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Hurricane Hitler: Giving Our Best When the World Is At Its Worst

Hurricane Hitler: Giving Our Best When the World Is At Its Worst

The impact of Charlottesville felt like a hurricane. It sucked the breath and the hope right out of us, like the ocean waters in the Bahamas were sucked away from the shore by Irma. The chaos and violence were felt most intensely at ground zero in Virginia, but the winds of racism and fear blew to every corner of our country. Our dreams of progress were felled like giant trees, uprooted in the swirling gusts of disillusionment.

I wonder, then, if our response to storms of human origin could be informed by the way we respond to more natural disasters. Though some people may joke about firing a couple rounds into the wind to release some tension, few people actually and sincerely shake their fists at the sky when a hurricane passes through. Cursing Irma may let off some steam temporarily, but none of us hope to actually accomplish anything restorative by doing so. Yet, when these names belong to people and not to storms, cursing becomes the norm. When evil has a face we feel justified in throwing whatever stones or barbs we can at the perpetrators. I’m not suggesting that we should be silent when evil deeds and motives are present, but there is certainly a point where pointing fingers becomes a useless endeavor and we must look to other means to make things right. 

Walking the Dog: Thoughts on Love, Politics, and Dog Poo

Walking the Dog: Thoughts on Love, Politics, and Dog Poo

I caved in a couple weeks ago. I had (foolishly) promised my daughter last year that, one day, we could maybe possibly think about getting her a little puppy. Elysia is nothing if not persistent; since then she has been asking a few times a month when we will be able to visit the animal shelter. In a moment of paternal weakness, I decided to pick her up from school on my day off and run her by the local shelter. You know, just to look. 

I gave her the lecture as we stepped out the car: "We're not getting a dog today. We're just here to look and to learn." She nodded in full agreement.

Thirty minutes later I was filling out puppy adoption papers. As my daughter stared at me with wide, pleading eyes, I gave her the second lecture: "If you take this puppy home, you have to understand it is your responsibility. You will walk him, feed him, train him, clean up his poop, all of it. Understood?" She nodded in full agreement.

We brought Scotch (as in "Butterscotch," not "On The Rocks") home that evening. Within 48 hours I was cursing the special place in my heart over which my 11-year-old daughter seems to have full control.  The house training, the constant chewing on anything within reach, the yelping whenever Elysia walks out of the room...it's all just a little too much added stress for our family to handle.