Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Perfectly Honed Craft

It is a beautiful thing to witness any display of perfectly honed craft. Be it a performance, glass blower, written paragraph or political debate. I don't consider myself a masochist, but perhaps I have a streak, as I watched the entire Republican debate a few weeks ago. I knew I wasn't going to agree with any of these guys on anything, but what really took me aback was what a bumbling, fumbling, sweaty hot mess they were. All of them. None of them seemed to know the first thing about the art of debating and in their chosen field (leaving aside the premise that they did not, in fact choose, but are merely, humbly obedient to divine direction), they should, they really should, it is the art that is foremost in their profession. They are supposed to have clear ideas and ideals and possess the skill to articulate them well and convincingly, with more than a few facts thrown in for good measure. Nope, not happening in front of the big, vertigo inducing airplane. None of these dudes presented as nearly presidential or even potentially commander-in-chiefy. Most, not even quite sane or even average smart.

I, like so many of us have had a long and turbulent history with Hilary Clinton, we love her, we hate her, we respect her, we're sick of her, she's genuine, she's smarmy, cringeworthy, we vacillate. I've been on Team Bernie lately because if i really had to check a box, it would be democratic socialist, I'm a right-handed lefty to the core. I love anything grassroots, I love to see, and it pains me to say this "young people" (as opposed to my current demographic) getting engaged and excited because they really are our great last hope. I am, however, pragmatic, I wanted Bernie to convince me he could run the whole show, that capital city show. I went into last nights debate with an open mind, leaning Sanders, but damn, she killed it, lady killed it and now I'm going girl power all the way to the big white house. I really do want a woman prez in my lifetime, it's time, it's past time and not only that, I now think Hilary is the most qualified for the job because she is capable of learning and honing a skill to perfection and her skill is politics. I know there will be backlash, and I know she'll over do it, people will say that sexism is dead and the glass ceiling a mirage, the same people that say racism is dead because we have a black president. So what, fuck those people, they're idiots and nothing ain't gonna change that.

I  loved that debate, because well, they actually addressed issues other than who around the world we were going to bomb into oblivion first. Which non-people, not actually mothers, father, sisters, brothers, children because they speak a different language we're going to annihilate for the sins of their leaders, as if I want to be taken to task for W's decisions, as if my home isn't sacred. Bernie was great, I love Bernie, I want him to stay vibrant, stay in the public realm, I want him to keep yelling, but Hilary was presidential. Hilary was smart and savvy, prepared, informed, she has worked her ass off to hone her craft and I want to make a big bowl of popcorn and watch her mop the floor with whatever half wit zealot the other side brings to the table.

I remember many, many, too many years ago hearing my first David Sedaris essay on This American Life. Many of you remember that moment and shushing whoever walked in talking. And then months later hearing an essay on Morning Edition and again on This American Life and thinking, this guy is great, I've got to get his book. I remember falling in love with David, the big hearted misanthrope, rooting for him in his teens retold, being touched by his relationship with his mother, his siblings, laughing out loud again and again, being so happy that he found Hugh and over time witnessing the honing of his craft. Reading so many others who followed in his essayist footsteps but were never quite as good, as consistent, as spot on, as authentic, or as funny. We got used to his voice and his vulgar tirades because we love his sweet heart, and admire his craft. I've been going to see him perform live every chance I've had over the past twenty years. I don't go out a lot, but some things I just won't miss, so as soon as I saw he was coming to PPAC I snapped up two tickets. About two weeks before the show I started inviting people: busy, busy, already going, can't make it and I realized my list is kinda short. I've become so reclusive lately I couldn't remember who I could call with such an invitation which was kind of jarring and depressing to be honest. Then someone asked why I wasn't taking J... I don't know I said, sometimes he's vulgar (D, not J), and it was pointed out to me that J's in high school now, he's heard it ALL, and he'd love it. That's right I thought, he'll love it, he always loves the oddball mix of things I take him to and he really is my favorite date. Ten minutes in as he was glaring at me, I realized my mistake. I realized I need grown up friends.

J hadn't had 25 years to fall in love with David Sedaris, to get used to his voice, both literally and figuratively. He hadn't watched him and his craft grow up, he didn't know about his dead mom and that he really doesn't hate everyone. Hate is the only word I can use for my son's new relationship to David Sedaris, he hates him. His perspective made sense, I have to begrudgingly admit, without the backstory, without the long term fan relationship, without having read any books or essays, he's a pompous ass with an annoying voice that thinks he's better than everyone else, and kind of mean. That's not what he is, I don't think, but it's a reasonable perception from my boy's perspective.

And it really was too vulgar, not for him, or for me, but for me sitting next to him, yes, way too vulgar, I'm not that evolved. He wants to see the Book of Mormon, maybe we should sit separately.

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