Wednesday, March 10 2021

pajama pants, violent bible stories, and mess theory



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Wednesday. If the work week were like swimming laps, Wednesday morning is a good time to come up for air. We just have to doggy paddle for a few more days before we get to the good part of the week. I kind of butchered that analogy, didn't I? How am I only coming up for air once every lap? And if I'm just doggy paddling, then why am I even holding my breath anyway?

This morning my laundry situation is even more dire than I had feared. I'm down to the last pair of clean underwear and I had to resort to just sporting my lazy Bears pajama pants for the bottom half of my outfit. Nobody on Zoom will be wise to this, since I'm wearing a regular t-shirt, but hitting a busy working Wednesday while dressed like I'm about to spend an entire Saturday playing video games will be interesting, to say the least. Maybe some of our work could benefit from that kind of lazy Saturday morning confidence. I could attend morning stand-up munching on a big bowl of Lucky Charms while playing some Saturday morning cartoons in the background.

It's been too long since I've devoted an entire Saturday to just playing video games with Rodney. You only need maybe two of those days a year, but I really should make that happen.

Sip. So good morning, everyone. How do you feel today? How warm is it in your house? Do you think it's time to turn the AC on yet? The weather has been wonderful, but it's too damn warm in our house. Yesterday, we finally gave in and fired off the air conditioning for just a short burst in the late evening. I've learned that when it comes to temperature, I have a lot in common with the little creatures living in Marissa's fish tank. Just one degree deviation from the norm is apparently enough to agitate me. In fact, if I were a clown fish, right now I'd be pretending to go belly up just to force the issue.

We're all a little like salt water fish. Some fish can tolerate a little fluctuation in temperature, but not me. I'm the kind of fish that only the most experienced and dedicated tank keepers can appease.

I'm still slogging through Genesis, and already I came across a Bible story that I don't remember. To set the scene, Jacob just finished his fourteen year stay with Laben. Things got a little dicey when he first tried to leave, but they smoothed things over, and now Jacob and his wives and his sons are hanging out in Canaan, as instructed by God. That's when the leader of the neighboring Hivite tribe saw one of his daughters, and he was so enraptured with her that he took her by force and defiled her.

Jacob's other sons were pretty upset. But the Hivite leader persisted. He went on and on about how beautiful she was and how good it would be for them to join their tribes through marriage. After Jacob's sons deliberated, they came up with a compromise. They would hand the daughter over in marriage to the Hivites so long as all the Hivite men honored their tradition of circumcision.

They agreed. That night before the marriage, Jacob's sons invaded and slaughtered all the men, which was easy to do since they were all incapacitated from their ceremonial circumcisions.

How brutal! Not surprising, since I think these were the same dudes that threw their youngest brother Joseph into a pit and sold him into slavery.

I'd like to see a Veggie Tales episode trying to tell this story. And not the euphamistic kind of episodes where they say things like island of perpetual tickling instead of death. New idea - just stick to the script and tell the grizzly story with Veggie Tales characters. I bet you could sell the idea to HBO.

I had a philosophy teacher in high school who had this bit he'd like to do. Whenever he read something grizzly or violent in the Bible, he'd drop the book on his lap and say "Now STUDENTS - can't you just imagine the DOUGHY EYED precious moments figurines depicting this story on your dear Grandmother's night stand?"

In other news, we had a great day yesterday. After dinner, we all crashed on the couch to watch the Hawks game. Before the game started, Marissa asked "Are you ready to watch our house fall into immediate disarray?"

She was alluding to a very recent breakthrough we've made in the emerging discipline of Recker home mess theory. For weeks we've puzzled over how our house can go from being spotlessly clean to being overrun with toys in less than a day. Marissa pointed out that hockey nights could be causing the issue. Miles plays on the ground. The dogs wrestle and fling their toys around. And while Rodney's parents are glued to the TV in anticipation, he's eager to take out any and every toy to recapture our attention.

After the game, it's essential to ask Rodney to help with clean-up. After indiscriminately dumping things onto the floor for a whole two hours, we want him to feel at least some of the consequences first hand. But sometimes the mess gets so big that it overwhelms Rodney. He'll clean with distractions.

"Corgi can help me," he says. Then using his stuffed Corgi's arms like a puppet, he'll move a single lego brick all the way across the room. Or sometimes he'll insist on using his plastic Dinosaur grabber or his night vision goggles.

"He just gets overwhelmed and doesn't know where to start," said Marissa empathetically. "I think when we ask him to help, we just have to simplify it. I'm going to start putting him in charge of just moving all the toys to the play corner so we can at least keep the living room clear."

I think "mess theory" could very much be a real thing. It's fascinating watching how messes form, grow, and migrate from room to room. In a very real way, our home is a machine, and just like all machines it is affected by entropy.

That's what I got today - thanks for stopping by today. Have a great Wednesday, everyone.