My Front Porch Republic


It’s 7am and the temperature is already a very sticky 75 degrees. It’s days like these that I am thankful Mrs. 20 Prospect had the foresight to talk me into buying our little 50’s home with central air conditioning. If the choice had been up to me, my heart was leaning towards a little 1918 built two story in the Como Park neighborhood near the state fairgrounds with hot water heat and no AC.

The Indomitable Moxie and Maggie the Wonderdog scout the perimeter for Sqwerlz on their dawn patrol

Mrs. 20 P worked the night shift so I left for work a little later than my usual 6:15am. As much as I like to be at my desk before the world is awake, there is something to be said for sitting in the rocking chair on the front porch with a cuppa joe, and a book.

Front Porcher

I’ve been reading “Bye, Bye, Miss American Empire” by Bill Kauffman the noted writer from Batavia North Elba, N.Y. (Like Napoleon, the good citizens of B-town exiled him there). I’m not usually inclined toward political books, but I do have a soft spot for front porch localism and human scaled economics, so this pitch hits right in the sweet spot of the bat. If you aren’t interested in picking through the whole book, here’s an link to a excerpt he published in Orion Magazine back in 2007.

Kauffman is his usual loquacious, cantankerous self, and never fails to amuse me. But I have always had a soft spot for eccentrics, and folks that are not quite cut from your standard run of the mill cloth. I’m not sure why but I have always shopped for friends on the the factory defect rack. I find the misfits, and outcasts to be far more interesting people, even if I am about as boring as a white oxford shirt myself. Of course if you are one of those friends and you are reading this, rest assured I am not referring to you. It’s all of my other batsh!t crazy friends that I am talking about.

As politics go, I have a bad tendency to tune out to the debate. It’s the cynical X-er in me, but I can’t stand to listen to the folks on Fox News, or the N.Y. Times editorial page tell me what to think. Listening to them just makes me frustrated and angry. The fact is that I get enough politics at work. Not that Corporate America has a monopoly on interoffice politics. Just ask anyone that has ever gotten involved at their Parish, or local PTA. One of the more fascinating parts of becoming an adjunct teacher is seeing the interpersonal power struggles that rage inside of academia. No, to be human is to be political. We just pick and choose the places where we choose to play the game. I save my politicking for my Dark Corporate Overlords. All the better to subvert their nefarious plans for world domination. (Insert evil laugh here)

And speaking of said Dark Corporate Overlords, I will be flying back to Eastern PA / New Jersey for a few days to do their bidding and satisfy my craving for a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee and a Boston Crème donut. Hopefully, more of the latter than the former. When I return we will begin loading up the family truckster for our sojourn to the Northwoods. This year my daydreams of quitting corporate America and moving to the woods have started before the trip has even begun. Not a good sign. Mrs. 20 P may need to tranquilize me to get me back in the car when it’s time to come home.

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