No alarms and no surprises. Silent. Silent.

[To avoid confusion, at the bottom of this post I’ll embed the official video of the song from which this title comes, and then an old video of me doing a version of it.  Enjoy.]

Yesterday afternoon, I wrote a pre-made blog post, in case I was too tired this morning to write one, or too enervated, or too unmotivated, or however you want to characterize such a state.  As it turns out, this is not the blog post I pre-wrote.  This is me writing on Wednesday morning, but I may share that other blog post later today.

If I do, you’ll see that it was written as though it might be my last blog post, because—rather obviously—I felt that I was approaching the end of my endurance.  Though I am, in fact, writing this post this morning, that doesn’t change the fact that I still feel that I’m very near the end of my strength; it’s just that I’m a creature of habit, and I’m very stubborn, so I tend to keep on going longer than I suspected that I would be able to do so.

Or maybe it’s just that I feel too rude to change things suddenly in ways that affect other people.  For instance, today is the day that I do payroll at the office, so it would be very unkind of me not to go in, since no one else does the payroll, and it has to be done to make sure people get their paychecks.  After today, though, there’s another week before payroll needs to be done again.  That would be time enough for the boss to figure out some other alternatives.

Heck, knowing him, he is probably already prepared for other alternatives.  He’s very sharp.  I’m probably flattering myself to think that I’m actually important and not immediately replaceable.  The world will little note, nor long remember the fact that I was ever anywhere at all.

Just as a bit of trivia, and to give evidence to support the previous sentence, my daily life consists of getting up in the morning, showering, getting dressed, coming to the train station, writing my blog posts, and riding the train in to Deerfield Beach.  Then, on the way from the train station to the office, I stop in the Chevron convenience store and get some sandwiches and chips and something to drink, which will be my nutrition for the day.  Then I go to the office and do what I do there (including actually posting my blog posts before the start of business).  Then, after everyone else leaves, I lock up the office and set the alarm, walk back to the train station, ride the train back to Hollywood (Florida), go to the house, go to my room, read a few online manga, watch some YouTube videos and go to sleep and try to stay asleep, which I fail at pretty much always, until the cycle repeats.

On days when I’m off, I will go out to 7-11 or similar and get some food to eat for the day.  On Sundays I also do my laundry.

That’s it.  There are obviously many little details involved, but that’s it.  I don’t have any friends.  I don’t have any family nearby, not anyone who sees me or talks to me, anyway, though I talk to my sister on the phone when I feel non-disgusting enough to inflict myself on her.  I don’t have anywhere that I go for fun, because the sorts of places that people tend to go for fun are not places I find enjoyable unless I’m with someone I care about who enjoys going to such places.  If it’s me, crowds and noise and all that are stressful and intrusive, almost painful.  Anyway, going to most of the sorts of places I used to go—even malls or grocery stores or what have you—makes me feel sad, and even more alone and lonely than I do when I don’t go to them.

To a very good first approximation, I don’t drink—the bottles of liquor I bought for New Years 2020-2021 are still mostly full, almost two years later.  I don’t do drugs—the time I tried to see if marijuana helped my pain just left me vomiting for hours after the attempt—though I have in the past been on prescription pain meds that ultimately caused me as many problems as they solved, and I weaned myself off them.  Yuck.  I occasionally smoke cigars, but I don’t really like them and they make me feel kind of crummy…it’s mostly just what I call “self-harm without the danger of being Baker Acted”, but it’s too slow and unreliable a form of self-destruction to be satisfying.

I don’t write fiction anymore, and I don’t play music.  I barely even listen to music anymore.  My life is nothing and it is nothingness.

On top of all that, my new housemates have dogs—which is nice, I like dogs, actually—but last night one of them was agitated about something and kept barking on and off throughout the night.  I got the impression that its owner just gave up on trying to control it.  Most people don’t train or govern their pets very well, as far as I can see.  So that made my sleep even worse than usual.

I know, I’m whining and complaining and it’s tiresome.  Have we met before?  Allow me to introduce myself:  I’m Robert Elessar, and I’m tiresome.  Trust me, no one else is more tired of me than I am.

I think that’s nearly it, at least for right now.  If I decide to share it this afternoon, I guess you’ll see the blog post I wrote yesterday.  I may actually just preload it to post tomorrow, instead of my usual Thursday blog post.  I don’t know.  I haven’t decided.  I don’t like to deal in threats or promises, because I don’t know what I’ll feel like at any given point in the future.  At best I can make predictions, but as some famous scientist said, prediction is tricky business, especially about the future.

Anyway, that’s that.  I’m done, at least for today.  I wish I were just done entirely, so I could rest.  They say there shall be no rest for the wicked, and I guess I must be particularly wicked.  Or maybe that’s just my own bias.  Whatever.  Never mind.


Surprisingly (for me) positive thoughts on a Saturday morning

[Note:  At the bottom of the post, below the footnotes, I’m including a thought that occurred to me between the initial writing and the final editing of this post, but which doesn’t directly relate to the post itself.]

Well, it’s Saturday morning (the 17th of September, a nice prime number), and I’m waiting at the station for the first train of the day, because I woke up before my alarm again and there was no point trying to go back to sleep.  I’m working again today, and I may be working again next Saturday as well, since I don’t know how long the coworker with whom I split Saturdays will be out with his recovery from surgery.

I can’t begrudge him the time off—surgery is no small thing, even if it was “minimally invasive”, to say nothing of the problem that required surgery.  I’ve had major surgery myself, open-heart when I was 18 and back surgery when I was about 35 (hopefully I won’t have another when I’m 53!).  I don’t remember how long my own laminectomy and fusion left me hobbled, because at the time I was already on temporary disability because of the injury, but it wasn’t a minor inconvenience.

That whole process contributed to the eventual catastrophic collapse of the life I had built, partly because I technically have “failed back surgery syndrome”, which means that, despite my back surgery, I still have chronic pain.  I think the term “failed” is a bit uncharitable, though, because my pain was reduced, it just didn’t come close to going away completely.  It’s there every day, and it has been for about 20 years (for those of you doing the math, I had the pain a good three years or so before I had the surgery, and I am currently 52).

Speaking of the collapse of my previous life, and the loss of so many things that were important to me, I sent an email to my son not long ago—I might have mentioned this previously—to the email address he had used the thank me for his last birthday present.  It was basically a long apology for all the things I screwed up with him (and his sister), and a reminder that I love him and always will, and of course that I miss him.  I didn’t know if he even regularly checks that email, so I asked his sister to let him know I had sent it.  He apparently does, and he’s seen it.

