May 18, 2013

Pay attention.

89 comments:

wyo sis said...

I'm too poor to pay attention.

wyo sis said...

Well, now that I've listened I feel all snarky and poor choicy.
He's right about how to live well. It's very difficult to do.

Nathan Alexander said...

This is why I'm a conservative.

I choose how I respond to life. I don't assume I'm the center of the universe.

So I don't demand that the govt screw over other people to take care of me. I don't demand that society remake itself to satisfy my urges.

I choose.

I choose to think.

I choose to be aware.

And so I'm a conservative.

Oso Negro said...

Of course, if they weren't such self-absorbed, over-educated little shits, it might cross their minds to plan ahead and avoid having to shop when everyone else does. Learn to swim, baby!

rhhardin said...

The surprise ending has to be moved up about five minutes.

I assume it has a surprise ending.

rhhardin said...

The lines ought to have been populated exclusively with people who have given TED talks.

That would have been a great commentary.

pm317 said...

This is a bit anti-climactic after all the er, umbrella posts all day.

Bob Boyd said...

Its the little things.
The itty bitty things.
Its the little things
that really piss me off. - Robert Earl Keen Jr.

Bob Boyd said...

Its the little things.
The itty bitty things.
Its the little things
that really piss me off. - Robert Earl Keen Jr.

dwm said...

why do i have this sudden urge to go rob a convenience store?

St. George said...

zenhabits.com

Be.

Astro said...

At least I don't live in Haiti. That's my mantra at times like that.

wildswan said...

I once told someone else's whiny kids who were really irritating me as we drove home with miles to go and one half empty water bottle they were fighting over and whining about - "if you want to stop being thirsty, give the water to your sister." This does work but it's hard to believe. I didn't think they would listen but they were extremely curious about the concept and fought the rest of the way about who would get to give up the water. It sounded a lot better and I wasn't as thirsty either.

colorsinaroom said...

In the end even he didn't believe his own shit.

Henry said...

The full speech is more confrontational and more interesting than this inspirational extract.

Speech given by David Foster Wallace to Kenyon College's 2005 graduating class.

cold pizza said...

"Men are that they might have joy." 2 Nephi 2:25
-CP

Dante said...

The grocery store is easy to deal with. Get a freezer, and shop every other week. I do.

Roads, not much one can do, except wish someday the system will take care of those who take care of it.

In other words, I don't find wasted time of much use.

Work hours? Sorry, that's the way it is.

ampersand said...

I always tried to work second shift. No bosses around. Stay up late. Sleep late. No time taken off for other appointments.No traffic jams leaving or going home. The world is yours.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I always feel good when I'm going about my business, surrounded by other people going about their business, clean neat buildings, traffic signals that work, trash picked up on time, no beggars on the street, lots of food on the store shelves, schools full of kids, people smiling at each other, construction laborers picking up bags of tacos with mud on their boots, grandmas taking toddlers to McDonald's for lunch. None of it feels annoying or banal to me. It all feels like a gift.

Palladian said...

Everything David Foster Wallace wrote now swings at the end of a noose.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Why does he dismiss morality so quickly? There's morality in grammar. It's the water in which language swims.

Lem said...

Why does he dismiss morality so quickly?

It might be better if you watch the whole speech Henry linked to.

John Lynch said...

Yeah, Wallace was big on morality. You will worship something, so you might as well choose what you worship.

You gotta serve somebody.

Lem said...

Everything David Foster Wallace wrote now swings at the end of a noose.

The uncanny? ability to elucidate about the meaning of choice and Truth and yet ultimately choose not to continue choosing... to choose badly... to chose selfishly?

The uncanny (Ger. Das Unheimliche - "the opposite of what is familiar") is a Freudian concept of an instance where something can be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being uncomfortably strange or uncomfortably familiar.

betamax3000 said...

Re:
Palladian said...

Everything David Foster Wallace wrote now swings at the end of a noose.


