Sunday, July 22 , 2018, 9:08 pm | Fair 73º


Tim Durnin: First, An Apology ... Then Let’s Take a Walk

Life is enriched with new learning and new discoveries

I left for college knowing everything, only to discover how ignorant I really am. My university experience was a four-year exercise in becoming exponentially smaller in the face of available knowledge. And this was before the ubiquitous appearance of the personal computer.

Perhaps that is why I spent the first half of my professional life in education, making up for lost time in my pursuit of knowing. What college and my subsequent professional experience have accomplished is to instill an abiding respect and passion for learning. The digital age has provided more than adequate opportunity for me to feed this particular hunger.

My hope for this column and this space is to stand in the wonder and awe that learning and new discoveries afford. I confess here that my experience and writing suffer from serious limitations that are probably worth identifying in advance. I offer these by way of an apology, in the archaic use of that term, an explanation and defense of my position in the world.

Let me start with my writing. I am a writer in the sense that I put words to paper that can usually be read and understood. I harbor no illusions about the general quality of my work, which, on good days, remains passable. I am not a grammarian. If one is looking for fault in this regard, one will most certainly find it here.

In spite of my limitations, I love to write and my writing is driven by things that inspire my passions, wake my curiosities and test my intellect. It is these things I wish to convey and share, despite the flawed form.

Turning to more substantive defects, I am not an academic or an intellectual. I do not approach topics or inquiry with the rigor and discipline demanded by scholarly examination and analysis. I am a common man who experiences the world from a certain naïve curiosity and attempts to explain it in much the same way.

I also live in a world that is shades of gray. I have difficulty with those who demand that it is black or white. I have found very few truths with a capital “T” in my experience, and I believe that much of our disagreement, chaos and enmity emerge from the confusion of truth for Truth. I am open-minded to a fault.

Politically, I am an orphan. I have been unable to find a genetic or philosophic match to either my driven, wealthy and excessive Republican father or my timid, uncertain and overly doting Democrat mother. These are, of course, metaphors. My father was (he’s passed), and mother remains, a Fox News Republican. I have no political home.

In daily practice, my world is primarily informed by the happy circumstance that I am a husband and father. In my real life I am a soccer and ballet dad. I have two girls and they consume what “free time” is available to me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My perception and experience are also shaped by an adequate education and an abiding belief in God. I am Catholic. I listen to NPR, a host of regular podcasts, and rarely miss The Office or Modern Family. There are innumerable other failings that could be counted against me and, no doubt, a few positive attributes to help balance the scales.

That said, I hope readers will be willing to accept (or overlook) my limitations and join me for the ride. More than anything, I hope we can discuss and discover and wonder together. And never stop learning.

— Tim Durnin is a father, husband and writer. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for ideas, comments, discussion and criticism.

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