7 Late Quick Takes


1. I know it is not Friday, but my sense of time is all messed up thanks to the Thursday holiday. I thought yesterday was Monday. Didn't even realize it til I got a text asking me why I wasn't at a meeting.

2. Took the Weedlets & visiting younger cousins to Monsters' University. Better not to speak of that, but it opens with a short, "Blue Umbrella," which silently tells a saccharine love story between a blue umbrella and a red umbrella. After which Girl Weed leans over and says, "Still a better love story than Twilight." Which was the best line of the afternoon.

3. I have a faddish and over-diagnosed disease! I have been utterly exhausted all year, with a retinue of annoying complaints that I've been attributing to being in my 40s. "Aging sucks" was my self-diagnosis.

A routine blood test just showed what I actually have is a severe vitamin-D deficiency (my # is like the lowest you can have and be alive). I'd read this is epidemic thanks to sunscreen use. You can't eat your way to enough Vitamin D; you must manufacture it from sunlight, and a 30+ sunscreen will block 95% of Vitamin D production.  As I spend enough time in the sun, and only bother with sunscreen on my face, it wouldn't have occurred to me that I'd have a problem. But apparently you lose your ability to absorb Vitamin D from sun as you age (aging sucks!), so I need a prescription super-boost. The good news is there's every chance I will feel better in 6 weeks. The bad news is I have to choose between achy exhaustion & brain fog the rest of my life or skin cancer. (Aging sucks!) But at least I have the same complaint as all the cool kids in the women's magazines.

4. Behind its firewall, WSJ has a lovely essay about summer, and how lame it is in the age of sunscreen. It talks about how parents used to drop their BB-gun-armed kids off at the lake for overnight unsupervised camping and (mostly) no one got hurt, and how at the beach you used to see "skinny people reading fat books but now see fat people with phones," not reading, but chronicling their own activities. The oddest sense of loss comes not from the prose but from a picture of teens at a pool in the 1970s. There's something I haven't seen since I was a kid but which used to be routine at any pool: a high dive. Seeing it, I now recall the summer they all suddenly disappeared, but now they've been gone so long you don't notice. The image filled me with memories of summoning the courage to jump from the high dive for the first time -- the fear, and then the awesome feeling of having conquered the fear. Then I remembered my brother earning a buck from Mom for diving instead of just jumping. Parents used to encourage kids to overcome fears, not give in to all their fears themselves. And kids used to do things for a buck!
Hypercaution has saved lives, but it has diminished life in the bargain.
5. I'm tired of the F-bomb employed for no reason by twerpy little pre-teens. Last night Eldest Weed & I stopped late at 7-11 for this morning's bacon and he said some kid in the store had a t-shirt reading, "F-you." We got to talking about what would bring a person to wear that -- and what would bring a person to manufacture and sell that. I hope I'm not just being prissy. There are moments when a robust anglo-saxonism is the right word for the occasion -- but if you use them all the time, they lose their punch for when you need them and it's so uselessly coarse. That WSJ essay above has an interesting take on this.
Which brings up another significant change: the rise of the wildly popular salutation/exhortation/denunciation/benediction known as the F-word, which not so long ago was the hydrogen bomb of obscenities, used primarily by men in combat, stevedores and golfers. Now it traipses lightly off the tongues of 14-year-olds at the slightest provocation -- should that seagull, for example, hop over and steal a potato chip. Should cell coverage lapse, the oratory might match that of a pirate whose beard had caught a fire.

Many oldsters blame rap music and Hollywood for this loss of a great tradition of selective cursing, but I would point instead to the deeply mundane existence of today's adolescents, nowhere more in evidence than during the long months of summer. Could the F-infestation be, at least in part, an attempt to dramatize lives made dull by design -- a design require mandatory bicycle helmets, risk-free trampolines, pools without diving boards and now an attempt to drop the presumptive drunk-driving alcohol level to 0.05%, which some people can reach with a single glass of wine?
From now on when I hear some 12-year-old mouthing off, instead of thinking her mom isn't teaching her any class, I'm going to think her mom is over-protecting her.

6. The Official Cartoonist of Wheat & Weeds noticed this at our local grocery the other day. This is not in the hoity toity part of town.

It is a little bit hard to remember that millions of Americans are out of work and hurting when we are manufacturing special ice creams for doggie and selling them in middle class neighborhoods.

(To say nothing of the special treats for polar bears being sold right next to them.)

7.  I'll give the last word to Girl Weed. On the 4th at the Fortnight for Freedom closing Mass, there were so many representatives from different orders that we were trying to come up with a joke. Here's hers.
A Franciscan, an Oblate and a Dominican walk into a patriotic celebration of religious liberty....
Something about a Jesuit.
Needs work. But it's still a better love story than Twilight!

See more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.