Saturday, November 13, 2004

Zigzagging birds and final words

Dispatch from Nina:

Sometimes it appears that JFW brings together the sick, the lonely and the dispirited, with an occasional happy soul thrown in (you know who you are!) just for balance.

“Oh no, not me” you say. “I live an ordinary life. I just especially care about the fate of …feral children... Or, slightly lesser on the scale of injustices -- dating for doughnuts... Or the worth of sausages.” Oh my, hand me just a short day in a repressed society again!

I do not want to appear dismissive here. Every hapless soul has a place on this planet. But have we lost our sense of perspective sometimes, to say nothing of our reserves of positive energy? When I go back to Poland each year, people there always marvel at how “exotic” Americans’ personal problems are. You need only ride the taxi from the airport to downtown Warsaw before you begin to understand what I mean by that.

JFW trackers, you don’t understand how good life is to you!

As I wind up this short period of guest blogging here (to be replaced by the Lonely Doughnut Man? Oh dear.), I have to say it’s been… educational. Okay, fun as well. I’ll end with a Polish Proverb – and this one various people out there have heard me tell:

Once there was a flock of cold birds, shivering and shaking as the winter fast approached (these are Polish birds, but you can pretend they’re from the Dells). They sensed it was time to head south. They dusted off their traveling feathers, got into their formation, cranked up their flying motors and headed (toward Italy? Florida? Choose your side of the ocean) in a beautiful V that spread across the pale winter sky and made the people below look up and stare with wonder. But at the end of one line, a small bird could not get it right. She zigzagged this way and that and found it impossible to maintain that perfect symmetry. Finally she said “forget it, I’m going to wait out the winter here.” She fluttered down and found a barn that provided shelter for the cold season (in Poland I might add that she drank plenty of vodka and sang beautiful ballads with fellow barn-inhabitants all winter long). In spring, she looked up and saw her fine feathered friends pass overhead. Are you leaving? Asked the barn inhabitants. No, I am happy here, she answered as she soared up to sing a reprise of “Fly Me to the Moon” (elsewhere I’d say ‘Lato, Pachnace Mieta’), with an attempt at harmony with a slightly off-key swallow.

Is there a punch line? A bit of wisdom lodged there somewhere? A moral to be learned perhaps? I used to provide one when I told the story – typically as a toast on some special occasion. But JFW readers are an imaginative bunch. Make one up for yourselves!

Thanks, JFW editorial board for the honor of allowing me to post on this extraordinary, punchy, antic and ridiculously witty blog. I’ll return with a postscript from Poland next month.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I get it: "...let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars." I'm with the zigzagger.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the posts/thoughts. Though, let's not fall into the trap of taking the blogosphere (or ourselves as bloggers and/or comment-makers) too seriously. Unless, of course, it's a serious-minded blog. JFW seems like a fairly playful/escapist (though also thoughtful at times) blog. But, clearly, JFW is visited by many folks looking for a quick laugh/diversion, as well a bit of wisdom/insight perhaps.

Anonymous said...

Someone who writes about vodka drinking birds can't be taking herself seriously. So I'll offer an endnote: a shot of strong stuff and a warm place in a pigsty is enough to make anyone happy.

Anonymous said...

N. thou hast smitten my most lonely heart
like a piercing arrow through a lemon tart.
Seeketh not mere mundane academic bliss
whilst I proffer a most sugary kiss.
Thy image causeth my eyes like donut holes to grow wonderous round
longing to gobble thy love like jelly-filled by the pound.
If thou wouldst at the bookstore with me to meet
a dozen glazed I will lay at thy precious feet.

Anonymous said...

No offense intended, but can we be done with the guest blogs for a while. I want to see more of JF on JFW and less of other people who have their own blogs.

claire said...

Uh, anonymous #5? That was gratuitously mean. No offense intended, but here in the comments, I'd rather hear fewer pointless insults and more interesting and thoughtful reflections. If you feel that strongly about it, why don't you send JF a private e-mail?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we could also have more insults with a point and less interesting, thoughtless reactions?

jeremy said...

To Anon #5: Ever since Nina pulled me out of that den of feral children that bitterly cold Polish night, I have owed her my life. So I will not have her be insulted on my weblog, or at least not by anyone other than me. Except I couldn't tell whether you were actually anti-Nina or anti-the-prospect-of-Lonely-Donut-Man-being-the-next-guest-poster. Don't mess with Lonely Donut Man either, for although I don't owe him anything, he's perfectly capable to strangling you with a cruller if he gets pissed enough.

Claire: You are so adorable when you get fiesty. Do you want to guest post sometime?

jeremy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
claire said...

I can't promise that I'll deliver any insults with points, and I might not be able to add anything to the feral-children line of discussion, but I would guest post!

jeremy said...

Claire: I am fully confident in your abilities to deliver pointed insults. It's something anyone who spends time living in the northeast gets good at. Midwesterners like me, on the other hand, have no idea how such things are done. In any case, you've been upgraded to an ever-coveted JFW Guest Post Pass.

nina said...

Aww, blogger solidarity is always cool. Thanks J & C, though I have to say, I knew what I was getting into (see steamy second post): I'm here to make JF look good and have readers beg for the return of their man. It's as it should be. Anon no.5, I'm worried about one thing --- you're not, like, someone I know, like, maybe living in New York, are you? Honey, is that you? If not, then, in the words of that "high brow hussy" (not my characterization, believe me) Maureen Dowd -- Will it be pistols or swords?

Anonymous said...

Re: Anon #5, I think we can all agree that guest blogging had contributed a lot more to the universe today than anonymous commenting has (this comment itself being no exception).

Anonymous said...

I’m still stuck on those birds. All the Polish people I know talk like that when they are conveying political innuendo. It’s about the elections, isn’t it? The hard-working play-by-the-rules birds follow the leader, cross the continent, never falter, and the lousy, lazy bum who has a pig and an off-key bird for friends gets the plum post based on connections and good luck. Yeah, it’s about politics.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nina; I am appreciative of your thoughtful and insightful commentary, unlike certain uncouth respondents. Please, please ignore them. Why Mr. Freese allows these horrid, uncultured undergraduates to post here is beyond me. Part of me suspects he is foisting internet addiction on them in some kind of perverse experiment. Helpful in New Hampshire

Anonymous said...

On the third day, Anonymous Lonely Donut Man said, "Let there be guest blogging." And there was guest blogging. And Anonymous Lonely Donut Man saw it was good. And there was sugar, sprinkles, and jelly-like substance for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Semper Fi, Mack! With a cruller...??

BABU said...

Hello There,
I just wanted to see if you were currently interested in additional guest bloggers for your blog site.
I see that you've accepted some guest posters in the past - are there any specific guidelines you need me to follow while making submissions?
If you're open to submissions, whom would I need to send them to?
I'm eager to send some contributions to your blog and think that I can cover some interesting topics.
Thanks for your time,