Monday, November 2, 2009


First of all, it's surprising how difficult it is to find pictures of hermits on the Internet.
Second of all, I'm surprised at my surprise at this difficulty, since hermits by nature are way off in the boondocks or tulies and are generally camera-shy. If anyone out there knows of a hermit Web cam site, let me know.

But back to hermits. I think I'd like to be one. Temperamentally, I'm already a hermit, and so is my wife. Our oldest is also very hermit-like, in a Petey Otterloop kind of way. The life of a hermit would, however, stultify the lives of our youngest children, especially Isaac, who, I'm afraid, would turn out to be one of those overly loquacious and bubbly hermit-like individuals you only meet in fairy stories, you know the ones, they instantly become your best friend and will follow you through the dragons' lair and the spooky cave and through battle to the bad guy's castle and then throw himself into the cauldron in order to save your life and you're really sad until you realize that in sacrificing himself he's actually saved himself and everyone else and if you go back to the fairy colony you'll find him there fully cured and just chatting the damn fairies' ears right off their skulls. I don't know that I could do that to luckless passers by.

Why be a hermit? Because it's a cop out. An easy way to run away from the troubles of this world. Sol it's actually quite a selfish act, once you consider it. Running away rather than trying to solve problems. But doesn't the act of trying to solve a problem sometimes result in selfishness as well -- because it's my solution I'm imposing on your problem. Maybe my solution to your status as an orphan on a farm where you're overworked and underfed and forced to sleep in an empty stall in the barn next to the horses, huddling with the sheep for warmth, is to drag you off the farm, filling your mind with thoughts of "this is your destiny, to fight tyrrany" and forcing you to learn swordplay and then actually taking you into situations where swordplay is the only option besides dying a quick, bloody, horrible death at the hands of the Death Ninjas, and maybe all the while when you're killing the bad guys and then running away, questing and otherwise knowing that you're only putting off the inevitable showdown with the bad guy you're thinking, damn, maybe life on that farm wasn't all that bad. Ol' Grub and his stupid son are probably dead from liquor by now, and that farm would be MINE. And I'd be the one looking for an orphan.

So maybe Marge Simpson was right: "We can all make a difference but we're better off if we don't."

I think I've got the nucleus of a book here, technically.

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