I Think Mrs. Landingham Had a Yoga Mat

prayer beads

So much trouble in the world

All you got to do: give a little

Bob Marley

I like happy endings. Always have.

Even in the darkest of times, I peek around the corner for a snippet of light, or at least a sarcastic remark to help make way for a laugh. I think fairy tales would have been better with some snark. Happy, snarky endings.

During sappy movies you’ll recognize me because of the swelled heart and sniffles. The good guys are supposed to win.When The West Wing originally aired I was in the throes of my retail career. This meant more often than not, you could find me at work. In the time before TiVo, digital recorders and streaming this meant that you caught up on a show when it came out on DVD. I did some years later, manage to watch it.

It was one of those shows that if you watched it as a kid you’d want to run for office.

It was one of those shows where the government did all of the things you wanted it to do.

Cable shows and reality hadn’t quite taken over yet, so network shows still had a sense of the theatrical. I liked that. I appreciated Aaron Sorkin’s writing and over the top idealism, because that’s why I watched TV.

Sure some of the episodes were eye rollingly righteous, but I’m a Taurus, we wrote the book on what’s fair. I think the show’s best episode was at the end of the second season, ‘Two Cathedrals‘.

The episode tackles the funeral of the President’s assistant, Mrs Landingham on the eve of announcement that he has multiple sclerosis. Mrs. Landingham was smart as she was snappish and compassionate as she was tough. Her character’s death dealt a blow to an already shaky administration.

The good guys were already down and seemingly out, they’d lost one of their own and no one is sure they’ll be able to run again to finish what they’ve started. Without feeling awkward, the viewer gets a series of flashbacks that show us how the president became the man that he is. Mrs Landingham more than anyone connected him with his calling to serve.

I still think it holds up as one of the best pieces of network TV writing, acting and camerawork, ever. No hyperbole. It feels a little eerie to watch now, the air date was May 16, 2001.

The whole world was unaware of the trouble ahead.

Some people might poo poo the idea that a network episode over 10 years old can measure up, but bookselling taught me to let go of snobbery. I was previously someone who only read what was acceptable. Great literature to be sure, I’m still a huge reader, but I learned to also read for fun.

Finding out what my team was reading was the best source of recommendations. Even when I didn’t like something I still appreciated the book because it gave me insight to someone and I didn’t take that for granted.

A chronic case of insomnia that not even my mat can cure has reintroduced me to the West Wing (Thanks Netflix).

If bookselling killed my snobbery, yoga kept my heart open to the idea of the impossible. Mrs. Landingham was played by Kathyrn Joosten. Joosten died in June of 2012 at the age of 72. But she didn’t get into acting until she was 42. Isn’t that some shit? I can’t help think that as my 42nd birthday rolls around I’m starting a new journey as well.

There is so much trouble in the world. And sometimes it even feels like the good fight might get lost. But if we all give a little (and do a little yoga) we might be alright.

This is yoga. And I thank Kathryn Joosten for being a bad ass on TV and in real life.

I love it.

Namaste y’all.

kathryn joosten


2 thoughts on “I Think Mrs. Landingham Had a Yoga Mat

  1. Fine post, like always. You got me thinking something. Good guys and bad guys. And you find some opening when you listen to someone else’s book recommendation and get outside of your chosen frame. It’s hard to not get sucked into the good guy/ bad guy world view – it’s hammered into us constantly. That alone is enough to make me suspicious. p.s., WW was one of the all time greats.

    1. Good Guy/Bad Guy Worldview is a great book title. Bookselling was fantastic. It was a gift to do it for 15 years. Think I just thought of my next post. Thanks Bharat!

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