someone charges up to his parents and doesn't thing about at the local convenience store. I'm glad you guys don't, but it is in the air around you.
And still, it's something to think that obesity is a bigger problem than hunger in much of the world, and that hunger is being wiped out in numbers that noone expected ten or twenty years ago.
And then there was a numbered stub, the claim side for a car or dry cleaning or a coat check, but as it was on the bigger side, probably a car. So these things which are so ordinary to us really represent a level of organization and common enterprise that are quite astounding.
And that's how my morning walk started. And when you start thinking that way, you think about the walls and the streets and the sidewalks and the houses, and for all we complain, or can, there's much more that works than doesn't.
And I didn't pick it up passing it this time. It was Shabbat and all, but eventually it got to me, and I picked it up on my way out in the afternoon.
And I took my stuff for the club, but it didn't feel right to me; so I went to visit my friend Omer at the park, planning to cuntinue on from there to the daily page lesson.
And the park was full of young people and their families. And even with my colored hair, I felt more like I belonged to the grandparent class of people than to this group.
But Omer and I like the way each other think. And his daughter Zoe thinks I'm pretty cool. She climbs the door frame, and I've been trying to get her to snake her way across holding by her hands. It's a big ask, but she's playing along.
And it's a bit lonely, and I feel a little out of place, but everyone is great.
And sometimes I'm really okay, and sometimes it just feels so different. I heard kiddush five times yesterday morning. I go to the early minyan, then we have kiddush, and learn, and then there's the kiddush of the second minyan, and we learn, and then came the third minyan's kiddush, and the crowd was so different. I warmed up to it. I used some of my questions from Thursday, but it was just a different sort of people.
And that is probably what makes the synagogue work. I didn't really pay it any mind, but someone mentioned that the parking lot does fill up. So there really is a space for all stripes. I suppose this was the idea of the Institutional Synagogue as well.
That said, I also thought about standards, and found that I might just be “Proud not to have Pride.” I've been watching Riverdale, and there's just too much sex, and probably way too much violence, and they really push the gay themes. But the other thing about Riverdale is that almost everyone is somehow fighting for his survival. So the sex and the weird relationships are normal, but the rest of life is a struggle.
And I guess that's one of my themes about how life doesn't work for so many. Most people don't take on the challenges. I think this is where Dr. Peterson has a point. People don't look for the struggle that would bring out the best of themselves. Jesus, the archetypical westerner, bore his cross.
I suppose Orthodox Judaism has this built in. There are few I suspect who could keep the Mitzvot in any perfect way, but ours is the struggle to, and perhaps inside that, to find the one or two that we would have define us, the one that would bring us to life.
And I'm preaching again. And I'm sad. I see the pictures of my kids on the fridge, and I wonder where that Yakov has gone that celebrated life so. There's one of Yakov in the back of our old buick, and I'd like to find that energy again, and maybe it's there, and it just expresses itself differently, and I don't tune in so well.
And I guess I'm left with maybe life is a struggle, but maybe it's all just one big joke, or a game, and it doesn't have to be sad. And still I am (sad). And maybe I just haven't found the right game for me yet.
But I have you to read this, and at least that makes me happy, and I've written enough, so I'll come up with a list of ten games I could play that might move me in the right direction:
The make my bed game: It's not that bad, but kind of impossible because I also have piles of papers on the edges consisting of the stuff that I have to deal with, which has three games inside of it:
- file our taxes
- make my periodic HFP filing
- get my legal house in order
- get your legal house in order
- follow up with all the people I've met
which kind of reminds me of a handful of other games:
- file my Value Added Tax game
- the Simpleology game
- 20 kilometers this week game
- the less than a hundred game: I made it down to 226.4 once last week, so we could call this the lose the next 5.8 pounds game, or the eat right game.
- The Make Music Game
- The Shares Game
- The Format Game
And this before the many other games that occur to me every day to make the world a better place: I've been thinking about prisons and Germans not reproducing, and I haven't even gotten to my local pages, or taking care of clients, and gosh knows what else. I guess the big game I should be playing is the “No Game” or the “Delegation Game.”