I love circles.
Whether it’s my grandfather’s watch, the tractor at the campground, or mechanically enhanced motion, circles make my life better.
For fun, I love going out with some of the best dudes in the world. Together, we move our feet in small circles.
They move even smaller circles that move bigger circles.
The bigger circles carry us over even bigger circles that cover many kilometers at a time.
Laps on a mountain bike are bliss.
Earlier this week I was attempting to find a time to join these lads for such antics.
It was difficult.
I kept forgetting about another circle. The proper starting and ending point wasn’t entirely clear.
Neither is this post, but please, bear with me.
Or bare with me if you’re a nudist.
Though that might be bad for circles.
Circles certainly can be problematic.
Viscous cycles - yes, viscous cycles - I get stuck in them because I’m fucking thick.
Trapped in a feedback loop - that’s what escalating fights in couples typically are.
Here we go.
Around seventeen and a half years ago, my wife was not yet my wife. We were getting ready for our first trip together. We had been dating about two and a half months.
We were going to travel from Toronto, to Dartmouth. She was going to meet the lunatics that I call family. It was part our discover phase. Part of finding out if we wanted to make circles together.
I was tense. We were most likely running late. She was coming out of a bank and describes seeing a deranged, angry, nutcase standing in the middle of Roncesvalles Avenue defiantly staring down a charging streetcar and screaming at everyone around him.
The deranged lunatic?
You guessed it.
We’re still together.
Not in small part due to the fact that both of us love circles.
Whenever we would make a trip out and come back, she would see it as a completion of a circle.
One. She would comment blankly.
We both knew what that meant.
Sometimes we’d go through the same paths three or four times over the run of a day.
Just a simple word to mark the fact that we just completed a circle.
This dedication to circles has been important.
I have worked for over twenty two years to get a handle on my anger, to develop the skills of impulse control.
It’s still a struggle.
I wanted into our bathroom. It’s a bathroom with two doors. One was locked with a little hook and loop.
This particular door, on this particular day?
This was the door I wanted to go through.
This was the door that I needed to go through.
What did I do?
I first attempted to do what any logical reasonable person would do.
I attempted to shim it open with a business card.
I slid the paper in the crack between the door and the jamb.
I heard the metal rattle.
Thinking that I had hit pay dirt, I proceeded to forcibly push the door open.
This was a remarkably foolish action.
The lock had slipped out, then jumped back in.
Magically, it had completed a circle of its own.
I basically ripped all of the trim off the door frame.
All while my lovely wife was in the bath tub.
In doing so, I had made a mess.
In doing so, I broke something again.
In my almost 50 years on on this planet, I’ve broken lots of stuff.
Much of it in an impulse control absent fit of rage.
It would be difficult to count the number of broomsticks, pieces of cutlery, dishes and t- shirts I have snapped, bent, shattered and ripped in fits of rage. Holes punched in walls? Too many to count.
And last night?
All the same feelings - a noxious loop of entitlement and rage.
It felt like a circle.
I was right back there.
And a problem.
What to do with the trim from the door frame?
What to do with this terrible circle of entitlement and shame?
This wasn’t even rage.
Just simple impulse control.
Just lack of sensitivity to the fact that the door wasn’t moving.
I pushed. It broke.
Within ten minutes?
It was repaired.
Sure, there’s a hairline crack at the top where the wood split.
I’m not going to fill it with gold.
Where am I going with this?
Despite the fact that at the time it felt like I was back in a place that I never wanted to go to again - a place where I had inadvertently broken something,
I reminded myself that this isn’t a circle.
This was part of a spiral.
I felt the same.
Things looked the same.
The time between incidents, keeps increasing.
The intensity of my affect has diminished.
My recovery came more quickly. The impact of my action much less intense.
Together she and I have had sixteen or seventeen circles together.
We’re floating in space right?
Our universe is expanding.
Everything is spiraling.
When did the circle complete itself?
Should I get some self control and stop breaking shit?
I’m no longer yelling at streetcars.
We have a broom that is now five years old.
All I know is this:
In order for humanity to survive, we need more circles.
A circular economy.
One where we do what I did last night and fix our door frames.
One where we mend our socks, vehicles, pants, cell phones, televisions and tractors.
One where we deal with what’s real, immediate and near by.
Work on relationships near you.
What’s worth repairing?
How can we make things that are worthy of repair?
Today, the foolsletter is dedicated to the mother of my children, mender of socks, ammender of soil, the editor of my book, 10 year survivor of stage four cancer and the biggest completer of circles that I know.
Happy Anniversary sweetie.
So many circles. Pets. Cats. Dogs. Houses. Trips. Adventures. Sickness. Health. Fear. Children. Wild ideas. Flat tires. Circular thought. Circular saws.
Through all of the circles?
I love you.
Two songs that I cry to
This isn’t a new category.
These are two songs that I make small circles with my wife to.
One was from our wedding.
Another was played a lot on our honeymoon.
And this one:
Tonight I plan on holding someone. Together, we’ll make small circles while holding each other and listening to these songs…
Remarkably Foolish Video of the Week
A circle, for kids!
Naw… though The Hudsucker Proxy is the most underrated and perhaps the best work by the Cohen Brothers, I’m presenting another of my favorite circles. One of the greatest skits of all time: