viking vs samurai

listening to: Distance


I was talking to R. today, a whipsmart older woman who is familiar with the family court system. When a woman is in the middle of a divorce involving some degree of wealth, I said to her, there seem to be certain personalities, usually male, who emphasize, But how much has she actually earned? As if everything that goes into building a life breaks down into pay by the hour. The law seems to look at it differently. The law asks: What are the responsibilities that the more powerful partner has toward the less powerful partner, and have those responsibilities been honored or not?

“The court looks at two things: the time and children involved,” R said. “They look at the time you put into the marriage as a kind of investment. Years of your life that you gave to this person, this marriage, instead of starting a business, or traveling, or whatever. Years that, obviously, you can never get back.” We talked about kids for a while. Then she tipped her head and said, “Maybe you should put this on your blog.”

“Maybe I will,” I said.


I am rearranging my bedroom furniture. This involved giving some of it to my sister Erin and her husband. In return they came over to help. Casey, my brother-in-law, is a mountain of a man my kids delight in climbing. As I watched him relocate a particularly heavy item from one side of the room to the other, I said to Erin, “Thank you for marrying a man of considerable strength and size.”

“You’re welcome,” she responded.

Casey used to work as personal assistant to Burt Reynolds and has some great stories about him that, alas, I cannot repeat here. (I mean I could, and I would like to, but then Casey might just have to kill me). Casey also has Burt’s old couches, these macho leather contraptions that dominate their apartment and give it an ominous 1970s kind of feel, as if a stranger in flared jeans is about to rise up from the cushions and whack you with a lava lamp. Now Casey works as a Hollywood stuntman whose latest claim to fame explored a question that philosophers have pondered through the ages: In a fight between a Viking and a samurai, who would be the one to kick ass?

Casey is not the samurai.


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