The Moth Party
Arthur C. Brooks
October 16, 2022
I hope you are keeping well and enjoying some crisp fall weather. We Brookses are all thriving in various parts of the world. Our eldest–the Heir to our vast estates and uncountable livestock–and his bride, Mrs. B2, are both loving their jobs as middle school math teachers. They aim to “reflect the glory of the Lord in the beauty of mathematics,” which I love, but must admit does not remind me very much of my own 8th-grade math experience. Meanwhile, the Baby is doing well in Spain, even though she can’t come home for Thanksgiving, because for her university, it’s just another Thursday. This is how the communists win, folks.
Corporal Mini-Me has returned from his mission in the Middle East, safe and sound. Here he is, with his sniper team, in some sort of abandoned building in the desert. Yep, just a chip off the old block…reminds me of my workdays at Harvard.
If you celebrated Yom Kippur, I hope you had an easy fast, and that you and your family are inscribed in the book of life for another year. Despite the fact that I am a Catholic, I celebrated the Jewish holiday this year as the speaker at Temple Emanuel in Newton, Massachusetts. It was a beautiful afternoon with my Jewish sisters and brothers in their holiest hour, and a humbling experience for me. You can watch my remarks here.
Speaking of sartorial issues, I have had a bit of a crisis of late. During the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, we Brookses decamped to an old rental house in a leafy suburb of Boston. It had many fine features, but also some regrettable ones, such as a very large mouse population, and closets chock-full of moths. Unbeknownst to me, while I was keeping a stiff upper lip through to the end of the pandemic, a moth colony was having a huge party in my unused wool suits. Now that I’m back to coats and ties, I have to check every article of clothing for holes before I put it on, and have wound up tossing out half my wardrobe. This last week I grabbed a fine gray flannel suit–one of my favorites from the Before-Times–to get dressed for class. I gave it a cursory once-over, put it on, and headed off to lecture. It was dark when I checked, though, and I apparently hadn’t looked closely enough: As I was walking into class, I noticed that the insects had chewed a dozen holes around the fly of my trousers. Those sick, twisted moths can’t just be satisfied with a sleeve or two? No doubt my students found it odd that I lectured that day with my hands clasped together below my waist, like a soccer player defending against a free kick. I am not including a photo because this is a family newsletter.
Caption: In these waning days of nice weather, Mrs. B and I are going over to the beach as often as we can, and as you receive this, we are at a little cottage we rented in Plymouth, MA. That’s right–of Plymouth Rock fame. We went to see the famous rock, and here it is, about 3x5 feet, just sitting there by the side of the road. I’m not sure what I thought it would be, but we were a bit underwhelmed. “Your ancestors were easily impressed,” remarked Mrs. B.
Where I've Been
Last month, I had a terrific conversation on creativity, work, and how to build a purposeful life with bestselling author Daniel Pink at The Atlantic Festival in Washington, DC. You can watch a recording of our discussion here.
Speaking of The Atlantic, the new series of the Atlantic’s How to podcast focusing on When Expectations Don’t Meet Reality started last week. New episodes will be released every Monday for the next several weeks. Listen on your favorite podcast player.
Where I'm Going
I’ll be joining an all-star group this month for my friend Maria Shriver’s Radically Reframing Aging Summit, a virtual event that includes seven days of in-depth conversation, leading-edge insights, and expert guidance for living and aging your very best. The summit runs October 24-30th. Learn more here.
Until next time,