A Tinker’s Dam

I truly don’t know how anyone can be bored.  Now that I am retired, I have so many irons in the fire I don’t know how I ever found time to work for a living. 

I spend even more time reading  these days than I did when I worked, and anyone who knows me from my working days knows I always had a book in my hand. I carried them everywhere and managed to read 30 or more non-text books each year.  I read on busses and the Metro, at the lunch table and my desk during lunch. I don’t do movies anymore, I would rather read.

One of my old left-leaning bosses at the Census Bureau (I had a dozen bosses over the years and most leaned left) laughed when she saw me in the food court getting coffee with a book under my arm. 

What are you reading now? she asked.  I held up the book and showed her the title, How to Read and Why by Harold Bloom. 

Another boss suggested the book I was reading on the Great Influenza by John Barry would depress me.

Yes, I read widely and all points of view – consensus and conflict.  I read right wingers (Jonah Goldberg, Ann Coulter) and left-wingers (Paul Krugman, Thomas Friedman). Well, why not?  I read many books by and about Karl Marx while I was in college.

I believe you must read across points of view to really appreciate the big picture. My training was in sociology and sociologists get good Marx.  I also have a work-related political-economic background.

Currently, I am reading Anthony Beevor‘s new book, World War II. Yesterday, I finished the section on the Nazi invasion of Russia and siege of Leningrad, a quite sickening tale, especially where Jews were concerned.

Both Fascists and Communists killed Jews and anyone they considered disloyal (real or imagined) to their cause. Sometimes they killed their own people.  David’s mother, who escaped Russia during the Revolution, told him, “Life wasn’t worth a tinker’s dam, in those days.”

From Wiki: A popular etymology is that tinkers used a small piece of dough or clay, a dam, to stop the flow of solder until it solidified. The dam was single-use, and was thrown away afterwards as useless.

David is in a stew over this election. I told him, it ain’t worth it.  I took a graduate history course on the European Civil War, and everything I read for that course convinces me that it won’t matter who wins the election in the US in 2012. Mercifully we will not face the turmoil Europe faced in the twentieth century. 

No matter who wins the election, about half the electorate will be on the losing side. The truth is, either man will probably govern in about the same way as neither will have a mandate,  we will have the same problems, and a divided Congress.

I am resigning myself to being happy no matter what the outcome in two weeks.  When it comes to politics, the British would say ‘Don’t get your knickers in a twist.’  I agree.

Below, my handsome husband in Salem Massachusetts, 1984



11 thoughts on “A Tinker’s Dam

  1. I am resigning myself to being happy.

    Now there’s a sentence to gladden the heart. I hope Obama wins, practically every sane person in Europe hopes so, but otherwise, we will endeavour not to get our knickers in a twist.

    Reading is a wonderful way to get away from reality, I try to do as much of it as I can. I am retired, after all.


  2. Politics are not big with me right now either. I am determined to keep my focus on counting very real and abundant blessings in my life and working on stroke recovery efforts. That should keep me happily engaged regardless of the election results.


  3. You have a great outlook. But if you ever do wanna be bored, go see the new Kevin James movie Here Comes the Boom. B and I saw it last night. We were looking for a laugh; instead, we just lost two hours of our lives. Can I get them back by not watching the last prez. debate tonite?


  4. I agree with Gigi. That’s a great photo of David. You’re doing a great job with your scanning. I wasn’t sure if you were pessimistic or resigned about the political process. I was getting upset and worried about the election, but perhaps you’re right… Perhaps it won’t be the end of the world if the “other” guy wins.


  5. This is the first time in ages that I have been able to access your blog. Now sure what the problem was exactly. I envy people who go about with their noses in a book. I am the slowest reader in Christendom and need total silence to concentrate.


  6. 1984 is a long time ago. I had already been married only 4 years. That’s a great picture of David in the garden. Amazing that the photo has not faded. I think I’ll bring my Kindle reader to read in the airport, though I prefer to read the computer. Hubby plans to bring his Kindle Fire, so I might be able to read your blog when I don’t have access to the laptop. As for the election, I am not going to make myself sick over it.


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