How We Love a Good Story

Dr David, Editor/Publisher

A very handsome couple came to me this week with a proposal for an article. Laura and Xolox have various projects that they want to promote, SMAgiCARD, Studio Nomad... They brought me not an article, but a short description of sMAGICard, something you might read on a website, essentially a public relations piece, a press release.

“No,” I told them, using my best Spanish, “People love stories. You have to say, 'We were sitting outside of a cafe on our recent trip to Amsterdam talking about how we would love to be able to target our spending so that it helps the local artists. Then we realized that our home San Miguel de Allende also lacks a way, a mechanism to supports artists. So we came up with the idea of a card you can use at participating businesses so that a portion of your purchases goes to fund art projects.' You see that is a story.”

People love stories. We're neurologically programmed to pay attention to stories. That's the attraction of silly sitcoms; something happens. Certain stories resonate more than others. Jordan Peterson insists that biblical stories speak deeply to and about our human experience, no belief in God or religion required. Jordan Peterson is the erudite Canadian psychology professor who became famous for fighting legislation that mandates the use of gender bending pronouns. His youtube videos (including his two Biblical Series) regularly get one million views each.

(Did you know that there is almost as much domestic violence among lesbian couples as there is among heterosexual couples? Or that women on men domestic violence is just a little short of men on women domestic violence? So, I've heard. A lot of old school feminists are being attacked by the radical left because they refuse to believe that a man, with the male organ, wearing a dress, who identifies as a woman, is a woman. What a world we live in, eh?)

When I was doctoring up north I had more than a few patients who were born again Christians. Some when they learned I was Jewish (it might have been the beard and kippa) wanted to talk religion. I was very diplomatic, but pressed hard by their proselytizing I would excuse myself, “We Jews have an older contract with God and I have to follow that earlier covenant. I only used it once, but I always had in reserve my nuclear option, “It's really hard to understand Jesus if you're not Jewish.” It happens to be true. I have sympathy for Jordan Peterson in his talks of relating bible stories to our human (all too human) psychology. It's really hard to understand the bible without rabbinical commentary.

Take the infamous “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” What good is your eye or tooth going to do me? These are Jews. They're talking about money, monetary compensation for damages caused to another, as in workman's compensation. There is a whole tractate of the Talmud on the subject. A state prosecutor up in Connecticut, Harry by name, told me of his first day of torts class in law school. The professor had been teaching the class for 30 years. His first sentence was, “The first laws of workman's compensation were established in England in 1574.” Harry, whom I imagine towards the rear of a stadium style classroom raised his hand. The professor, somewhat annoyed at what, so early in the class, he was sure, could only be a frivolous interruption, gave Harry a supercilious, “Yes?” Harry replied, “I'm sorry, sir, but that's not correct,” going on to mention the Talmudic exegesis of the subject some 18 centuries earlier. Well, as my father used to say, that professor "couldn't have been more surprised, if you threw a bag of shit at him," a paper bag that exploded.

Anyway, my life these days reminds me of the crossing of the Red Sea. God told Moses to stretch out his staff over the waters and that they would part. That much is chapter and verse. The rabbis explain that Moses did stretch out his staff over the waters and nothing happened. Nothing happened, that is, until a man, who's name, we remember, was Nachshon, entered the sea up to his nostrils. Now this could be an example of God helps those who help themselves. Or it might go to show that sometimes you have to go all in, up to the breaking point before you get a break.

I met with another couple this week, Shirley and Moises. We spoke last spring, meeting several times about my Lokkal project here in SMA and the global version (www.lokkal.com/project.htm). They are also handsome, also intelligent. We would have continued working together, but they are Venezuelans and the crisis in that poor country forced them to urgently act on behalf of friends and family. Now that their loved ones have found refuge in other countries they are ready to start working with me. They have some great ideas to better Lokkal in SMA and connections in the Venezuelan diaspora to spread replicate Lokkal in other towns and cities, first throughout Mexico and then...

Here I am Thursday evening writing an article for my magazine because I don't have anything else to publish. On top of that, a month ago, my assistant of 4 years quit for greener pastures, leaving me with an extra 8 hours of work each week. I don't want to say that I was giving up on my plans to diversify here in SMA and expand in other places, but I was running short of both ideas and steam, like Nachshom up to his nose in it. But now the Venezuelans will pitch in on all fronts, taking over my assistant's former work, as well as, writing articles, replicating the project in other towns and cities and more. Xolox and Laura have a lot of stories in them, an unending fountain of them. And who knows, maybe some of you reading this will pick up the challenge, get inspired and write to tell us what happened in your life last week.

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As a courtesy, I sent a copy of this article to Moises [Moses] and Shirley for their permission to publish about them. They wrote back with that and a new photo that Shirley had picked out. I wrote back, "I knew that the article has photos of two couples, but I just realized that it also has photos of two Moiseses [Moseses]. I'm hoping for redemption.

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photo: Alessandro Bo (cropped)

Dr David started this magazine because he could write and liked to communicate. He fully expected that in a town like San Miguel he could find authors to publish in addition to himself. Well, practically no one is submitting anything. Stubborn as he is, he continues, now publishing himself, and a faithful cadre of authors and photographers. His motto continues to be, "It's hard to be ahead of your time."

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