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On gentleness

November 26, 2017

If you can, be kind;
If not, at least be gentle.
Both are goals to keep in mind,
But only one is fundamental.
–Me

Personally, I think of kindness as positive support of others, and gentleness as an avoidance of negative words and actions.

On my good days, I try to be kind. When I am sleep-deprived and/or stressed out, I ask myself only to be gentle. This mindset is obviously not the stuff of sainthood, but it’s a way to get through the day.

This Thanksgiving weekend, I am feeling thankful for, among other things, a wife who is especially gentle, and a son who has made excellent progress in this area. (I’m referring to the 11-year-old, not the 10-month-old, who mostly ignores our frequent exhortations to “Be gentle!”)

Even gentleness can be irksome sometimes. For many years, I sort of turned up my nose at “Run gently out there,” the sign-off of Whidbey Island runner John Morelock in his many Internet posts and columns for UltraRunning magazine.

For me, running is first and foremost about self-improvement and competition rather than the community and the environment. I mostly aspire to run swiftly, boldly, determinedly, etc. “Gently” is not among my top 10 running-related adverbs.

Presumably, though, John wanted people to be gentle (when running) more or less in the way that I want to be gentle (when not running). In any case, if there was an appropriate time to debate his diction, that time has passed. John died of abdominal cancer on February 5th.

Rest gently, John Morelock.

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SJZC #14: “Sammy the Sea Lion”

August 29, 2017

SJZC 14: a poem

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SJZC #13: “Prodigy”

August 8, 2017

SJZC 13

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SJZC#12: “Parents’ Night Out, Part 2: Karaoke!”

July 23, 2017

SJZC 12: parents' night out, part 2: karaoke

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SJZC #11: “Parents’ Night Out”

July 22, 2017

SJZC 11: parents' night out

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SJZC #10: “A Visit from Tom’s Cousins”

July 21, 2017

SJZC 10: a visit from Tom's cousins

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SJZC #9: “The Appellation Trail”

July 17, 2017

This episode represents the very first idea I had for the comic.

SJZC #9

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SJZC #8: “Small Packages”

July 16, 2017

SJZC #8

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SJZC #7: “Home from the Hospital”

July 15, 2017

SJZC #7

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A stand-up son

July 7, 2017

My 10-year-old son’s sense of humor intersects with mine somewhat sporadically, but his recent riff at the Golden Gardens beach was quite funny.

We were there with two of his friends, digging in the sand, getting ice cream, and looking for wildlife. At one point we walked past a building that Leila and I had considered renting for our wedding three years earlier. Phil remembered this, and he commented that we had been wise not to rent the building, due to the stray noises from the public beach that might have disrupted the ceremony. “It would have been like, ‘Do you take this BUHHHHH to be your BUHHHHH?'” he said, interjecting a sort of ferry-horn blast.

After I gave him a well-deserved cackle, he continued: “‘You may now BUHHHHH the BUHHHHH!'”