Monday, October 12, 2009

Confessions of a Wuss

I did not know this word until a dear friend, long since removed from her Texas childhood, laughed at my moderation and said "Nigel, you're such a wuss". British readers of this are probably unfamilair with the term, but it is appropriately used on someone unwilling to take a firm position on an issue.

Being "slow to anger" is part of my culture. I was brought up to avoid whining, to keep calm, and listen to others. One of my favorite sayings is "make small alterations in plenty of time". This dates back to my naval days, when I was at the wheel of a war ship (Not normally the responsibility of even a junior officer) and the ship's captain told me to look astern, to see the squiggly wake I had left. I don't find it easy to change course - or my opinions - quickly or easily. This is not stubborness, but (I guess) an innate conservatism. I tend to support the "establishment" position. I am, by nature, a centrist - leaning slightly left. This certainly applies to politics, as well as other aspects of my self image.

I supported the farm workers when they had a strike against the growers in California's Central Valley, I even spent a day marching with them along highway 99 in the Central Valley. I also was glad to drive down to Delano, to present a check from my parish to Cesar Chavez in person. (In those days when we recorded events on colored slides there was a great picture of me shaking hands with Cesar Chavez, but I have been unable to find it for more than forty years.)

I was talking to some friends at church soon after that time, and announced that I wasn't really a radical. Our curate remarked "Nigel, no one would ever accuse you of being a radical". I knew he was right. In my self-esteem, I am proud of being an island of stability in a chaotic world. The other side of the coin, is that I really am a bit of a wuss.


  1. Nigel, while innately conservative you are also a fighter for what you believe to be right. You have a spine, and in my book that means you are not a wuss. Happy blogging!
    Paul Strid

  2. I agree with Paul on this. I would have never thought of you as a wuss.