God, I love you Palladian, but:

Everything Sylvia Plath wrote now swings at the end of an Easy-Bake Oven.

(I love DFW, and wish this was a Saturday morning post where I could get up a head of steam)...



Palladian said...

Everything Sylvia Plath wrote now swings at the end of an Easy-Bake Oven.

I love much of Plath's poetry, but the same is true for her: it is impossible to consider her work without consideration of her suicide.

betamax3000 said...

Re: "I love much of Plath's poetry, but the same is true for her: it is impossible to consider her work without consideration of her suicide."

I am not much of a fan of her poetry -- just sad that one's method of death colors their works. Understand your point though. If they got hit by the Random Bus of Fate we would see the works through a different filter.

Also:

Charles Dickens works last forever because he died suffocating on a blow job.

It was the best of Suck, it was the Worst of Suck.

I think that was from David Copperpenis, but I might be mistaken.

I hope someone references this in Wikipedia.



wyo sis said...

It's amazing either Plath or Wallace managed to get anything done.

Brian A Davis said...

I never buy into a philosophy from a guy who commits suicide. No matter how many good questions he never answers.

yashu said...

Everything David Foster Wallace wrote now swings at the end of a noose.

Everything Sylvia Plath wrote now swings at the end of an Easy-Bake Oven.


Serge Gainsbourg, Chatterton

betamax3000 said...

Re: "It's amazing either Plath or Wallace managed to get anything done.

By sheer page quantity Wallace lapped the field.

Infinite Jest - 1079 pp

The Pale King: The Pale KingEven incomplete, The Pale King is a long work, with 50 chapters of varying length totaling over 500 pages.

From Wikki:

* The Broom of the System (1987)
* Infinite Jest (1996)
* The Pale King (2011) (published posthumously in unfinished form)

Short story collections

* Girl with Curious Hair (1989) (published in Europe as Westward the Course of the Empire Takes Its Way)
* Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (1999)
* Oblivion: Stories (2004)



Non-fiction

* Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race In the Urban Present (1990), coauthored with Mark Costello
* A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (essays) (1997)
* Up, Simba! (2000)
* Everything and More (2003)
* Consider the Lobster (essays) (2005)
* McCain's Promise: Aboard the Straight Talk Express with John McCain and a Whole Bunch of Actual Reporters, Thinking About Hope (paperback reprint of Up, Simba!) (2008)
* This Is Water (2009)
* Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will, Eds. S. Cahn and M. Eckert, Columbia University Press (2011)
* Both Flesh and Not (essays) (2012)


I would make the Argument that the Depressed write in greater intensity and volume until It Falls Apart. Except for Shakespeare: he and his Ghost Writer had a Good Thing Going.

betamax3000 said...

Fitzgerald and Kerouac were suicides, only slower.

Hemingway a bit quicker in the moment.

Lem said...

I thought making a playlist with umbrella sounding themes would be as easy as... the IRS spotting the tea party.

I'm coming back with a lot hits... and I'm terribly understaffed.

So, I'm sorry if your prayers aren't answered by my choices... I'm having a terrible day.

betamax3000 said...

Sylvia Plath: Fifty Shades of Oven.

Hemingway: Fifty Shades of Remington.

Dr. Seuss: Fifty Shades of Green Ham.

Lem said...

Someone To Watch Over Me

Lem said...

You Go To My Head

LoafingOaf said...

If you're sitting in a grocery store line like that you're not shopping at a good store. The store a go to (a local Cleveland chain called Heinen's Fine Foods) NEVER allows you to wait behind more than one person. They open another line if that happens, and call you over. They also pack your groceries into your car for you.

I know it's really missing his point to focus on that. But, then again, a lot of America is no longer run properly (is this even a proper country at all anymore?) and people are frustrated with that.

Lem said...

Stop, Look and Listen

bagoh20 said...

