Friday, May 23, 2008


I dodge cyclists. I do this by walking on the extreme edge of the sidewalk. Cyclists have this thing about blazing straight up the middle. I've trained myself to stay way over to the side, to avoid collisions. So far, I've been lucky; no collisions yet.

I dodge goose poop. There are lots and lots of Canada geese here, and their poop is at least as large as that of a mid-sized dog.

I dodge bootlicking. Most of my students seem to have a fair helping of integrity, but there are always a few who think the way to get what they want is to be excessively ingratiating. They don't appreciate how much that gives me the creeps. So, they'll try to find out my viewpoints on various issues, especially political ones, so they can parrot them back to me. I therefore try to be pretty hard to pin down.

I dodge socializing. Both at work and at church I have wonderful friends who frequently invite me to their homes, or to come out and meet them for dinner and fun. But one thing that hasn't changed, and probably won't, is that I'm much more happy in a room by myself with a good book than I am in crowd. Work involves being around people, and so does church, and as long as those are inescapable, I'd just as soon they be nice, interesting, fun people, but I still don't seek out people when I want to enjoy myself; I seek where they aren't.

I dodge stodginess. I don't do what I'm supposed to, what would make sense to other people. I'm an academic, which makes it okay to be eccentric, and I take full advantage of the privilege.

I dodge pain. I make light of too many things. I laugh at what really ought to be addressed. But I'm far from alone. I think it's a culture-wide sickness.

I dodge God. Fortunately, He's quicker.

I dodge androgenic alopecia. I use a Gillette Mach 3.

I dodge popular culture: no TV, few movies. With a breathtaking economy of movement, I simultaneously dodge dementia.

I dodge spiders. Once in a while, one of them catches up to me. He usually doesn't live too much longer.

I dodge easy categorization. When people find out I'm from Texas, they can't believe it. When people find out I'm a Southern Baptist, they can't believe it. And the list goes on.

I dodge raindrops. I find it does little good, but I love a challenge. I even find futility kind of charming.

I dodge sniper fire. I must be good at it, since they haven't hit me yet.

And even if everyone around me converts to Islam, I will not. I will stubbornly dodge the Hajj.

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