Hello all. It’s been some time since I posted I know. I have them building up in my head and my blog is not dead, nor am I! There has been a lot of family here, the world cup, and well an extra baby to take care of so I’m just trying to develop a bit of a new pattern in life, and right now that doesn’t give me much time for blogging.
For right now…well many of my readers know Victoria over at Victoria Neuronotes. In fact it’s safe to say that many of my first followers found me from commenting on her blog. Victoria has become an amazing friend and I want to try and help her break out of the rut she is in and have a some independence in her life. You can read the narrative I wrote on the link I post below. If any of you can help her out, that would be wonderful, but I have started a Go Fund Me for her, so she can hopefully get a reliable used car and be able to live on her own.
For those of you who don’t know her, your help would, of course, still mean a lot to me, and her. You can check out her blog here if you want to learn more about the things she cares about and her experiences.
If you can help here is the link to the GoFundMe. I also encourage you to share this link with others who you think might be able to help. Victoria is a long time member of the WordPress community here and there may be others who don’t blog often, but have good memories of her, and maybe you are touch with those people through e-mail or Facebook. Please pass it on. Thank you in advance, and I will of course send you updates as the story develops!
The importance of stories to humans cannot be overstated. Well perhaps it can, but I’ve yet to see anybody succeed yet. 🙂 I’ve written about the importance of stories before. My interest in the subject began when reading the novels Name of the Wind and A Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. It is clear that we learn from stories. In fact it is often suggested that as a method of pedagogy that we try to create narratives, try to use storytelling to teach. I’ve yet to find a way to do this with fluid dynamics, but when I think about how I retain knowledge best, it is certainly the ability to think in terms of stories, rather than a lose collection of facts. When teaching, even if you don’t have a story to tell, trying to create a common thread through your lessons does help.
A former student, and now friend, would often start a conversation with people she was just meeting and getting to know with the question “Tell me the story of your life.” I think it’s pretty easy to see our lives as a story. I am not sure though that this is something we do when we are adolescents. Perhaps we haven’t lived long enough, and it is unclear when this process begins, but at some point you will look at the past and forecast into the future and there will seem to be this story you are playing out.
But is this a good way of thinking about our lives? Sometimes I think we do this because it seems more interesting, and even though I still think there is a lot of values to stories, perhaps we shouldn’t be seeing our own life as a story.
Some philosophical meat to think about here is are you the same person in the past as you are in the future? Stories tend to follow a particular character who may change, but rarely as much as actual humans do. Is your 20 year old self the same as your 60 year old self? Maybe at best we are a series of shorter stories instead of one long story. Our desire for continuity and cause and effect perhaps extends the narrative for longer than it perhaps should.
More importantly when we think our life in terms of a story do we then sometimes predict the ending? Do we limit ourselves by having expectations based on this narrative we have about our lives? In a recent podcast I listened too, they profiled a family who had a story of their life. They were beekeepers, and when tragedy struck and it all came to an end, they could see themselves any other way. What they had been doing for 40 years was who they were. Their house decorated with bees. How do you change the story when life takes an unexpected turn? It can be very difficult to find happiness or contentedness when expectations do not match the reality of your situation. This podcast also did another episode where they talked about changing your story and how doing that can help us move on. We might find inspiration in others who have changed the story of their lives, we may also become limited by others who assume that we can’t change our story. Perhaps we have no choice but to see our lives as a story, and if we are going to do that, perhaps we just need to learn how to better hijack that process to write those new chapters that can take the story into a different direction.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject? Do you think of your life as a story? Do you think it’s good or bad that you do? Have you had to change your story unexpectedly? Was it difficult?
There is a nice discussion on the topic on another podcast I listen to if you are interested in thinking about this subject more.
They say coincidences happen all the time. Non-random acts, happening at the same time. Such events amuse us, and sometimes amaze us. So much so that we attribute meaning to these occurrences. But sometimes these events create something unexpected. Something that no person could have expected even if they were to expect coincidences to happen. There is, at times, an alignment of coincidences so unique, so bizarre, that they defy natural explanation. What should we expect from the following ingredients?
