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This place matters

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What I've Learned

Esquire has this feature where they take famous people and interview them to ask them what they've learned. They present the thing in a bulleted list and title it What I've Learned. Here's an example.
No I'm neither famous nor particularly wise, and this has nothing to do with the central premise of my blog, but I'm also vain and don't care. I'm going to tell you what I've learned, Esquire style.



  • It doesn't matter whether the glass is half-empty or half-full. It matters that I have the good fortune of having enough to drink.
  • Saying you have no regrets is an insult to everyone you've ever hurt. I've hurt a lot of people and I hope I never stop regretting that.
  • When you say that democrats or Unitarians or liberals or feminists are communists, fascists, stupid, man-haters or assholes, you're calling me and the people I love communist, fascist, stupid, man-hating assholes. Whether you intend to or not. If I said the same about Republicans or conservatives or fundamentalists, I'd be deeply insulting many people whom I deeply love. I hate name-calling. It's a sign you can't think of anything valid to say.
  • Cats are therapy, comedy, space-heaters, heating pads, and unconditional love all rolled into one. I don't care if that makes me a crazy cat lady.
  • Thirty years ago last week, Sr. Dorothy Kazel and three other women, Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, and Jean Donovan were raped and murdered by members of El Salvador's military. Their crime was having the audacity to give aid and comfort to oppressed people and to tell them that they had rights. Sr. Dorothy taught at my high school before going to El Salvador, and I saw her picture at the top of the stairs every morning. I think of Sr. Dorothy Kazel every day of my life and hope to hell I will live up to her legacy. 
  • The other day I thought of my friend Ebony who died several years ago and looked at the clock. It was 3 p.m. This was the longest I have gone without thinking of Ebony since she died, and I still feel a little bad about it. I worry I'm a better friend to her in death than I was in life.
  • The lack of a filter between my brain and my mouth has made my life infinitely more interesting. 
  • I'm a cynic who has way too much compassion for her own good. I'm the kind of person who resents the dude who tells you some absurd lie about how his mom died and his car broke and his child just exploded, but then gives him money anyway, just in case. I mean, it would be a total dick move if his baby did just explode and I didn't bother to help him.
  • When I ask you how you're doing, I actually do care how you're doing. 
  • My mom is the prettiest lady I know.  

4 comments:

Bonnie Jacobs said...

What I've Learned

A few months ago I was given a copy of the book This I Believe. This week I borrowed This I Believe II from the library, and learned why "Sticking My Nose in the World's Business" is a good idea. You have been in my blogroll for months now, ever since I discovered you too are a word person, and now I discover you were on NPR and have an essay in a book. Fantastic!

Bonnie Jacobs said...

I've told my readers about This I Believe II. http://bonniesbooks.blogspot.com/2010/12/this-i-believe.html

Brigid Daull Brockway said...

Bonnie - thanks so much! This I Believe was an amazing experience.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

I'm so glad you did it.

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