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Hawthorn Hill

December 6, 2012

Of bikes, fishing rods and philosophy

Every time I go to the garage, either to get something or start up the car, I am reminded of at least two activities that I thought I might get to at some point, even in earnest. Intentionality is something philosophers give some thought to. I suspect I would be an ideal case study. My numerous unrealized intentions, always heartfelt at the moment, are usually announced to my wife, Sandy, prior to her downing her first cup of morning coffee. Her response is always the same: “Why do you enjoy making me crazy?”

The road to the underworld is paved with good intentions. Looking at things from a philosophical perspective, I am certain I would be more than welcome, given my penchant for grandiose schemes that peter out as soon as the wind swallows up my words. On the up side, however, I continue to believe that while so much of what I have intended to do I have not done, the reasons are perfectly valid. Clinging again to a philosophical perch, I think each of us needs stuff to choose from in the conduct of our daily lives. I also am convinced that my inclination to believe that I can do some of these things makes me more, not less, human. A great poet writes that “ to err is human, to forgive is divine.” I am all for that.

Since I believe that each of us has within us what R.W. Emerson characterizes as “a spark of the divine,” then I feel well within my rights to forgive myself my many human foibles. The good news is that I habitually do those things I seem most comfortable with and competent to do.

If I am not careful when heading to the garage from the house I might bump my head against the handle bar of the bike I bought several years ago. It hangs upside down just to the right of the door. I bought it on a whim one morning thinking it would be a worthy alternative to running. I think I was energized by watching the Tour de France the previous week. Frankly, while I admire the skill and physical endurance of the riders, it all seems pretty wacky to me. I also would never be caught dead in any of those garishly colorful outfits they wear, regardless of their utility. I did take the bike out for a 15-minute spin one morning. Actually, I rode for about 10 minutes. The last five I walked the bike up our driveway, thankful to once again have my feet planted on terra firma. Aside from absolutely hating shifting gears, which I bungled right from the start, my ample posterior celebrated its freedom from bondage. Bikes are for slim, bird-boned types.

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