|Chicken soup for the soul--and the body|
We all have them, days when nothing goes right. In spite of a positive doctor’s appointment, yesterday was one of those days for me. My hearing aid, newly repaired, wouldn’t hold a charge; my computer didn’t recognize me, and every time I clicked on a link it flipped me to a “Guest” screen from which I could not escape; I was having trouble wrapping my mind around putting a photo log together, and some photos I wanted were held in copyright by what appeared to be a mammoth commercial enterprise rather than the nice academic archives I’m used to dealing with. And Jordan was still sick, suffering from “the flu that I not the flu.”
Today the world looks much brighter. After a long overnight charge, the hearing aid appears to be working fine, and I am hearing a balanced world again, instead of all in my right ear. Makes a difference in phone conversations especially.
This morning I called the IT help desk at TCU and they did their magic thing where they can take over my computer. Knock on wood, I haven’t seen that guest screen since. I’ve begun to figure out the photo log, saved some photos, ordered others—it’s like taking two steps forward and one backward, slow and discouraging but I am gradually moving forward. I called the commercial repository of newspaper photo and talked to a most helpful young woman, so I sent in my request. No answer yet but I am hopeful.
Kind, sweet neighbor Mary was here for happy hour last night and went home and made Jordan chicken soup in her InstaPot, delivered it today, and I think Jordan is already feeling better. Perhaps cheered by the kindness of others.
At any rate, the world looks better to me, and I think there’s a moral there, though I haven’t for sure figured it out. Maybe it has do with patience—if you avoid a tizzy and wait patiently, most things will right themselves. But then again, I am not a believer in passivity—I think you have to nudge things into going right, which I did today with phone calls and some calm, rational (I hope) thinking about the mechanics of a photo log.
Did I really have to this old before I learned about photo logs? An archivist friend says she can’t believe I didn’t work with photo logs during my long years at TCU Press, but I was editing text and wasn’t in production. Authors brought us their photos, and the production person (mostly my good friend Melinda) dealt with them. I do remember though one author who brought us boxes of unlabeled photos with no indication of where in the book they should go. Those were different days, pre-computer I’m pretty sure. The late Jerry Flemmons, a travel writer and essayist of great skill, brought us a box of clippings from which we cobbled a book of essays—the work included keying in the text, because nobody had digital files back then. Computer technology has brought us a long way and made life easier—if you can figure out how to harness it. I’m a medium—fairly literate about computers but woefully under-utilizing them.
I have let my mind wander to the business of the encounter between Covington Catholic School boys and the indigenous people. I have seen clips, read interpretations, and kicked myself for being gullible and not following my instinctive belief that the kids were at fault as well as some of their antagonists—but not Mr. Phillips who was trying in his own way to defuse the situation. Today I watched a clip of Nicholas Sandmann on the TODAY show, and I want to reassure Savannah Guthrie—not that she, a consummate professional, needs my reassurance. But she’s been criticized for being too soft on Sandmann; had she been harsher, she’d have been criticized for bullying a youngster.
My impression was that someone had taken that young man out behind the wood shed and given him a good thrashing—figuratively, of course. Gone was the supercilious smirk, and missing was his red hat and the jocular support of his fellow students. Not that I think his parents had anything to do with this transformation—they simply hired a public relations firm. And I think that’s the answer—the experts coached him carefully, so that he appeared as every mother wants her so to appear—respectful, thoughtful, honest. Racism, he said with a straight face, is not tolerated at his school. Not what I read elsewhere.
I am not for a minute convinced. But I agree with many who have said that if they had been in his situation and responded as he did, they’d have gotten a walloping or been grounded until they were twenty-five. There’s a moral there too—spare the rod and, well you know the rest.