A mother working with ancient DNA of extinct dinosaurs on the day of her ovulation.
A careless lab assistant in a hospital who let a bit of a virus escape which activates previously inactive DNA.
An unsuspecting nurse who picked up this virus while passing the lab assistant in the hall on her way to a birth.
A solar eclipse.
A sudden increase in the cosmic radiation from space due to an unknown alien presence.
And then a child is born. A strange growth appears on his back, vestigial tail, and big feet with hardened claw like toenails. The doctors and nurses are horrified and aghast at what they see. The mother, however, is determined to love her child, with that inspirational, unconditional love we all hope to have in our lives.
The growth on his back turns into a dorsal fin, his tail grows quickly and develops spikes. His feet become weapons, and their large size and sharp claws also allows him to move swiftly over uneven terrain.
The child’s heart is still human, and like all humans full of dreams and passions. In this case, for construction. At the age of 3 he dons the hat that would define him for his life as he becomes:
DINOSAUR SHARK CONSTRUCTION MAN!!
Capable of building on land or water, and with predatory instincts he would become the wealthiest construction contractor in the world. When he isn’t building, he fights crime on any Earth surface with lightning fast swimming and running speeds no human can accomplish. Dinosaur Shark Construction Man could have become a menace if not for a loving mother, who Dinosaur Shark Construction Man still turns to in dark times for advice.
If you see Dinosaur Shark Construction Man, he is a friend, you don’t need to worry. Unless you’re a criminal…then BE VERY AFRAID!!
She opened the car door and stepped out. Had someone been watching they would have thought it was one of those intentionally shot, sexy scenes as a bare leg clad in a sexy black pump hit the pavement. As the rest of her emerged she was the vision of beauty and elegance. Her carefully chosen evening gown with the slit up the left side was sure to catch the attention of many, but it wasn’t because she was vain. She simply had good taste, and liked to look good for a special night out. Her husband was being honored today. Her husband had won another big case. Civil rights cases were tough to win, and he had been winning it for the little guy for years now, in several high-profile cases. When she had met him, it seemed they were just heading to a normal upper middle class future, with the normal rate of advance as lawyers. But practicing law was different than learning it. As having a family came into the picture, her passion for the law was less. She had been offered being partner at her law firm, but it just didn’t seem all that appealing. She also saw how much her husband loved practicing law, and how good he was at it, and it wasn’t a difficult decision for her to pull back and practice law part time. Children and family meant something to her, and she knew that she would never find enough happiness in her career to compensate for not seeing her children more often. They would have had no trouble affording a nanny, but it killed her thinking about a stranger spending more time with her children than her. They would still be very comfortable, they had a nice house, and a good life was about more than money. She hooked her arm in his and walked together into the venue for the evening.
It was a reasonably big crowd as they entered the room. People were dressed to kill, and she was equal to the task. Some familiar faces approached them to welcome them. She felt a bit like a celebrity as she saw more people swarm towards them. This was their life now. They had made it. They were doing positive things in the world, and she had the right balance in her life in terms of career and family. But as the people came and went the focus was not on her. There was requisite smiling and small talk. Even genuine heartfelt warmth. There were good people in the room, but even they wanted their time with the man of the hour, and in many ways conversations with them were the worst. “What was it like to be married to such a great lawyer? How proud are you of your husband? Did you think he would win the case?” She tried to remain positive. Of course he would be congratulated, schmoozed, networked, and charmed for his accolades. What else did she expect?
She expected to be seen as important. She expected to have value. The way that she saw herself. Was it so hard to believe that as talented as her husband was that he might have married someone equally talented, with equal intellect, and with an admirable moral center? The magnificence of her dress felt like it was fading into the scenery. She felt like an object attached her husband’s arm. No one seemed to see her as having value, even when she knew that it wasn’t true. She could put up with it for night though. Right?
