You do not take a man who for years has been hobbled by chains, liberate him, bring him to the starting line of a race, saying you are free to compete with all the others, and still justly believe you have been completely fair...We seek not just freedom but opportunity...not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as a result.
Lyndon B. Johnson
This is the first kiss that we're both fully aware of. Neither of us hobbled by sickness or pain or simply unconscious. Our lips neither burning with fever or icy cold. This is the first kiss where I actually feel stirring inside my chest. Warm and curious. This is the first kiss that makes me want another.
I've spent so many years talking about lame ducks in the White House and Congress, and it's never occurred to me to find out what the heck it means. It turns out it's an old English hunting term - something about firing at a duck without quite killing it. In any case, the hobbled duck limps on, at a distinct disadvantage.
I had been hobbled, perhaps even crippled by a pervasive internet society I had come to depend on and take for granted... hit enter and let Google, that twenty-first century Big Brother, take care of the rest. In the Derry of 1958, the most up-to-date computers were the size of small housing developments, and the local paper was no help. What did that leave? I remembered a sociology prof I'd had in college - a sarcastic old bastard - who used to say, When all else fails, give up and go to the library.
Time and experience have forcefully taught that the power to inspect dwelling places, either as a matter of systematic area-by-area search or, as here, to treat a specific problem, is of indispensable importance in the maintenance of community health; a power that would be greatly hobbled by the blanket requirement of the safeguards necessary for a search of evidence of criminal acts.
For throughout history, you can read the stories of women who - against all the odds - got being a woman right, but ended up being compromised, unhappy, hobbled or ruined, because all around them, society was still wrong. Show a girl a pioneering hero - Sylvia Plath, Dorothy Parker, Frida Kahlo, Cleopatra, Boudicca, Joan of Arc - and you also, more often than not, show a girl a woman who was eventually crushed.
I love exercise. Prior to learning about mountain biking, I was a jogger. And then, like a lot of baby boomers, my knees gave out. I believe that mountain biking is going to be an outlet for a lot of people my age. I'm 59, and people are going to realize you get as much aerobic exercise - if not more - on the mountain bike without being hobbled.
It is the fragrant lack of practicality that makes high-heeled shoes so fascinating: in terms of static mechanics they induce a sort of insecurity which some find titillating. If a woman wears a high-heeled shoe it changes the apparent musculature of the leg so that you get an effect of twanging sinew, of tension needing to be released. Her bottom sticks out like an offering. At the same time, the lofty perch is an expression of vulnerability, she is effectively hobbled and unable to escape. There is something arousing about this declaration that she is prepared to sacrifice function for form.
The blizzard seemed to be dying down, and it was now possible to enjoy the sight of the buildings and embankments and bridges smothered in the diamond-dusted whiteness. There's always something soothing in the snow, thought Gabriel, a promise of happiness and absolution, of a new start on a clean sheet. Snow redesigned the streets with hints of another architecture, even more magnificent, more fanciful than it already was, all spires and pinnacles on pale palaces of pearl and opal. All that New Venice should have been reappeared through its partial disappearance. It was as if the city were dreaming about itself and crystallizing both that dream and the ethereal unreality of it. He wallowed in the impression, badly needing it right now, knowing it would not last as he hobbled nearer to his destination.
At 10 minutes to seven on a dark, cool evening in Mexico City in 1968, John Stephen Akwari of Tanzania painfully hobbled into the Olympic Stadium-the last man to finish the marathon. The winner had already been crowned, and the victory ceremony was long finished. So the stadium was almost empty and Akwari - alone, his leg bloody and bandaged - struggled to circle the track to the finish line. When asked why he had continued the grueling struggle, the young man from Tanzania answered softly: My country did not send me 9,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 9,000 miles to finish the race.
Walter Inglis Anderson
Tell me what you do with the food you eat, and I'll tell you who you are. Some turn their food into fat and manure, some into work and good humor, and others, I'm told, into God. So there must be three sorts of men. I'm not one of the worst, boss, nor yet one of the best. I'm somewhere in between the two. What I eat I turn into work and good humor. That's not too bad, after all!' He looked at me wickedly and started laughing. 'As for you, boss, ' he said, 'I think you do your level best to turn what you eat into God. But you can't quite manage it, and that torments you. The same thing's happening to you as happened to the crow.' 'What happened to the crow, Zorba?' 'Well, you see, he used to walk respectably, properly - well, like a crow. But one day he got it into his head to try and strut about like a pigeon. And from that time on the poor fellow couldn't for the life of him recall his own way of walking. He was all mixed up, don't you see? He just hobbled about.
