be my teddy bear
This is sappy, but I get the fuzzies de calor on a little story about Teddy Roosevelt.

You know Edwin Arlington Robinson, right? Or maybe Simon and Garfunkel's rendition of his poem "Richard Cory"? (Or the cover version by Wings?)

Well, E.A.R. was a sinecure kind of man (my kind of man), and this was partially because Theodore Roosevelt liked his work and wanted to see that this fine American poet would have a living. This is one of the nice little tidbits I learned in Freshman English II when we studied "RC" as well as "Miniver Cheevy," and no one else in my group knew what a steed was. People!

Anyway, Mr. Hall had been up to Maine and seen all the E.A.R. goodies there and went admirably happy with the photocopy machine. He passed around a copy of a telegram that Teddy Roosevelt sent to E.A.R. after reading some of Robinson's work. It's a brief telegram, but one line from the president to the poet says, "I wish I could know you.”

That got me. How frank and sincere. What a thing to put in a telegram when you're the president of the country. I mentioned this in class at the time, and Mr. Hall offered that apparently Teddy was that kind of straightforward person. Confident in speaking his mind but apparently using such a power for kindness. (And no, I'm sure he wouldn't mind my calling him Teddy.)

I don't care about the man's politics; I just really admire his openness. It ties into a thought I had earlier when I was musing a little and trying to imagine how I'd answer the question "what do you want more than anything else?" At one point in my life I might have sheepishly (and therefore fleetingly) thought, "Love!"

But that's not really it. What I really want is the freedom to love. The freedom to tell an interesting stranger that I wish I could know them without them giving me the whoa-eye or me worrying how I could actually implement that in my existing social schedule. The love for me, or the world peace, or even the stereotypical million dollars would surely sort itself out if we were all free to show affection as it strikes us.

30 May 2003 |



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