February 28th, 2014 by Toby T
I go through my days analyzing things around me. Most especially I spend time analyzing the behaviors of people, people in general and also in particular the people immediately around me. Lately I’ve been paying attention to the way people walk. Not to how they move their legs, how they work their joints, but to the paths that they follow. People have a strong tendency to wander around as they ambulate along a sidewalk. They drift to and fro. They find a comfortable distance from the nearest wall or obstacle. but they don’t hold that distance fixed. It’s actually quite annoying when they’re walking slower than I am and casually meandering in such a way that I can’t figure out on which side of them there will be enough room to pass.
I realize that I’m not immune from some of the same random movement to my own path, but I am working on it, I am making an effort to walk in a straight line and to not position myself just far enough from a wall so as to make it impossible for someone to pass between me and the wall but still taking up as much of the sidewalk away from the wall as possible.
Today I had a woman walking in front of me and pretty much right on cue, as I started to move forward to pass her she angled to the left, moving away from the street and cutting me off. There was no one in front of her, no obvious obstacle, no reason for such a deliberate maneuver; but when I moved around and to her right I was able to see that there were a couple of shallow puddles left over from the morning’s rain and clearly she had moved to avoid stepping in those. It was one of those all too rare moments in my analyzations when there was an actual answer, one that was essentially definitive.
God says I’ve now moved from overthinking things to overthinking my overthinking. And I don’t think she meant it as a compliment.
February 21st, 2014 by Toby T
I asked God what he thought about the mayor of Sochi claiming that there were no gay people in his town. He reminded me that on an episode of Soap, back in the late seventies, one of the characters said they didn’t have any “homos” in Texas, with complete sincerity. God went on to tell me that it was funny when it was fiction and still early in the struggle for Gay rights, but that these days it was more sad than anything.
February 14th, 2014 by Toby T
It’s St. Valentine’s Day. Today we celebrate love and promote it with pictures of Cupid, looking for all the world like a chubby little baby, who goes out shooting people with magic arrows to make them fall in love. Now I don’t really know Cupid’s motivations, but I’m willing to do some second guessing here. I think maybe he didn’t really have all that good of a childhood so he figures that maybe one of those newly-in-love couples that he puts together will look at him and think “What a cute little baby, let’s adopt him!” and he’ll get to do it all over again and get it right this time.
Then again, maybe he did have a good childhood, even a great one, even more than one great one, and he just keeps getting adopted and living out his dream, over and over again. It might not be a bad way to spend eternity.
February 7th, 2014 by Toby T
I asked God if he enjoyed the Superbowl last weekend and he sort of groaned at me. He then explained that before the game he’s got millions of fans pestering him to make their team come out on top and then after the game he’s inundated with blame from the fans of the losers and mostly ignored by the fans of the winners. So I asked him why he doesn’t do something to make the game less popular or find some other way to get people to leave him out of it. He said he considered that but then he figured it was actually kind of nice to have one Sunday a year when something drowned out the noise of people praying in church.
January 31st, 2014 by Toby T
It’s Superbowl weekend. I changed my yearly trip to Disneyland back to the last weekend in January so for the first time in years I’m not busy during the Superbowl. But I’m still not going to watch it, not even for the commercials. I asked God if this makes me anti-American or just anti-capitalism but she didn’t take the bait.
She pointed out to me that even though in some years the Superbowl is the single most watched event on television, still less than a third of Americans watch it. So that actually puts me in the majority.
I always have mixed feelings about being in the majority.
There’s a strong part of me that wants to be unique, but there’s also a strong part of me that’s happy to be part of a tribe. I’m not so much of a joiner that I would change myself to be part of a group, but I’m always happy to find a group that I can identify with without having to change myself. So, fellow non-watchers of the Superbowl… hi.
January 24th, 2014 by Toby T
God and I were discussing language and its power to define and its power to offend. He made me realize that those two things both come from the same source, they come from an agreement between people. Words mean what they mean because we have agreed to assign that meaning to a particular group of sounds, to a particular group of letters. And the words that offend, not by their meaning but by their, I don’t know, essence, the words that we bleep out on TV or obfuscate with asterisks in “polite” publications, they are offensive not by some inherent characteristic of their pronunciation or of their existence, but because we have agreed that they will be considered offensive.
So the obscenity is in the mind. This got me wondering what words might I want deemed obscenities, not out of arbitrary need to have some new swear word, but instead because of the character of its meaning. Sure there are obvious suspects, things like “genocide” but I wanted something less clear cut, something that not everybody would agree with.
Having thought about it for awhile, I’m not sure that I can come up with any word more obscene than “worship.” “Worship” takes its object out of the realm of critical thought. It goes beyond even mere “faith” for its irrationality. God says he doesn’t need to be worshipped, that despite what it says in the Old Testament, he’s actually got pretty good self-esteem with or without us cheering him on. And if God doesn’t need it surely nothing else does. So how about it?
January 17th, 2014 by Toby T
I saw a post online this week that was complaining that it’s now less than a year until the midterm elections here in the U.S. and no one is talking about them. The post lamented that the electorate was not engaged and espoused that the stakes are high and the outcome would be important.
I was horrified and it took God a good half hour to calm me down. I’ve been complaining for years now that we start our electioneering way too early. By the time most of our elections actually happen I’m burned out, scandaled out, and in general feeling that a third of the country is ignorant, insane, or both.
So to all of you out there that aren’t talking about the next election… Keep up the good work. You’ll have plenty of time to get informed about the candidates and the issues later in the year. Much later. God promises.