The remains of my shiny, healthy-looking computer have mocked me all morning; somewhere in that sad little heap is all my files, everything I've worked on for the past four months. Irretrievable. Lost, like the gold plates or Amelia Earhart. Which means that for the rest of today I am relegated to the wizened old computer at the back of the cramped Hirshhorn library. Yet another reminder that I am the bottom rung, the pressure point under the high heel of my industry. I am without glamour, without the ability to procure a new computer, and without much sympathy from any of the paid employees. Ah the glorious life of an intern!
It all makes sense, though, in a way; I've been pondering all week about what it means to be an underdog. Last November I remember feeling unusually confident as I watched CNN's coverage of the presidential election results. "It's all right," I remarked to my brother and dad and anyone else who seemed profoundly disappointed by the implications of the elections. "I fight better when I'm the underdog, anyways."
And it's true. That's always been how I operate. My bestest internet friend, Dictionary.com, defines an Underdog as, "One that is expected to lose a contest or struggle, as in sports or politics; One that is at a disadvantage." Whenever I think of underdogs, images of the various kids from The Sandlot flash through my mind. I am always attracted to any person/place/thing/ or cause that is disadvantaged yet has all the heart and smarts, like those kids did. Only 1 out of every 4 people in the world is an introvert, did you know that? I consider myself one of the 25%. I've striven all my life to shed the vestiges of being shy, but I don't think I'll ever quite make it. But it's ok! The fact that I am aware of my limitations, and that I know I have to work to befriend others, makes my true friendships all the more valuable to me.
Yesterday, American conservatives threw over 700 Tea Parties across the nation, protesting the spend-and-tax profligacy of the current administration. Most of them were protesting for the first time in their lives. Most major news networks ignored the protests, other than screening a couple of shots of the more loony participants. I loved this event! I am proud of them, and excited to see those with sense stomping into the wonderful field of grassroots activism. Good luck to them, and to us all. Can you tell my tenure in DC has made me increasingly political? I used to have a strict No Politics Among Friends rule, but it's almost gone. Except how I still try first and foremost to maintain peace and respect in these conversations (reasonably possible, I've discovered). Just call me utopian, I don't care...
Earlier this week the DC Nationals baseball team almost-- almost-- clinched a victory over the reigning world champs, the Phillies. The team (which I had never heard of before I moved here, BUT NOW LOVE WHOLEHEARTEDLY) is in dire need of a pick-me-up. I am pretty sure that my added support will produce a fairy-tale ending for these dismal underdogs. Yay Nats! I'm adding attendance to a couple of their home games to my list of things to do while I'm here.
The list of Lindsey's beloved underdogs goes on and on: Michael Scott Paper Company, Belgium, works on paper including intaglio and engraving (no one ever pays good enough attention to artworks you actually have to examine!), Mormon culture (hee hee... mom pants and cub scouts forever!) People who never dye their hair, people who think sky-diving is NOT that attractive of a life event, people who refrain from purchasing $200 jeans, people who didn't even know there WERE $200 jeans, Hercules, PBS, T. C. Williams High School's 1971 football team (the one portrayed in one of my favorite movies, Remember the Titans)...
... Nope, there's more. I cheer for Jack Johnson, not mainstream but better than anyone who ever picked up a guitar. I look up to Henry Ossawa Tanner (see my January post Guess What?? if you don't know who he is.) I read in the scriptures about TONS of prophets who were stoned, crucified, ejected, and ignored as they told their friends about God's will. I study art to learn who in history has had an interesting journey, and who has produced art that was different than everyone else's... and why.
I'm championing the underdog cause, if such a thing is possible. As long as I believe it is the correct cause. I think that's part of the whole appeal of underdogs; unitedly they proclaim, "I don't care what the majority thinks, I'm doing this my own way and thinking my own thoughts!" and their stories and examples give us courage to do likewise.
Jeff Koons, Puppy, 1992. 43 feet tall, made out of steel scaffolding, 25 tons of soil, an interior irrigation system, and 70,000 FLOWERS! Standing outside NYC's Rockefeller Center in 2000.
*Addendum: it should be noted that on occasion, an underdog is picked up and championed by the majority. By so doing it sheds its underdogism and becomes a fad. Then, sadly, I have to leave it behind. I hate when this happens. I loved The Format and Maroon 5, then they got big. I rarely listen to either now. I used to be the only person I knew who liked wearing grey clothes (it's my favorite color... for secret, cheerful reasons). Now "charcoal" is one of the mainstays of fashion. BOOOO! And once upon a time I liked BYU sports... oh wait, they still have a couple hills to climb... I'm still a fan :)