Monday, October 03, 2005

Propaganda

My friends, this week I stumbled across a startling misrepresentation of truth, in fact, a bit of propaganda that had been infused into my and many other children's minds in order to give a redeeming characteristic to over-grown rats, otherwise known as opossums. Countless children's books had shown pictures of and told stories of opossums hanging upside-down by their tails. I innocently believed them. However, the other day, as I was trying to look upset enough so that Larry wouldn't hit one of the charming creatures as it crossed the road, he asked why in the world they ought to be let to live. Attempting to be optimistic, I replied that they were cooler than over-grown rats because they hung upside-down from their tails. "When?" "Well, maybe when they sleep so big hungry carnivors can't get to them." "I think you're wrong; that's just in kids books." "Why would children's authors just make something like that up and be consistent with it?" etc. Well, I looked it up and alas, opossums don't hang by their tails when they sleep or any other time.

So why would this propaganda be permitted? Well, it's probably just another ploy of the sly environmentalists who are concerned that someday opossums will become an endangered species if all the self-appointed pest control officers of the world hit the poor things with their cars. Possums endangered? Not likely . . .

After I got over the crushing weight of the knowledge of being lied to for all these years (clearly I'm over it, as is demonstrated by a worthless blog about the subject), I again tried to redeem the animal in my mind with the only fond, childhood association I have of it. A rather large 'possum used to venture close to our French doors to steal Kitty's food when we were little. It became a game to see how long our little noses could stay pressed against the cool glass pane, barely visible through the curtains, before the rodent noticed our presence and scampered away. So, in so far as the opossum is a specimen of wildlife, which has always been fascinating to me, it has some very small bit of merit--at least enough not to be hit by a car. (The tail thing really would have helped though.)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me

Thank you to all my lovely friends who sent cards, voicemails, etc. to wish me a happy birthday. Ya'll are so sweet. I had an awesome birthday! It began with the guys serenading me outside my window at midnight and Larry again winning the best-boyfriend ever award. ;) Honestly, can you beat a guy climbing a ladder to your windowsill to give you a dozen roses? (Yes ladies, this is where you all sigh...) Then, after a test the next day at school, my girlfriends all kidnapped me for the rest of the evening. They blindfolded me to take me to an Italian restaurant for great food, a couple drinks, and lots of laughter. Then, a bunch of the basement girls from last year corralled me into a room to watch "Lorna Doone" and eat pie and ice cream. My friends are wonderful--I'm absolutely spoiled!

The next day, Larry took me to see the National Symphony play Dvorak at the Kennedy Center. We went with a bunch of our friends. (As always, someone has to get lost or have car trouble or something) Pat's car kicked out several times on 66, but we made it ok and in plenty of time. The concert itself was gorgeous! For the second half of the concert, we got to move down to empty seats in the ground level gallery about 2/3 of the way back (perfect for acoustics). The sound just washed over us and positively swept me away. In front of us was an elderly gentleman who you could tell was a true aficionado. He sat twisted in his seat, straining to catch every nuance and lingering chord. At times, his hand would impulsively conduct the orchestra and his head would bow to the beauty performed before him. So rarely in the modern age does one see the passionate soul overwhelmed in the presence of beauty. I hope and pray that I will never fall pray to the transient spirit that draws the soul to indulge in trivial pleasures and art that amuses only because it is novel or strange and to shy away from the profound, the complex, and the beauty that is worthy of contemplation.