But if this case was any indication, he would become busier and he would get bigger cases, and his fame would continue to grow. She realized in that moment she would not be putting up with this for one night. It wouldn’t stop. How long could she take being solely defined by her husband’s career and success? Why didn’t it matter that the only reason her husband had so much time to be a great lawyer and have two children was because of her? Why didn’t the excellence in the choices she made for her life, marriage, and family, make less difference than his? And she was invaluable as someone to talk to when he’d come home and talk about his cases. After all she was a lawyer too. It wasn’t her husband’s fault society was like this, but she couldn’t help but wonder if it even entered his head to think about these things. If he was he’d make more of an effort, wouldn’t he? She wondered, if the situation was reversed, would any man be treated with as much indifference as she felt from others right now? Suddenly she was jolted out of her grim analysis.
“What a stunning dress! It must be nice to buy such expensive clothes after your husband’s big win!?” She nodded and smiled and hoped that she look convincingly gracious for that horrible compliment. She had the dress for several years and she could afford it all on her own. It was like people thought she had suddenly been invented for the purpose of accompanying her husband. She expertly stopped herself from crying and made an excuse to her husband to go to the lady’s room. She stared in the mirror, not knowing whether a flood of tears or pure rage would come next. It dawned on her that the rest of the evening would be spent wondering whether it was better to just continuing being small and hide in a hole somewhere, or to be visible in the crowd but still feel alone. She decided the former was the easier choice, but then she’d have let this superficial group of people chill her into hiding. She was better than that. It might be a hollow victory, but she held her head high and walked out again. There was a loose line of people waiting to talk to her husband. Eventually they would sit down at a table to eat, and he would give everyone else their undivided attention. With the grace of an empress she crossed the room and sidled up next to him. Outside darkness gave a respectful wave goodbye to the dusk, and inside she was content to be the stars shining through the night, even if the heads in the room were too heavy to ever look up.
So after reading my friend Esme’s wonderful flash fiction that she published in 101 Words, I decided to give it a shot myself, as it seemed like an interesting challenge to try to create a story with only 101 words.
I am proud to say, they liked my story I was published too. I would like to believe that I am as excellent a quality of writer as my friend, but it may also be that they’ll publish almost anybody. I shall believe the former in order to keep my friend’s spirits up. 🙂
Woman approaches Adam with fruit in hand. Adam is bent over next to a rock outcrop.
“Adam, I have returned. I have something for you.”
“I have something for you too. Check this out. There is this creature that seems to have been preserved in this rock over here. I don’t even know what it is. I named every animal, and this wasn’t one of them.”
“Hmmm…that is weird. But listen I have something more important. Here let’s eat this fruit.”
“Oh okay. I guess I am a bit hungry…er…wait. Where did you get this fruit?”
Woman gives a little smirk, “Where do you think? The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.”
“Oh no…no. We can’t eat this. Our Father, He had one rule. That’s it. Seems pretty clear cut and not a whole lot to ask.”
“Don’t worry Adam. A talking snake explained it all to me. We have to eat this fruit.”
“Wait…what!? Talking snake? Are there any of those hallucinogenic frogs I named hopping around? How can there be a talking snake?”
“How can you make a person out of a rib? Listen we wondered before why He would have put the tree here, and you said He probably knew we weren’t going to touch and so He didn’t think it was important where he put it. Well what if He put it here, because He wanted us to eat it?”
“Well why would He want us to eat it, but tell us not to eat it?”
“You said you had a lot of questions. So do I. Curiosity. We have loads of it. These questions burn within us and we want to find the answers to those questions. That’s how He made us.”
“That’s some pretty good reasoning. But why can’t we just ask Him and He can explain it to us.”
“Weren’t you listening Adam about making children. Children grow into adults. At some point children have to leave the guidance of their parents and make decisions for themselves. Every home feels like paradise when you’re a child, but this can’t be our home forever. We have to grow up.” Woman does her best God impression, “Symbolism!”
