26 August 2009

One of my proudest (or perhaps most shameful) moments...

I met Julia, the daughter of my friend and colleague Mary, probably about two years ago. While her mother did some things in her office, Julia and I talked in mine about a number of topics like theatre and the rowing class on the Connecticut River that her mother had her take.

"Rowing?", I asked. "You Mom makes you row? That's what the Romans had their slaves do. The most you should ever have to do in a boat that needs oars is to bang the drum that sets the beat with which the rowers keep time!"

Mary, I should add, is the author of the forthcoming American Idle: A Journey Through Our Sedentary Culture, and very very active. (I offered to be the poster boy for the book, but she and her publisher chose an overstuffed recliner instead. I say, "Six of one, half-a-dozen...") I also should note that the track coach at my high school was Fr. Jim Ryan ("NOT Jim Ryun," he would always make clear), whose motto was "Motion is exhausting."

All of this is just a prelude to an email I received recently from Mary about a trip she and Julia took to California. It read:


So Julia and I are standing in the John Muir woods outside of San Francisco at the head of an 'Ocean View" Trail. I am bouncing with excitement about this great, steep climb and Julia is sitting on a wooden step thinking, sort of like Pooh-bear with his honey pot.

She says, "Mom, I can't help but think, 'What would Gil do?' and I know that Gil would say, "Let's look at a few trees and go get a muffin."

So that's what we did.....


With tears of pride welling up, I could only respond that 1) I was sorry indeed for corrupting her daughter but 2) think WWGD bracelets could make it very big!

PS: And Julia had it just slightly wrong: I'd never go for a muffin, if there's a doughnut to be had.


  1. Which reminds me... Order snacks for SUBOG Meetings...

  2. This is Julia's mom and I want to assure Gil that he CAN be on the cover of the second edition of American Idle. We can have him SIT in the lounge chair while eating a doughnut. And 10 percent of all profits from that second edition will go towards the WWGD bracelet fund....Mary