I don’t know what he thinks about it, since he hasn’t replied so far.  I don’t know if he ever will.  That’s up to him, which I guess is obvious.  What I mean is, that it wouldn’t be fair or right for me to expect, let alone demand, a reply from him.  I at least know that, if he wants to know what his father has been thinking and doing for the last quite some time, he can always come to this blog and read it.  I don’t know what he would think if he did that, but it is whatever it is.

I’ve always felt—at least, for as long as I’ve seriously thought about such things—that it’s important to remember that children don’t belong to their parents.  Parents belong to their children.  This is so for good, sound, biological reasons, and also for deep moral ones.  A parent can make the decision to have a child—or well, two parents can make that decision.  The child literally has no say in the matter, for the child does not even exist when the decision is made.  They cannot be held morally accountable for anything to do with that decision, and they cannot incur any obligation because of it.  Of course, good parenting and good socialization can mean that a child will be naturally grateful to the parents, and that’s nice when it happens, but it isn’t required.  It cannot, ethically, be required.  It cannot, in good conscience, be demanded.

That reminds me tangentially of the concept creep problem our culture has with the terms, “respect” and with “self-esteem”.  People cannot demand respect.  Respect is in the eye of the beholder.  Courtesy is presumptively expectable, since simple politeness is the lubricant of civilization, but respect can only be freely given if it is to be of any value at all.

Likewise with self-esteem.  It doesn’t make sense to encourage people to have just a general, free-form, positive self-image based on nothing; that leads to narcissism and all the problems it entails.  One should not feel “proud” merely of the fact that one exists.

A student who cannot seem to master math well should not necessarily feel proud of his or her math skills, though if that student has worked hard to learn as much as they can learn, they should feel proud about that!  And that person almost certainly has other strengths and abilities that they can feel good about, and of which they should feel proud.

Hard work is worthy of esteem, and thus of self-esteem.  But I don’t need to esteem my own ability to play basketball, for instance, and I shouldn’t, because I’m terrible at basketball.  On the other hand, I write reasonably well, and I write a lot.  I also have good skills at general mathematics and science, and I am deeply curious about the way the universe works, and have learned a lot about what people know about how it works, and how that knowledge has been gained.  I should feel good about that, at least.  I certainly enjoy it.

“Pride” in general is a tricky concept.  Its legitimacy depends on how one uses it, and what one means by it.  None of us made ourselves, obviously; we operate according to the laws of nature*, and we are shaped by our nature—our genes and other physical factors—and our experience, our background, our society, our upbringing, our education, and so on.  And in a sense, all of these things are also part of “our” nature.

A person may have the tenacity to work hard and improve themselves from an otherwise unpromising-seeming background, but even then, they did not create that tenacity—it was their luck, or their blessing, however you want to characterize it, that they had it.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  Use the assets you have to their best effect.

You can’t use assets you don’t have, after all.  It would be much easier, for instance, for me to get to work in the morning if I could teleport, or even if I could fly.  But I cannot, and there are no reasonable technological solutions to that lack right now, so I just don’t have that ability.  It would be the height of silliness for me to feel proud of myself for my ability to fly, since I cannot.  But I’m glad of my ability to learn and use the public transportation system in south Florida, and I’m grateful that it exists; I admire the people who put it into place, and I esteem the people who keep it running every day.

Maybe gratitude is a better notion and virtue than pride or self-esteem.  I know some religious systems place an emphasis on it, and I think that’s far from a bad thing.  It’s good to be grateful for the inherent and learned abilities that you have, and it makes sense to instantiate that gratitude by using those gifts to the best of your ability.  Otherwise, it’s not very impressive gratitude.

It’s the converse** of the situation in which a person apologizes for something, but keeps up the behavior that led to the apology.  That’s not much of an apology.  I often find myself saying to people, “I don’t need your apology, I want you not to do the thing you’re apologizing for.  If you apologize but keep doing the same thing, the apology is useless, and even insulting.”

Okay, I use words to that effect, adjusted to match the situation.  I hope you get the idea.

These are my thoughts for this Saturday morning, such as they are.  I hope most of you are looking forward to an enjoyable weekend, hopefully with some time spent with family and/or friends.  Be grateful for them, certainly, if you have them around.  No one is guaranteed to have them, and even if there were such a guarantee, with whom would you lodge the complaint if the guarantee were not met?  Feel good about the things you are good at, and feel grateful for the good things you have in the world, and show your esteem and gratitude by doing the best you can with both.

Those are good words, I think, and I’m astonished that I am the one who actually just wrote them.  The trick will be to live up to them!


*And of Nature’s God, if you believe in God, to paraphrase the Declaration of Independence.

**Or maybe the obverse—I’ve never yet been able to get those concepts clearly differentiated in my head.  Neither term may actually be the correct one, come to think of it.

[As noted above, here is my thought below the footnotes:  Is it ever possible for any kind of mind, whether natural or artificial, instantiated in hardware or software or both, to be complex enough to accurately model its own workings in detail?  As it becomes more complex, modeling its own function will also become more complex.  I suspect that this complexity will increase more quickly than the ability of the increasingly complex mind to parse it.]

Nothing to say but “What a day, how’s your boy been?”

Okay…I’m going to hopefully keep it relatively short today.  That should, in principle, be easier than writing a long post, but in practice, for me, it can be a challenge.  We shall see, I suppose.

When I first woke up today, I thought it was September 20th though I’m not at all sure why.  It’s not, though; it’s the 16th.  That’s just in case you weren’t sure, also.

I’m very tired and feeling pretty poorly this morning, but I have to go to work, and I’m going to have to go to work tomorrow, too, unless I’m very mistaken.  I don’t quite understand how it is that people at the office don’t realize how worn down I am.  I feel as if I’m dropping bits of flesh as I walk, like a cheesy, movie zombie, but apparently I don’t look much different than usual, based on the way everyone acts.

It’s probably my fault.  I tend just to keep going, day after day, without much personal complaint.  I mean, I complain about the way people in office do things, when they cut corners, or don’t follow the general, promulgated guidelines and whatnot, but I don’t often complain about myself.  I do complain a bit, like about the fact that I feel tired, that I don’t want to have to stay late and everything, because I’m always the last one out no matter what, but maybe people just see that as the way I am.

Again, as I’m sure I’ve run the topic into the ground already, I apparently have the trait of alexithymia, a difficulty recognizing, or being able to characterize, one’s own emotions.  I’m not sure how I feel about that*.  Anyway, I guess I have a pretty deadpan face no matter what, and even when I say that I don’t feel very well, or don’t feel great, people just sort of “Oh, that’s too bad” kind of thing, and then everyone just goes about their business.  I think I need to work on being more melodramatic.

