Thursday, February 14, 2008


There is an old Persian tale about a man whose wisdom was tested by Allah. He was told to cook the best meal in the world and the worst. For the best meal he chose tongue, delicately seasoned. Because from the tongue, from speech, came all truth, all praise, all teaching... everything that was extraordinary in the world comes from the ability to communicate.

For the worst meal, of course, he also prepared tongue- decomposed and rotting, half burned and half slimy. Because evil requires deceit and that too, comes from speech.

A few decades ago, for one of those cheesy psych test I was asked my favorite animal. Without hinking I answered,"Humans." Humans are also my least favorite. At their best, humans embody everything that is nobility. The human capacity for heroism, for self-sacrifice, for doing the right thing at great personal cost is humbling. Conversely, the human penchant for betrayal, for sadism, for deceit also seems to be without limits.

So I love people and I hate them. It's not a halfway thing- or maybe it is: When I don't think about them, I'm pretty neutral about people- about the human race and its existance. But when I do think about them, when I observe humans as they live and act and interact I am usually blown away by the miracle of humanity. Or disgusted by creatures who can be given the triple gift of life, reason and will and use it only to hurt and use others for their own benefits.

Sitting in a restaurant/bar today (small town, Valentines day) I watched a bartender and a waitress working like machines. They were dealing with drinks and food, seating. The waitress was new and had a cheat sheet to figure out the table codes. They were running their asses off. I've watched higher paid people with 'higher status' jobs who would grumble, whine or simply refuse to put out a quarter of the effort these two did. And these two women did it with good cheer and wicked humor. It was a pleasure to watch.


Drew Rinella said...

I'm hinking that I can't find hinking in the dictionary :P

Anonymous said...

You should see how many spelling errors my adviser makes in his e-mails to me. Or the mutual error we made in the title of our publication to be seen by the world. Out of all of the blog entries or forum posts that I've seen by this guy, he's made exactly one spelling mistake.


Drew Rinella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kai Jones said...

I love it when you write something that lets me take my hobby horse out for a trot around the pasture.