Saturday, February 5, 2011

Are you addicted to stress?

Stress can be addictive. That is particularly true since the 24 hour news came into being and emotional over-stimulation eventuates in the way “news” is presented as entertainment. If a person’s life stretches backwards in boredom, perhaps that has its uses; if that flat line has blobs of violence, it is wiser not to seek out any triggers. This is not to say, however, that the Ole Boy should just come home, flop in a chair, pop a cool one, and see how the Steelers are doing.
It must be said that old marriage counselors never die off in their need to peddle well intentioned advice, and I am advised not to bring that up. However. Let me tell you what Annelie and I like to do. I read to her when she cooks supper. Really. There is never a salt spill, but there is yet another problem. Follow my role model and you men may find yourself having to talk to your wife as you eat supper. Not a bad trade off if you have tried long, long stretches of silence, as so many of us have.
The current book has the quirky title, Morality for Pretty Girls. To our astonishment, we had already read it, but by the time we realized that, it was too late; we were hooked again. The first time, what got us was the description of the customs, the countryside, the characters. The second time, it is the sheer beauty of the style, his observations, our admiration for his simplicity as a story teller. Not many men can write for a woman character.
The series is The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. It is set in Botswana, a former British colony just above South Africa. Like you, I have watched a lot of news films, seen the machete separated bodies, shook my head over the rapes of half of the women in some new African nations. In contrast, these are stories lovingly told set in a colony that made it into a new and emerging world. If this author gets a Nobel Prize for Literature and you have read him then we both get bragging rights.
A wise man once wrote, “The proper study of mankind is mankind itself.” Alexander McCall Smith wonderfully illustrates that. Where, in his career as a professor medical ethics, he got the time to write all books I do not know. In some stories, he certainly drew upon his field; in the Isabel Delhousie series, the heroine is the editor of The Journal of Applied Ethics. “Challenging,” is the word that comes to mind.
Good reading to you – and peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment