Tom and Jerry, plus Spike and I

Amman, Jordan

My roommate Ryan’s boss Eric and his wife Judy (my second favorite Filipina!) took us out for Christmas drinks at the Dubliners last night, Ryan and I and his friend Shauna who’s been staying with us, and Lowen who teaches history at the Middle School of the Modern American School. Judy said again how much she loves to give Ryan and Lowen a couple drinks and watch what happens (as do I), and then she explained why. It was a perfect explanation of the relationship of Ryan and Lowen (and Fadi the former MAS drama teacher).

Lowen is Tom, and Ryan is Jerry. Ryan, an avid Marxist obsessed with the imminent fall of the American Empire and the rise of a more perfect world order, starts out challenging Lowen, an ex-Army socialist frustrated with Ryan’s Marxist rants devoid of any practical solutions. Eventually, however, Lowen become entirely exasperated, even angry. That’s when they’re most like Tom and Jerry: Ryan always needling Lowen, Lowen constantly trying to crush the little nuisance!

And then there’s Fadi, who is also a Marxist, but somewhat less adament about it, and more able than Ryan to sense when the argument has gone too far. Like spike, he will step into the fray and can usually bring it to a decisive end. When Fadi’s not around, as he has not been lately, it is often I who step in. While I am philosophically probably closer to Ryan’s positions, I get just as frustrated as Lowen with Ryan’s inability to sense when he has gone too far,and find myself defending Lowen.

Like Judy, I never tire of the ongoing argument between them, and in fact find myself wishing, as I did while listening to the Poli Sci instructors at nerd camp, that I had spent more time learning about political theory so I could jump in the fray with something approaching expertise.

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