Maybe it’s just that I’m always negative.  Anything’s possible in this world.  I don’t tend to be the world’s biggest optimist.  I know, that’s unbelievable, right?  I’m also never sarcastic.

Anyway, there’s just not much more to say about it.  I’m much more tired than usual, but I’m going to have to work tomorrow anyway, unless I’m very surprised, and then after having Sunday off to do my laundry, I’ll have to work Monday.  Hopefully whatever I have right now will turn into pneumonia and kill me soon, or something like that.  It would not be a tragedy.  It’s not like I’m likely to do anything more that’s useful with my life.

I wish I could just make myself lie down on the floor in the office at every full stop, but my tendency toward insomnia makes it difficult for me even to rest during the day when I’m worn out.  Or maybe that’s unrelated to my nocturnal insomnia.  I don’t know.  It’s difficult to tease these things out, and it’s not like I have anyone else helping me with it.  You people (the ones reading) are the main ones I share things with, but it’s not quite the same as having someone around who sees me from moment to moment or even from day to day.

Last night I had a hard time falling asleep, but I did sleep through to my alarm this morning after I finally dropped off.  I haven’t heard my alarm in weeks, so that was kind of surprising**.  I took half a Benadryl last night when I went to bed, because I really wanted to be able to sleep.  It seems to have worked as far as that goes, but I feel a bit groggy now, and still just physically wiped out.

Mentally, it’s hard to tell.  I feel like I’m not very alert or clear-headed, but I seem able to do my normal things in the morning so far.  Meaning, for instance, when I check my keys and wallet and all the stuff that I have in my pockets, and which I check again every time I move from one spot to another to make sure I still have everything, they’re all there, and—obviously—I’m remembering to check them.  Which is better than forgetting, certainly, though it would be nice, upon occasion, to be able to feel confident that, yes, I did remember them, and to remember that I remembered them, so I don’t have to keep checking over and over and over throughout the day until the moment I go to bed at night, or at least until I get dressed for bed.  But I always have to keep checking myself; I don’t seem to have that sense of personal certainty that so many people give the impression that they have.

Then again, most people seem to feel sure about a great many things that they cannot actually be sure about, and if I had to choose between the two states, I’d rather be the way I am, with no tendency toward easy certainty about epistemologically uncertain things.  I don’t admire overconfidence or dogmatism.  I think they are responsible for a great many of the ills of civilization—people who think they know how things ought to be and how other people ought to behave and what’s really behind everything.  This is my repeated point in reframing the X-files poster statement into, “I don’t want to believe.  I want to be convinced by evidence and reason.”

Ah, well.  Reason is something I have in abundance about some things, but in which I am very poor regarding how best to manage myself, emotionally and in general.  I’m too tired to bother trying to manage myself, anyway.  I’m not worth very much effort, even from myself.  I need just to let it go.

And, as you can see, I didn’t end up writing a very short blog post after all.  I feel as though a therapist is now telling me “That’s all the time we have today,” as has happened to me before in therapy.  I have the unfortunate tendency to drone on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on…

You get the idea, right?  Anyway, I expect, assuming I’m right that I’m going to have to work tomorrow, that I’ll be writing a post then.  If I don’t, either it means that work was cancelled, at least for me—maybe my coworker will return from his back surgery with miraculous rapidity—or that I’ve succumbed to severe enough illness that I won’t be able to make it in or to write, or that I’ve died.  That sounds kind of nice.


*Ha ha.

**It’s the Beatles song Good Morning, Good Morning, which is a perfect morning alarm.  It even begins with a rooster crowing!

A soothsayer blogs you beware the Ides of…

Hello, good morning, and welcome to Thursday, the Ides of September.  Actually, I’m not sure it’s technically correct to call it the Ides of September just because it’s the 15th, but it seems a shame for only March to have an Ides, so I’ll give it a go.  I think I’ll look up the formal definition of an “Ides” sometime soon, but right now I’m sitting at the train station with no Wi-Fi access, so it’ll have to wait.

Of course, since this Thursday is the 15th of September, that means next Thursday will be the 22nd of September, which is not only the beginning of Autumn, but is—much more importantly—Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’s birthday.  In The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo made his final departure from the Shire on his birthday, and of course, Frodo began his great journey on the “same” day, years later, after selling Bag End to the Sackville-Bagginses.  It’s an auspicious day.  I ought to do something grand and epic next Thursday, really.  I’m at least tentatively hoping to do so.  I’m not going to let you know what it is, but if I do it, it will become obvious here, I should think.  It will at least be obvious that I’ve done something, though I’m not sure if it will be obvious just what I have done.

In the meantime, I’m still sick with the virus I’ve been fighting, and my chronic pain continues, and I’ve had less than four hours’ sleep, all as per usual.  Fun!

I arrived at the train station this morning to a mildly unnerving sight:  there was no one waiting for the trains on either side of the tracks.  For a moment, I wondered if there had been some national emergency or holiday declared, or if the trains just weren’t running, but all the stairways and elevator ports and payment kiosks were open, and the announcement boards were displaying their repetitive notice that, on Thanksgiving, the Tri-rail system will be operating on a Sunday schedule.  Also, there was a security guy near where I had entered, so I knew it wasn’t as though all life in this area had disappeared*.

What happened, of course, is that I arrived very shortly after the most recent northbound and southbound trains had come and gone, so that anyone waiting for those trains had boarded, and no other people apart from me had yet arrived for the next ones.  This is because I woke up too early again, but didn’t leave the house quite in time to catch the first train of the morning.  Ah, well.  I prefer to ride the same train, and wait on the same bench before doing so, and sit in the same seat on the train, if I can help it, every day.

Speaking of living things (I was, just two paragraphs ago, you can check for yourself), it has been raining steadily and drearily for the last several days and looks to be doing so quite a bit over the next several more days.  Because of this, the access alleyway behind the place where I work is largely flooded—but that has produced at least one good outcome.  Specifically, yesterday morning, when I got to work, I could hear an astonishingly loud bunch of creaking and croaking noises from behind the office (while I was inside!) and I peeked out to confirm that, yes, it was the sound of lots of frogs.  I only actually saw one—it was quite dark—but I heard oodles, and even tried to take a “video” of the noise (I actually hoped but failed, to catch sight of one of the frogs while my video was going).

It’s nice to know that there are frogs about, because it seems like it’s been a long time since I’ve seen any serious number of frogs or toads here in Florida.  When I was a kid, visiting my grandparents, almost every time it rained, loads of the critters would appear, but not in recent years.  I read that there was some international blight that had affected frogs for a while, but maybe it’s run its course.  Probably not.

