Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Everything and More" not just a store, a philosophy

We went to IKEA in New Haven yesterday. I love IKEA. I hate driving there from the butt-end of CT as my choice of routes are 395 into 95 (the two lane variety) or 82 into 154 into 9 into 95 (for less than a mile). A choice of cancer or polio.
I fell in love with IKEA when we lived in (West) Germany and shopped at the one in Wallau, which is about halfway between Frankfurt am Main and Wiesbaden. At one point, most of our home was furnished by IKEA--there's a clean, uncluttered look about their living rooms and bedroom sets that I very much enjoy.
Anyway, as I said we took the road less traveled, Route 82 et al, and driving through or near the town of Hadlyme (which is, I think, a sister city of Gotmilk or Luvbeer) we passed a small single story quasi-quaint shop (looked like a long two car garage that had been converted) boasting it had "Everything And More" which, if you think about it, is a remarkably brave assertion. After all, if you already have everything, doesn't that (by definition) include more? How can there be a more if you've just announced you have everything? This isn't like getting your peanut butter into my chocolate. It's like having an inside and NO outside.

Driving back, I realized the morose foreboding I've had for the last couple of days wasn't just my anxiety growing as I continue to look for a new job (I have until August to find one) or my unhappiness at my ongoing aches and pains (no one talked about degenerative arthritis in your knees when I was at 'how to be a grown-up' school unless they did it on that day I cut class to go ride bikes) but that yesterday was my father's birthday. He would be eighty-four years old now, except for the technicality of having died twenty-six years ago.

When he died I recalled Springsteen's "Independence Day", because it so captured the relationship he and I never had. And as I've aged, and walked more miles in his footsteps than I had when he passed, I've realized he did the best he could and that I'm still coming to grips with never having told him that while he was alive. I couldn't forgive him then and I can't forgive myself now. I felt he was the reason I never wanted to father children since I had no faith in my ability to be anything other than what he had been to me. Luckily, I married a beautiful and intelligent woman (okay, momentary lapse in saying 'I do' to me) who shouldered all the heavy lifting in raising a son of twenty-five and a daughter of twenty into adults who take responsibility for their own actions (unlike other people I know) and who try to be a positive difference in the world. Maybe that's what "Everything and More" really means.
-bill kenny

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