I whole heartily agree with the message...I think. In fact, it's probably a central theme of my life, but this was presented and written poorly so that it made it kind of foggy rather than clear.

I've said before that if I could go back and meet my young self, and give me one piece of advice, it would be "pay attention" - to your life, the people around you, the world around you and all the opportunities that pass by every day.

Lem said...

Going Out of My Head/Can't Take My Eyes off You

rcocean said...

Some authors commit suicide; others cause readers to commit suicide.

Case in Point: Saul Bellow

Imagine standing in a checkout line, reading "Herzog", and listening to Maher Symphony NO. 9.

Lem said...

Turn Around And Look At Me

Lem said...

Cover Me

betamax3000 said...

David Foster Wallace Robot says:

Umbrella: the Umbrella terminology for things under the umbrella of Umbrella.

Under the Wiki Umbrella:

A person popularly dubbed "The Umbrella Man" has been the object of much speculation, as he was the only person seen carrying and opening an umbrella on that sunny day. As President John F. Kennedy's limousine approached the umbrella man, the man opened up and lifted the umbrella high above his head, then spun or panned the umbrella from east to west (clockwise) as the president approached and passed by him. In the aftermath of the assassination, the umbrella man sat down on the sidewalk before getting up and walking towards the Texas School Book Depository.

By opening the Umbrella was he simply signaling the Storm of the Seventies to Come Forth? No longer accepting the shared shelter, America saw the Umbrella not as Protection but as Suspicion: "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head / And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed."

Footnote to a Wiki footnote: ""Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" is B. J. Thomas's #1 song, written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach for the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.It won an Academy Award for Best Original Song... It was recorded in seven takes, after Bacharach expressed dissatisfaction with the first six. In the film version of the song, B. J. Thomas had been recovering from laryngitis, which made his voice sound hoarser than in the 7-inch release. The film version featured a separate instrumental break when Paul Newman undertook stunts on a bicycle."

John Kennedy did not ride a bicycle through Dealey Plaza but under the Cinema Umbrella we like him to be Robert Redford, not Paul Newman. John Kennedy as Robert Redford as Bob Woodward, he comes undone by the Presidents to follow: Watergate -- in this understanding -- is the Umbrella of the Seventies, leaking.

1972: Deep Throat. A leak from a faulty Umbrella, or are those not 'Raindrops' falling on Lynda Lovelace's head (and esophagus)?

In 1976 -- thirteen years after the Umbrella Man in Dealey Plaza -- the Today sponge was created by Bruce Ward Vorhauer. The Today sponge was manufactured until 1995, when FDA imposed new manufacturing standards. The product had several setbacks while marketed, including a link to toxic shock syndrome.

Can even the best-designed Umbrella prevent Toxic Shock Syndrome? To make a minor step sideways: can the best-designed Umbrella prevent The China Syndrome? From Wiki: The China Syndrome was a 1979 American thriller film that tells the story of a television reporter and her cameraman who discover safety coverups at a nuclear power plant. It stars Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon and Michael Douglas, with Douglas also serving as the film's producer.

One could argue that Robert Redford and Michael Douglas were sympathetic under the Seventies Film-making Umbrella: both starred in films featuring Jane Fonda, the daughter of the filmic Abe Lincoln Henry Fonda. As Henry Fonda's son Peter once wrote regarding the creation of the Beatles' song "She Said She Said":

"I finally made my way past the kids and the guards. Paul and George were on the back patio, and the helicopters were patrolling overhead. They were sitting at a table under an Umbrella in a rather comical attempt at privacy."

Here we see the Umbrella as a comical attempt at Privacy, much like the Privacy the Secret Service was unable to provide John Kennedy on that fateful November day. This telescopes nicely with the plaintive lyrics of Dream Academy's 1985 song "Life in a Northern Town":

They sat on the stony ground
And he took a cigarette out
And everyone else came down to listen
He said, "In winter 1963 It felt like the world would freeze
With John F. Kennedy and the Beatles"

Notice that the descending melody evokes the Umbrella without having to put it in words.