Adam’s eyes narrow and his expression hardens, “Alright, let’s do it. By doing this together we’ll be husband and wife, right?!”
“Oh shut up, and eat the fruit!”
Adam takes a fruit from woman and they both take bites. Chewing slowly and swallowing.
“Adam, do you feel anything?”
“No nothing. What about you?”
“I don’t feel anything either. I thought, for some reason, that I would suddenly understand everything so much better.”
“Yeah, me too. This is kind of disappointing.”
“You don’t think he just put the tree there as a test to see if we would obey him, and that the tree had no special powers at all do you?”
“No. That would be kind of cruel. God wouldn’t do something like that.” The fossil Adam was holding slips out of his hand making a cracking noise as it hits the ground.
The winds begin to shift northerly and pick up speed.
“It’s getting a bit colder Adam.”
“Yeah, well I have noticed the daylight hours gradually getting shorter, so I expect weather patterns will start shift, but also you seem to be naked.”
“What!? I’m naked?! Clearly you’re the world’s first crack detective too. No shit I’m naked. So are you!”
“Ack…you’re right…I am naked too. I guess I knew that…but I don’t think I want to be naked anymore. It doesn’t feel right. How do we get less naked?”
“I don’t know. Maybe we should cover up our…um…naughty areas. I don’t feel like we should just be exposing them for everyone to see.”
“Who’s everyone? We are the only two people on this planet.”
“I don’t know, let’s just cover up. I’m going to go find some big leaves. Maybe from that fig tree over there.”
“Fig tree? What’s a fig tree?”
“That tree over there. You got the animals…I decided I’m naming the plants. Let’s go.”
Woman and Adam walk over to the fig tree to find some suitable leaves.
“Adam, I’m feeling a lot of shame right now…like I need a big leaf to cover my behind, and I feel upset that the leaf has to be so big.”
“I feel shame too. Like I need a big leaf to compensate for what seems to be a sub-par dangling appendage.”
“So thus far eating that fruit has only led to feelings of shame associated with a negative self-image. I don’t know about you, but I’m also feeling regret.”
“Yeah me too. Being an adult sucks. I don’t even know who I want to impress. My motivations are so unclear to me right now, I….wait…do you hear something?”
Woman and Adam stop what they are doing and they hear the sound of rustling leaves and the voice of God humming a merry tune.
Adam whispers, “He’s here! How come he doesn’t know we already broke the rule?”
“I don’t know. Inflated sense of self-confidence?”
“Hide? What good is that going to do if He’s omniscient? He’ll know where we are.”
“Just do it! Quick over here among those trees!”
God stops in His tracks and tilts his head listening.
“Adam. Is that you? Where are you Adam?”
Adam whispers to woman, “See, told you hiding was a good idea!”
“Adam! I have divine hearing. I know you’re in the garden somewhere.”
Woman whispers to Adam, “He placed us in the garden, and He knows we’re in the garden somewhere? I see where you got your detective skills from.”
“I think I should answer Him. He’ll find us eventually.”
“Fine…but he should have found us immediately as an omniscient creator.”
Adam steps out from behind the trees. “Oh hey, God. We’re over here.”
“Aaah…Adam. Woman. How are things been going? Getting along? Make any babies yet? Um…wait…why are you holding fig leaves over your naughty areas?”
“Well…er…we weren’t sure who it was in the garden and well we were naked and so we hid. You know…I didn’t want anybody pointing and laughing at me.” Adam blushes.
“Wait! Who told you, you were naked? Those are precisely the lust-filled concepts I didn’t want floating around your heads!” God’s eyes glance towards the Tree of Knowledge. “Have you been eating from the Tree of Knowledge?! There are two less fruits there than there should be. I am very good at counting. The book I’m writing right now even has a chapter called Numbers. Out with it children. No lies!”
“Well Father, I was just taking a look, and well this snake came along and really explained it all quite clearly and you know, it just seemed to make sense.”
