Monday, June 29, 2015

A Weekend List

  • I ran in my first 5k on Saturday.  I'm beginning to see why everyone was all, "Um, you might want to try a shorter race first," when I was training for the Des Moines Half Marathon last year, because being done by 8:30 a.m. was pretty dang awesome.  I also appreciated the lack of crazy nerves- hey, I can do anything for three miles, right?- and the fact that the shorter distance and less stress meant less asthma anxiety.  Plus I got second in the Female 30-39 category, which in my world means all the chocolate milk I want.


  • Derek and I were reunited with the children Saturday morning after they spent most of the week at the grandparents.  I spent the time they were gone doing exciting things like shampooing the carpets and cleaning out filters (washing machine, vacuum, etc- I find cleaning filters to be strangely satisfying) and attacking the bathroom with six consecutive magic erasers.  I'm expecting a certificate in the mail any day now that will state something like "ACHIEVEMENT LEVEL UNLOCKED:  ADULTHOOD."  The rest of the time I was reading and running and gardening because I think we all know what happens if you're all work and no play.  

Let's say you're a professor of Shakespeare at an Indiana university.  You have a busy workload on campus and the pressure of achieving tenure is constantly at the back of your mind.

Do you:

A) Work feverishly to publish something, anything, achieving that tenure and finally finding job security

B)  Make sure to cultivate your interests outside of work so that your brain doesn't melt in your skull and ooze out your ears

C)  Drive many miles each way to volunteer at a prison, offering to teach inmates, many of whom couldn't care less, many of whom are dangerous, all about a guy who wrote a bunch of plays 400 years ago.

If you chose A or B, then congratulations!  I hereby offer you this Certificate of Sanity, to be shown to your spouse/friends/coworkers at appropriate times.  (Oh, you'll know when.)

If you chose C, you can only be Dr. Laura Bates, and I don't understand you.

Now, don't get me wrong:  I enjoyed this book very much- three cheers for librarians who recommend books you wouldn't otherwise even touch!- and I admire the work Dr. Bates has done immensely- but I can't imagine turning to Derek one Friday evening and saying, "You know what?  Let's forget Midsomer Murders tonight and drive to our local friendly SuperMax prison and hang out with convicts.  It'll be SuperFun!"  

Then again, if God sent me a vision that said, "Hey, you!  I know this whole visiting-a-prison thing seems crazy, but not only will you find a group of men there that connect to the works of Shakespeare in a meaningful way, I made this one guy who will provide more insight into Shakespeare's stories than most scholars relying on previously published studies and critiques, and who will use the intensive, multi-year study of Shakespeare to intensely reflect on his own mistakes and decision-making process, and will in turn pour into the lives of the prison population around him, asking them hard questions begging careful introspection that could certainly change lives, the way it changed his.  Oh, and remember that one guy?  Jesus?  [Proof God is smarter than me:  He only had one son, and therefore cannot constantly mix up their names the way I do.  Plus every single other thing He does.]  This is exactly the kind of thing Jesus would do.  GET OFF THE COUCH."  If He did that?  Then I would first:  Examine my own Certificate of Sanity, and second:  Get off the couch, the way Laura Bates did.

All that to say:  You should really read this book.

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