Thursday, October 25, 2007


From the Archives

(August 2005) Well, my last entry was jaded, so why not continue the theme here?

This afternoon’s topic is code writing, as in “special friend” or “buddy” or “most loyal friend” or any number of other phrases that do not, ever ever include the words “dyke” or “fairy” or “sexual being” or “love of my life.”

My pal at Duke U. just sent me the following obit from their local paper and I offer it up as today’s example of code writing.

What concerns me is the love and passion missing from this description. How many nights of unbridled passion did Mary Lee and A.C. share anyway? And why isn't anyone acknowledge it?

MARY LEE DENNIS, 85, died Saturday July 30, 2005, at her home.

She was born March 19, 1920, in Durham, NC a daughter of the late Kenneth and Irene Speed Dennis. Her sister, Edith Clair Dennis Hutchins predeceased her.

Once Mary had her high school diploma proudly in hand, she moved from secretary to relief worker to office manager in the Durham, Raleigh, Spartanburg, Jacksonville, Savannah, and New Orleans offices of Jefferson Standard Life Insurance over her 26 year career. She then worked for three years as Admitting Officer at Watts Hospital in Durham, NC before becoming Administrator of the Lenox Baker Children's Hospital for 11 years. She retired to Myrtle Beach, SC in 1962. Mary will be remembered for her love of the Ocean, her true listening heart, and her wonder and delight in each person she met.

Survivors include: her nephew, Fred Hutchins and his wife, Nan and her niece, Mary Hutchins Harris and her husband, Richard; great-niece, Sky Harris; a great-nephew, Sagan Harris and her most loyal friend, A.C. Glosson.

Sometimes I just don’t understand the complacency that seems so commonplace in our world. At ACT-UP protests, we used to shout “The whole world is watching!” but, you know, the whole world was watching that flimsy argument about the presence of weapons of mass destruction too and it didn’t matter a hill of beans that all those people in those other countries (and some of us in ours) were outraged.

The world seems alternately Machiavellian or just plain mean or greedy or filled with people on autopilot to me right now (and yes, I do recognize that even having the option to move through the world on autopilot indicates that you have more options than most and that you are wealthier than most and that you are also probably American). I listen to Bush’s jingoism and think, well, this is an interesting twist on Betty Friedan; am I living in a world in which we’re ALL tranquilized now and just nodding our heads in suburban agreement?

What does our complacency say about us (Medea asks as Pink Floyd plays in her head)? Are we so overwhelmed that we can’t bear to worry about one more unsolvable thing? Walking around with brains too filled with commitments and worries and obligations to comprehend the enormity of, say, our country’s dwindling economic status or those complicated economic theories or the fact that we're working longer and longer hours for less money—or is THAT why we're on autopilot in the first place?

I mean, who wants to ruin a perfectly good summer afternoon fretting about what will happen to Social Security anyway?

I don’t. But I do.

Sometimes I don’t like my fellow Americans very much. And then it becomes easy to convince myself that we are mostly a bunch of lobotomized drones who don’t care enough about democracy or our role in the world to be politically involved, to be outraged.

I also know that this is not true across the board.

Then someone does something decent and at possible risk to him- or herselves and I believe again that there may be hope for us.

So here’s what made me like human beings better today. After the plane crash in Toronto, survivors wandered onto the highway and drivers scooped them into their cars and drove them to the hospital without waiting for ambulances.

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