Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Farewell, Atticus

I had decided not to read Go Set A Watchman because this: there is enough reality in the world and I want to keep my fictional heroes intact. 
If I don't read it, Atticus doesn't have to become too human and that's how I like it.

This evening Miss C and I went to the library to watch a movie that was playing in the community room, Into the Woods.  I love movies at the library.  When the audience is young enough, there are kids yelling at the screen.  Tonight was an older crowd and at the end, people applauded.  It was pretty cute but I didn't understand why.  Because it was a projector. 

On our way out, Miss C picked up a few books and we went to check out.  Our favorite librarian made eyes at a book on the counter that had just been returned.  She leaned conspiratorially toward me, "Do you want it?"  I looked down.  It was Go Set A Watchman, 

"Is it IN!" I grabbed the book.  Apparently I'm ready for the fall of Atticus.  "Is it available?"

"7 day loan," she said.  And checked it out to me. 

Miss C was not understanding the fuss, so the librarian and I started simultaneously explaining the fuss, the first book, the controversy. 
By the time we got home I was still talking about the book and she quietly walked into the living room, picked up a pair of ear buds, turned to me and placed them in her ears.  They were connected to nothing.  Dangling cord but ears stuffed.  Point made. 

I'd fully committed to The Goldfinch for the next 9 years, but I'm taking a detour and bracing myself for the fall of a giant of justice and hoping that at least Scout is intact at the end of this journey. 

Monday, July 6, 2015


USA v Japan: Final - FIFA Women's World Cup 2015
Photo: Ronald Martinez/2015 Getty Images

My dad used to tell these soccer stories about myself, my brothers.  We always were the star player though there was a team of 11 on the field.  We always were kicking arse and taking names. 
We always cleared the ball, scored the goal, or had an assist. 
Occasionally the stories were true.

This is called the side-door brag.  Where someone tells a nice story about you.  And occasionally it is true.

My dad used to tell these stories over and over and we'd go, "Dad, enough already."

Then last night, in a packed pub in Maine, among mostly strangers and one soul-wonderful friend, I looked around at all the men and women who were glued to the big screen.  I looked at the full stadium on the big screen.  And I suddenly felt the urge to tell a story my dad used to tell, which begins and ends in one sentence.  It is actually a fragment:

When I played against Abby Wambach.

The rest of it would go: we always lost/ she always scored a lot of goals/ it always looked effortless/ golly/ we'd assign 4 defenders to her/we still always lost

My friend had introduced me to the term "back-door brag," a casual mention of something you want people to know buried in an unnecessary context.

Also to the term "Irish-goodbye," where one gets up from a social gathering, says they are going to use the bathroom, get a drink, be right back, and never returns.

And I have determined that this is neither back door nor side door brag.  It is a front door acknowledgement of wonder:  my team got occasionally killed by her team and how cool is that?

I'm going to get a drink now.  I'll be right back.