I really did not start out this Framing the Dialogue web site to be an overtly political one. Recent events and the rapidly changing climate in Washington tend to drag me into the mire.
That is why it is great to escape with a book full of great stories by a great author. In his third book, Robert Fulghum provides “some observations from both sides of the refrigerator door.” Fulghum’s style is just that…style.
Uh-Oh does not disappoint as he provides insight into life through his stories. A trait that I share with Mr. Fulghum is that I do not like to wear watches. Fulghum gravitated toward a pocket watch while I tend to use my cell phone. In the interest of full disclosure, this book was published long before cell phones “tipped” and became indispensable.
Even before cell phones became common, I found watches to be unnecessary. There are clocks everywhere; in your car, on your computer, on just about every appliance in your house, banks, and even billboards. Try to get away from a clock!
“If one man lives as though he would never die and another man lives as though he might die tomorrow, would either one wear a wristwatch?”
I often wonder about the folks who those really big wristwatches. I think that the larger the watch, the less it is about time and more it is about presumed status. What ever happened to digital watches? They seemed to have fallen out of favor in personal timepieces.
One of my favorite chapters in Uh-Oh deals with time, but on a scale of calendars rather than on a watch. Mr. Fulghum contrasts some of his visits to kindergarten classes with visits to college students. When he asks kindergarteners whether they can sing, dance, draw, act, etc. the unanimous answer is “YES.” An emphatic yes and a willingness to stop and demonstrate at the drop of a hat. Kindergarteners have a belief that everything is possible.
When asked the same questions, only a small percent of the college students will affirm these skills and qualify their talent and are loath to demonstrate. Fulghum asks “What went wrong between kindergarten and college? What happened to ‘Yes! Of course I can?” The answer lies in deeper debates beyond the scope of his experiences and stories.
The author does not venture into the politics of blame. That is for other books. That is why Uh-Oh is a nice, entertaining piece of literature.