Sunday, April 14, 2013

I suspect....................

.........that faithful readers should get used to reading excerpts from Michael Kelly's Things Worth Fighting For, at least until May 10th, when I have to send his collection of writings back to the Ashtabula County District Library.  Today's pick comes from Three Things I've Learned Since Kindergarten.

I am pretty sure Robert Fulghum and I went to different kindergartens.  As most of us know, Mr.Fulghum is the author of several immensely popular how-to-live books.  Kindergarten and a pair of sequels called It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It and Uh-Oh.  I did not actually read these books - that wouldn't be fair; they weren't built for that - but I did root through them, looking for the profound parts.  It turned out there were no profound parts, but many silly ones.
     Real books, at least the good ones, tell us what life is like.  Often they are complicated and difficult, and usually they offer no solutions more magical than an injunction to do the best you can.  The how-to-live books in vogue lately, by Fulghum, or John Bradshaw or M. Scott Peck, tell us what life should be like, or could be like, if we only tried harder, or paid more attention, or flew on gossamer wings in a buttermilk sky.  The solutions they offer are as honest as a call girl's love.  They are to real solutions as grilled cheese sandwiches and canned tomato soup are to real food.  They are comfort philosophy.

Ed. Note:  If Mr. Kelly were still alive, I might send him a note suggesting that M. Scott Peck does not belong an the same list as Robert Fulghum or John Bradshaw.  My experience with Peck is that you really have to read him, and any author that opens his best selling book with the sentence/paragraph, "Life is difficult.", knows a thing or two about realism.  I might also suggest that grilled cheese and tomato soup are among life's great combinations.  Just saying.

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