Thursday, February 11, 2010


Early in The Madness of March I write about the importance of making a distinction between reality and constructions of reality. I comment that those who wager on games are often enticed to support one team over another not because of their inherent qualities, but because of interpersonal and mediated communications that have led to a construction of reality that could be different from what actually is. In sports, the effects of substituting constructed reality for the real thing are relatively benign, but in life such confusion can be painful when the two unrelated entities, reality and constructions of reality, collide. I point out specifically that notions of family and love are sometimes spurious compositions and when our families and loves do not mesh with the constructions we can be stunned by the contrast. I've been happy to see that on a number of occasions when people have contacted me about the book, this part of the book is something that they have identified as meaningful to them.

Yesterday, classes at my university were cancelled as of noon. A blizzard had been forecast. We were going to get walloped with what D.C. and New York was enduring. When I went to my post office yesterday morning, the chatter on the line was about how many inches we would get and damned if it was tough to get a youngster to shovel snow for you nowadays. When I arrived at work I received a note from a student who was scheduled to come in for a meeting. She wanted to know if given the cancelling of classes our meeting was still on. When I received this note, I was unaware that school had been cancelled. Fortunately, I have a window in my office. I looked out the window and there was not a single snowflake coming down or on the ground. I wrote back to the student saying that I was here and to come by. There was to be no blizzard. In fact, there was almost no snow at all. A good sneeze would have cleared the sidewalk for the women at the post office concerned with shovelling out. The interpersonal talk and media craze had created a blizzard that wasn't.

I went to Northeastern's basketball game last night--still held despite the debilitating blizzard. We won. I saw all but the first minutes of the game. I read in today's paper that one of our defenders had shut out the highest scorer on the opponent's team. This seemed strange to me, because I saw nearly the whole game and I barely remember this defender being on the court. Yes a starter on the opponent's team had been shut out. But by whom? I checked the box score today and see that the shutdown defender was in the game for only 12 of the 40 minutes.

It doesn't matter. He will be forever the defender who shut down the high scorer to all who read the article in the paper, and to all who talk about the article in the paper. He will be our shutdown guard. And yesterday, if you did not experience it first hand, we had some blizzard.

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