Archive for November 4th, 2021

I once wrote an essay about the mysteries of character. It involved someone I knew as a child, Dr. Raymond La Scola, who plummeted in a long, hard fall, and with my difficulty in reconciling the kind man I’d known with the man he became. His fall involved some notoriety and salacious bits so I occasionally hear from people who also knew him. People do periodic searches for him—which means, I guess, that I’m not the only person who is haunted, in a way, by Dr. La Scola. If you want to read those comments, both a mixture of positive and not at all positive, they can be found here.

Another one showed up yesterday and whenever one of these pops up it has me meditating all over again about the fragile fabric of memory and the frayed fabric of human character. I’ve lived long enough to know that nothing is black and white; there are far more than 50 shades of gray; that even the darkest of souls may show brief flashes of light; that no light is ever without specks of dark. But the mechanism controlling this remains the deepest mystery.

I also know that if we look deep enough, and with enough truth, into our own hearts and souls we will see the ragged ends of our stitchery. None of us are composed of wholecloth. We are a patchwork of influences and neuroses, beliefs and prejudices, of imagination and reality. Whatever the hell reality is supposed to be. We are shells containing the many ghosts of our selves.

And some of us have very leaky shells indeed.

Which is not to say we can’t work on ourselves, reinforce the stitching where needed, put brightly colored patches on to fill the gaps. But there will always be more gaps and more frays and more need to look deep to find them and do the necessary work. That is the mission of our lives. Not everyone is willing to take up this calling, not everyone even recognizes that the work must be done. Many are content to just buffer the shell and hope it fools enough people. Mostly themselves.

And that’s all I’ve got today. Time to get back to work.

Random quote of the day:

“The work of anti-racism can only take place inside each individual soul, where we all try to grow into better people. There is no national tonic or instant cure.”

—Joy Reid, Think: Opinion, Analysis, Essays, May 29, 2018

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Desus and Mero, Beyoncé, or the Marine Corps Marching Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.