Lem said...

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

bagoh20 said...

I do that shopping thing almost every day. That's just how I roll. I find it one of the more enjoyable parts of my day. I know exactly how to do it, and I never fuck it up. Nobody asks me for anything I can't give them, and I get a basket of joy for some slips of paper. It's only 15 minutes, and I see most of the beautiful women I see in an average day during that time, and I usually get in one good romantic fantasy.

EIA said...

That was strange. I got his point, but my main impression was how negative he was - how being pissy, upset and frustrated was his default setting, how he had such a dark view of these ordinary slice of life situations, and the people involved in them - and then he has to struggle to overcome all that.

Sadly, it's not that much of a surprise to learn from the comments that he committed suicide.... classic depressive POV.

betamax3000 said...

Why does Ann set up the David Foster Wallace pinata at the end of an evening after I've already had Too Many Vodkas and Candy Cigarettes? I want to Swing Swing Swing some more, but my head is saying Pillow Pillow Pillow.

And a (DFW) footnote:

I hope that last post reads as well in the morning as I thought it did now. The Next Morning is a Harsh Critic,



betamax3000 said...

Re: "That was strange. I got his point, but my main impression was how negative he was"

I agree that this rings true. However, I would suggest reading "Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace": there is Joy there that he is grasping for.

Lem said...

Is it in my Head

Lem said...

The Watchmans Gone

betamax3000 said...

Re: "Imagine standing in a checkout line, reading "Herzog", and listening to Maher Symphony NO. 9."

I knew someone was watching.

betamax3000 said...

Re: "Here we see the Umbrella as a comical attempt at Privacy, much like the Privacy the Secret Service was unable to provide John Kennedy on that fateful November day."

I realize that JFK committed suicide in October, not November, but the Point is the Same.

Lem said...

Can't Get You Out Of My Head

betamax3000 said...

Re:
Blogger Lem said...

Can't Get You Out Of My Head


The JFK / Lee Harvey Oswald Playlist?

Lem said...

Don't look Back

Lem said...

The JFK / Lee Harvey Oswald Playlist?

Althouse had me fooled with the Dylan reference... I didn't get it... so I went looking for something that wasn't there there.

Michael The Magnificent said...

The dog I had previous to the one I have now was an Australian Shepherd named Mick, after the character Mick Dundee.

He was my sidekick, my best friend. I took him along wherever I went, whenever I could. I'd drop the tailgate of my truck, and in he'd jump. When we'd return home, I'd drop the tailgate, and out he'd jump.

Until one day, when he was 10 years old, he jumped out and started limping. Multiple trips to multiple vets over multiple months, to find out he had dead blood cells in his left-shoulder joint.

The Dr. recommended a trip to the Vet School in Madison for an MRI or CT scan (I don't remember which), and possibly a scope of his shoulder. He suspected Mick either had synovial cell cancer, or he'd tore his cartilage (which shouldn't be unexpected to a thinking person when you let a 10 year old dog jump out of the back of a truck).

If it was synovial cell cancer, the limb would need to be removed. If it was torn cartilage, the joint would need to be fused. He had already shown signs of arthritis, so I couldn't bring myself to do either.

I asked for pain medicine. I wanted to take my friend home, and make peace with the decision I knew I needed to make before saying goodbye.

The medicine he prescribed was opiate based. Long ago, I had had a motorcycle accident resulting in a compression fracture of a vertebra. I had been put on an opiate based pain med, which had shut down my intestines.

Knowing this, I made it a point to take Mick for a short walk, twice a day, in hopes of keeping his bowels moving. In the beginning, we would slowly walk to the end of the driveway, and then back to the house. Not far, but it was what he could do, and he seemed to stay regular. I made it a point to pray for him during every walk.

He started walking a little better, so we walked just a little farther. I still prayed for him the entire way.

