Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A little harsh. A little funny.

Tonight, I was all literate and saw author A.J. Jacobs speak.

I luuuuurve him. But, as I told him as he signed my book, "not in a creepy stalker sort of way."

He looked me in the eye and said, "I love creepy stalkers."

Sigh. And I love self-deprecating authors who are funny and smart and basically awesome.

Jacobs writes for Esquire and has made a living out of trying stuff and writing about it. His first book, The Know-It-All, detailed his efforts to read the entire encyclopedia. The Year of Living Biblically followed his efforts to follow all of the rules in the Bible - including a long, freaky beard and stoning adulterers.

Now, Jacobs is touring to promote his latest book, The Guinea Pig Diaries. Each chapter is about a different month-long experiment. He outsourced his life - including fighting with his wife - to a team in India. He tried to live like George Washington. And he tried out radical honesty, where folks are not only are brutally honest, but have no mental filter. That last one? Not so good on the personal relationships.

The talk was engaging and funny. But I was totally taken aback by some of the questions from the audience. One woman stated that she has OCD. Jacobs has written that he has mild OCD; she wanted to know if his year of living biblically helped his symptoms.

Other folks asked about the spiritual side of trying new things. And one man asked if Jacobs had any luck with one of the most difficult rules of the Bible - forgive thy enemies.

It occurred to me that we're all searching for something. If people feel comfortable and compelled to ask a complete stranger - in a room full of rapt strangers - for passive spiritual guidance? Well, it's a sign that none of us really know what we're doing. That's both comforting and totally disconcerting. Who's in charge if none of us really know what we're doing?

As for the forgiveness issue ... Jacobs admitted that he wasn't super great at it. He said he realized that he practiced superficial forgiveness - forgiveness of the "I'll forgive you but I'm going to remember what you did and file it away for later in case I need it" variety. And that wasn't quite what Jesus had in mind.

Ooohh. Yeah. I relate to that just a touch. And if I'm practicing half-assed forgiveness, yet I can't even manage to get that far? Wow - I must have a black, black heart.

So, it was only fitting that after the festivities, I stood at the elevator and fished my keys out of my purse. My keys were momentarily stuck on something in my bag, and then catapulted out of my purse with surprising force - surprising force that vaulted my car key right into that delicate spot where your upper lip meets your nose.

My first thought? "Oh, thank God no one saw that."

My second thought? "Oww - that really hurt."

Then? "I'm bringing sexy back."

My final thoughts, after I put my hand to my swelling nasal / lip area? "I just bruised my face with my car keys. It's a bruise that will be a nice complement to the gigantic zit next to my nose. I'm like The Picture of Dorian Gray come to life."

And then I got over it and drove my black, black, unforgiving heart home.

7 comments:

Angie said...

I heard him on Steve Kraske's KCUR radio show yesterday and he was great! The radical honesty stories were very interesting. I always find it fun to see what you can borrow from your favorite parts of something you wouldn't want to adopt entirely. I'm trying out a little more open communication these days and finding it refreshing!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I've heard him on the radio--lucky you! I bet that was a fascinating talk, despite the ass-over-teakettle exit.

sherilee said...

Sounds like a great talk--I have his Know It All book and just haven't delved in yet... now I'm looking forward to it and might move it up in the stack...

And for what it's worth, from what I've read of you, you do NOT have a black, black heart. Nope. Just processing.

mel said...

hahahhaa. I like you. And your black heart. It was not that long ago that I acknowledged and accepted mine for what it is. And I like that too. :)

Dorrie said...

Forgiveness does not have to be immediate. Your heart is far from black. Have a great weekend. Hope you do something fun for yourself and don't think too much.

you gotta wonder said...

My trip to China kicked my a$$. I'm finally starting to feel like myself again. Jacobs sounds interesting but I think he missed the mark on forgiveness. We're told to forgive, but I can't find any indication we're told to forget. Don't judge and don't exact revenge, yes. Forgive & move on, yes. And sadly, I think you're right about people searching. That's our nature. But the answer is there...seek & ye shall find it. ;)

tiger said...
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