Archive for September, 2015

Trying to force others to be like us is arrogant and destroys relationships

by David McElroy

Romantic cards

It was about eight years ago. I was dating a woman who lived in North Carolina at the time. One day, I got a sweet and loving card from her in my mailbox, which I appreciated.

The next day, I got another one. For many days, the post office delivered another card from her. I don’t remember how many there were, but it was something like eight or nine. Great, right? It was a sweet and loving gesture from a thoughtful woman.

But I didn’t see it that way. I was a fool, because I chose to interpret something through the lens of my own thoughts and practices. I was an idiot.

Let me explain.

At some point early in the procession of daily cards, I noticed that each envelope had a tiny number written in a corner of the back. They were in order, so I quickly surmised that she had bought all the cards at once and written them all at once. She had done the whole project and numbered each envelope so she would know which to send when.

Great, right?

Now this is where I have to ask you not to judge me too harshly, because I’m embarrassed — humiliated, actually — to admit the way I reacted.

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Friday nights still take me back to sidelines of high school football

by David McElroy

Walker football

I didn’t grow up playing sports. When I was younger, we moved around way too much for me to be anywhere long enough to learn a sport.

Besides, I gravitated toward the kids who weren’t so likely to be athletes. As I became more of the stereotypical nerdy brainiac by junior high school, it was easy to simply say that I disliked sports, because I could lump the jocks into a group and paint them with a very broad (and unfair) brush as idiots. I didn’t know much about sports and I was pretty disdainful of those who played.

My first real interest in high school sports came when I was editor of my high school newspaper and my own school’s team had a storybook year. The Walker Vikings lost the first game of the year, but they didn’t lose again until the Alabama state championship final in the largest size classification at the time. Even then, though, I was seeing it from the perspective of a student inside his own school. I didn’t see the bigger picture.

It wasn’t until I started working at a newspaper during college that I developed a love for football and basketball. High school sports mattered in the communities we served, so I wrote hundreds of stories about football and basketball — and shot pictures in many dimly lit gyms and many tiny stadiums. Many of those games were in tiny communities where those schools — and pride in their teams — was a big part of holding the community together.

On Friday nights, I might drive to a couple of games, staying long enough at each to get pictures and a feel for the game. Afterward, I’d talk to coaches on the phone, getting quotes from men who were excited about wins and from others who were heartbroken and frustrated about losses. Although I might attend a game or two in person, I would also write another few game stories for games I’d never seen, just based on quotes and stats from coaches.

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Start over here

When this site launched in 2011, it was intended as a way to find others who were sick of partisan politics and wanted to connect with like-minded people who were ready to go beyond politics and find ways of escaping. It has shifted focus in ways that reflect my own shifting thinking. I’m less interested in politics and more interested in looking at the things that make life worth living, such as love, creation, self-understanding and connecting with others. Every article I have posted since 2011 is still in my archives, but everything I write is a reflection of my current thinking. Sometimes I’m wrong — and that’s fine with me — and I don’t always end up agreeing with what I wrote five years ago. For now, you can still read what I wrote about the site’s purpose in 2011, but I should rewrite this. Read more.

Contact David

David likes email, but can’t reply to every message. I get a surprisingly large number of requests for relationship advice — seriously — but I rarely have the time to respond. (Sorry.) Besides, with my own romantic track record, maybe my advice isn’t worth taking. I’d like to find a wife one of these days, so maybe I should add an “application.”

Watch this short film

What kind of "educational film" would the U.S. government release today to teach Americans how to be good citizens?
We're the Government — and You're Not
Official selection of 20 film festivals
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Yes, seriously.


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