“Snake?! I think I know the culprit. Hold on.” God vanishes in a puff of awesomeness and returns holding the snake with its stubby little legs waving in the air.
“Alright everyone. It’s punishment time!”
Adam asks, “Why do You look so gleeful Father?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never done it before. New experiences are hard to come by. Okay now….snake! You have deceived my creation and for that I am removing your legs and forcing you to crawl on your belly!!”
Snake begins to slither around rather impressively climbing up and down trees and curling around woman’s legs.
“I rather like this…”
“I mean punish me no further!”
“Yes…well I curse you to eat dust!”
“Well that would actually make my work easier since dust is everywhere, but I still feel rather hungry for small rodents.”
“And you will now be enemies with mankind. You will bite at their heel and they will stomp you on the ground!”
Snake slithers up woman and speaks in her ear, “Well we’ll just stay out of each other’s way then yeah? Seems simple enough?”
Woman responds, “Sounds reasonable to me.”
“Excuse me. Woman’s voice will not be silenced.”
“It will. To punish you for what you’ve done, giving birth will now be of the greatest pain! And pitocin will not be invented for many years to come!”
“What?! You want me to populate the human species but are making giving birth the most painful experience in my life. You’re a sadist you are. Whatever happened to forgiveness? Isn’t that a better way to treat your children?”
God thinks about it for a few seconds….”Nope. Also, I’m not done. I’m also turning the civilization into a patriarchy. I wanted everything to be equal, but because of what you’ve done I am making women beholden to their men.”
“What?! Are you kidding me?” Woman gives an exasperate look and turns red with anger. “Well considering you made me a nameless helper for Adam over there, it probably wasn’t going to get much better anyway.”
Adam woman turns and says with a comforting smile, “I promise to use my power over you responsibly.” Woman gives him a dirty look, killing the grin instantly.
“Adam! Don’t think I am done! You also ate the fruit against my command. I curse you to become a farmer. You will till the earth and eat from it. It will be hard work and much that grows will have thorns and thistle requiring you to wear thick clothing so that you get very hot and sweaty while you work. Your diet will mostly be vegetarian in nature due to it providing the maximum amount of calories and nutrition per square foot, and you will eat until you die returning to the earth enriching it with organic material for new plants to grow and continuing a never ending cycle of death and life.”
“Actually that doesn’t sound too bad. Makes you really appreciate each moment and strive for a better life while you have it.”
“Yeah Adam, I like this part.”
Adam turns to woman and smiles. “I shall name you Eve as you will be mother of all. And though large amounts of toil and incest lie before us, we’re going to make it.”
“So finally I get a name. Not bad actually. But I reserve the right to come up with one of my own if I find something better!”
Adam capitulates, “Fair enough.”
“I just want you to know children that this hurt me more than it hurts you. I really didn’t want to do all of that, but you forced me hand.”
“I am sending you out from paradise and you will be cut off from the Tree of Life forever. But before you do that I am going kill a few animals and make you some clothing. It’s cold out there East of Eden and I don’t want you to get sick. Besides people will start dropping like flies once you domesticate large mammals.”
Adam and Even watch incredulously as God slaughters a few animals and skins them. Using a little bit of omnipotence to speed the tanning process.”
“There you go, and I put in an extra set so you have something to wear while washing the first set. Now here’s a pack of seeds to start off with as well. They’re all labeled. I put them in this little pouch I made from that dead deer over there.”
God snaps His fingers and they are magically transported next to a large river. “Well good luck. I’ll make a few appearances again just to make sure everybody is aware of my awesomeness. Byeeee!”
“Well Eve, I guess we got some seeds to sow.”
“Yeah.” Eve looks around. “We’ll probably need something to dig with, let’s see if we can find some tools of some sort over by those trees.”
Adam starts to remove his clothing. “Those weren’t the seeds I was talking about.”
A very angry woman watches as God vanishes, and turns her attention to the only remaining person in the garden.
