My glasses! My glasses! I can't see without my glasses!

Category: Dad Stuff

American Girl

Somewhere in the far future, an archaeologist (perhaps of an alien species, perhaps some advanced Terran lifeform), will be examining the contents of a midden from what we now call the 21st century. Sifting through the dirt and potsherds, amongst the pieces of glass and immortal plastic, will be several articles of clothing. The future archaeologist will examine these articles of clothing and determine that they were for a well-to-do individual, probably a child or adolescent, but too small compared to the average size for humans of that era. After much thought they might conclude that perhaps due to some virus there was a sub-population of humans living at one fifth the scale of other humans of that time.

Of course what we know – and the archaeologist doesn’t – is that these clothes were not intended for humans, but instead were for American Girl dolls. Those ubiquitous, and surprisingly expensive, toys feel like they’re increasing at a rate that in no timewill ensure they will appear to be the dominant life-form to future observers. And if not in their actual numbers, then in the sheer weight of belongings they will leave behind. Specifically the sheer weight of belongings they have left all around my house.

Grinding My Teeth: Expert Opinions

(Disclaimer: This post came to me from a dream last night, but I think it might actually make some sense.)

I grind my teeth.

This is quite inconvenient, and has come up relatively recently in my life, increasing in incidence after I had a child. After all isn’t this what dad’s do? Worry to distraction and keep it all inside? After all it’s what my dad did.

That’s right! My own Dad grinds his teeth, and has for years. He’s mostly easy going, to the point of almost downright carelessness, so when I first noticed the tooth grinding it was a surprise to me. I remember it most clearly from my 20’s, when I would visit the family home from graduate school. Dad would be sitting and reading in his chair, jaw working away at some problem. In fact, as I think of it, I also recall it from my teens! I feel bad, now, for not asking to him about it, but then that is the lot of fathers I suppose.

I suspect that a lot of it came from work at the time. Dad was working in the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs during my teens, mostly after the coup which resulted in a military government, which ended up driven by a fundamentalist, kleptocratic Islamist party (go here for a little more info). This government differed from previous ones in that it initially sidelined all the career civil servants, and then began packing ministries with its own (unqualified and corrupt) operatives. In this environment my father stuck around and tried to do what any career civil servant would do: to serve the interests of the nation and it’s people as best he could. To that end he continued to file reports, advise and speak – but no one listened, and occasionally they would do the exact opposite, to the detriment of the Sudanese people. This Sisyphean task took its toll and, eventually, he left the service of his country. While life afterward was frustrating, it was not as bad as it had been, to some extent because he was not watching his colleagues being purged, and not being ignored.

I feel like this parallel well with the current state of affairs in the US response to the corona virus pandemic. Dr Fauci of NAID is emblematic of what many other civil servants and experts of various kinds are going through. They are being ignored at best, and being discredited at worst. Character assassination, if not actual threats of death, are being used to attempt to silence them and bury the inconvenient truths they are speaking. These people are civil servants or scientists who have, by and large, eschewed the material rewards of the private sector to do something for the common good. What’s most concerning about this is that it implies that many of their fellow citizens do not believe in this common good, or that anyone would work towards it. Or worse, they may not care about the common good at all, inasmuch as it might require them to do anything whatsoever. Paradoxically, these people equate not caring about the whole with being somehow patriotic or superior to everyone else. How does this track? While Americans in the 30’s and 40’s made their sacrifices for what the common good seemed to be at the time, Americans now seem to believe that only the most symbolic of gestures are sufficient – and even those should be done by “someone else” (cf. unnecessary flyovers by military craft to thank first responders who would have rather had access to better PPE, a coherent national strategy and, perhaps, that erstwhile patriots actually use masks and engage in social distancing).

Time Dilation

In quarantine, time seems to travel more quickly and more slowly by every measure. The minutes slow to a crawl, the hours leap wildly back and forth, and the days slip by as your beard grows out of control. This time dilation effect seems to be getting more pronounced the longer we’re under lockdown. It has made Ramadan this year more difficult, along with the removal of the social aspects which made it more bearable.

Additionally, the timey-wimey stuff is really wreaking havoc on my patience. As I spend the same/more/who knows time teaching kindergarten, I am running out of stamina. Who can keep this going indefinitely? Even teachers get the summer off, but the concept of “summer” (or “off” for that matter) seem so alien at this point that it’s got me spiraling.

So where does it all end? Is there such a thing as an end? Stay tuned, and I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Dad’s special day

It’s my birthday and I’m happily confined to my bedroom. I know! I am also surprised! I am laying in bed listening to music, nodding off occasionally. This is bliss. I was allowed to sleep in, I got a fun little home made hat, and lots of kisses.

It reminds me of an old bit from Bill Cosby, Himself (with deep apologies considering the revelations about his behavior). It starts with him making breakfast for his kids, and ends with him being sent to his room, which is where he wanted to be in the first place. Now that makes so much more sense!

I need to apologize to my Dad for all the times I gave him a hard time for his Sunday nod off. Dad, you were right.