Tuesday, February 16 2021

leisure, the perfect outfit combination, and dutch rationalization

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to Tuesday. Today, I hope you'll join me in hiding the evidence from an indulgent holiday weekend. Who knew I was such a secret fan of President's day? On Friday I didn't even know about the holiday. Fast forward to Sunday and I'm just absolutely living it up with bottles of wine, late night movies, and even peanut butter right out of the jar before turning in for the night.

This morning, the first order of business was taking care of the crime scene. I stuffed the empty wine bottles into the recycling bin under the sink. I retrieved my empty cognac glass from my bedside table and returned it to the dishwasher. I re-shelved our giant box of goldfish crackers, which we've already eaten down to the crumbs.

This morning, I'm feeling bloated. We made it through a whole loaf of KRANG bread in only two days, and I know for a fact that I finished most of it. My wedding ring feels more snug than usual. My tongue is still coated with the after taste of salt and wine. Coming down the stairs this morning I swear I could hear fish stew still sloshing and gurgling around in my stomach.

Holidays are great, but they have a way of throwing off your sense of balance. I'm looking forward to getting things on track, attacking my work, and catching up on chores.

At least I'm kicking off this week at the top of a laundry cycle. For this cold work Tuesday chock full of meetings, I'm breaking out my secret weapon of remote work comfort: the hoodie and shorts combo.

That's right, folks. The secret to ultimate comfort is a thin pair of athletic shorts and a big, bulky hoodie. This is the outfit of the future. You see, coziness is all about maintaining those temperature gradients. Picture yourself napping under a warm blanket while a cool breeze washes over face. Or perhaps you're huddled around a warm camp fire with a brisk autumn chill on your back. Or you're walking around on a windy beach at night and the water is warmer than the air.

The common denominator in all these is the temperature gradient - the hot side and the cold side. My friends, these athletic shorts and bulky hoody are my personal windy beach. They're my own autumn campfire. Outwardly, I'll be writing code and attending meetings, but inside my soul will be cradled in comfort thanks to this ground-breaking outfit combination.

Mark my words. A hundred years from now, we'll ALL be wearing shorts and hoodies.

Sip. How did your weekend go? We already checked in yesterday evening, so the only part of the Recker family timeline we didn't cover was just typical evening leisure. The last thing our family did after dinner was gathering around the living room TV to watch the Hawks play the Red Wings. The first time we met Detroit this season, we demolished them with ease. The victory left us complacent. We weren't aware that at the time, Detroit was missing a whopping five of their starters from COVID protocol. Yesterday's game was a nail biter. Detroit tied it up in the third, and we had to take them to overtime.

As we watched, Rodney sat on the couch paging through his kids' recipe book. The book jogged my memory of a promise I made to Rodney when he first got it.

"Dude, if you want, you can pick something out from that book, and we'll make it for dinner this week," I said.

Rodney nodded, and quickly flipped forward to a page he was holding with his thumb. "I think this one," he said.

He opened the book to a recipe for "Big Fantastic Bubbles". The ingredients listed food coloring and dish soap.

"Um, I was thinking something to eat," I said. "That just looks like another dang Ryan's World Experiment."

After sending Rodney up to bed, I cleaned up the kitchen from dinner while Marissa painted in the studio. We reconvened at eleven to continue watching our movie pick: Predator.

Marissa picked Predator because we were in the mood for a sci-fi flick. Predator qualifies, but some sci-fi movies made in the 80's look so bad that it doesn't even feel like the movie takes place in the future. The first half of Predator pretty much just looked like Rambo, only with some grainy infrared footage mixed into it. When the predator finally came into view, his futuristic blending technology and glowing yellow eyes looked more like a Windows screen saver from the 90s.

We turned in for the night, taking books up to bed.

"Look at us," laughed Marissa. "We're reading before bed. We must be old now."

I continued on reading about the early Recker family. Being centered around the Great Depression, the chapter was aptly titled "Now Everyone is Poor".

I was surprised to find that the Recker family wasn't as impacted by the success of the roaring twenties and subsequent market crash. Minnie recounts that they heard of the wild parties they would throw out east when the stock market was doing well, but they were barely scraping by anyway. To them, the depression just meant that now everyone was poor.

Still, God provided for the family during the depression. When the economy was still Good, brother Bill dreamt that God was telling him to return to farming. By the time the market crashed, Bill had already moved further south into Indiana and was up and running with a fertile farm. Pete too got back into farming. Their family had plenty of food.

During this time, Minnie was exploring a secret, forbidden love of movies. Not knowing it wet against the reformed church, her Lutheran neighbors invited her to a matinee. Minnie anguished about it, but decided for herself that movies weren't such a big deal. For four whole pages, she laid out her argument for why movies weren't a worldly thing on their own.

"They were just like the novels I used to read, only with moving pictures" she writes. "And what's so bad about moving pictures? As long as they're not depicting anything sinful, what's the harm? They are good novels and bad novels, but novels aren't bad on their own. The same must be true of movies!"

She continues to belabor the point. "What if they made a movie about Jesus? How could that be a bad thing?"

Minnie's explanation was like a master class in Dutch rationalization. Most Dutch people I know have the same knack for coming around to new and even scandalous ideas. It's arguably the foundation of Dutch tolerance.

The weight of her decision wasn't lost, either. This probably would have been a big scandal if she had been caught. The church elders would even make regular house visits to ask "is anyone in the house watching movies or playing cards?" Minnie kept her progressive stance to herself, letting Pete speak for them. "No," Pete replied. "We don't do any of that in this house."

That's what I got today. But before I go, I believe I owe you a chump for the week. This chump of the week is a special historical edition. In the thirties, Pete Zwier got a job as a tennet farmer, where he'd maintain a farm for a Mr. Roney. Even though Pete was more than capable enough to hold things down on his own, Mr. Roney also hired the McConnell family. Pete had Mr. McConnell pegged as a simple man, so he gave him the easy jobs like feeding the horses. One day, Minnie noticed the horses were getting skinny. Pete confronted Mr. McConnell.

"Aren't you feeding the horses?" Pete asked.

"Waa sure am, Mistah Zweeah," said Mr. McConnell.

"How much you feeding them?"

"Don' zactly know, I jes put down some hay till it looks bout 'nough."

The book says Pete had to take over feeding the horses too. And for good reason.

Mr. McConnell, that's no way to feed horses. You don't just go by feel. And even though your crime of half-assed horse feeding took place almost a hundred years ago, I'm dragging up the past all over again to make you my chump of the week.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Have a good Tuesday.