One day, I decided if I was going to be doing all of this praying, it might be a good idea to learn the best way to pray. Somewhere it was suggested to thank God for all of your blessings first, before asking him for any new blessings.

So that's what I did. I would thank God for all the blessings I could think of, and save the walk up the driveway to the house for asking God to bless Mick, to reduce his pain, and restore his strength.

We walked a little farther, and a little farther still. Every day, I had to pay attention, to notice more of God's blessings, so I would have things I could thank God for during our walks.

And farther and farther we walked, until we were walking 2 1/2 miles, twice a day. That's a long walk, and especially long with a dog that is recovering from a very serious physical injury. I made it a point to walk with Mick every day I possibly could, so I would never look back with regret wishing I had spent more time with him.

But I tell you what. I could fill every minute of those walks with thanks to God for all of the blessings I had learned to notice. Mick lived another 7 years, and every day he was with me was one of the blessings I was thankful for.

Your outlook on life changes once you learn to notice the blessings you already have.

Lem said...

Watching You

Terry said...

Gosh, David Foster Wallace? How can I be more like him? How could I possibly demonstrate as much love for the world and the day-to-day business of living as DFW?
Maybe by not killing myself?

Lem said...

Somebody is Watching Me

betamax3000 said...

At the David Foster W Cafe:

Consider the Fish-Eye lens. How have we arrived at the assumption that swirled bubbled photography accurately represents the Optical Narrative of a Fish?

While the placement of a Fish's Eyes can seem Symbolic, it would not be of much difference to an Underwater Squirrel, presuming that an aquatic squirrel would have consistent stereographic eye-placement with its land-based brethern.

Are we not attempting to correlate two discrete visual inputs in one plane, of which the only answer is to swirl the left-Channel Peanut Butter and the Right-Channel Chocolate?

Does the Swirl of the Fish-Eye lens swirl Clockwise always, or is it dependent upon one's hemispheric location?

In most photography uses the Fish Eye lens is optical distortion, a matter of artful smearing, but remains true to the essential color value input. Would not the view of the fish be predominantly determined by the color value of Light as filtered through the Body of Water of wherein the fish resides?

Should the Fish-Eye lens not be understood as the point-of-view of the Fish in what it determines should be photographed? And -- if this is the case -- is Worm Pornography a case of "I know it when I see it?"


yashu said...

From the full text of the speech:

As I'm sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotized by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now). Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about quote the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master.

This, like many clichés, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in: the head. They shoot the terrible master. And the truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger.

Lem said...

1000 Umbrellas

Lem said...

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

exiledonmainst said...

Oh, fuck Wallace.

I have my share of boring, hum-drum work to do every day. So what? Is threshing wheat and milking cows more fulfilling? My dad was happy to get off the farm and get a job in a factory. I'm going to moan because I have to attend dull meetings every now and then? Talk about your fucking 1st World problems

I couldn't bear watching this vid anymore once the asshole started bitching about grocery lines. You don't want to stand in line after work to buy food? Go on the weekends then. Or go out to eat - the people he's referencing are apparently affluent urbanites. Plenty of restaurants around.

Stop the fucking crying. People who defected from the USSR burst into tears when they saw American supermarkets. They were used to standing in line all day to buy lard and toliet paper that chapped their asses. Some woman in the Sudan would really feel bad for poor yuppies who have to stand in line to buy their organic freerange chicken.

Not one friggin' ounce of gratitude for the relative ease and affluence of modern American lives. No wonder this pampered, entitled asshole killed himself.

Lem said...

Over My Head

betamax3000 said...

At the David Foster W Cafe:

If you were to spend your Life dressed in a skin-tight Rubber Suit would you still choose to put plastic covers on your furniture?

betamax3000 said...

At the David Foster W Cafe:

If you were to live Life as if everyone saw you Naked would you choose to wear Shoes? And -- if so -- would your Shoes be Invisible, or would it Not Even Matter?

