Meanwhile, back at the pool, things continue swimmingly (ha ha ha). I'm a little bit ahead of my daily count (thanks in no small part to that marathon 2500 meter session) and should hit 10 miles this morning, if I didn't hit it yesterday. And I just signed up for the 2000-meter swim at the end of the month, which will no doubt help if I get behind. So if you were worried about placing a bet on my getting to 24 miles, be soothed. I'll get there. And all funds raised go to Survivors of Torture, International. They're good folks doing a tough job. They could use your happy thoughts, prayers, etc., as well as your cash.
On, then, with today's topic, from Don this time. I think of the Hatfields and the McCoys when this subject comes up, and no, I didn't watch the recent miniseries; I tend to avoid anything that stars Kevin Costner. I have, however, seen a few documentaries on that famous fight, and I think it got way overblown in the media (What? Our media?! Surely you jest!!). As in, without all the national attention, it might have calmed down all by itself and before anyone got killed. A lot of things are like that.
Every family probably has something it fights about. You know, the kind of thing that gets dragged out at holidays after too much eggnog, gets thrown around the room, bruises everybody with a sort of casual efficiency and, having sufficiently rattled tempers, crawls back into the ornament box to await the next holiday. Uncle so-and-so did this. No he didn't, that was Aunt Whoever. You're both wrong, it was the tax collector. If your grandmother had done something, none of this would have happened. This is your side of the family, you realize. And on and on.
For some reason I can't think of anything like that in my family, although there might have been a few things in previous generations. But for my parents' generation, and those of us in our so-called childbearing years (and presumably for the children; I don't have any children, but most of my cousins do), there really doesn't seem to be any one thing. I attribute that to the Lutheran Church. Not for spreading peace in our time and encouraging the quick resolution of disputes, but for instilling an absolute tyranny of Everything's Fine Here, Thank You and How Nice. Hint for non-Lutherans: Memorize those two phrases and you can pass as a native, as long as you remember there's always coffee and bars in the church basement after Sunday services. Old joke: Why don't Lutherans have confession? Because God knows what you did and doesn't want to talk about it. Or much of anything that isn't Fine and Nice.
Every now and then we get a New Employee at the office, and sooner or later that New Employee figures out that I'm gay. I don't run public service announcements. No pics of my wife in my cube, no rainbow stickers on the bookshelves or anything like that. Still, there's always a Moment when the New Guy (or Girl) has to look at me as a gay person for the first time, and there's that "Oh? Oh!" followed by rapid blinking as their entire cerebral cortex shifts around to make room for me in the Gay Box. It's sad, in a way, because if I had to list the top five things that made me what I am today, being gay would probably be number five, if it even made the list. Up top we have being Scandinavian, Lutheran, fat and female. Then, maybe gay. Or maybe a Democrat (in Texas, no less) and then maybe gay. I go back and forth on that last one.
Yes, I'm a Buddhist now, but I was a Lutheran for close on 27 years. That's a long time and a lot of coffee and bars. I don't expect a significant background color in my life to ever just disappear, though if I could get the taste of lutefisk permanently removed from my memory, I'd do it. Hey, isn't there a movie coming out about something like that?
But for this, I am happy: There ain't no room in the Lutheran church for much feudin'. Or if there is, nobody talks about it. We're all fine, here, thank you. Would you like a lemon bar?