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Sunday, June 3, 2012


            I’ve read a load of books in my life—thousands and thousands of pages, but to tell the truth, I don’t think I’ve ever given the margins of those pages much thought.

        I’ve always been a pretty serious note-taker, and have filled the margins with all sorts of scribbled comments, asterisks and arrows, but other than that, the margins went unnoticed.

            One of the definitions of margin is:
            a limit in condition, capacity, etc., beyond or below which something ceases to exist, be desirable, or be possible: the margin of endurance; the margin of sanity.

            The ability to look past the page margins seems to have evolved into an ability to see past the people who populate the edges of society, until they simply fade into oblivion.  I’m pretty sure no one ever started out with the goal of being on the outside looking in, but it seems many are relegated to life outside the border.

          People live in the margins of our society, and, like the margins of printed pages, they too lack notice or use, unless to serve as negative examples. The problem seems to be that unless they conform to the artificial standard society sets, these men, women and children exist on the periphery, seemingly out of touch, and with a diminished capacity.

         The margins are populated by any who are different. Different race, different color, different sexual orientation, different perspective on the world—all are ample grounds for exile and exclusion. Streets, neighborhoods and national boundaries often define the margins.

  The rules are as flexible as they are erratic, but make no mistake; being pushed into the margin says more about the pusher than banished.


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