***

I’ve gotten on the train now, and someone is sitting in my usual seat, someone who doesn’t normally ride this train, or at least doesn’t usually sit in this general seating area.  That’s irritating.  Also, the train stopped at a different spot in the station than usual, which is doubly irritating, since I stand at the platform roughly where the front-most available door lines up starting about five minutes before the train arrives, so I can swiftly hop on the train (well, “hop” is an exaggeration) and get to my seat.  Because it was out of alignment, though, I got caught behind several other people, some of whom were slow-moving.  That was also irritating, but only a bit.  At last they’re people who wait for the train every day, and are familiar sights to me.

Incidentally, another issue with having someone sit in the seat I usually use is that I now have to sit somewhere else, and may be taking a seat that some other regular passenger uses nearly every day.  I don’t like the thought of doing that to someone.  I have a hard enough time justifying my existence at all to myself, and when I inconvenience other people in ways that I don’t like to be inconvenienced, it is rather mortifying.

I’m a weirdo, I know, but I guess I’ve always been a weirdo, and I guess I’ve always been aware of the fact that I’ve always been a weirdo.  I’m not too bothered by being weird; much of the time, “normal” people seem absolutely idiotic.  Why would anyone want to be like most people in the world, even the successful ones?  The things they think are precious, and the things that pass for knowledge to them, and the things they think are useless, I can’t understand, as Steely Dan said.  And I don’t want to understand them.  I don’t think they understand themselves, or each other, most of the time, nor do they stop even to think about trying to do so.  That’s the way it seems, anyway.  It may be that I’m just prejudiced against humans.  Perhaps this is all just sour grapes.

Anyway, that’s about it for today.  No fiction, no music, none of that good stuff going on.  Just drudging through the day-to-day, smelly, moronic, loud, ugly, and in a million other ways unpleasant human world.  I can’t wait to get off this planet.

TTFN

sees her smaller


*There is also the presence of these annoying termites or winged ants that live in this area, and which episodically land on one’s hands or arms or neck or computer, so clearly there are living things here.

We’ve been trying to reach you, Rob

Guten Morgen, bonjour, buenos días, ohaiyou gozaimasu, and good morning.  It’s Wednesday, at 10 to five, and I’m already on the train, because despite being sick, I still couldn’t sleep, and if anything, I awakened sooner than usual.

Yes, I am still sick—it’s rare that anyone really, actually, gets over a respiratory infection in 24 hours, after all—but I also still have to go to work.  That’s particularly true on Wednesdays, when I have to do the office payroll in addition to my other, regular duties.  It’s not a dirty job, but nevertheless, someone has to do it.

I feel even less that I have a topic to write about today than I did yesterday, but as regular readers will know, that never stops me from writing.  It’s a bit analogous, I suppose, to the jocular saying that one should never let facts get in the way of a good story.  So:  never let lack of a subject stop you from writing a blog post.  Goodness knows most pundits and politicians and even most journalists nowadays don’t let lack of subject matter stop them from writing or speaking at length.

Still, my energy feels unusually low today, even for me.  Maybe I should write about how unreasonable it is in our culture that we demand of ourselves that we go to work even when we’re ill, thus increasing the chance that other people will become ill, and probably reducing overall productivity of the workforce and decreasing the overall quality of life for everyone.  As if we needed to push that down lower than it already is.

But I suppose that subject has been addressed innumerable times in many ways by many other people.  If you need it discussed beyond a few words to trigger the thought, I’m not sure what world you’re occupying.  Perhaps your life is so satisfying that you don’t even comprehend how anyone could be less than happy.  More likely, you’re so worn down and resigned—dare I say, fatalistic—that you don’t even recognize, let alone consider, the possibility that things could improve.

I feel you.

So, what should I write about?  Or should I try to write about anything at all?  Should I just start spewing random sentences in question form, as though initiating a Socratic dialogue?  Would there be any benefit to that?  If so, what would it be?

I’m not good at small talk in general, and I’ve gotten worse at it over time, as my socialization has diminished.

I did very briefly pick my guitar up yesterday, because I had watched a video of someone reacting to the Radiohead song Knives Out, for which I had learned the lead guitar part some time ago, and I wanted to see if I could still do it.  I couldn’t do it from memory—I needed to get out the tabs—but it wasn’t too bad.  And while I had that out, I quickly fiddled (so to speak) through part of the lead from Big Log, by Robert Plant, and a bit of Wish You Were Here, and then the chords from One Headlight and A Space Oddity.  I made a video of me playing and singing the latter a while back, which I guess I’ll embed below as a space filler.

Then someone noticed that I was playing—I usually only play when no one else is around—and so I put the guitar away.  Anyway, I wanted to watch a reaction to the Radiohead song Lift that I noticed on the YouTube list, and the chords for that involve a B add…ninth, I think*, that gives me a terrible hand cramp to try to reach, so I wasn’t going to try to play along.  And listening to that song, and the reaction, made me want to cry, so I had to stop all that.

So that’s it.  I actually did get out the black Strat at the office, or picked it up and turned on the amp, since it’s always sort of “out”.  But who knows if I’ll ever play it again?  I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t.  It’s like picking up your kids—there will be a moment when you pick up your child in your arms for the final time, and you will never pick them up again after that, and odds are, you won’t even realize that it is the final time when it happens.  You’ll just never happen to pick them up again.  Likewise, there will be a last time that you hug or even see each of the people you love, and then one of you will be lost to the other, or both will be, for the rest of time.  So don’t take those things for granted, okay?

That’s about all I’ve got for the time being.  Hope you have a good day.


*Yes, that’s what it was.

Demonstrandum in the middle of nowhere

Good morning, everyone.  It’s Tuesday, the 13th of September, and I’m coming down with something again.  Meaning I think I have some upper respiratory virus, because I started getting mild chills overnight, and a low-grade elevation of my temperature, and my throat has that sore, itchy, irritated feeling that comes with fighting a virus.

I’m assuming it’s a virus—well, not truly assuming; I’m drawing a tentative conclusion based on experience and knowledge.  It doesn’t seem like a bacterial infection, those tend to be more localized, and I don’t think it’s a fungus, since those are rather rare and occur only in specific circumstances…and I’ve never heard of a prion disease that presents in this fashion.  Whereas I’ve had many iterations of “colds” throughout my life, and this feels a lot like most of them.

