Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Some of the nights when I'm not sleeping I re-read my grandfather's old Hardy Boys books. In my favorite one they have some trouble with some pirates disguised as smugglers. Which seems to be a pretty ridiculous cover--pirates disguised as smugglers disguised as people on boats. I recognize this thinking, in layers of bad ideas like Russian nesting dolls, figuring that it will all work out because enough bad ideas must cancel each other out.

This thinking never works, pirates disguised as smugglers, take it from me. It always gets uncovered by a couple of upstarts with too much money and an unlikely amount of luck.

I don't pretend to know how any of this works, why we treat each other the way that we do, how regard turns to disregard without even sending a memo. Some days it seems like that's all this is, just a series of people treating each other poorly because it never occurs to them to do otherwise. You know? Only uphill everywhere, bad ideas inside bad ideas.

But then in the late nights, when I have exhausted all of my recriminations for both myself and everyone else, I think about how it's 50 years this week since Atticus Finch told us all that courage is knowing you're going to lose even before you start and going ahead anyway. And how maybe all we're each doing right now is the best we can against the worst odds, even if most of the time our best isn't nearly good enough.

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