I’ve been reading Terry Anker’s column for months now and I’ve yet to understand a single word he’s written, and while that may sound like a criticism, it’s more a reflection on my fading powers of concentration. Perhaps I should be giving myself a break, though, for Terry’s columns are less about comprehension and more about asking the big-picture, unanswerable questions about where we fit in the grand scheme of this magnificent universe.
And while I’ve always believed that every Indiana bi-weekly needs to include a dose of existentialism to balance out the stories about high school theaters and that new oil-change shop that just opened, I have to admit I’m a bit perplexed by Terry’s style. Sometimes it starts out as standard, muscular, American-business writing, but then it gets trippy, as if Dale Carnegie got hit in the head with a copy of Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet” while surfing in Bali.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, for standard, American-business writing is usually pretty unbearable, always incoherent and wordy, passive and terrified of specificity. But all those questions that punctuate Terry’s columns, the ones that are never answered – they sound less like the deep, penetrating inquiries about the mysteries of existence and more like the deluge of questions my young son asks: Why is the sky blue? Who makes grass? Why do we have hair? Questions that are, of course, delightful and wondrous and perhaps somewhat tedious and punishing in their endlessness and can only be silenced by tossing a handful of Oreos in the backseat.
Again, this is not a criticism, just an admission that I, too, am on a mission for illumination, and that I’m convinced that with enough study, I’ll eventually figure out the deep mysteries that Terry alludes to in every column. Right now, though, I’m afraid I’m out of Oreos.
Chris Colcord, Carmel