It doesn’t seem like Covid, but I suppose it could be one of the later variants, tempered down by my already-exposed immune system.  In any case, although I must go to work—that’s why I’m writing this blog post today—I am masking even more thoroughly than usual.

It’s remarkable that the wearing of masks was resisted so much by so many crybaby wusses in America.  People in east Asia have been regularly wearing masks when they get a cold since long before the first SARS virus.  It’s simple courtesy to recognize that, though you may have to go to work because there are people and things depending on you, it’s good to take some minor precautions to decrease the risk of spreading your sickness to the people around you.

I understand the spirit of independence, and I am glad to live in a country where the more common saying is, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” rather than “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down”.  But it’s not independence or free spiritedness to refuse to take simple, easy precautions to reduce the chance of you spreading a disease to your fellow Americans (as the case may be).  That’s just being a spoiled and entitled ass-wipe.  And the only good thing to do with ass-wipes is to flush them down the toilet.

Anyway, that wasn’t what I was going to write about today.  Actually, I didn’t have anything specific in mind to write about today, which is why I know that wasn’t what I meant to write about today.  Logic.  If there exists no class of things: [Topics considered to write about on Tuesday, September 13th, 2022, AD] then {the inexplicable and inexcusable refusal to use masks when ill} cannot be a member of that class.  Quantum Electro Dynamics*.

Ah, Logic.  Ah, Reason.  Ah, Evidence and Argument.  How I pine for you in the human world.  Of course, I don’t hold it against anyone that they have emotions, even strong ones.  It’s not like people designed themselves, after all, and emotions exist for good, sound biological reasons.  They are the drives, the utility functions, of organismal behavior.  And they served humans well in the ancestral environment, else humans wouldn’t be around.

But reasoning minds have achieved much more; they are much more versatile and powerful, and modern civilization is largely due to their work, though motivated by those underlying emotions and their various, often-conflicting, utility functions.

But you’ve got to tame your elephant, to borrow Jonathan Haidt’s metaphor.  Otherwise it’ll run rampant and trample everything, and it won’t get you anywhere you really want to go, except perhaps by luck.  Train it.  Maintain discipline.  Reward it when it’s good and correct it when it’s not.  Don’t just be the rider of your older brain, be the pilot, be the driver.  It requires effort, obviously, but I think it’s probably worth it.

In other words, what I’m saying is, don’t trust your emotions to guide you—they’re not reliable.  Listen to them, notice them, but don’t trust them.  They developed to help make quick decisions about hunting and gathering, avoiding lions and hyenas, and interacting with a tribe of maybe forty or fifty people at a time.

Every complex animal in the world has emotions of some kind; anyone who doubts that is simply in denial.  Only humans (among species native to the planet) have human-type brains, with big, complex frontal lobes and complex, symbolic language with syntax and grammar and logic and all that jazz (sometimes literally).

But those brains are powerful—again, see Jonathan Haidt’s metaphor of the elephant and the rider.  If they are not managed, they can be horrifically destructive.  And if you get a herd of unmanaged elephant-brains** or brain-elephants, they can do a terrific amount of harm, especially if they’re armed with modern technology (most of which was not made or designed by people with no control over their personal elephants, but is nevertheless available now to the billions of people who could not have made it, and who don’t bother even trying to steer).

Anyway, this has all been meandering and peculiar, I guess.  As I said, I’m a bit under the weather.  It’s annoying to be in south Florida and to be both sweaty and chilly.  I wish I could just lie in bed somewhere, maybe have some Jell-O or something.

I must be feeling sick.  I don’t particularly like Jell-O.  But it is easy on the throat.

I wish I didn’t have to go to work today.  Though it’s not a wish I would waste on a genie if I found a magic lamp.  I’d probably ask for some kind of special, personal powers that I could use to achieve world peace…through my absolute dominion over everyone and everything!  Bwa-ha-haaaa!!

Again, anyway…that’s enough silliness.  I’m really not going anywhere with anything today.  I just wish I could rest for the day, but I can’t, so tough luck.  A person has to do what a person must do; willingly accepted duty, and a reasonable sense of honor, and a general sense of courtesy should guide one in one’s actions, if one wishes to be other than merely a jumped-up monkey throwing feces…or an idiot protesting against a simple health precaution, pretending to take a stand on principle when one is actually simply throwing a tantrum because one doesn’t want to do something sensible and healthful, like take a nap.

Naps are good.  So are masks in the right circumstances.


*Q.E.D. in other words—quod erat demonstrandum, “what was to be demonstrated”.  That’s my little nerdy joke, playing on the earlier nerdy “joke” that was the naming of quantum electrodynamics by physicists, shortening it to QED, because why would you not?

**The elephant is a metaphor of a powerful beast carrying around the conscious mind.  I am not implying that elephants themselves are destructive by nature, though of course, they can be.

Screams that last long enough just end up sounding like murmurs

It’s Tuesday again, the day after Labor Day.  I wrote a surprisingly long post yesterday, considering I didn’t have anything at all in mind when I started.  Today, I’m not so sure.  I barely feel able to say or do anything at all.

The coworker with whom I share duties at the office is scheduled for surgery today, apparently, and he won’t be back at the office for a while.  This means I’m going to be doing extra duty, so to speak, for at least a few more weeks.  In a certain sense, that’s fine, because I don’t really mind working hard, and I want him to be okay and everything.  It’s not like I have anything better to do with my time.  On the other hand, I really just want to be able to “disappear”, if I feel that I have to, without causing too much inconvenience for other people, at least for people I like and/or with whom I work.

This coworker of mine has a new baby, and he (the coworker, not the baby…the baby is a girl) has been working a second job part-time at nights to make extra money, since his wife can’t work right now, being rather immediately post-partum and, of course, having a baby of whom to take care.  I had figured that, well, if I’m gone, then he can just take up more duties and a bit more time at the office, and he can make somewhere between his current pay and double his pay, or something like that.  Anyway, he would be ripe for a raise, especially since I wouldn’t be getting paid anymore.  That would be useful for him and his family, at least.  And, after an initial shock, I don’t think anyone at the office would actually miss me much.  It’s not as though I’m a pleasant or fun coworker.

But now I’ve got to push back at least some potential plans, and it’s very frustrating.  Still, there are 16 days until September 22nd, which is Bilbo’s and Frodo’s birthday, the day that Frodo sold Bag End to the Sackville-Bagginses and headed off on his quest to destroy the ring.  I’ve thought that would be a good day for momentous events to take place or at least to begin—momentous for me, anyway.  I don’t think anything I do will matter to anyone else in the world at all, except perhaps as a cause of a passing “huh,” followed by an oblivious carrying on with normal, day-to-day activities.