Lem said...

Hammering In My Head

betamax3000 said...

At the David Foster W Cafe:


If 98% of the World had Nut-Based Allergies would you still choose to run joyously through the rain Naked and Smeared with Peanut Butter?

betamax3000 said...

At the David Foster W Cafe:

If all of your Life amounts to a Parentheses between Birth and Death do you accept Spell-Check's corrections?

betamax3000 said...

When standing on a Corner in Winslow, Arizona would you Refuse to Take it Easy to prove Glenn Frey does Not Command You?

Lem said...

Umbrella

betamax3000 said...

At the David Foster W Cafe:

If you were accused of being Passive-Aggressive would you just...




Never mind: you don't want to Hear It.

Lem said...

Up Above My Head

Nini said...
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Nini said...
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Nini said...
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Nini said...

I read Wallace's speech in 2011 when the wife of a member of our yoga group, who is an english professor in Missouri got me to read it. We were discussing on a forum Raymond Tallis's article, titled "Human consciousness is much more than mere brain activity".

In our discussion I made the comments below. I may please have the liberty to share them with you on here.

For what its worth...

I don’t know that one can jump to conclusion that what Wallace was saying was contrary to what Tallis was saying about the reality of the self or consciousness.

I don’t think he made a commitment to the non-existence of the self. In fact you can infer from Wallace’s speech that it is indeed natural to see the world through the lens of the self every single moment of our existence. It’s our default setting. It’s what you feel as soon as you wake up from your slumber and get up from your bed. If he was saying that it’s not real then he could have said in it simple words that the self is an illusion, like the Buddhists would, but he didn’t. In fact, Wallace based on his wiki bio was a member of a Christian church and Christianity does not deny the existence of the self.

Whether the self is real or not is beside the point. I think that the gist of his speech was that too much absorption in one own’s self was not healthy. It can cause one to be self-centered and thus become less tolerant of others and to be self indulgent as to think only of one’s well being and happiness. Also that self absorption causes one to easily lose balance in life and become weak to rise up to the challenges of the everyday life. (Isn’t that a common criticism of yogis/monks, that being focused on their bhajan (spiritual practices) and in bliss, they retreat from the everyday world?)

There’s a glimpse of Classic Buddhism in his speech (no reality of the self, emptiness is reality and be compassionate to others) but I doubt it seriously that he spoke for Buddhism. There’s also a ring of Ram Das’s teaching of “be here, now”, or was that Bhagwan Rajneesh? I personally think there is no logical imperative, for a person who believes in the Buddhist teaching that there is no self and non reality of existence, to be compassionate. Even Peter Singer, a noted philosopher with some very radical ideas for ethics, recently has stated that "he is open to the idea that moral value must be grounded in something objective and though he is still not inclined to believe in God, he acknowledges that a theologically-oriented ethics has the advantage that it provides the only complete answer to the question why we should act morally". (That is a quote from a blog, btw) Singer has said though that he will ground the objective knowledge of moral truth from intuition.

I don't think that there’s a logical correlation that people that follow their intuition to acknowledge the reality of the existence of the self will turn into psychopath – a person that is manipulative and lacking in emphathy. In our religious tradition the self is enjoined to be humble if one is to reach the goal.

As a spiritual aspirant, it’s my opinion that the reality of the self, and the existence of consciousness is self-evident. Recently I was listening to an interview by a civil atheist with Richard Swinburne and Swinburne made the point that we may not be able to explain the nature of consciousness or may not have the explanation for consciousness 100 years from now but at the moment we just CAN NOT IGNORE the datum of the subjective experience of one person, a million persons, let alone everyone. In my opinion maybe consciousness is like the law of gravity that we can feel the effect of and write the description in mathematical equations but can not explain it’s nature.

Wallace had suffered depression most of his life and he committed suicide the year after he gave that speech. I feel that the force by which he wanted to expel the notion of a self from a person came from his desire to expel himself of the” demons in his mind”.

stlcdr said...

