Sunday, October 19, 2014

Between Upheaval and the A-B-C

The word, overthrow, just got my attention in the newspaper.  It was never in my vocabulary but in the fevered minds of fear-mongers back in the 50s who stood as sentinels at the gates. They railed against those Commies who advocated the violent overthrow of the government….or so they proclaimed.

My father was a card-carrying one and he couldn’t even overthrow my mother in her noisy unease with the world. I was witness once to devil-grass overthrowing my dichondra lawn. Their victory was celebrated by yellow flags of dandelions. I’ve always had a soft spot for weedy things.

The word popped up in today’s Sports section about a pitcher who overthrows. Translation: he hits 98mph on the Radar gun but has no idea where the ball is going. This is why they have protective screens for folks seated behind home plate. His wildness would send him packing as a menace to the fragility that baseball is.

The operative word is control. Some of us require it more than others. Conservatives have a nose for disorder. It’s as if a smoke alarm goes off when early signs are detected of disarray, dysfunction or dis don’t look familiar. They try to make life tidy. Everything in its place (including people). Gated communities, Law & Order. Documentation. Republicans also have a knack for mischief on their own. Consider the suppression of voters to correct voter-fraud where none exists.

Too bad humanity is messy, random and, to some extent, inexplicable. When we are called to step up into the batter’s box better be prepared for some chin music (high & inside pitch). The hard stuff can come at us from any angle.

I once Googled my name and up came a namesake who famously ran a half-marathon but got lost en route. When he arrived at the finish line from the wrong side, a dozen others were right behind him. He not only upset the order but he gathered a following along the way.

Out of the mud, a lotus but not always. Some mud brings Mussolini’s who got trains to run on time even if they ran into an abyss. Hitler seized power out of the chaos of Wiemar Germany with hyperinflation, unemployment and the weight of reparations.

The divide is seen in parenting as permissive or strict. In gardening the English sprawl (sort of like this blog) stands in contrast to the Italian geometric design.  Even our Founding Fathers had their differences as articulated by Jefferson, who supported the French Revolution and John Adams who warned against the tyranny of the majority.

Artists are said to make order out of chaos. To do so they must be well- acquainted with disorder. They confront and embrace it while the rest of us live in the illusion of a tamed universe. Artists see a collage where we see a rubble. Out of the clash of opposites one either envisions something new or rushes in to re-establish a hierarchy. Enter ISIS. Sharia Law. In time that too will be overthrown when people remember the need to breathe. We meander the wide field between these poles as the pendulum swings.

I’ll have the club sandwich on rye toast instead of sour dough, with extra turkey but hold the bacon and substitute fruit for the fries. Sorry, Bud, no changes allowed on menu items. Don’t make trouble.

And I'd also like a side order of trouble.


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