I’m tired.  I’m really tired.  I don’t have any good reasons to keep pushing myself, even though I continue to do it.  It’s madness; and though I’ve always been a bit mad, to say the least, I am very tired, and have diminishing motivation.  Right now I’m only moving at all because of habit, but maybe it’s a bad habit.  I don’t know.  I only know that it hurts, physically and otherwise.  Everything hurts.

Of course, we can fall back on the quote from The Princess Bride, that “life is pain…anyone who says differently is selling something.”  I would quibble with that statement, taken on its face, though that might surprise some people.  It isn’t correct to say that life is identical with pain, as the statement seems clearly to imply, particularly with the spoken emphasis on the word “is”.

I would say, rather, that life requires pain.  Without a sense of pain, living things would not avoid damage and injury, or death for that matter.  All life—even artificial life—that lasts for any considerable time must have some equivalent to a sense of pain, and it must be potent and unpleasant and very difficult to ignore, like a fire alarm.  And, like a fire alarm, it should be more prone to false positives than false negatives.  You would prefer your alarm to go off when you merely burn the toast than to have it less prone to go off during a real fire.

But there must be a differential.  If life was merely a constant, steady state of pain, then there would be no impetus to do anything at all.  The pain of hunger must be relieved, at least temporarily, by a good meal, or else no one will bother eating.  The pain of exhaustion must be assuaged, at least partly, by sleep, or else no one will find any reason to rest.

That’s the problem with chronic pain, really.  Our ancestors evolved the ability to feel pain in circumstances in which it could, for the most part, serve some benefit.  But in the modern world, we survive injuries that would have led to immediate or at least relatively short-term death in our ancestors.  But our nervous systems can’t be updated in real time to adjust their settings to the fact that, hey, you don’t actually have any debilitating or dangerous thing happening to you right now, so you can stop sounding the stupid alarm.  We can feel pain that lasts for years and even decades, and yet it doesn’t directly kill us.  That’s to say nothing of psychological pain, which also can last for a long, long time, and at times can feel eternal.

The whole system is not in equilibrium, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that it’s very maladapted in many ways.  It may never reach a long-term equilibrium again.  If technology and science keep advancing, if humans expand beyond this planet and from there spread out further, the state of life will be in constant flux, and it will never be able to reach a stable point at which things settle out, at least not for a long while.  Maybe that’s good; it depends on your criteria, I suppose.

But it means there’s no present, reliable, durable solution to pain-without-purpose, both physical and psychological.  If anything, it just keeps going and often growing.  I am stubborn, and I have a strong endurance, whatever that means, but it is finite.  Even mountains can be worn down in the end.  And I am no mountain.  Not even a mountain of doom.

Chaos surfing is difficult, but it’s the only sport there is

Happy Labor Day to those of my readers who live in the United States.  If any other countries celebrate a similar holiday on the same day, well, happy holiday to you as well.  And to everyone, Happy Monday.

At my office, we’re celebrating workers’ rights by working a half day today, and based on the fact that quite a few other people are at the train station already—though it’s operating today on a weekend schedule—we’re not the only ones.

It’s just another case of competition leading to inadequate equilibria of over-exertion, to the relative detriment of everyone in the system, like trees in a forest having to compete against each other for light, so they all have to keep getting taller, even though it would be saner if they could somehow agree to stay shorter and collect the light of the sun without wasting so many resources on competing with each other.  But they can’t and even if some of them could, they would be vulnerable to any mutant tree that grew taller than the others, and then that one would outcompete and out-reproduce, until all the trees got taller again, until they reached the point where the costs of getting taller were greater than the benefits, on average, and they would level off there, in a state of mutual strain.

Evolution is a bitch goddess, that’s for sure.  But trees are very pretty and majestic, so there are at least minor compensations.

As with trees, human businesses compete with each other, and the ones that stayed open on holidays had advantages over ones that did not, until a great many businesses—ones not constrained by laws forbidding it, otherwise, or union rules and agreements—stayed open on holidays, and ultimately, there are essentially no holidays on which everything is pretty much closed, when everyone stays home with their families.

That’s assuming, of course, that people have families with whom to stay home.  As for me, the only people I really interact with personally anymore are the people at work, so going in to work is my only serious socialization.  When I had my family around, I would have been happy to stay home; my family was probably an equivalent to one of my “special interests”, as they describe it for people with the Syndrome Formerly Known as Asperger’s and related disorders.  Now, though, I mainly just loll about on days when I don’t work.  If I didn’t have my chronic back pain problem, I might feel like doing other things—maybe going to bookstores or something similar.  But as it is, I just try to rest and not pay attention to how utterly empty and pointless my life is.

Hopefully, most of you who are celebrating this holiday are going to spend time with your families and/or friends, maybe having a cookout or something.  That’s the way it was when I was a kid.  Most of the people in my family worked for General Motors and related businesses, so they had the day off, thanks largely to union efforts and the like, such as—I believe—are celebrated by Labor Day.

However, businesses obviously lost money by having their factories idle when they could otherwise be productive, and so once they could transfer at least some of their manufacturing to other countries, they did, and got more work with less cost, and then so did all the other companies, and the equilibrium led to anyone who wanted to stay competitive keeping their businesses open as often as they could for as long as the costs of staying open were lower than the costs of being closed.  And the wheel turned, grinding ordinary lives into powder underneath it.

Okay, that’s a bit melodramatic, but it still does in fact suck.  In the past, there were those who predicted that rising technology would lead to people having more and more leisure time, and yet still being able to produce more than ever in the past.  These people had never studied evolution and natural selection carefully enough, it seems.  Success is always relative to other success in the environment; there’s always an arms race.  Now we work longer hours than ever before, and the most successful people are often the people with the least leisure time as opposed to the other way around.

That’s a bit ironic, I guess.  Success breeds more work rather than less, and the society it creates is so mind-numbing and stressful that hundreds of thousands of people every year die prematurely simply from drug overdoses, because drugs are the only reliable source of any solace or escape many people are able to find.  This is, of course, one of the reasons drugs are illegal; they harm productivity.  Why else would a society be against people doing something to their own bodies, as long as they don’t directly harm others by doing so?  The most popular drug in the world by far—caffeine—increases people’s productivity, at least temporarily, and there is no serious thought of restricting it.

Many of the costs of people’s drug problems are entirely due to the fact that some drugs are illegal.  In many cases, having been convicted of a felony related to drugs makes a person less able to get gainful future employment such as they might otherwise be able to do.  It likewise affects what kind of housing they can get.  And so, far from having “paid their debt to society”, these people never stop paying, for the rest of their foreshortened lives.  Why would one not be willing to risk death by taking unregulated drugs, when life is an empty competition without any good reward even for the most successful?

