Apparently, I don't read books. I eat them. Went to the library yesterday; took out 6. So many I could barely carry them. Put down the first one, a "7 Habits" book, because it seemed to be delivering a message I didn't want to hear. There's too much "What really matters isn't your work, it's your family!" Oh, yeah? Well, work pays the bills and "spending time with family" doesn't. Just another variation on "get over yourself." If you go to work and concentrate on the job they're paying you to do, and do it well, you'll get more money, and have more personal power and more options in life. Personal power and options don't fall down out of the sky, unless you're the child of a rich person (and I'm not). You have do DO THE WORK, and quit bitching about not having enough time to walk through the woods with your family and smell the roses.
The next one was a Dave Barry. Great quote: "However many gajillions of dollars the Federal government costs, we get it all back, and more, in the form of quality entertainment." Excellent. The book rocked. Barry is one of the funniest writers alive.
Then, a book about cults out west that practice polygamy. Very, very interesting book. Fascinating what kind of shit goes on in this outwardly sane nation of ours!
A quick skim through a book about teenage parents, but it was too pictorial. I got the message after the first couple of chapters. The photos were depressing. But -- there was one very interesting insight to be gained from it. The boys were talking about the girls, and how SO MANY of them want to become mothers so early, like age 12, or even 10! Many of them really do use the guys as sperm donors, and THEIR mothers (teenage moms themselves) encourage this. Many of the guys really want to be active in their kids' lives. They want to be the fathers they never had. But the girls push them away once they become pregnant. They're in such bliss during the nine months before the birth. Then when the baby's born and reality sets in, they want the guys for money, but not for their presence. The girl and her mother set up a triangle, making the guy the lowest point, belittling him, making dire predictions that he's going to end up in jail, etc. This, in some cases, is what drives the guys away. But of course, there's the more standard-cliche situation, in which the guy turns his back on the girl after he "gets what he wants."
There's a subtext here, among these low-income kids: Being a parent validates you. The girls see no future for themselves, so they have a child to show that they're grown up and have some value. The guys seek to get girls pregnant to prove their masculinity.
How sad, sad, sad, and how blessed I've been to have escaped that. Whatever shortcomings my parents had, they both instilled a strong value for being independent and productive outside the box of having babies. It would have been nice to have been a little younger when my child was born, and to have had the option of having maybe one more, but all things considered, my life stayed on a good path.
Now I'm settling down with the novel. Yet another South Florida noir type thing...guess I'm subconsciously wanting to be down there frolicking with the flamingoes.
Sunday, January 18, 2004