Daily Archives: May 22, 2006


A comment from CPC to the Worlds Collide post:

[S]peaking as an observer who goes neither to church or to strip clubs, this posting helps to put your life into perspective. To me, your life seems to swing a bit like a big pendulum; there’s the meat phase, then the vegetarian phase; the heavy drinking phase then the more sober phase, the stripper phase, then the renewed Catholicism phase, and other phases that I’m sure that I’ve missed. Each seems like a correction — overcorrection? of the former. You’re certainly not the only one. Several of my wilder friends have turned to the church now, particularly those with kids. I guess I’ve taken a different tack; if one believes in moderation is all things (maybe except for root beer) the big swing, the big correction, is not needed. So, observing you fondly as I have all these years, I have to wonder, is the religious fascination a permanent thing, or another temporary swing of the pendulum? I have to wonder if a correction of the correction is in your future. Where will the pendulum rest?

Ouch. I am stunned when I read this. I try to think that it’s not true. But it is true, isn’t it?

But I suppose I never really like to do anything halfway. (Trust me, I’ve had to do a lot of things half-assed, but I never like doing things that way.) So, consequently, when I go about something, anything, I like to just dive right it. Perhaps I don’t recognize at the time that I’m doing so, or even much notice if I later decide to do something ostensibly opposite. Apparently it’s just what I do. Takes a good friend to point these things out sometimes.

But then I also like to think that I’m not just this way or that way, then or now, but that I’m all of these things all at once. I’m the sum total of all these things that I’ve been over time, becoming me now.

I’m a vegetarian, generally, by choice. Or I am at home anyway where my wife is strictly veggie. But I’ll eat meat if you put it in front of me, which kinda makes me not a vegetarian, even though I’ll feel guilty about eating the cute little animals. So I’m a non-vegetarian vegetarian.

I’m a sober guy, too. I’ve been to a couple of work happy hours, and seen the kids downing beers and doing shots, but none of that for me thanks. But I drink wine with dinner, and I have a beer about three o’clock on weekend afternoons. I even like to get drunk sometimes. I’m a sober drinker.

I’m a Catholic, but I still admire the strippers. Well, I don’t like literally admire them, as in to the point of actually going to see them. But I’ve also got nothing against them either. Heck, they’re just naked and we’re all born naked, in God’s image even. But strip clubs are just too smoky, now that I don’t smoke, and I’ve got no money to spend on strippers nowadays, what with the house and all. So, okay, I don’t truly have like much actual desire to hang out with strippers anymore, really. But, dammit, strippers are still just plain cool.

So, therefore, I’m sorry but I’m just not going to be able to quite fully accept the penduluum analogy. It’s close, but not exactly right.

However, CPC also uses the term tack, which gets me to thinking, maybe he’s on to something. Tack is a sailing term, a noun describing the position of the bow of a boat with respect to the wind. (I’m reading Horatio books, so I’ve got sailing on the brain.) He says that he’s taken a different tack in life, one of moderation. And I admire that. I totally do.

But in sailing terms, however, there’s also the verb form, tacking, which describes bringing the bow through the eye of the wind. It’s a way of sailing into the wind, of sailing upwind. So, there, exactly, I think, that’s what it is. I’ve always just had to necessarily go tacking like this, like I have, from one side to the other, because I’ve always been sailing to that point upwind, where I need to go.

That’s what I’ve been doing. Not swinging like a penduluum. I’ve been tacking.