Then again, life has never really promised any good and lasting reward.  Any creature that found truly lasting satisfaction in a meal, for instance, would live a happy but short and less-reproductive life.  Lions and gazelles don’t have job security, and they don’t get to take vacations from each other.  Every day is a struggle to survive and if possible reproduce, no matter what or who you are.

Economies no more have souls than ecosystems do, because they are both spontaneously self-assembled systems in which whatever survives is just, well, whatever survives and becomes self-sustaining.  They’re conspiracies without conspirators.  There is no master plan behind it all.  Most conspiracies—even ones that would be recognized by all as such—were not nefariously planned by any cabal behind the scenes.  They just happen, and the ones that persist do so because they become self-sustaining, like bureaucracies and governments and businesses and whatnot.

It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that we aren’t able (so far) to throw off such self-created situations.  Each person and thing can only act in response to the vector sum of all the forces acting on it locally.  Even the laws of physics only act locally.  Gravity doesn’t actually reach across the universe; each change in a local bit of the gravitational manifold affects the bit next to it, which affects the bits next to it, and so on, spreading out at the speed of light as it changes.  This is why there are gravitational waves, and why black holes continue to gravitate even though nothing can actually pass through the event horizon outwards.

Likewise, each bit of the electromagnetic field influences the next bit, which influences the next bit, and spreads along, again, at the speed of light.  That speed of propagation can fool people, whose reactions happen at most at a few meters a second, into thinking that things are truly and directly interconnected instantaneously, but they are not.  Every point in spacetime is influenced directly—as far as we know—only by the points immediately around it at any given time.  The universe itself is, in a sense, just a spontaneously self-assembled system, an unplanned conspiracy.

Humans have the advantage of being able to think about such things and their implications more deeply, and a few of them even do so.  But it’s hard for one bit of water in the middle of an ocean to deliberately change the specific configuration of the world’s seas by the effects of what it can do locally.  A butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon Rainforest™ may indeed affect whether a tornado happens somewhere thousands of miles away months later…but the butterfly doesn’t know this, nor does it know how to flap its wings in just the right way at just the right time to cause or prevent any weather formation.  It just flutters around looking for nectar and looking to mate and lay eggs and so on.

Humans are more sophisticated than butterflies, but the equations that govern the interactions of the world are generally higher-order, emergent equations that cannot be solved even in simplified forms, not within the lifetime of the universe.  Only the universe itself has the processing power to compute them, and even it can do so only by enacting them.

And while the Schrodinger equation is, apparently, a linear equation, and remains so in perpetuity, it’s still not readily solvable for anything beyond the simplest of systems.  And anyway, people are not completely sure what it really represents, they just know that it works really well.

Oh, well.  What are you gonna do?  Have a hamburger or a hot dog or some potato salad today with your family if you can.  Give a hug to someone you love and who loves you.  The chaos may be inescapable, but there are still benefits that can be squeezed out of it, if you can learn to surf it for a while.  You might even be able to have fun doing it.

The fickle moon, the inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circle blog

Hello and good morning, all.  It’s Thursday again, the traditional day on which I’ve written my formerly-weekly blog for a few years now—I’m not sure precisely how long—and so, obviously, it’s time for my weekly, bog standard blog post.  Welcome.

I’m not sure that this will be much different from just the posts I’ve been doing semi-daily.  I suspect it will be less grumpy and irritable than the ones I’ve done the last few days, though I still am somewhat ill, and that fact influenced the tone of my previous two posts.

I don’t have any particular topic in mind, which is a bit of a shame.  My post about Blowin’ In The Wind has continued to be quite popular (relatively), even though it was rather long.  Probably that’s because it had a definite subject, but I can’t be sure what really makes it appealing.  There are no comments on the post for me to be able to discern readers’ reactions other than their “likes”.

I understand readers’ reluctance to comment.  At least, I have such a reluctance, myself.  Whenever I comment on almost anything*, whether it’s a YouTube video or a Facebook post or, more commonly, a post on WEIT, I almost always feel stupid almost immediately, all but certain that I’m just annoying everyone, including the poster of the video or the writer of the website (e.g. PCC(E)).  I almost always feel that my comments add absolutely nothing to the discussion and are just stupid, free-association, weird verbal tics that other people are just going to be confused by, at best, or will otherwise sneer about.

Then, if someone else replies to my comment and I see a notification of that fact, I start to feel tense and even nearly panicked.  I worry that I’ve landed myself in what’s going to be some drawn-out, stressful, potentially acrimonious discussion, and I can barely even talk comfortably to people I’ve known my whole life anymore, let alone relative strangers.  But I don’t want to be rude and not at least look at what’s been written.

So, I don’t take it personally that people don’t comment—except to the extent that I take everything personally.  But when I do, I almost always blame myself, so don’t worry about that.  It would be nice if I could have interesting and engaging conversations in the comments of my blogs, but I guess the blog itself doesn’t engender such things.  There’s not much to do about that except encourage people to comment if they feel like it.

So, by all means, comment if you feel like it.

As for other matters, well, there’s not much going on in my life other than this blog, work, and being ill at the moment.  I haven’t written any new fiction, nor played any musical instruments of any kind since the last time I mentioned not having written any fiction or played any music.

I did make a mildly amusing but very niche meme from that new, beautiful photo of the moon that those astrophotographers made.  It’s a very nice picture, I must say, perhaps the nicest image of the moon I’ve seen, but being who I am, I was reminded of a character in Stephen King’s The Stand, and so I added my two cents to it.  I’ll use that as my picture for this Thursday, so you all can either enjoy it or not, depending on how you react to such things.

It would be fun if the picture “went viral”, but I suspect my tastes are a little too weird for that to be likely regarding anything I find amusing.  Anyway, if anyone doesn’t understand it and needs clarification, feel free to let me know—but use the comments here to do that, please, not the comments of Facebook or the reply function on Twitter.  I come to WordPress every weekday, usually several times during the day, and obviously I note comments that are made on my blog.

I don’t even like to check my notifications on Facebook unless I’m feeling particularly mellow, because I feel thoroughly stressed out that someone is going to be chastising me for being depressed or something similar, which will only make me feel angry and more depressed, or saying something that I’ll find irritating, or whatever.  Facebook seems to bring such things out in people.  I don’t know the specifics of why, but the broad explanation is that it monetizes outrage, so of course people will be “rewarded” for acting in such ways, and this will tend to engender that overall attitude on the site.  For many people, outrage seems to be pleasant, or at least “ego-syntonic”, but I hate it, and feeling it makes me hate myself ever more with each new occasion.

