A few months back I came upon a woman with a rapier wit so sharp and a philosopher mind so keen that she took me aback. A PhD, 9 kids, a Professor at Auburn University...yes, she is all of those things. Intimidated? Yeah. But, she won't let you be. And that's what I love about her. So, here she is...my guest poster...The Philosopher-Mom.
Compare and Contrast
Every teacher from preschool to grad school has a toolbox equipped with a standard set of assignments. "Find the main idea," for example, ranges from "Tell what happened" (preschool) to "Synopsize the thesis and analyze the supporting argumentation for validity and soundness" (grad school). One of these staples is "Compare and contrast." Preschoolers are asked to find how things are alike and how they are different -- who among us can resist singing along to "One of these things is not like the others; one of these things just doesn't belong. Can you tell which thing is not like the others, by the time I finish my song?" Graduate students are instructed to adjudicate between contrary theses, referencing both internal and dialectical criticisms of each. (Hmm. Maybe I should try the musical version next time.)
Never having been honored with a guest-blog invitation before, I approached JCK's flattering request with all the earnestness of a grad student with an important assignment. I thought long and hard -- much longer and harder than I do on my own blog, to be sure -- about my theme. I considered a faux episode of Temptation Island, a virtual tour of a famous Lynchburg, TN distillery (only four hours' drive to the northwest!), a poetical ode to JCK's passion and verve. But in the end, it was the trusty teacher's toolbox that offered the spark of inspiration. Compare and contrast: Motherscribe and the Philosopher-Mom!
Compare: We are both mothers. Contrast: Motherscribe has a very young BOY and a very young GIRL 10 months apart. She writes their names in all caps. The Philosopher-Mom has a putative adult boy, a verge-of-putative-adult boy, an older teen girl, a teen boy, a young teen girl, a preteen girl, a tween boy and a tween girl 9 minutes apart, and a young girl who is beloved by all except the teen boy who thinks she is insufferably spoiled. I try not to write their names at all, because they all know how to get on Blogger and search "The Philosopher-Mom" for their code name, and then post impertinent comments giving their side of the story which, of course, no one wants to hear. Least of all me.
Compare: We both write. Contrast: Motherscribe writes moving and evocative poetry, and whimsical dialogues with and between her children, and elegantly wry descriptions of mishaps that, no matter how mundane, hint at libidinous resolution. The Philosopher Mom writes self-serving parodies of popular song lyrics, and "he-said-she-said" diatribes between her children, and pedantically dry pontifications of ethical theory variations that hint at no resolution whatsoever.
Compare: We both own fishnet stockings. Contrast: Motherscribe wears them to clean house, hinting at libidinous resolution. The Philosopher-Mom doesn't wear them at all, because they have been stolen by my young teen daughter who, fashioning herself as a "Rock-Goth" (which sounds to me like something J.R.R. Tolkien would have fantasized), wears them with black combat boots, a purple and grey plaid pleated knee-length skirt, a black Guns n Roses t-shirt, and fingerless lace gloves...black, of course.
Compare: We have several mutual friends -- Jenn of Juggling Life, Cheri of Blog This Mom!, and of course, Jack Daniels. Contrast: Motherscribe lives within two hours of the ladies, and savors Mr. Daniels with Coke. The Philosopher-Mom lives tragically far from the ladies, and slings back my Jack straight on the rocks, with a Cuban cigar in my other hand. Oh yes I do. Just not in front of the ladies.
Compare: We both have been lost on our way to Columbus, Georgia. Contrast: Motherscribe was picked up at the Birmingham, Alabama airport (which is three full hours from Columbus, Georgia) by a relative who was familiar with neither Alabama nor Georgia. And the driver simply missed a ramp on the interstate. So it was not only understandable, it wasn't even her fault. The Philosopher-Mom lives within 45 minutes of Columbus, being connected to that city by a single US Highway. And I'd been there at least two dozen times in the past year. This is not only inexcusable, it's not even understandable.
Compare: We both have been rear-ended en route to a sketchy-sounding rendezvous. Contrast: Motherscribe got it coming up to a sudden traffic jam on I-5, on her way to meet Jenn, Cheri and me for drinks and salads at the Anaheim California Pizza Kitchen. (Okay, so there's another contrast: Motherscribe had a salad, as did Jenn and Cheri; I had a pizza. By myself.) The Philosopher-Mom was the passenger in a young male coworker's Corvette Stingray on the way to lunch at a resort restaurant 50 minutes west of our office, when a drunk driver in an old Buick station wagon failed to put the brakes on his enthusiasm for a better look at my coworker's car. This was back in 1984, please understand, when I was not married. Although my coworker was. And the Corvette was registered in his wife's name, so the police had to call her for the accident report. Heh. Heh. And this story appears here, on my guest blog for JCK, so that my kids will never find it by searching through "The Philosopher-Mom" for ammunition they can launch in my direction. NOT that anything would have happened, mind you, even though the Philosopher-Mom had not yet discovered Jesus and ethical theory. But it sounds almost as sketchy as meeting women whose blogs you read, women who may not even really be women -- who may not even really exist. Right?
Compare: We admire each other greatly and would go to tremendous lengths to help one another out. Contrast: Motherscribe is diligent and organized, having orchestrated the aforementioned not-at-all sketchy rendezvous with several bloggers situated throughout Southern California that neither of us had met in person. The Philosopher-Mom is dissolute, disorganized and perpetually tardy, having been asked by JCK in the politest possible way to have my guest post in her inbox by Tuesday. And it is now mere minutes from Wednesday. Good thing -- and here's another contrast -- my time zone is two hours ahead of hers. So maybe, if I'm lucky, she won't assess a late penalty on this assignment.