— in other words, I’m not a human. I’m a series of accomplishments. I’m a cost-benefit calculation for you the hiring committee. Is this kid an adult or a kid fuck up? Who the hell changes their last name to Loveeachother? Will he follow the rules? Will he get along with the other faculty? Will he say fuck in class?
I had a conversation with two college composition students today. Shot the shit about the stand-up comedy, the nourishment of side-splitting laughter. We tried to break down comedy into it’s smallest constituent parts. What exactly makes a joke? The wind-up, the punch, the delivery? Laughter is such medicine, damn.
I ate five eggs stacked on top of an Ezekiel english muffin for breakfast. The baby wasn’t as hungry as normal—two front teeth coming in. She clings to me like I cling to my morning cup of coffee. Anyone drink goat milk?
I went for my first long swim yesterday afternoon. 5 miles. Took 2 hours 3 minutes. The English Channel is 21 miles, by comparison. The chlorine box back and forth was hypnotic and crampy and meditative and psychedelic. You start following your thoughts and noticing the qualitative color and speed and weight and buoyancy. You get so tired your stroke auto-corrects to save energy. I like the idea of pushing until breakage. My sister messaged me last week and asked about this idea—whether we feel most alive in moments of near-death pain. Odd isn’t it?
I’m listening to this book on Audible called Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. If I had waterproof headphones I’d swim with them, so it’s probably good that I don’t. One of the middle chapters talks about how the philosophical heart of a culture is very often a contradiction in terms. Like the Crusades, for example. Knights proclaiming their faith in religion of love and compassion while slaughtering nonbelievers. Psychologists call this cognitive dissonance, but Yuval Noah Harari says the existence of culture requires these competing values coexist.
What is this culture’s value contradiction?
I like the idea of pushing until I break, because it smacks the feeling of life into my gogogogogo cheeks. Why does it take pain? Maybe because pain slows the thought wheel down because there isn’t enough energy to spend on thinking, instead all available energy is rushed to the body. Or maybe it’s because the pain reprioritizes elemental needs like: sleep, food, shelter. Or maybe the pain purges and blows off animal steam from this civilized world of hey-hire-me cover letters.
There’s a 6 mile swim in Miami in a few weeks. I’m tempted.
Goals, pushing the pedal very hard is so useful. It keeps auxiliary energy stores that might otherwise boil into anxiety at low levels.
I know this isn’t organized and isn’t tidy and swept up and packaged into beginning middle end. But I stab the knife into my head and pull apart and describe the highway of neurons.