Saturday, June 27, 2009

Crap. Missed another Hallmark Holiday.

Reading something about Mark Sanford's connection with The Family (an organization which I've noted before), I was reminded of a time long ago, when I was a poster child for Impressionable Youth.

I had just finished The Matarese Circle, which, as you may or may not know, is an old Robert Ludlum thriller. The plot: a lone CIA agent and a beautiful woman, who it turns out is a rogue KGB agent (hard to believe, I know, but there it is), uncover a vast conspiracy (the Matarese Circle, obvs.) that is global in scope, has been in existence for decades, completely hidden from view by the sheeple, and has placed agents EVERYWHERE, up to and including such positions as US Secretary of Defense.

I forget exactly what I said to my father upon reading it -- no doubt it was along the lines of "What if something like this is Really True? It sure would explain a lot!" -- but I have never forgotten his answer: "If all these powerful people are actually controlling the whole world, why isn't it running better?"

On another occasion, he spent most of a weekend visit silently suffering a verbal tic I had picked up from a roommate before finally saying, "There are only two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don't."

He also put the early kibosh on a trip I was taking down a wrong road by saying, "The chances of me winning the lottery are the same independent of my buying a ticket."

And I once heard him put an end to some excessive gushing with his own New Rule: "He can't be your hero if he's younger than you are."

Yeah, maybe not all of these adages were original to him (a few years ago, he quickly corrected me when I attributed the lottery line to him, saying he'd picked it up from Frannie Lebowitz, and I think Robert Benchley was the original bifurcator), but you get props for a well-timed riff, even if you're quoting an earlier master.

To the extent that I have become excessively cynical in the years since, that's on me. But to the extent that I have a membership card in the reality-based community, that's all due to him.

Thanks, Dad. Belated Happy Father's Day.

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