Finding myself in the Middle East

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Man is Just a Man

The Rabbi said something so perfect about my grandfather at his shloshim yesterday. He said that he was of a generation of men who, every day, for 90 years, did what they were supposed to do and did it to the best of their abilities. No fanfare, no dreams of glory, just discipline and hard work and the knowledge that you were using your talents to make the world a better place.

I think that this is best personified in the two degrees that my grandfather held. One in social work, and one in sewology. My grnadfather started camps all over the US, Canada, and Israel. He got a degree in social work to understand group dynamics and to be able to raise the bar for modern orthodox Jewish camps to a degree that had never been seen before but is now the model for camps everywhere. And the sewology degree--well, the sewers in camp backed up. Someone had to take care of them.

I spent the morning cleaning, and I broke down a little, because I spend every morning cleaning, and I guess I have really evil elves because instead of a clean apartment and carefully mended shoes, I have dirty diapers hanging from the lone lightbulb on the ceiling and cottage cheese forming in the bottom of abandoned sippy cups. (I gotta stop filling the little saucers up with milk and switch to Jack Daniels. Maybe that'll help my elf problem.)

And it's all the same and it's always the same, and I clean and make dinner and clean and make breakfast. And clean. And something inside of me this morning woke up and she had bed hair and stubbed her toe or something, because she was angry.

"Enough," she said. "Enough! Diapers! Dishes! Dirt! And other nasty things that start with a "D"!"

"So," I said back, toilet brush in hand. "I should just leave it all and read a book?"

"No!" she shrieked, and threw the toilet brush across the bathroom. (since the bathroom is roughly the size of a refridgerater after you put an elephant inside, it didn't go too far.) "Go do something important! What happened to you, D? Your New York Time's bestseller! Your acting career! Your world famous art! Your changing the world thing! Remember all that? Put down that toilet brush, girl, and untaggle the gnarls in your soul!"

--which I'm not sure the meaning of, exactly, but I guess it does mean that she is not so happy with me. And how I am living my life.

But twenty washed dishes later, I knew that even though I still have to do some animal training on my inner Ambition, and even though it's true, I could be doing things better, I could be making more time for the rest of the world--I am making my own little world a better place for my little family. And the social worker/sewologist that was my grandfather would be proud of me.

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