Friday, February 25, 2011

If I Had a Hammer

I told you I might have a non-linear week.  On Thursday, I wrote about Jorie Graham, making it Poetry Someday, and on Friday, today, it's Thor's Day.  Thursday really is named for Thor, the Norse god of thunder, a guy who wields a hammer. Unfortunately in this painting he seems to be wielding it on humans and horned goats, rather than using it for good.

But I've been flailing around for a name for the day I might rant, and I've tossed out Petty Peeves as I don't really want to be petty or peevish.  There are better things to do with one's time and energy, like build a cool bookcase. If I rant, I want it to be funny, so it might go into the Hump of the Week. But I'm human, not a god or a stand-up comic, so I might fail at all of this, and flail some more.

As to the Wasteful Love aspect, the Throwaway idea, love so plentiful we can fling it around, well, yes, but neither of those names quite works.

So, for the nonlinear time being, Thor's Day it is, a weird catchall for stuff I love or stuff I might be tempted to complain about, right before smacking myself in the middle of the forehead with a rubber hammer for being so petty.

For instance, yesterday, there was Jorie Graham, wrapped in scarves, casual among the formally robed academics milling about before the convocation at Wesleyan, walking up on stage to clear her area of the water bottle, notes, et cetera that she had placed there by her chair, kindly contributing to the formality, leaving the stage bare before the rituals and music and words that would fill it...and nothing to complain about, but I didn't know how to interpret her actions till afterwards, after hearing her, after placing them in the context. A petty complainer might have seen her 1) drawing attention to herself and/or 2) disturbing the formality by picking up the items 3) she shouldn't have left there in the first place, and 4) I have made many a petty assumption like that in my past, alas, and/or 5) sat beside people who make them.

Likewise, soon all the academics file in down the two aisles of the auditorium, in their robes and hoods of colors that mean something specific (where they were educated, what degrees) and among them is Jorie, with a paper cup of strong coffee, and all the items she previously removed from the stage, dressed as before in layers and scarves, not formal academic robes, though she is a major formal academic at Harvard.  I am just watching, noticing, sifting, not judging, yes, categorizing a bit (as in classical rhetoric), but not forming any particular opinions (what have I got as evidence for any opinion yet?), just feeling a bit apprehensive about whether this will all be too formal and intellectual and academic to mean anything to me, one of the assembled masses. (I've worn robes, too, but I cringe a bit at long-winded introductions, if that helps convey a part of my apprehension.) An onstage organist is playing Bach. We remain standing for the invocation.

And then?!: everything is sweet, everyone is plainspoken, students perform in a brass quintet, and Jorie Graham blows me away with her call to empathy.  No need for apprehension, in its meaning of petty fear, dread, foreboding; only for apprehending, in its meaning of understanding.

And that's Thor, above, in layers, being dressed as a woman, a bride, in an elaborate prank to fool a guy who has demanded the goddess Freya as his wife and stolen Thor's hammer as a way to get her. Although it's a comic poem, it's not going to end well (see humans and goats above). So, on Thor's Day, I might rant and rave, I might rage against the man or the machine, but I will hope to do it humorously, in love, and aiming for a better understanding, so I don't break anything with my hammer.


nene said...

If we put all things in perspective to the universe of Human existence, we are all but tiny microbes with an angstrom 'stature' in the realm of all. Thor may be a mythical construct that explicates what may have been a UFO (LOL).

I don't want to belittle the traditional significance of the attire that is manifest when one desires accolades in the not too subtle nuance of Academia "BUT" I always found it to be quite elitist and not far from those trophies mandated in the world of 'capitalism'.

Your apprehension is understood in the aspect of human foibles but I must tell you that in my small perspective your literary make up, although in your own eyes sometimes smudged, you are an equal and not a subjugate of any of our contemporaries. We can mention many in history and possibly contemporarily that we are subjugate to, but not in the venue that you partook.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful, levity written, piece. Have a wonderful day and weekend.

Kathleen said...

Ah, Nene, in my Categories of Existence, I completely forgot about UFOs. Sigh....

Sandy Longhorn said...

Maybe the humans in the picture did something really bad and Thor is meting out the justice with his hammer? Just sayin.

Still, I love the idea of going around with a rubber hammer so I can smack myself in the middle of the forehead when I get peevish and petty. :)
Thanks for that!

Kathleen said...

I think that's possible, Sandy! So we will hope for social justice in the ancient Norse human and goat worlds. I just worry about Thor's temper.

nene said...

Clearification: My reference to UFO vs Thor is that recently on the science station that community has been analogizing all biblical references to being misunderstood visits from the extraterrestials. The mythological figures can be also just misinterpreted events and written about in mundane terms.

I just didn't want this community to think that I had completely lost my less than grounded perspective. Just trying to inject some levity. Thank you very much.

Kathleen said...

This myth/space alien thing has been going on for a long time. I catalogued a lot of books and periodicals on this topic from the 1950s and 1960s...and it comes back in various forms, including very popular contemporary science fiction movies. But people really believe it. Who knows?!

Collagemama said...

Thank you for clarifying my own mental muddle about goats and hammers and fire drills and axes to grind. I want one of those rubber mallets from the doctors office to tap on people of all ages to check for reflexes!

Kathleen said...

Oh, yes, the doctor's mallet would be perfect! But we wouldn't want to steal it, which might arouse the wrath of Thor, so we will have to look for one at the medical supply store....