The Radical Goes to History Camp

June 24, 2008, 5:56 pm

Many years ago, when I first started rowing, I experienced this phenomenon where it gave me — and my fellow novices — the greatest pleasure to learn to row, and then to to talk about rowing all the time. We would go to talks at Zenith, and then later at the post-talk reception we would talk about rowing; we would go to dinner at each other’s houses, and other guests would silently push a pea around the plate while we talked about rowing; and it got so bad that when we walked into a room at Zenith, people would say things like, “Oh, here comes the rowing team.” We just thought they were silly. At the end of the summer, we all headed up to the Master’s Nationals in Syracuse, and agreed that it would be such a relief to talk about rowing all week without people interrupting us.

Well, I now get it that probably had something to do with endorphins, and talking about rowing kicked off something in our brains that made us feel good. So why, since I have been a historian for nigh on twenty-five years, am I so jazzed up to be at history camp up at the Schlesinger Library, talking about, listening to, or researching United States history after 1968? About twelve hours a day?

I don’t know — but it sure feels good. Thank you, Nancy Cott.

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