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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Failing to meet expectations

Ever since my humble journal received a mention in a recent Haaretz article (Web diaries become hot medium for talk on Israel), there has been a tremendous surge in daily traffic here at treppenwitz. In order to make both of these new readers feel at home I guess I should probably give a little background about the blog, as well as the guy writing it.

First of all, I’m rarely funny. If you’re looking for funny, go read Dave Barry, or some of the truly gifted people on my ‘good readin’ list like Defective Yeti or The Sneeze. A lot of the stuff I write about, including my kids, my marriage, my commute, etc., are hilarious without any help from me… I just tell it like I see it.

If you are unfamiliar with the word ‘treppenwitz’, there is a workable definition at the bottom of my about page.

Most people experience treppenwitz every once in awhile. I, on the other hand, sit up and take notice if every once in awhile I don't experience it! You see, some would say I'm wired just a little bit strangely.

All through my school years I was labeled an "under-achiever". Back in the day, that was 'teacher-speak' for, ‘he’s a smart kid, but he’s lazy’. In their defense, I was sending out very confusing signals. I tested off the charts on all those nifty standardized exams (the ones named after states), and was able to converse on a range of topics light-years beyond my age or grade level. But when push came to shove, my overall academic performance was sliding off the 'uh-oh' end of the scale.

I know now that a big honking case of A.D.D. and a minor case of dyslexia, were probably strong suspects in the equation...but I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy, on some level, my role as an enigma.

Well, here I am all these years later, and I am still an enigma.

I am a 42 year-old, married, observant (I still can't get my mind around the term Orthodox) Jew.

What's that you say? We don't belong to the same 'shul', so therefore I must somehow be sitting in judgment of you? Well, guess what...synagogue membership is about writing checks. It doesn't say a thing about what you actually do with your life. Trust me...I'm in no position to judge.

Next...I live in Israel (ok, for you hair-splitters, I live in Judea...10 minutes over the 'green line') with my family of 5 (plus dog) and I work in the Israeli defense/aerospace industry. This must put me firmly in the right wing settler camp, right? Here's a news flash for you: The fact is I don't agree with MOST of what I'm hearing from either side of the Knesset these days...but I believe that within the mosaic of Israeli politics, there [hopefully] exists the basis for a secure, if not peaceful future.

Some might view this entry as an attempt to set out a position for myself - a warning of sorts so that readers will know what to expect in future posts. Well, sorry to let you down, unlike the broad brush with which I was painted in the article, I hold too many conflicting views on a broad range of topics to be easily 'pigeon-holed'. As convenient as it would be if I toed some party line, those who visit here may be alternately offended, surprised, or reassured... but never bored.

What, then, is the point of this post? I guess it is a request for readers (old and new) to take the long view of things. Resist the temptation to rush to judgment. Learn something about someone who is NOT like you.

If you have a beef with something I say here, please feel free to comment on the issue at hand. That's what that little 'comment' link at the end of each entry is there for. However, if you do weigh in on an issue, try to be intellectually honest. I don't want to see any "you people...", "you religious Jews...", or "your right wing agendas...". All of those phrases and labels are cheap attempts to invalidate viewpoints by vilifying the people who might (or might not) hold them.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on long enough to have turned away all but the most adventuresome readers. If you want to find out more about me, feel free to browse the treppenwitz archives. I would especially recommend you take a peek at my ‘favorite posts’. Everything I write here is important to me (at least while I'm writing it). But the entries you’ll find on the 'favorite posts' list are ones that jumped fully formed from my heart, and not from my head. If you've ever done any writing, you know what I mean.

Anyway, welcome aboard...enjoy the ride.

Posted by David Bogner on April 21, 2004 | Permalink

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Well, Dave, now that you've explained all that, I'll still be back for more. ;) (Princess of the Snappy Retort, but as usual 5 minutes too late...)

Posted by: jennifer | Apr 21, 2004 11:12:04 AM

Thanks Jennifer! I plan on lurking around the dark corners of your place as well.

Posted by: David | Apr 21, 2004 11:40:21 AM

Well, it looks like I 'joined' at just the right time - to get your Reader's Digest version of the Being of Dave. Yeah, most people are too complicated to be put into little (or big) boxes. I guess that's why we have so many political parties; at least we can agree on a limited agenda as long as we don't talk about other issues.

I was also one of those 'under achievers,' except I didn't have any 'disabilities' to explain it. It was only after I got out of my high school environment that I really blossomed.

I would love to live where you are except we don't have a car -- and my husband would say to me, "WHAT??? ARE YOU CRAZY????" Kol HaKavod to you!!

Posted by: Chaya Eitan | Apr 21, 2004 10:40:59 PM

We may be a little crazy...but no more so than anyone who goes to drink coffee in Cafe Hillel, or who goes for a ride on a Jerusalem bus, or who sends their kids off to the army.

You only get one life. If you try to lock it away in a safe place and never take it out to play with it, you may survive...but you will never have truly lived.

Posted by: David | Apr 21, 2004 10:50:42 PM

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