Very nice and eloquent, but to sum up:

[as Oso Negro said... ] Learn to swim, baby!

Michael said...

DFW. Are there other three namers as deep, deep,deep? Or precious.

Jon Burack said...

To those who are suffering from this problem, I have a solution. Make a list. Wait until the weekend. Go shopping then, when you are not in a big hurry. It's not so bad, really. Do it with someone you like or love, and it can be a gas. Okay?

Chip Ahoy said...

After all that I can see why he offed himself.

The grocery store was crowded and bustling. I was passing two women managing their shopping and a large child riding in their shopping trolly. The boy grabbed my sleeve as I passed and clamped on. The ladies were speaking Spanish as I passed so there was an interracial thing to the episode, and they were both clearly embarrassed by the situation the boy caused. The boy is retarded so I exaggerated my capture and play acted a spy totally captured banging my own trolly's castors, "Help! Help! I'm captured!" which caused the boy to crack up sitting there and clamp on harder and hold onto the situation and giggling so the women had to unclamp his fingers. See, now all that undue embarrassment and his and my retarded laughing and stupid shit, that's just fun. But Wallace had to write books about how to reference his own mundane experiences, manage his own thoughts, create his own reality and weave it into the lives of surrounding spirits. It's painful listening to him work it all out. And he opted to get out.

In the same place, at the pharmacy section, on another day, two little boys were acting up right where I was so I pulled the first thing right there off the shelf

Polygrip.

"Know what this stuff is?"

The boys stopped short. The woman was relieved for something at least a little bit different but appeared nonplussed. The boys were not prepared for a pop quiz from a stranger, especially an unknown white guy but they were eager to engage. This was another interracial thing, a black family, that figures into it because it added an element of oddness to the encounter.

"My grandmum can pull her whole teeth right completely out." I pantomimed the whole teeth set coming out. They didn't believe me.

"Tru fax."

"It's like glue for teeth. Some people can pull out all their teeth at once and brush them outside of their mouth separated from their head. Their teeth are not actually connected to their heads. This is the glue that holds their teeth in. But this ability of teeth removal has serious disadvantages having to do with eating food and nutrition."

I figure somebody has to teach these kids the random oddities of life.

Ron said...

What a pedantic bore.

John Vaci said...

Got it.

Message to the mindless--trust your perceptions and your emotions.

Don't be judgemental and check your values and morals at the door.

Perfect.

Here's my message:

You just escaped the Twilight Zone and to survive you need to think critically, be judgemental--not dishonest, irrational or emotional.

If...

You can uncover the real issue under a mountain of illusions, without the taint of lies and emotions,

Then...

You can think straight,

Else...

You are not.

Moose said...

The thing is - and probably this has occurred to other people, this is where "manners" come into play.

I don't need to grok why other people are having bad days, or why I'm not the center of the universe. Thats why people get turned into knots of uncertainty.

Manners are what get you thru crap like this. You just treat other people the way you want to be treated. You be polite, you hold the door, you let the other person go first, you help people who don't know where the friggin' milk is. You act like your grandmother whether you like it or not.

That's what differentiates adults from overage adolescents. The world is not full of child like wonder - its full of people trying to survive and get a little time aside to enjoy it to.

Just shut up, smile and hold the door for the other person.

El Pollo Raylan said...

Did Wallace write that script? How miserable he must have been. No wonder he ended it.

Sad

Harold said...

I've had a lot of good but short conversations in grocery store lines. I initate probably 90% of them. Random talks with complete strangers can be very interesting.

Ways to initiate? Well, if the person near you has a lot of veggies, "Boy, that looks really healthy." Twenty cans of cat food? "What kind of cat do you have?" Lots of chips and soda? "Looks like party time tonight." There's always something to be said - if you want. Haven't yet had a bad experience doing this.

And it costs nothing to talk.