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In the course of several emails with Annie about the production of children, saints names of recent days (did you know there’s a Venerable Dodo?) and raw milk, I found myself consulting our friend Sally and came across this little delight: “But modern man is highly peripatetic…”

First of all, this creates a spiffy mental image of Modern Man roaming the globe, unable to sit down and drink a cup of coffee in peace because he Must Keep Walking. Kind of like a super hero, eh? He would have “MM” stitched on the back of his Columbia all-weather jacket, his swift feet would ascend mountains and cross plains effortlessly. He would eat on the go, but they would be wholesome meals.

Ahem. Secondmost, the word peripatetic is one that only joined my vocabulary three brief years ago, in my senior seminar on that rascal Byron and that bore Wordsworth. In fact, I think one of my classmates wrote his entire seminar paper on peripateticism and B&W. (Is that a word? It is now.) Oh, B&W! How I miss them! Believe it or not, I still have fond memories of spending most of spring break in the library doing research. We took over a room and went to town. We brought in carts of books. Food, even though it was expressly forbidden. We read entertaining bits of research aloud to each other. Our professor would drop by and take us on walks around the campus to discuss in what direction our work was taking us.

I do some of my best thinking when walking. Unfortunately, at the moment I’m sitting at my kitchen table and not doing some of my best thinking and not quite remembering what my whole point was. Let’s try to sum up:

1. New super hero: Modern Man.
2. I like the word peripatetic. And what it means.
3. I have disturbingly fond memories of doing research.
4. I never get tired of discussing names.
5. Walking is good. So is running, even if the effects of my run this morning have already worn off, leaving behind only stiff legs.

May 2006

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