Doug Bruns

Thursday Theme day is Postponed.

In Life, Memoir, The Examined Life on February 7, 2013 at 6:00 am

It is Thursday and “theme day” here at “…the house….” I have a topic–the examined life. The post is written, but cracky dry. If it were to have texture I’d propose sandpaper, grade: fine. It’s an important topic, perhaps the most important topic, but I’m not in the mood to get all philosophical and academic today. I trust you understand. If you wish to file a complaint, so be it. You know where the office is. Regardless, Thursday Theme day is officially postponed.

It’s not as if something came along to recast my imagination, to de-rail theme day. I have no excuse, especially with the heavy lifting completed. I’ll lay it on you soon enough, maybe next Thursday, if that day finds me less cantankerous. Simply put, I think being cantankerous is a thing to run with when it hits you, especially if it hits on a day you feel a compulsion to break the rules–which is being coy, really, since the only rules here are the ones I’ve created. Yes, that would be, if not a degree of coyness, then disingenuousness.

And speaking of: Disingenuous–it is word I used to like. (See yesterday’s post for another favored word.) It is a word I tossed accusingly at a person when I was feeling aggressive and lacking in grace, a verbal grenade lobbed over the barricade. I did this once to a young man, branding him as disingenuous, and sadly he didn’t know what the word meant, and, though I did not ridicule him, I made him feel less about himself in a way that brought him close to tears. I look back at this incident and place it solidly in the category of being a jerk, a complete and utter asshole. It brings me no pleasure to think I behaved this way. I was a man competing in the world of business, a combatant, and unfortunately that world occasionally solicited a side of me that I now, upon reflection, find troubling. As I said, it’s a word I used to like.

That is the way of life, isn’t it? Trying on different clothes, going for a new look, you stand in front of the mirror, studying, preening. You turn to the side, trim and expectant, taking high measure of your appearance, only to realize later what the fool you must have looked, what a jerk you were. Yes, Lordy, grant me basic grace.

I’ve given myself free rein here (today is different from any other day how?) and could ramble like this too long but for my temperance with respect to your patience. I’ve already violated my unspoken (unconscious?) rule–yet more rules!–related to transgression and propriety and even the hoped for trust between reader and writer. If this were theater we would consider the forth-wall penetrated. So be it, I stand satisfyingly rambled. A high degree of the cantankerous has been exercised. Too, a bit of examined life revealed. Perhaps we didn’t stray that far from the syllabus, after all.

Thanks for reading–and indulging me. You are most gracious and for that I am grateful.


  1. I don’t think anyone who reads the House regularly expected theme day Thursday to last more than two weeks straight. Themes and ideas to schedule themes are inherently unnatural and tacky; theme-parks, weekly television shows, casual-dress Friday’s, etc, and a Theme Thursday didn’t seem to fit, for me anyway in the House.

  2. Looks like the closest thing to a theme today is favored words. While driving together recently, my spouse and I exchanged small talk on, “what is your favorite word?”

    My favorite was: equipoise*, which for me conjures up an image of grace and balance.
    My spouse’s was: cluster-fuck.
    Can this marriage be saved?

    *After a google-search of the word, I see “equipoise” is most popular now as the name of a type of steroid. So much for favored status.

    • Beside the koan you present–“Can this marriage be saved?”–I am encouraged by the process you describe: car, highway, blur of trees, and the marital Hegelian dialectic you describe (“…the process of change in which a concept or its realization passes over into and is preserved and fulfilled by its opposite.”); though cluster-fuck is properly hyphenation, not a word. We’ll give your spouse a pass on that, not wanted him to shorten his favorite “word”, even if cluster and or fuck would probably work his magic. (And, by the way, Hegel’s last words were recorded as, “No one understood me.”) I’m sure he must have some appropriate comment on that…
      Thanks for the spice of your footnote.

I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading.

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