Let me tell you about gods, " said Wiggin. "No matter how smart or strong you are, there's always somebody smarter or stronger, and when you run into somebody who's stronger and smarter than anybody, you think, This is a god. This is perfection. But I can promise you that there's somebody else somewhere else who'll make your god look like a maggot by comparison. And somebody smarter or stronger or better in some way. So let me tell you what I think about gods. I think a real god is not going to be so scared or angry that he tries to keep other people down. For Congress to genetically alter people to make them smarter and more creative, that could have been a godlike, generous gift. But they were scared, so they hobbled the people of Path. They wanted to stay in control. A real god doesn't care about control. A real god already has control of everything that needs controlling. Real gods would want to teach you how to be just like them.
Orson Scott Card
Once upon a time there was a mother who, in order to become a mother, had agreed to change her name; who set herself the task of falling in love with her husband bit-by-bit, but who could n ever manage to love one part, the part, curiously enough, which made possible her motherhood; whose feet were hobbled by verrucas and whose shoulders were stooped beneath the accumulating guilts of the world; whose husband's unlovable organ failed to recover from the effects of a freeze; and who, like her husband, finally succumbed to the mysteries of telephones, spending long minutes listening to the words of wrong-number callers... shortly after my tenth birthday (when I had recovered from the fever which has recently returned to plague me after an interval of nearly twenty-one years), Amina Sinai resumed her recent practice of leaving suddenly, and always immediately after a wrong number, on urgent shopping trips.
Though she would have preferred long ago to have died, fled, gotten it all over with, the body-Jesus, how the body!-took its time. It possessed its own wishes and nostalgias. You could not just turn neatly into light and slip out the window. You couldn't go like that. Within one's own departing but stubborn flesh, there was only the long, sentimental, piecemeal farewell. Sir? A towel. Is there a towel? The body, hauling sadness, pursued the soul, hobbled after. The body was like a sweet, dim dog trotting lamely toward the gate as you tried slowly to drive off, out the long driveway. Take me, take me, too, barked the dog. Don't go, don't go, it said, running along the fence, almost keeping pace but not quite, its reflection a shrinking charm in the car mirrors as you trundled past the viburnium, past the pin grove, past the property line, past every last patch of land, straight down the swallowing road, disappearing and disappearing. Until at last it was true: you had disappeared.
Nothing in my view is more reprehensible than those habits of mind in the intellectual that induce avoidance, that characteristic turning away from a difficult and principled position, which you know to be the right one, but which you decide not to take. You do not want to appear too political; you are afraid of seeming controversial; you want to keep a reputation for being balanced, objective, moderate; your hope is to be asked back, to consult, to be on a board or prestigious committee, and so to remain within the responsible mainstream; someday you hope to get an honorary degree, a big prize, perhaps even an ambassadorship. For an intellectual these habits of mind are corrupting par excellence. If anything can denature, neutralize, and finally kill a passionate intellectual life it is the internalization of such habits. Personally I have encountered them in one of the toughest of all contemporary issues, Palestine, where fear of speaking out about one of the greatest injustices in modern history has hobbled, blinkered, muzzled many who know the truth and are in a position to serve it. For despite the abuse and vilification that any outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights and self-determination earns for him or herself, the truth deserves to be spoken, represented by an unafraid and compassionate intellectual.
Edward W. Said
Charlotte was used to all the marks of war: the shabbiness of things, bad food, shop queues, posters about the war effort, people with worried faces, people dressed in black. She was used to seeing the wounded men from the hospital with their bright blue uniforms and bright red ties, the colours, she thought, if not the clothes of Arthur's soldiers. Such things did not disturb her, and the war seemed quite remote. But this disturbed her, the grotesque kind of circus that came now. It did not seem remote at all, nor did it fit with her vague ideas of war gained from those books of Arthur's she had read, with their flags and glory and brave drummer boys. How could you dare to become a soldier, knowing that you might end like this? There were men like clowns with white heads, white arms, white legs, men with crutches, slings, and bloodied bandages, and all so distressingly like men you would expect to see walking down the street, two armed, two legged, in hats instead of bandages and suits of black not battered khaki. Some came on stretchers borne by whole and ordinary men, some hobbled and leaned on whole ordinary arms. Most had mud dried thick across their clothes, and all came from the dark station's mouth with the spewings of trains behind, the clankings, thumpings, grindings, the sounds like great devils taking in breaths and blowing them out again.
