Shorter Campfield: Laws are for Little People

Stacey Campfield wants to make all kinds of laws that affect the quality of your life, invasive laws that often revolve around how lying bitches are cheating the menz or about lying to children about gay people.

He, however, doesn’t even think he should have to follow basic traffic laws.

Is it really too much to ask that lawmakers practice following the laws that exist before they move on to writing new laws?

The Tennessee State Library and Archives

In honor of The Tennessee State Library and Archives*, I have been reading about weeping willows. I have learned a number of interesting things. One, they can grow up to ten feet a year. Two, it might have been a little obnoxious for me to put this right inside the property line where it will surely shed all over the neighbor’s yard, too. But three, it should do wonders for drying out that part of the yard.

I’m so excited by it that I’m almost tempted to go get another one to put in the low spot by the creek.

And, four, they are a woo-woo plant, with all kinds of woooooooOOOOooooo superstitions and beliefs attached to them. Surely my neighbor will see how awesome they are and how it will be wonderful as it drys out the wet spot between us.

*The humor of naming the tree that could only be topped by my desire to have a pet named “Uncle Bruce,” since my dad and his brother seem determined to name their animals after our relatives and I want to carry on the family tradition and be obnoxious.

Weird Loneliness

Sometimes, when my family is all together, it makes me feel very, very lonely in a way that can only be cured by being alone. Maybe it makes sense. When I’m alone, I have in my heart the best things about the people I love. When I’m face to face with them, I have to deal with them in their messy personhood.

Except that, for instance, hanging out with the Professor or with the knitting group doesn’t make me feel lonely.

So, I don’t know.

I was, actually, glad to go to church. Not in a way that’s going to cause me to give up my imaginary friends and return to the mono-imaginary-friend fold, but glad in a way because I could see how it fucked us up. And I’m not saying that being Christian inherently has to fuck a person up or anything. I’m just saying that the intersection between Methodisim, the ministry, and my family was the corner of fucked up and FUUUHHHCKED-UP.

All these songs that the cantata sang were of the, as I said, “Jesus/God is my needy, insecure boyfriend” variety and I was sitting there listening to all these songs that are supposed to illustrate how much the singers love their god, and in which ways, and all of them were about how their god is alone and the only thing they need and how they want to be humbled by their god if the thought of them ever being able to make it without Him should even enter their heads.

And, on the one hand, I get that there is a limited vocabulary to try to describe some fundamental mystic truths. And that, for someone who has had a mystical experience in which she came to understand that, for instance, god is the eager groom and the church is the bride, “groom” and “bride” aren’t prescriptive words so much as words that kind of resonate in the same way the Truth resonated in that mystic moment.

And I have no problem with that. Like I said, all we have are limited vocabularies for mystic truths. Woo woo shit is woo woo shit for a reason.

But not every church service is going to be a mystical experience and, even if it is, not everyone is going to be having a mystical experience.

And so it turns out that I did sit there and listen to that music and kind of feel enlightened. Not in some holy way, but in the “Oh my god, this is what the people in my pew (my family) thinks love is.” That it is a kind of abject surrender to a capricious asshole who needs his ego stroked constantly.

And to have that reaffirmed day after day as you work for that dude and with others who behave so poorly and also claim to be working as extensions of the will of said dude?

I think that can only fuck folks up.

Maybe not “folks.”

Us, though.

I think it clearly fucked us up.

And, because it’s religion and my dad’s job, we can’t ever talk about it as a family. It’s too close to the bone, in a couple of spots.

This was the first time I noticed my dad giving the Butcher shit about not being married and about how no one would marry him if he didn’t have a good job.

And I thought, seeing it from the outside, how grossly unfair it is to tell someone for the first 18 years of his life that he is not like other people only to turn around and express such unmitigated anxiety towards him for not being like other people.


Fuck it, this is depressing me.

The thing I keep reminding myself is that knowledge isn’t happiness. Even if we could enumerate all the ways we’re fucked and why, it wouldn’t make us un-fucked.

Anyway, the Butcher is doing a shitty thing today. I will maybe tell you about it later, but please keep him in your thoughts. (Ha, though, in my efforts to creep in the polytheism, I sent him off with the same sentiments Frigg sent Odin off to fight Vafþrúðnir–drive safe, be safe while you’re there, come home safely.)

The Tennessee State Library and Archives Tree

So, yes, in a move that gets funnier to me by the minute, we have planted another tree in the yard and named it the unofficial Tennessee State Library and Archives tree.

As you recall, we have some water issues by the driveway. In an effort to stem the tide, so to speak, we’ve planted a weeping willow–the unofficial, unsanctioned, heretofore even unbeknownst to them, Tennessee State Library and Archives tree.

They tell you, when you plant a tree, to get a muddy slurry at the bottom of the hole so that you don’t get any air pockets under the root ball. but by the time Dad and I had dug down the depth of the root ball, water was already seeping in to the bottom of the hole. So, not only was there no need to add water to the hole, we had proof positive that a willow would thrive in that part of the yard.

In bad news, all the water is really, really stressing my holly, which is turning yellow and dumping leaves like there’s no tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t die.

The parents have gone off to North Carolina to try to mitigate the damage of my sister-in-law being thrown out of her house on my nephew. When they announced that plan, my brother said, and I am not even kidding, “Yeah, that’s a good idea. That’s what I would do.”

I honestly could not believe it. I still can’t.

Maybe it’s just that I’m too far removed from some of this nonsense and, if I were in it every day, I could hear stuff like that without really hearing it, but it… I don’t know. It’s hard to explain. I love my brother and I feel very grateful that we’ve been able to overcome some of our shit and enjoy our time together, but stuff like that makes me feel very distant from him. I guess that’s the easiest way to say it. It makes him unrecognizable to me at some level.

“That’s what I would do.”

Then why haven’t you?

The subject of my parents moving to Georgia came up again and this time I was even more forthright and I said, “I will not nag about this, but I just want to say it and have it heard–please move near someone who will take you to the doctor if you get to the point where you cannot take yourselves.”

And my dad said, “Well, we haven’t moved to Georgia yet.”

So, I don’t know. They make me crazy and so mad and I get completely fed up with both of their nonsense.

But my brother can see what needs to be done to help his son and he will not do it, even as he claims that that is what he would do. I am terrified of him being the one who has to be the one who needs to see what needs to be done for our parents.

We went to church yesterday and it ended up great. I hate church and the men in my family hate cantatas. There was a cantata! So, through the whole painful “God is my needy, insecure boyfriend” songfest, I just smiled, knowing that the people who insisted upon going to church were just as unhappy as me.

And then they had an altar call! At a Methodist church! What the fuck do Methodists do at the front of a church during an altar call? Exchange casserole recipes? Take a tiny collection? Gossip? Decide who’s hosting Methodist Men next Sunday?

I don’t know, but it cracked me up.

Everyone knows a true Methodist sticks as close to the back of the church as possible. A true Methodist altar call would have to happen in the back of the church. It’s just unseemly for a Methodist to go to the front of the church for any reason other than being the minister, liturgist, acolytes, or choir. Even the ushers approach the front of the church hesitantly and then flee as soon as they can after the offering is handed to the minister.

Some of you southern Methodists are going to have to fill me in on whether this ever works successfully or whether it just ends up encouraging folks who eventually become Baptist.