On March 20, 1925, an Anglican priest named Frederick Lewis Donaldson preached a sermon centering around what he called the “7 Deadly Social Evils.” Through the help of what he called a “fair friend,” Mohandas Gandhi had the opportunity to reprint the list in his weekly newspaper. A few weeks before the Mahatma’s assassination, he gave a handwritten copy of the list to his grandson, Arun Gandhi. It was Arun Gandhi that brought the list to the world, publishing it after his grandfather’s death under the heading “Seven Blunders of the World.”
From a distance, my lawn looks great. Up close, my lawn looks terrible. Both perspectives are unfair, I think. It is self-serving and lazy to imagine that a quick glance from the street is how best to measure the quality of my work. It is self-defeating and depressing to hover over each blade of grass (or weed, or dead spot) and wonder what I did so horribly wrong as to bring on this tragedy.
Perspective makes all the difference. You’re either a hero or a goat, a genius or an idiot. Both perspectives are true, and both are lies.
If you are driven to distraction by the noise people make when they are eating, chewing gum, or just plain breathing, you may have misophonia — which is an actual mental condition, according to the ever-reliable internet.
You also may be a human being.
The distinction between the two seems to be a capacity for toleration.
A school shooting was foiled this week in the Chicago area. A former student crashed a graduation practice and opened fire when a police officer confronted him. The officer returned fire, and the incident was quelled.
“Nobody important was injured in the shooting.” That’s a quote from the article I read, posted on an unapologetically pro-police website.
My retreat from sports has been well documented. I didn’t watch nearly as much football last year as in previous years, and I am sure I will watch even less this year. That’s not a value judgment. This is the value judgment coming up. Brace yourselves.
Alton Brown is one of my favorite television celebrities, back from when I actually watched television. I heard him talk one time about he and his young daughter watching the Mythbusters guys blow things up on their show, after which she turned to him and said, with attitude, “So, what did you do on your show today?” Apparently, “Cutthroat Kitchen” wasn’t quite literal enough for the young lady.