The World According to Me

The World According to Me is a play on one of my favorite novels, "The World According to Garp," by one of my favorite authors, John Irving. While I am not nearly the writer Irving is, I hope that my musings will offer a unique perspective on life. If nothing else, I have something to look back on when dementia kicks in.

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Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Summer Musings

While I promised more frequent entries during my month off, I have clearly failed in that effort. Do not confuse this inactivity online, however, for a lack of energy in my everyday life. July has been productive insofar as I have accomplished goals I lacked the time to achieve prior to this month. For example, I have completed four jigsaw puzzles, attended the Dada exhibit at the MOMA, and gone to the gym a few times. All of this is in addition to my normal routine -- dishes, moving the car on alternate side parking days, etc.

Mrs. E recently ordered New York Magazine, a weekly periodical. She loved receiving The New Yorker while living in DC, but found she lacked the time to read the dense publication. New York Magazine, however, is more friendly to those who are time sensitive. This morning I read a couple of interesting articles.

The first was about the doctor who attempted (and ultimately succeeded) to commit suicide by blowing up his building on the upper east side. When the story broke a few weeks ago everyone immediately shrunk into panic, fearing another terrorist attack. President Bush disabused us all of this idea within an hour (though a co-worker pointed out that what was scarier than the incident itself was that the president could deny it as an attack so quickly -- I was not as incredulous) and after six days in a coma the man died. The article was a chilling account of this man's sad life. A Romanian immigrant, he seemingly was always mad at the world. Given that his family was shuttled out of their village by Romanian Nazis (and he had only ties to Judaism in his background) and his father was arrested and jailed on multiple occasions by the post-war communist government on spurrious charges, I can understand his resentment. But then he came to America. He arrived and shunned his heritage, unwilling to create ties with the Romanian-American community. His marriage never seemed right and he buried himself in work and isolation. When he and his wife finally divorced many years into a marriage that included two spiteful daughters, he spiraled into depression, causing him to treat his body like a weekend in Tijuana.

Why do I bring this up? My simplistic summary of the article fails to recognize what one can understand from reading it himself or herself. And that is, at every step of his life the man could have turned himself around. No matter how bad life seems (and bad things don't just happen to good people -- they happen to ALL people) there is always somewhere to turn. I am lucky to have a strong support network. But even if I didn't, there are group homes, soup kitchens, psychologists, synagogues, etc.

The other article I read discussed the current (and ongoing) struggle in the middle east. I use the work struggle purposefully. It is a word that somehow has been coerced by Islamic fundamentalists over the years, as if their barbaric attacks on innocent civilians is somehow justified in the name of God. The article expressed the idea that an appropriate phrase to describe the situation on the Israeli-Lebanese border, which merely magnifies the larger Arab-Israeli conflict, would be the title of the movie that Al Gore inspired to make -- An Inconvenient Truth. The author -- Kurt Andersen -- argues that while it's a catchy title to describe global warning, at least that problem can be solved. On the other hand, it seems less likely that governments that are unwilling to even acknowledge another nation's right to exist will somehow partner up and head down a road to peace. Andersen also notes that for those in the Arab world, Israel's existence is an inconvenient truth because its founding (for many people in that region of the world) is illegitimate -- simply a vote by a world organization some sixty years ago. We know that this is not the case, but it's hard to convince hawkish terrorist states of that fact. Newt Gingrich recently called this the beginning of World War III, likening the abduction of young Israeli soldiers to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand that triggered World War I. While I find that rhetoric to be a bit hyperbolic (as most rhetoric is), I am more concerned over the state (pun intended) of Israel than I ever have been.

So these are the thoughts that have crossed my mind today -- in addition to what transactions the Angels can make before next week's trade deadline!