January Scrap

by jkatejohnston

17-18 January 2016

Dear Max,

When I read my 2015 Diary in the first few weeks of the new year, I mostly liked it, but there were a few spots that seemed overstated, and I knew I’d written them that way to make them more blog-able. Writing that tries to reach beyond plain statement is usually less interesting for the reach. I have no problem with plain statement about complicated things, but inflating some event into Meaningfulness just comes out lame. (See The Long Life of Things in November of last year.)

Another thing I don’t like about the blogging atmosphere is all that clamoring for fake attention. The Likes from other bloggers who—judging from their own writing—could not possibly like what I wrote, and if I thought they really did like it, I’d cut my throat. It took me a while to realize that Like really means, Like Me Back. I wish I could figure out how to take away the Like button. Anyway, this year I’m going to write as if my blog doesn’t exist and then figure out later what I can use for the blog, which may not be much.

(I’m also fed up with the blurring between advertising and personal acquaintance, though that’s not limited to the blogosphere. I get emails from people I actually know with self-promoting links their YouTube channel in the signature block. I guess I could Like whatever they want me to Like then email back a bill. Twenty minutes at six hundred dollars an hour. That’s unlikely to be taken well.)

And with that rather sour introduction, here’s some diary:

Last week after the Seahawks beat whoever they beat, I said to Enzo, “The Seahawks better lose next week, or Teresa’s going to run into the street and start lighting cars on fire.” Enzo repeated this to Teresa when we were eating dinner. He brought it out with great relish, as if he’d thought of it himself, which he may have believed he did. (That is, he didn’t present it as mom said…) Teresa confirmed that she would do it, but she was sure she wouldn’t have to. The Panthers were sure to beat the Seahawks next weekend. (Which they just did yesterday. Thank God.)

I don’t think Enzo has ever repeated anything I’ve said. I went into a private glow. Then I remembered that I’d been repeating something Teresa said about herself more than a year ago. Here it is, from January 23 of my 2014 Diary. This must have been right after the Seahawks beat the Niners in the playoffs last year.

Teresa about the 49er’s game: “I wanted to run outside and find a car and smash in the windows with a baseball bat. And then turn it over and light it on fire.” I think she meant a car with Seahawks indicia—but maybe just any car.


Yesterday after swimming Enzo and I went to pick up a pizza, and while we were waiting for it we watched the game on a giant TV and saw the Broncos score and then do a two-point conversion to take a seven point lead over the Steelers with about three minutes left to play. Driving home I said to Enzo, “Mom’s going to be happy. She hates the Steelers.”

“How come she hates them?”

“She doesn’t like their quarterback—Roethlisberger.”

Enzo and I both tried to say Roethlisberger for a while. Then he said, “How come she hates him?”

And my mind flooded with stuff that I didn’t want to talk about: rape—how to define in kid-friendly manner—the ultimate “bad touch”?—fame—no one above the law—false accusations always possible—the presumption of innocence.

I said, “I don’t remember why she hates him so much.”

“She hates the Redskins more.”

“Yeah. But the Steelers are in her top five most hated. Or at least her top ten.”

At home Enzo asked Teresa who she hates more, the Steelers or the Redskins. Teresa said the Redskins.

“But the Steelers are in your top five?”

“Definitely in my top five.” And he didn’t ask her why.