The big day, of course, is October 27. That is the 26th anniversary of my son’s birth, which occurred in a genuine hell hole (I’ve been there) in Russia. For reasons Watson and Crick could explain, Grant Viktor Bowen Marshall is very different from his father in many fascinating ways: he chooses his words carefully and keeps his own counsel; he is confident in his relationships with the opposite sex; he has the magic touch with all things technical and mechanical, including automobiles and computers; he couldn’t care less about such things as politics, dinosaurs, old movies, magic and live theater. But in ways B.F. Skinner would understand, maybe he’s not so different after all in the ways that matter: Grant has always refused to be influenced by the crowd and peer groups; he is not a follower; he seeks out knowledge and information, is a risk taker, and shares some of my stranger tastes and sources of amusement.
Best of all, my son is kind, thoughtful, honest and courageous, and Grace and I could not be prouder of him. He has weathered far more challenges in the first quarter of his life than either of his parents had to, and come out of those tests a better and stronger human being who, I am certain, will be equal to anything life throws at him from here on.
October 27 is also the anniversary of the day the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 after 86 years of frustration. At the time, I told Grant that he had the Sox to thank for the fact that I would never forget his birthday, unlike, for example, those of his grandparents and mother. That landmark still means a great deal to me, even in a season where, for the first time in more than 50 years, I will not watch a single World Series game, and because of the sport’s unconscionable groveling to Black Lives Matter, my relationship with the Boston baseball team is in serious question.
Now on to the real topic of this post..
1. Thank you, everybody. Over the weekend, I received in the mail a check for over 2100 dollars, the result of the generosity and appreciation demonstrated by 47 Ethics Alarms followers. (One additional reader sent a gift directly.) The unexpected bounty was the result of a GoFundMe appeal by prolific commenter Steve Witherspoon, prompted by this whiny post written during a low point earlier in the month. I swear that it was not calculated to prompt anything but Ethics Alarms’ readers’ understanding of my state of mind, which is relevant to what topics I choose and often my analysis of them.
I haven’t felt this humble—as you might guess, humility is not one of my hallmarks—since my father helped us out with a mortgage payment during a professional crunch, telling me at the time that he admired my decision to be a self-employed ethicist rather choosing other more lucrative and secure options available to me, and that he wished that he had been able to chose a pursuit that he felt mattered for reasons other than feeding the family and paying the bills.
As it happens, your gift, like Dad’s, comes at a propitious time in the journey of ProEthics, for the lockdown has been hard on the ethics business. The gesture is most appreciated, however, as what Steve intended it to be, which was as a demonstration by readers that what I’m trying to do here does have meaning and value, something that I questioned in the referenced post.
Thanks. I needed that.
I promise to continue to strive to raise questions and prompt discussions here on the wide range of ethical issues facing us all, as well as the others that I just find interesting, and hope you will too. And I want to say that I am grateful and thankful to all Ethics Alarms readers, not just those who responded to Steve’s kind appeal.
I ended that October 4 post by writing,
“My whole life’s goal has been to try to stimulate people and to build things that have a valuable purpose. Right now writing the blog just feels like sitting around and complaining, and little else. That makes me feel impotent, petty, and old.”
Because of Steve and the rest of you, I do not feel that way today.
(Well, maybe just old.)