The Stranger

crosswordI don’t know if I’ve ever completed a crossword puzzle, which is strange, because I’ve tried to do so dozens, if not hundreds of times. Even the easy ones, like the New York Times’s on Monday, still trip me up sometimes. Ever have only one space left to fill in, but you can’t figure out which letter goes there? You cycle through the entire alphabet multiple times and still have no idea what the word is. That’s happened to me many, many times. I have no idea why I’m sharing this now.

A lot of people I know are still getting their education. If I remember right, my father didn’t stop going to college until he decided it was time to have kids. He likes going to school. He’s also boring. Depending on which quarto of the play you are referring to, Hamlet could be anywhere from seventeen to thirty. He strikes me as one of those guys who spends all of his early years doing nothing of interest before deciding to, you know, get on with his life by ending it. So I always did picture him as being in his early thirties. Maybe the reason I’m thinking of this is that I’m tired of people my age acting like they’re already old. There’s a lot of backwards thinking going on with people my age. They think they know how their future is supposed to look, so they reshape everything right now in accordance with what their life is “supposed” to be when they’re older. You can’t see your significant other as representing maturity and your friends as representing the past. The future you envision will never exist.

It’s still hard to get out of bed in the morning. I think of myself as a morning person, but I rarely get up early anymore because there’s no reason to. I get home from work and still need to unwind, but it’s already 11 due to my schedule. No, I’m not going to get a 9-to-5 job, don’t you even suggest it. I need to find more things with which to fill up the rest of my schedule. Maybe I should try getting outdoors more. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a hike or anything of the sort. I saw What If, that Daniel Radcliffe romcom a little while ago, and before the film, I saw a trailer for that stupid Hector and the Search for Happiness movie with Simon Pegg. It might as well have been called Self-Help ClichĂ©s: The Movie, because the instant the words, “Sometimes in order to find yourself” came up onscreen, I turned to the person next to me and said, “You have to get a little lost” just before those exact words appeared. Actually, I didn’t say it out loud because I have no friends and see movies alone, but you see my point. Talking to people is weird.

I’ve never understood people who are obsessed with fitness. I know working out releases endorphins and shit, but why focus your whole life around it? I guess some people just love that feeling of self-betterment and pushing themselves to see what they are capable of. And on that level, I guess it makes sense. All I know is that I can’t imagine monitoring every calorie I eat and spending three hours in the gym every day. I’m not going to say that I don’t drool over guys with perfect Abercrombie & Fitch bodies, only that having 0% body fat and eating nothing but chicken and eggs is not all that healthy. In the long run, it’s probably better to enjoy the occasional dessert, although that could just be me rationalizing my own vices. I should probably be proud of the fact that even though I don’t go to the gym three times a week like I used to, I still go around once a week or so. So I haven’t completely fallen off the wagon, but getting motivated is tough.

I read something interesting a little while ago. Apparently, the definition of “happy” that Thomas Jefferson refers to in the Declaration of Independence is a little bit different from how it is conventionally understood. Happiness isn’t so much a state of constant positive emotion as it is the feeling of having a pursuit of some kind. I can get behind that. I don’t think you have to be a good person to be happy, and I don’t think you have to be a happy person to be good. The world is messy and complicated that way. But as Tig Notaro said after having a really, really rough year, it’s useful to have something to look forward to. Dr. Joyce Brothers once talked a woman out of killing herself by telling her that she should stick around to see one of her former students (the suicidal woman was a teacher) get married. Of course, when you put all of your stock in your future, it tends to fall through. Life is shitty that way.


I could use a little bit more comfort in my life. I kind of feel like I’ve earned it. Unfortunately, even that has to come on my terms. One thing that I’ve been thinking I should do sometime soon is watch more educational programming. I notice that the original Cosmos and David Attenborough’s The Life of Birds are available on YouTube. So I’ll have to get around to that at some point. Also, because Halloween is coming up, I’ve been watching more horror films. Updates on that to follow. By the way, does anybody remember the Garfield Halloween special? That scared the shit out of me when I was a kid. It’s fun to play dress-up, but I haven’t done that since high school. Maybe someday.

Sleep well, my children.


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