Tuesday, February 22, 2011


The email box greeted me this morning with: 1. A bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed rendition of how fucked up the world is and how sheep-like the rest of us are; 2. A short link telling me about the open-armed benevolence of Allah; and 3. A promotion for a book that exposes the machinations of cults that promise they are not cults and then suck the life out of people's lives.

I could see/hear the points, was sympathetic to the people who sent them and yet had a hard time getting my knickers in a twist. I know, I know ... it's vastly important, whatever it is. I can't fault that but that doesn't mean I can't wish someone had sent me a good dirty joke or a description of some whirligig that had zero practical application and yet was fascinating or a picture of something, somewhere or a piece of music.

Something bright and shiny.

When I was young, my father told me the most difficult tongue-twister he knew:

The Leith police
Dismisseth us.

A tongue-twister won't solve the foolishness and sorrow and it won't answer anything, but it does offer one small practice. For the smallest amount of time, it is bright and new. And then, like all practices, it segues into the damnable fine print -- the difficulty of practicing this one small practice. And having mastered this one small practice, what have you accomplished? If the practice is any good, you haven't accomplished anything at all ... except perhaps a smile. All that effort, all that time, all those frustrated tears for a smile you smiled without any difficulty in the first place.

Yesterday, I looked up the local Quaker meeting schedule. I looked it up because a woman on Saturday's peace picket line told me she was a Quaker and, more compelling to me, she had a wonderful smile. Maybe I will give it a whirl, go to a meeting and see what it's like. I'm too old to be a "Buddhist" or a "Quaker," but I'm not too old to smile. Maybe if I practice ...


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