Nobody reads poetry, we are told at every inopportune moment. I read poetry. I am somebody. I am the people, too. It can be allowed that an industrious quantity of contemporary American poetry is consciously written for a hermetic constituency; the bulk is written for the bourgeoisie, leaving a lean cut for labor. Only the hermetically aimed has a snowball's chance in hell of reaching its intended ears. One proceeds from this realization. A staggering figure of vibrant, intelligent people can and do live without poetry, especially without the poetry of their time. This figure includes the unemployed, the rank and file, the union brass, banker, scientist, lawyer, doctor, architect, pilot, and priest. It also includes most academics, most of the faculty of the humanities, most allegedly literary editors and most allegedly literary critics. They do so-go forward in their lives, toward their great reward, in an engulfing absence of poetry-without being perceived or perceiving themselves as hobbled or deficient in any significant way. It is nearly true, though I am often reminded of a Transtromer broadside I saw in a crummy office building in San Francisco: We got dressed and showed the house You live well the visitor said The slum must be inside you. If I wanted to understand a culture, my own for instance, and if I thought such an understanding were the basis for a lifelong inquiry, I would turn to poetry first. For it is my confirmed bias that the poets remain the most 'stunned by existence, ' the most determined to redeem the world in words..
The game is a thread, microscopic in breadth, a hint of gossamer drawing unsuspecting souls together in simple competition to the exclusion of all else, from a mother and her infant playing peekaboo to two old men hunched over a chessboard and everything in between. The game unifies, joining father and son pitching baseballs at night after a long day at the office, pitches pounding the mitt or skipping past, one time even knocking the coffee cup handle clean off and the boy scampering off to retrieve a wild one as the dad sips and ponders. The game allows brothers to bond even when the age gap is too great for real competition, their mutual effort to fashion a bridge between disparate age and ability forming a bond of trust and respect. And finally, it is the game's presence and past and its memory that inspires each of us to forgive time and aging and their inevitable accompanying attrition because the gray and hobbled old man before me was once lean and powerful and magnificent and some of what became of him was due to the investment he made in me and after all the batting practice he threw and grounders he hit, his shoulder aches and his knees need replacement. Even though youth masks it so you don't realize it all when you're a kid, someday it happens to you and suddenly you realize you are him and you are left wishing you could go back and tell him what you now know and perhaps thank him for what he gave up. You imagine him back then receiving nothing in return except the knowledge that you would someday understand but he could not hasten that day or that revelation and he abided it all so graciously knowing that your realization might be too late for him. So you console yourself that in the absence of your gratitude he clung to hope and conviction and the future. Turn the page and you find yourself staring out at the new generation and you wince as his pitches bruise your palm and crack your thumb and realize that today the game is growth and achievement and tomorrow it will be love and memories. The game is a gift.
Weak and trembling from passion, Major Flint found that after a few tottering steps in the direction of Tilling he would be totally unable to get there unless fortified by some strong stimulant, and turned back to the club-house to obtain it. He always went dead-lame when beaten at golf, while Captain Puffin was lame in any circumstances, and the two, no longer on speaking terms, hobbled into the club-house, one after the other, each unconscious of the other's presence. Summoning his last remaining strength Major Flint roared for whisky, and was told that, according to regulation, he could not be served until six. There was lemonade and stone ginger-beer. You might as well have offered a man-eating tiger bread and milk. Even the threat that he would instantly resign his membership unless provided with drink produced no effect on a polite steward, and he sat down to recover as best he might with an old volume of Punch. This seemed to do him little good. His forced abstemiousness was rendered the more intolerable by the fact that Captain Puffin, hobbling in immediately afterwards, fetched from his locker a large flask of the required elixir, and proceeded to mix himself a long, strong tumblerful. After the Major's rudeness in the matter of the half-crown, it was impossible for any sailor of spirit to take the first step towards reconciliation. Thirst is a great leveller. By the time the refreshed Puffin had penetrated half-way down his glass, the Major found it impossible to be proud and proper any longer. He hated saying he was sorry (no man more) and he wouldn't have been sorry if he had been able to get a drink. He twirled his moustache a great many times and cleared his throat-it wanted more than that to clear it-and capitulated. "Upon my word, Puffin, I'm ashamed of myself for-ha!-for not taking my defeat better, " he said. "A man's no business to let a game ruffle him." Puffin gave his alto cackling laugh. "Oh, that's all right, Major, " he said. "I know it's awfully hard to lose like a gentleman." He let this sink in, then added: "Have a drink, old chap?" Major Flint flew to his feet. "Well, thank ye, thank ye, " he said. "Now where's that soda water you offered me just now?" he shouted to the steward. The speed and completeness of the reconciliation was in no way remarkable, for when two men quarrel whenever they meet, it follows that they make it up again with corresponding frequency, else there could be no fresh quarrels at all. This one had been a shade more acute than most, and the drop into amity again was a shade more precipitous.