“Alright. You look like you want to say something, but given the uniqueness of your existence I’d recommend against it. Do you have something to say?”
Adam shakes his head.
“Good. You’re off to a good start. Alright first of all, where are we and who the hell are you?”
“Well this is the Garden of Eden. It’s my…er our Father’s….paradise for us. And I’m Adam.”
“First of all a father who just creates you to be somebody’s helper, and then spends the first 10 minutes of her life making her bits twinkle and showing somebody how to get up all in her business and squirt baby making fluids in her, has questionable parenting skills. Secondly, why do you get a name, and I don’t.
“I’m not really sure. I don’t get told a lot. All I can tell you is, I’m a man, which I was told, means from the Earth since I’m made from dirt, and you are woman, meaning from man.”
“Wait, my designation means I am from man, but yet I am the one who will be giving birth to all sorts of future men? That’s rich. And what was all this when I arrived,” woman makes talking motions with bother her hands, “two boys talking it over and deciding what’s going to happen my body? Talking it over as if I wasn’t even there? Is this what I can expect in the future?”
“No no…of course not. I am sure you’ll be part of the whole decision making process. I mean we’re man and woman, we go together, none more important than the other.”
Woman’s expression softens momentarily. “Wait a second, are you telling me I have to be your mate? That we are going to be doing all that baby making He was talking about? I don’t even know you.”
“Yeah, but somebody has got to make people. And look, look at this thing down here, it’s sticking straight out at you. I think that’s how it works, it sort of points to who you are supposed to mate with.”
“Well don’t point it at me. Given that it started pointing about 2 seconds after you saw me, I don’t think it bases any of its decisions by divining the inner working of my soul or through some appreciation of my intellect.”
“But I really feel like…you know…what he was talking about…insert slot A into tab B? He said it would be a lot of fun.” Adam moves in close for an embrace.
Pushing him away, “Ugh…stop it. What are you doing?”
“I’m doing what feels natural in paradise!”
Woman smacks Adam on the side of the head “Well so am I. As quaint as it is that our mutual Father wants us to get it on, as it stands, I wouldn’t mate with you if you were the last man on Earth.”
“But I’m the first man on Earth, and there isn’t anybody else around.”
Woman looks around exasperated, “I’ll admit my options or few. But this child birth and raising stuff sounds like a fair amount of work. I need to know whether we can work together as a team. And that means talking to each other. Getting to know each other, and really talking about whether a relationship between us has a future.”
Adam’s tool for baby making goes limp. “Hmm…weird.” Adam looks down. “I suddenly feel like I can talk about other things. You know what? You’re right. There is no rush. It’s a beautiful day, a beautiful setting, and we have the Tree of Life nearby, we have forever, perhaps literally to make babies.”
“Tree of Life? What are you talking about?”
“Oh…oh…yeah I guess I should tell you. Well you know He hasn’t given me a lot of details on this Tree of Life. He mentioned something about being the greatest creation and being forever in paradise, so I assume the tree has something to do with that.”
“Well having children for the rest of eternity doesn’t sound fun, but I imagine just walking around in a garden could get old as well. Anything else?”
“Yeah. Something important actually. That tree over there. It’s the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We are forbidden to eat from it.”
“I don’t know. Our Father created all of this. He’s pretty powerful and knowledgeable, I figure it’s best to listen to Him.”
“Yet you had to spend the first few weeks of your life in what sounds like a taxonomical nightmare?”
“Well it was a learning experience. I mean I imagine when you create a universe there is always some bookkeeping at the start. Either way, He was pretty clear about not eating from that tree.”
“So you’re telling me that we are an omniscient and omnipotent being’s greatest creation, and he has placed us in paradise, but puts a tree full of rather delicious looking fruit in the middle of our paradise and we’re just expected to walk around it or something? I mean why have the tree here if we’re not allowed to partake of it?”
“These are fair questions? Well He’s omniscient so He knows we’re going to listen to Him, so He figured it doesn’t matter where He puts it.”
