An English In Kentucky


















Monday May 20th 2019Tim Candler9


    If you take the idea of confronting something like a Toad in the vegetable garden, they're fairly well camouflaged they're always aware of you before you see them, and for those of us who may not be men of steel they can give you a little bit of shock, then in the very brief first moments of the confrontation you know everything you know about Toads. Of everything you know about Toads in the Vegetable Garden some things float higher than other things. Between people, those things that float higher will vary. Entirely possible some people don't like Toads, others might see them as a food source, and yet others might consider them potentially very dangerous. Not certain when I first confronted a Toad, possibly an illustration in a fairy tale book of a Toad being popped into a cauldron, there was a Toad in Wind in the Willows, he was wealthy, basically out of control, drove recklessly in his automobile, got himself kidnapped by Weasels. He has a whole series of character flaws. Then as I aged I recall waking up in a hedgerow and there was a Toad inches away from my face, just staring at me. The expression on the Toad's face was a tad accusatory, I'd clearly done something terribly wrong and had that Toad been larger than I, pretty certain blessed release would have ended the struggle much earlier for me. The Toad is an appraising creature, there's always a question in his or her stance. Which is why whenever I confront a Toad in the vegetable garden I can't help but recall a Toad which as a result of careless shovel work on my part I'd somehow managed to cut off three of his or her fingers, on the left front paw, if I remember. Nor was this act of mine terminal for the Toad, the creature, three fingers missing, hung out along the Asparagus bed for a couple of years. A Toad in the wild can live a good ten years, sometimes more, and have lived fifty years as pets, so I was never certain whether my action had reduced his or her time upon earth.



    "What's this got to do with the narcissism of small differences?" People like to think of themselves and their relationships as unique and wonderfully special, but you can't really be even remotely unique and special and live in a society. Society to function requires a common denominator that limits specialness. Some societies do more to quell uniqueness and specialness than other societies. There's an argument that suggests that the entire edifice that is modern commerce basically revolves around a relationship between granting the opportunity to pursue uniqueness within a common denominator that allows for cohesion in society. Take for example buying a pair of shoes, and I don't know whether you've ever dared go into a shoe shop, but if you have, you'll notice that it's not in the least straightforward. First of all there are millions of shoes, they don't all look alike, some are more expensive than others, many of them have absolutely nothing to do with foot comfort. There might have been a time when shoes were about feet, more likely in the current iteration of the way we are shoes are about granting a person his chance to feel unique, unusual, different, richer poorer or whatever. Then when I see two people dressed identically pushing the same cart in the grocery store, I kind of think there must be something seriously wrong with them, which suggests a narcissism of small differences is very well engrained in the tapestry such that you kind of need to see differences otherwise things aren't quite right. There's the suit and tie brigade, each minute difference vital to self esteem, the color of the lining, the cut of the waist and so on, and it's almost a joy to see a suit that fits so badly clearly it's wearer doesn't give a fat damn, or maybe it's their specialness. But it's something like the episode in Charlottesville, it was a uniform, white shirts and identical hairstyles, torches and chanting, an uncompromising ugliness of a narcissism of small differences that finds satisfaction in us against them. There are three Toads in the vegetable garden, each one reacts slightly differently to our confrontations. Stranger thing is the Toad that hangs out near the Asparagus has all his or her toes, and is the most skittish around me.


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