Thursday, September 01, 2016

Spring Clearing

In the wake of Floodgate II (although this post is really too late to be considered in the wake), I've been pruning my belongings in an effort to gain more order in my life. Not so much cleaning as clearing; making space so that life feels less cramped and stifled.

Part of the process has been obtaining an eReader, so I could feel free to get rid of books that take a lot of space on the (slim) off-chance that I might read them again. When it comes to technology, I tend to be misguidedly ludditesque for purely nostalgic reasons. Coupled with being a lifelong avid reader, literary scholar, effective library tenant, and codicology enthusiast, physical books have been the only form I have ever considered tolerable.

But that seems equivalent to stubbornly sticking with a horse-drawn buggy when motorcars are readily available. I'm staunchly pro-cultural-evolution (and becoming more so as time goes on), and embrace the integration of technology in modern life. Even better is how the convenience has brought infinitely more reading into my daily life. In one week alone I read more books than in the past 3 years combined.

Just when I feel free to discard the textbooks that I barely dipped into five years ago, I feel drawn back into the captivating lure of literary theory. Sorting through my old undergrad creative writing and grad school papers helped with the rekindling. I have to wonder whether I'm capable of completely leaving a phase behind.

Going through possessions is always bound to unearth a number of gems.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

No Laughing Matter

There are two things that I will never joke at someone's expense about. (There are generally more than two, but these two are nolle prosequi material.)

1. A person's name. Even Drumpf. (Perhaps especially Drumpf; after all, it's not like you need to go excavating the ancestral past to find criticisms of that guy.)

No matter how unique you think your humour is, I guarantee you: the person has heard that joke before. Dozens of times. Maybe they even still give you a pity-laugh to stifle the sound of their eyes rolling.

2. What Bertie Wooster would call a person's "outer crust." Unless it's something foreign, like crumbs or something (which, you'll note, people never mention, and just leave you to discover it hours later in the mirror. Thanks.), you can rest assured that a person is much more intimately aware of what is on display than you are. There's simply no tact or sense in pointing out someone's unibrow, mole, acne, tendency to turn deep vermilion when embarrassed or just after the dreaded 20-minute-run PE class, birthmarks... the list goes on. I include tattoos in this, if the comment comes from a total stranger who would otherwise comment on the weather. For everything on this list, they know about it. They know you can see it. No need to verbalize.

There's something private about a person's body—even the visible parts—that merits respect.