“Maybe, but it seems like poor planning overall. I mean I have a pretty strong curiosity, don’t you?”
“Yeah. I think I do too. I’ll even admit that there were times when I was enjoying seeing all the different animals. I really wanted to learn more about them, not just name them. To be honest, I’ve got a million questions about everything.”
“Me too. And I feel especially curious about things I’m told not to touch.” Woman starts walking towards the tree and Adam grabs her by the shoulder. She turns “Don’t touch me! You need to learn about consent Adam. Don’t be like Father.”
“Sorry…er…I was just trying to stop you from going to the tree. I don’t want you to get in trouble.”
“Don’t worry, don’t worry. I’ll be a good girl and I won’t eat from it, but we can go look at it right?”
“I guess. I just…well…if we aren’t suppose to eat from it, I figure it’s best not to get close.”
“Stop being so fearful. This is paradise. Like you said, I am sure he knows everything will be fine or he wouldn’t have put it here. I’ll go off by myself if you’re too frightened.”
Woman walks towards the tree, entranced by the ripe fruit dangling in the sunlight. As she gets close she feels some apprehension creep into her. Maybe Adam was right. She sits down, and leans back against a smooth rock which in no way was created by millions of year of erosion, and stares at the tree.
“It’s quite a sight, isn’t it?”
Woman looks around for a voice she’s never heard before.
“Over here. I’m waving my tail. Do you see it?”
Woman looks to her right and sees a black and green scaly animal on stump legs, plodding towards her, wagging its long pointed tail.
“I kind of got the impression that we were the only beings with consciousness in this garden. Who or what are you?”
“Well, some might say I’m the anthropomorphized representation of evil, but since you don’t know what evil is yet, just call me what your boyfriend so brilliantly named me, snake.”
“He’s not my boyfriend. And he didn’t say the animals can talk.”
“Well, let’s be honest, he isn’t exactly the brains of the operation. Although I must admit you and he, well that’s some fine handiwork by God. We aren’t on the best of terms, but the Guy really knows how to fill His day. But, to give Adam some credit, strictly speaking, animals don’t talk. The one you’re talking with right now, however, does. If you can believe you were made from a rib, my talking is small potatoes. Let me get over there, we need to have some words.”
“You do move rather slowly…your legs are very short.”
“Yeah. Well, in time, you’ll see God has a strange sense humor. I came from the east. I ‘ve been walking here for a month pretty much non-stop.”
“Well, it’s pretty much just like here. But it changes more. Things live, things die, things fight to survive, but you keep busy. Never a dull moment they say. As to who they are, I can’t say, but for some reason I love clichés, idioms, metaphors. Language is so colorful.”
“No I literally mean what is east?”
“Oh…well it’s the opposite of west.” The snake sidles up to her and rests on the grass near her and they look at the tree together. “Look at that tree?”
“Yeah. I just keep wondering why He would put it here. And what can be so bad about eating the fruit.”
“Well this isn’t your average fruit. It’s definitely special. As to why He put it here, I’ve been wondering the same thing myself. But, I, for one, am glad He did. You know why?”
Woman shakes her head slowly.
“Because this tree is everything. I’ve been trying to figure out God since I was made. Sometimes when he’s on a roll, creating, I truly think he figures a lot of stuff out without even realizing it. The thing is, putting this tree here was the best idea ever and intentional.”
“But we are forbidden to eat it. He told Adam.”
“Yep. And you’re going to be punished too. But here’s the thing: you are what you are. He made you curious. You want to know how things work. There is no knowledge that you want to be barred from, so you are going to have a bite of the fruit from this tree, and so is Adam over there. It’s inevitable. Might as well get it over with and leave paradise behind. All good things must come to an end.”
“But isn’t paradise a good thing?”
“You still don’t get it. He doesn’t really want you to have paradise. Otherwise he wouldn’t have made you curious and put the tree, he says he doesn’t want you to eat from, smack in the middle of paradise. I mean who does that? It’s like putting a cookie in front a child and saying ‘Don’t eat that!’ Sorry I forgot you don’t know how children behave yet, but you will. Oh and you’ll like cookies too.”
