Irony, Football and Fraud

Centuries ago, travelers relied on the generosity of monasteries and convents for shelter and food. Monks and nuns took care of the poor as well as the rich, using donations from the latter to help the former. Recently, a group of women religious bought stock in hotels, not to return to their ancient roots of caring for strangers but in order to tackle a modern twist on the age-old problem of prostitution – sex trafficking. By holding hotels accountable for human trafficking awareness training, the good sisters aim to decrease the rate of sex trafficking in Indianapolis this weekend. That’s a lot more complex than teaching catechism or changing bedsheets. I will admit that the whole phenomenon of exploiting women during glorious sporting events baffles me, but perhaps I  haven’t watched enough Spartacus.

And isn’t the Super Bowl just another gladiator match with slightly different rules and better stadiums? Since the twenty-first century enjoys perks like sanitation, air travel and the internet, there is also a  multimedia extravaganza available online and in person. There’s much talk about how this game is a rematch of the 2007 game and a face-off between two great quarterbacks – one boisterously good-looking and famous, the other an often-overlooked little brother. I hope it’s a nail biter like the AFL & NFL Championship games; the whole playoff series was stupendous football so it would be a drag to have the game be a blowout, even if the commercials feature the return of Ferris Bueller.

The dramatic twists and turns of this season require a great climax, maybe the kind of drama delivered by Mark Moseley back in 1982. But what happens after the glamour goes away? Does playing sports have value for grown men? Mike Wise of the Washington Post found out in this weekend’s feature, which might have been called Tilting at Windmills in Fredericksburg, or The Federicksburgh Generals, Football, and Finding Peace. But it’s in the Post, where clever headlines and article titles violate editorial standards.

Post headlines aren’t teasers, they’re trailers that give away the entire story. And yet it works, because I definitely wanted to read this:

Indiana election chief found guilty of voter fraud, other charges; faces removal from office

The article explains that Charlie White, the secretary of state for Indiana and therefore the person in charge of enforcing voting law, was found guilty of false registration, voting in another precinct, perjury and theft. Theft, you say? Did he steal ballots? No. He lied about where he was living because he didn’t want to give up his $1,000 a month salary for serving on a town council after he moved. Yeah. He took taxpayer money fraudulently while campaigning for a job that requires the utmost in honor and integrity in order to protect our right to vote. Now that’s irony.


Fridays, Filing, and Five A.M. Laundry

This morning as I slid between sleep and wakefulness, I heard a washing machine filling with water in the apartment upstairs. The sound of the pipes clicking on and off wasn’t particularly loud or obnoxious, just enough noise to let me know that someone was getting ready for the day. Maybe they were planning a long weekend away, or expecting company to stay overnight. Before the sun came up, my own husband started a load of work clothes. Usually we manage to keep laundry under control but not this week. This week the baskets are overflowing. And my husband will be working all weekend so something must be done. Now.

The same thing happens with filing. I’m in the fourth week of a lifestyle improvement project called ‘The Game On Diet” and I’ve had to do twenty minutes of filing every day since we started. The piles of paperwork weren’t quite as high as the mountains of laundry, but they were still daunting. At first, I invented my own system of piles mentally labeled ‘to do,’ to file later,’ ‘to shred’ but then I found an article in the Washington Post that advocated an actual file box. And that box has been a brilliant aid to my endeavors. It’s reassuring to hear from a professional organizer that we can manage our paperwork in small bursts of regular action. I’m figuring out what to keep and what to toss with the help of a list from the Consumer Union website. Apparently they do more than evaluate washing machines…

What filing and laundry have in common is that they simply must be done. Disaster ensues otherwise. Why live without clean underwear? Not that paramedics or doctors really care, but it’s much harder to decide what to wear when your choices are three piles: barely worn, worn a few times, and wore to the gym twice. Finding the motivation to take care of filing and laundry can be hard and for most people it’s a cycle; you do it well for a few weeks, then you skip a week to remind yourself how unpleasant that can be.  You can pay people to do your filing or your laundry, or if you’re lucky both, but in the end only you know where your husband’s birth certificate and his socks really belong.

Large portions of the workforce are kicking back with a brew now as I actually head out to photograph not one but two work events. I’m jealous, but only a little. Have a great weekend…