Way back in 2014, when I was only paying $500 a month for health insurance for a private plan that covered my wife and me, I had a thought.
There had always been "thoughts," rattling around in my head about this notion or that. Things like the fact that "moderate" was a stupid term to use for people, since that didn't define anyone's actual beliefs so much as their approach to debate, so much so that two "moderates" could be in 100% opposition to each other.
Things like the notion that "maturity" is really an accumulation of cause-and-effect relationships that allow us to guide our actions by their expected outcomes, relationships I called "cubbyholes" and had always enjoyed describing to people.
Things like the fact that because socialism doesn't work, the power-hungry had to be brutal in their politics, because they couldn't win arguments based on performance, past outcomes or pretty much anything else.
So I got the idea that I would set up a sort of provisional blog site and write a few of these notions down as essays. I figured if I wrote them and no others occurred to me, that would be it; I'd just take down the site and go do something else.
But then after the first few, a few more occurred to me, driven by life, or the news, or whatever. How our tax code had gotten like a plate of spaghetti. How America's Got Talent had lost contact with the notion of "talent." The economics of baseball. D.C. statehood, and how D.C. idiotically insisted that its employees had to live in the District.
It didn't end. And I found myself treating the essays as a daily exercise in thinking and writing, a bit of a distraction from the formulaic writing I did for a living the rest of the day. Sometimes I would have as many as five essays stacked up, already written, after a weekend of events and thoughts. Sometimes I'd wake up in the morning with nothing, thinking "What do I care about today?".
And now, 1,000 essays later, it's time to let it go.
It got very political during the 2015-16 campaign season, and the evolution of my feelings toward now-President Trump as a candidate are documented in almost diary form, given the percentage of that period's daily essays devoted to the campaign. And on the day of the election, I wrote not about the candidates or their platform, not an encouragement to go vote, or to vote for anyone particularly, but an essay on why I don't really like dogs very much.
I've had diversions to topics that were just the event of the week, and those that reflected many months of cogitation. And in all that time, although this one is probably my very favorite, five columns have become the most-read of all the 1,000 columns of which this one will be the last. So I'm going to go out by sharing them with you.
#5: Political Courage Needed, Sen. Franken -- a wasted appeal to Al Franken, who was a senator then before having to resign for being caught groping a sleeping woman and, absurdly, photographing it. He had asked a question of Jeff Sessions in his confirmation hearings about Russian contacts in his capacity with the Trump campaign. Although Sessions had a passing contact with a Russian in his Senate role, he answered "no", logically thinking that the question had been about campaign contacts. Franken knew that from the context of his own question, and I thought he should have the guts to say that.
#4: The Privilege of Dating -- a piece exposing the immaturity of 20-somethings in the context of a dating set-up feature in the Washington Post. I get into the utter lack of understanding of life and the world on the part of two wide-eyed young people with no possible insight into what socialism does to societies on which it is imposed.
#3: A Look Back from 2019 or So -- written shortly after the inauguration of Donald Trump, where I suggest that all the people who back then were expressing "fear" about this or that (actually, the just kept saying "fear" as if we were supposed to get why they were afraid) should write down what they were afraid of President Trump doing, and then maybe in mid-2019 they should look back at that list and realize how many of those fears would turn out to have been completely unfounded.
#2: Adieu and God Bless, Santa Claus -- a eulogy to my first college roommate in my fraternity house at MIT, who had passed away. Randy Vereen was a great fellow all his life, but his playing Santa at Christmas time was something that not only he continued to do all his life, but which defined the kind of person he was and would always be.
#1: When Leftist Worlds Collide - Again -- the most widely-read of any of the thousand columns was this one. A black professional football player in the NFL, Edwin Jackson, had been killed by a drunk driver who was an illegal alien that did not belong in the USA. The leftist press tried hard to ignore the immigration status of the driver and the fact that, had there been a wall at our southern border, Jackson would still be alive. But at the same time NFL players were disrespecting the national anthem by kneeling, one of their own had been killed precisely because of lack of border enforcement. The left, I wrote, had so many constituencies that the inevitable clashes among them for attention were its biggest problem -- as this one so tragically showed.
_ _ _
I don't doubt that I may add a piece here and there in the future. I've written one every workday for over four years, and I'm already of a mindset that there is an essay, a point to be made, deriving from at least a quarter of the news stories I read. And there is still a World Series this year, and the Red Sox are still in the hunt for it, up 2-1 on the hated Yankees in the Division Series, as I write this.
But the daily commitment expires here, today. I'm going to pour a glass of something (I like beer. I still like beer, to quote the newest justice of the Supreme Court) at some point, start with #1 and read through all 1,000 to see what I may have learned about myself. That could take a while. But I'll make time.
And to all of you, the 90,000-plus who have read this far, I want to thank you for getting through the thickness of my prose and caring what I had to say.
Adieu and God bless.
Copyright 2018 by Robert Sutton
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