Friday, July 07, 2006

Just looking

Somebody once said that life is a tragedy for those who feel and a comedy for those who think.

That is a bit overstated, but the general point is true. Working in newspapers will make one cynical, I'll tell you that. I once sat in one meeting and watched a politician state one position. Later that same night, he said the exact opposite position at another meeting, in front of a different audience.

Both applauded wildly each time.

Reporters, by the way, get a bad rap. Sometimes it is deserved. Most of the time, not so much. The scribes I respect most care about two things: a good story and keeping their readers aware of what is going on around them. Both are honorable.

I've always been fascinated by people -- especially the way they handle interpersonal relationships. Some are pros. Some aren't even ready for the bush leagues. And some, well, they just downright confound you.

There are those who will slap your back on Sunday morning and stab you in the same spot the next day. You know that type. Then there are those who hate everybody and don't care who knows it.

And then, every now and then, you'll meet somebody who loves everything and everybody. They don't have a bitter bone in their body. Nine times out of 10, they will always leave you feeling better than you did before you met them.

Those are the types I cherish. They are few and far between.

Isn't it amazing, this world around us? There are people totally unconcerned with others -- with the struggles and burdens they may bear. And as I told a good friend, then there are those who weep at everything from a limping child to an old man who can't remember where he put his glasses.

One of these days, I'm going to write a book about some of the things I've learned just by watching people and how they behave. I'd call it "Just Looking" if John Updike didn't beat me to that title a few years ago. I might still use it anyway.

I've laughed at much of what I've seen, cried at even more of it. Tragedy and comedy. It seems to me life's not either/or, it's both.

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