When it comes to blogging, you never know what’s going to get you into trouble. At least most of the time you don’t. Sometimes you know up front that you’d be better served if you simply opted to refrain from highlighting a topic or a shared experience.
For some folks, a veil of privacy is the unwritten or unspoken expectation. Divulge their stuff and you’d be a candidate for a firing squad. In addition, it wouldn’t be a trial by jury. You’d be hung on the spot simply because you were too stupid to keep the ink in your pen dry. Refraining is always a challenge for me particularly if the circumstance or shared experience is simply too good not to share.
For example, there are some folks I’d think twice about featuring in one of my blogs. Take my brother-in-law in Florida for example. The last time the General and I went to visit, he wanted to collect my electronics at the door and offered me a cautionary warning: “What happens in Florida stays in Florida. Nothing, I repeat nothing, better appear in your blog.” At least he made his expectations clear. When you know what the rules are, it is easier to color inside the lines. He also (playfully I think) presented me a written contract to sign indicating my understanding of and concurrence with the verbal “law-of-the-land”. Of course, the General was in full agreement with him. So were her brother and sister-in-law who were also visiting at the same time. His wife was in the background shaking her head “Yes”. It was like there had been a planned conspiracy and I was the chosen target.
Actually, none of it was pre-planned with the General or her brother or sister-in-law’s knowledge. It was simply an example that really nice people can succumb to mob violence. Highlight a cause for which they can support and they are in like Flynn. Actually, I’ve heard the “in like Flynn” expression before, but I have absolutely no idea what that means. I’m assuming it has something to do with being a very willing participant.
Okay, so curiosity killed the cat. I researched the expression and found that it was originally used of Errol Flynn, an Australian actor back in the early 1940s. Among other things that don’t coincide with what you’d expect to find in a family friendly blog, he was “famous for his romantic swashbuckler roles in Hollywood films and for his flamboyant private life that was anything but private. Reportedly, his reputation as a ‘hard-drinking, hell-raising ladies’ man” were justified.
Put me in an environment for a week and tell me to silence my pen and I’d intuitively allege that it is cruel, harsh and unusual punishment. Do you have any idea the level of difficulty that posed? That’s like taking a five-year-old into a candy store and saying you can’t have any. Seriously, it would be easier to walk on a bed of coals than to take a vow of silence. Okay, so that is dramatically overstated, but you get my point. The compromise we reached was simple: “I could share my story, but it clear that their story better be left unsaid”. Okay, so it was a stretch, but somehow I managed to survive the experience and the people who read by blog with their morning coffee had something to read each morning. However, it wasn’t nearly as goooooood as it could have been.
At any rate, I share all of that to say, if there is anyone who values privacy more than my brother-in-law in Florida, it is my daughter who lives two and a half miles away. She is close enough to hold me fully accountable and dole out any consequences for misbehavior on my part. I knew full well when I crafted the “Party Animals” blog a couple of days ago I was on shaky ground.
While nothing I shared was less than factual or less than a true perception on my part, I’d be the first to admit that I took a few liberties when I clustered the General, my daughter and my son-in-law under the same fell swoop. What was I thinking?
So did I know that I was risking my life when I wrote: “My daughter, like Kevin is not the same person she was her freshman year at UT. She, too, grew up, matured, adapted a semi-gregarious personality like her father and blended it together with a ‘take-charge-persona’ like her mother. I’d say she is at the top of her game. She was teaching consumer classes in assertiveness training when she was in the third grade. I am actually joking about that, but she has always had the propensity to express herself. She knows what she wants and she’s unwilling to accept a substitution. Did I mention Kevin may not always have an easy life? You know what they say: ‘Misery loves company’.”
Okay, I get it. Maybe that was a little much. You may even agree. However, we’d both be wrong. That isn’t the verbiage that got me into trouble with my daughter. She took offense with my using the term “constructionist” to define her.
Consequently last night she provided me fair warning to refrain and desist from framing her under that characterization ever again. Are you kidding me? I used the term in the following sentence: “By coincidence, the General, my daughter and her husband are all three strict constructionist when it comes to refraining from taking liberties with their diet”. What could be wrong with that? At any rate, for the record though it pains me to do it, I am admitting an erroneous error on my part. I am retracting my statement. My daughter is not nor has she ever been a “constructionist”.
When she was in high school she once told me: “When I grow up I am going to be so Republican that it will make you sick.” Actually, I don’t care how my daughter votes. What I do care about is the person she represents. She is kind, compassionate, generous and sensitive to the needs of others. Those values play well in any setting. There are some Republicans who make me sick, but she is not one of them. The ones that make me sick don’t include those same values. There are some Democrats who make me sick. They too, don’t include those same values. My daughter has no idea how I vote. Actually, the same is true for you. I don’t classify myself as either Republican or Democrat.
The thing that I found most interesting about the conversation with my daughter last night, she told me that her mother told her: “You have your father to thank for every problem you’ve got”. Like I said, she is her father’s daughter, she responded with a smile: “Does that include you?”
All My Best!
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