I get the feeling I was born on the wrong continent.
An excerpt from Thomas King’s latest book, The Inconvenient Indian.
No, it’s not a trick question. And I’m not being sarcastic. Native history in North America as writ has never really been about Native people. It’s been about Whites and their needs and desires. What Native peoples wanted has never been a vital concern, has never been a political or social priority.
The Lakota didn’t want Europeans in the Black Hills, but Whites wanted the gold that was there. The Cherokee didn’t want to move from Georgia to Indian Territory (Oklahoma), but Whites wanted the land. The Cree of Quebec weren’t at all keen on vacating their homes to make way for the Great Whale project, but there’s excellent money in hydroelectric power. The California Indians did not asked to be enslaved by the Franciscans and forced to build that order’s missions.
A month ago, Leah was having regular contractions after I got home from work. I started timing and tweeting them. Within minutes, Leah told me that there was to be a social media blackout until she said otherwise. I stumbled upon some wisdom and agreed to her terms. Look, I’m not saying she shot lightning from her eyes, but I’m not saying she didn’t either.
The contractions set a regular beat, so I was pretty sure it was time to go to the hospital. Leah was getting ready and I had already packed the car so I poured two glasses of water and set them on the kitchen counter. My idea was to sit down, drink some water and discuss whether it was time to go to the hospital like adults. And then I waited. And waited. And waited some more. Leah will argue with me, but she’s the slowest person ever (with and without contractions and being 9 months pregnant).
By the time Leah finally got downstairs and was actually ready to go there was no time to discuss things like adults. I had already entered full panic mode while I was waiting alone and I was no longer interested in discussing anything like an adult. Look, I’m not saying I shot lightning from my eyes, but I’m not saying I didn’t either. It was time to go.
We were off and the next morning, some time after 9AM, Olivia was born. Maybe at some point in the future I’ll write what those 20+ hours were like, but not today. There was very little sleep, plenty of stress and a circus of constant activity. It is mostly a blur.
Later in the afternoon, once we were in a room and settled, I went home to sleep for a couple hours. When I got back into the house, one of the first things I saw were the two glasses of water I poured the previous night. Untouched. Still waiting for the adult conversation to begin.
It could’ve been that I was sleep deprived and just had one of the wildest nights of my life, but I stared at those glasses of water for a good five minutes. They were so familiar and I remembered pouring them, but it also seemed like a lifetime ago. Or maybe even a different person poured them and yet I didn’t really feel any different.
Being butt chugged by the ultrasound was like a big tent revival—all flash and an emotional high—but seeing my daughter born was a Copernican revelation. The solar system does not rotate around the earth, but around the sun. For Copernicus, that idea changed nothing and everything. Life on earth went on with and without noticing Copernicus’ discovery, but for some the fundamental understanding of the universe had changed.
Olivia’s birth was no tent revival—though it could be argued that the doctors spoke in tongues. All I really know is that on November 23 I was one person. On November 24 I was another person and they immediately seemed like two very different, distinct lives. Yet, I’m pretty much the exact same except some of the fundamentals have changed. First, butt chugged and now I’ve been Copernicused. I’m exhausted.
Have a good holiday everyone.
I love this article. It gave me words to feelings and thoughts I’ve been having.
The Old Testament is, in the largest sense, about the building of a temple. In the New Testament, the temple is redefined as Christ’s body, built precisely to be torn down, tortured to death and radically reconfigured. Instructions to give up all one’s money, to leave one’s family and job, not to marry, to live as spontaneously as the birds and the flowers — all these things are iterations of a powerful sense that the old ways have been overturned.
Also, I love the design and long form essays of Aeon Magazine. Really brilliant stuff.
While this is true, I think we need to ask: does anyone give a shit? As far as I can tell the answer is a resounding “no”. I say we just let this planet burn. We don’t need no water let the motherfucker burn, burn motherfucker burn.
In capitalism, prices are supposed to fluctuate. That’s why the price of gasoline (or diesel, in my case) goes up and down with demand and various world events. This is just common sense, right? So how did Coke stay at $0.05 for 70 years? Through the great depression and beyond! Check out NPR’s Planet Money podcast for the answer. And just generally check out Planet Money. For an English major like me, I was surprised to find out just how fascinating economics is. I love this podcast and economics. And I ain’t no Keynesian.