Throwback To The Roaring 20s


picture credits to @cliffwatkinson on flickr

We read a short essay type thing in English, called “Living Like Weasels” by Annie Dillard, who is becoming one of my favorite writers.

Now, normally, we see weasels as negative things. We think they’re vicious and the evil kind of cunning. But Dillard uses real weasels, the animals, to point out the problems we have in society.

In my history class, we’re talking about the 1920s and how the mentality changed. It used to emphasize production, as in accomplishments and things created, but then became more about consumption, meaning things bought and used.

Today, this is the scale we live by: How much money do we make? How much do we spend on frivolous things that we’ll probably never end up using anyway? How many times do we repeat clothing?

Weasels are free from this.

“Who knows what he thinks?”

We look at people and we judge them by their clothing, their hair, makeup. We are all always thinking the same thing. But weasels are individuals. They live in the moment and do what they need to survive.

I’m not saying we don’t need to feel alive, because we do. We, as humans, need to contribute to something, something that us more than a temporary memory.

But we value things that are less important. Artists are not allowed to artists, because their parents think they won’t be able to live off their meager salary. Math is thought to be more useful than english. Excuse me, but I use English on a daily-freaking-basis. I don’t recall ever needing to find the derivative of anything in my outside-of-school life, not that I have much of an outside-of-school life. /end rant

Anyway, the point of her essay is that the weasel is free to come and go and live as he pleases because he isn’t bound by standards, or restrictions.

That’s what Dillard wants:

“I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you.”

I’d like to think that this quote can be used for more than just to survive. I’d like to think that it can be applied as a philosophy: to find something that you would give anything for. Find it and throw everything into it. And no matter what happens, every fiber in your being is working for that one thing.

“Even if it sound completely crazy what is it you want to do with your life? …Great. Then every decision you make from here on out should be in service of that.” -How I Met Your Mother


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