So, to repeat, if you want to ask me a question or to comment about something I write, please do so here, and don’t bother doing it on Facebook, and probably not on Twitter.  Though, one-liner type jokes are decidedly welcome on Twitter!

That’s about all I’ve got—or “all I have”, to be more grammatical.  I’m really tired and near the bottom of the tank in general.  I really wish I could just go to sleep and stay asleep until I feel rested, or forever, whichever comes first.  The world in general feels to me like I’m being rubbed all over by sandpaper soaked in lemon juice that’s squealing with a mosquito-near-your-ear noise and giving off a smell of mildew.  Acid-covered sandpaper will tend to wear you down before very long.

I hope all of you, however, are feeling as well as you can.  I hope you’re getting at least some enjoyment out of the summer and getting to spend time with your families.  Labor Day (in the US) is coming up in less than two weeks, and I hope you’ll have family get-togethers, cookouts, and loud, happy conversations while the younger generation play outside and get dirty.  Have some burgers and hot dogs and potato salad for me, would you please?  But above all, please be good to those you love and to those who love you.

TTFN

that spells tom cullen


*Frankly, it’s true whenever I say much of anything at all to anyone, verbally or in writing.

Excuse me, Miss Anthrope? The doctor will see you now.

It’s Wednesday now—hello, Wednesday, you’re my second favorite member of the Addams family—and at least I think I’ve figured out why Monday night/Tuesday morning was particularly bad for sleep for me:  I’ve been coming down with the respiratory virus that’s now going around the office.

It’s not COVID—we’ve been tested and all that—it’s just an annoying cold-type virus, but one that nevertheless made two other people in the office who had it stay home.  Unfortunately, I could not stay home (or leave early) yesterday or today, despite feeling crappy, because one of the people who was out yesterday is the only other person who shares a crucial function in the office with me.  And today I am even less able to stay home from the office, because in addition to the other work—and the fact that, for all I know, my coworker will be out again today—I have to process the payroll today.

Of course, I wear my mask on the train anyway, just as a general precaution, so I’m doing that today, even though by court order the CDC (or TSA, maybe) had to revoke its mandate about wearing masks on public transport.  Because, you know, masks are a cruel and unusual imposition on the delicate faces of the great American pubic…I mean public.

I can’t believe what a bunch of panty-waisted whiners so many people are about wearing effing masks, if only just to at least decrease a little bit the odds of them spreading stuff to other people in the world (and with the added bonus of sparing their neighbors from having to look at their unimpeded faces).  And a lot of these wimps are gun-toting Republicans, people who imagine themselves to be rugged, independent, frontier types.  But they’re afraid of needles and afraid of masks, and afraid they can’t defend their homes and their Wal-marts and their ways of life without dozens of firearms each*.

I hope—I wish—that the next time any person who complained about mask wearing needs serious medical interventions, such as surgery, the whole surgical and medical team decides that masks are an unreasonable imposition from the Nanny State, and that avoiding increasing the risk to these patients’ lives is not worth their minor inconvenience and discomfort…and then proceed to cough and sneeze into the open abdominal cavity or chest or whatever part of the body that is getting treated.

And hand washing—that’s got to be an unconstitutional imposition as well, isn’t it?  George Washington fought the Nazis at Gettysburg not just to throw off the yolk of the Roman Empire, but also to give all Americans the freedom not to have to wash their hands at the behest of dictatorial scientists who use their imprimatur of authority to seize and maintain their control of the top corporate and government positions all throughout America and the rest of the world.  Just look how many top scientists are running nations and major corporations, making billions upon trillions of dollars each, every year…money that’s taken from hard working Americans on farm subsidies and disability, money that’s taken from their houses in the middle of the night at gunpoint, while they sleep, by Islamic terrorists who are part of the International, global Zionist conspiracy.

Okay, sorry, enough of that pretend rant.  I just have no respect for wimps who can’t stand to take a little personal responsibility for tiny bits of inconvenience to help protect themselves and their fellow citizens.  They’ll make all sorts of excuses—not very clever ones, usually—but ultimately their protests and complaints come down to tantrums about not getting everything their way.  Most of the pundits in the media have all the character of spoiled toddlers who don’t want to brush their teeth and go to bed.

When I think about ways to kill myself, which happens rather often, I frequently rule out a lot of them right away just because they would inconvenience too many other people**, and I wouldn’t want to do that.  But maybe I shouldn’t bother to take that into consideration.  Humans in general don’t seem to worry too much about other humans being inconvenienced; why should I worry about inconveniencing them?  Let them (hypothetically) deal with my messy corpse in the middle of their workday.

On the other hand, maybe the rude and irritating people, the people who are whiny and inconsiderate—not wanting to be inconvenienced themselves, but entirely willing to cause trouble for others—are simply noisier, more noticeable than all the other, finer people out there.  After all, one doesn’t tend to notice the countless members of the public who go through their days quietly, politely, doing their part and yielding the right-of-way as it were.  That’s precisely because they try not to cause unnecessary inconvenience to other people, but it makes them lower profile.

And the small fraction of people who are disgusting, whiny brats get noticed precisely because they are disgusting, whiny brats.  And they make the rest of the human race look bad, and also they do far more than their share of damage to the world and to others.

If only we could find a way to isolate these people and prevent them from breeding.  Oh, well.  We’ll send at least some of them off to hold political office in the meantime, which at least gets them away from trying to do anything productive, where they’ll only make things worse.

Huh, that’s weird.  I seem to have talked myself around to at least considering that the majority of the human race might be less reprehensible than I sometimes feel they are.  I really must be sick.  Anyway, try not to be too put off if I occasionally indulge my instinct for misanthrope; believe me, the one person in the world I hate most of all is myself.


*I am not a dogmatic anti-gun person.  I’ve owned a few guns when I could, and I enjoyed target shooting; I shot competitively, in fact, and successfully.  But there’s a difference between shooting recreationally or owning a weapon for potential personal protection (and training appropriately for that purpose, since otherwise it’s more likely to do harm than good) and fetishizing guns, the bigger the better.

**To be honest, though, it’s also often at least partly because I can’t see myself quite being able to work up the nerve to do them, at least not without getting supremely drunk or similarly impaired.  For instance, I wouldn’t want to throw myself in front of a train partly because it would inconvenience a great many commuters…but it’s also just too intimidating a prospect, viscerally, when I consider it.  Setting myself on fire with gasoline would probably be easier.