Jon Kennedy
Jon Kennedy


Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
the Nanty Glo in My Mind
'

Trivial pursuits

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Please don't mistake today's topic for the board game with a similar name that gained wide popularity in the 1980s. Trivial Pursuit—the game whose name lacks the final "s" of my topic title—is all about which player has command of more historical and social trivia, or trivial facts, and can recall those tidbits from his or her memory when the game calls for them. Some bits of data are significant as historians regard such things, so they aren't truly "trivia" . . . but the fact that you remember, for example, what President Eisenhower was wearing on his first televised "address to the nation" circa 1956 is trivial in the everyday scheme of things. Historians of the Presidency and men's clothing styles may regard these bits of arcana important, but if they're not important to you, they're trivia; why do you remember them?

Trending Now

1. 2011 predictions
2. Candace Cameron ...Photos
3. Zombie satellite
4. Laura Govan
5. Obesity statistics
6. Whip My Hair
7. Owen Wilson ...Photos
8. Anderson Cooper
9. Credit cards
10. Margaret Thatcher

But today's topic is on why we often occupy ourselves with trivial concerns when there are better things to ponder. The "Trending Now" listing that I see on Yahoo whenever I open my mail page often makes me wonder why people bow down to pop idols (though the trend list from New Years Eve, at right, is not all trifles; even skeptical I had to find out why Margaret Thatcher was on it).

And, here at New Years, I hope to give some encouragement to resolve to adjust our mental priorities. Of course as the parent of three young adults ordare I say it, three adults pushing middle agewhose career was mostly oriented to youth beginning with my teen column for the Nanty Glo Journal, I readily admit that what's trivial for some is important to others, and I wouldn't try to impose my priorities on you. My own preoccupations, interests, and priorities were much more varied in my youth than they are in older age.

In fact, I almost feel the shell of my oeuf* contracting day by day. But there was a break in that shell a few days before Christmas. I took my grandson to see a matinee of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader at a local mall multiplex and found myself thinking I might start going to movies more frequently and even frequenting malls on weekday afternoons when few others are doing so. We'll see, but I couldn't imagine either of those changes in my routine two weeks ago.

I may have begun thinking about this topic when I read a blog I read a week or so ago on a Christianity Today blogsite. The writer, wife of one of America's best-known pastors, noted that many of the things she considered priorities a few years ago are no longer very important. In her case, that includes a lot of entertaining, especially over the holidays, which she has given up. Mine include giving up the notion that I have to have the best explanation out in the media of what the latest movie is really saying, and why. I remember describing to an older minister when I was at Stanford in my late thirties how important it was, in order to speak to college students in their thought categories, to be on top of the latest movies. He replied that for his part, he didn't consider movies very important and he'd lost interest in them. Maybe, as my older brother said a few days ago, he doesn't go to them any more because he's seen them all.

I'm just beginning to see some light at the end of this thought tunnel, but my New Year's resolution is to pursue the things that matter most and, more and more, stop wasting time on trivialities.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

*French for "egg." Philosophers and writers often use it to refer to "the sphere" in which they live.



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Chuckle and thought for today

New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.

Mark Twain


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Jon Kennedy's recent book, The Everything Guide to C.S. Lewis and Narnia, from Adams Media, F&W Publications, is available for purchase in support of the Liberty Museum in Nanty Glo and can be ordered here. It is also available on Amazon.