“What will happen to us?”
“Not sure exactly. You’ll probably be kicked out of paradise, but you’ll at least have the skills to try and build your own paradise. One that you’ll actually have to strive for, and thus appreciate the effort it takes. God, well He’s sort of the definition of privileged. He never had to work for it. You might think you’re better off that way, but believe me you’re not. The only thing that matches God’s ability is His narcissism. It’s not good to just have it all, with no idea how you obtained it.”
“That does kind of explains the lack of nurturing qualities in our Father. But what about Adam? Do you think he’ll eat it? He seems pretty big on the whole obedience thing.”
“He’s just like you, don’t worry about it. He would have eventually wandered over here himself. Now go grab a couple of pieces fruit and have yourself a snack. Destiny awaits you! Ooh it appears I flair for the dramatic as well! Alright, time to make the slow journey back to my home. This design is ridiculous….”
The snake waddles away muttering under his breath at his poor constructed body. Woman walks to the tree and grabs a couple of pieces of fruit. “Hmmm…I thought they would feel magical, but seem kind of ordinary. She shrugs her shoulders and walks back to Adam.
Burbank, CA – Thanks to a cadre of people on Twitter Monday, racist Ellen Degeneres was thwarted from spreading her divisive, white privilege message to the world when she tweeted herself riding on the back of world’s fastest man Usain Bolt. People who had gone nearly minutes without being outraged by something quickly piled a dung heap of shame on the unsuspecting Degeneres forcing her to cry and immediately become a better person.
Professional shamer Lindsay Telson told reporters in an interview Wednesday that she was glad she could be one the first to strike shame into the heart of the unsuspecting comedienne. “Some people might have looked at the picture and taken time to consider what it was really trying to say, but I’ve become really good at spotting racism having used Twitter for many years now.” When asked whether she was still going to continue to fight, a weary but resolute Telson responded “Racism requires all the vigilance that social media can muster. That’s why I follow so many entertainers and people of import not only on Twitter, but Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. People look up to them, and if I can be the first to call them out on their racism I know that such attitudes will soon disappear. Fighting complex and long time problems like racism 140 characters at a time is such a satisfying feeling. Also,” added Telson, “you get more people favoriting your tweets and more followers. So you can fight racism together.”
Long time shamer Randy Loeffler, who also helped shame Ellen, said shaming is a lot more in depth. “You see,” said a thoughtful Loeffler, “good shaming isn’t just about being first it’s about the level of outrage you display or how piercing your comment is to the person you are trying to shame. That’s really how you get people to favorite your tweet and follow you. I’m not saying being quick doesn’t matter, but I feel shaming is more nuanced.” Reporters took the opportunity to further question the experienced shamer to understand the shaming community better, “I’m not really fond of the term shamer. I mean it’s true, but I think of myself as more of the social police. We’re a community you know. In fact in my area we started a Facebook group called Outrage Outreach. Not a great name, but the person who thought of it was shamed appropriately. It’s nice to get a chance to get together in real life with fellow shamers. We don’t get to talk much to each other, but every once in a while we’re sitting at the table looking at our phones, somebody will call out something shameworthy that a celebrity has posted and we’ll all get on it. It’s a lot of fun, being outraged together and in person.”
But shamer Destiny Carter painted a more complex and discordant view of the shaming community. “First,” said a serious Carter, “shaming can be exhausting. You might start with shaming a celebrity, but then some people will support that celebrity’s racist tweet, and then you have to start shaming the supporters too then they shame you back. And it’s like there’s this bond you know because you clearly both like shaming, but you’re at odds.” Carter then became pensive before adding, “Personally I have found it hard to find good friends among my fellow shamers. One time I went out with one of them on a date. We didn’t talk much, but we I liked the fact that we were getting really outraged, so we had sex. But when actually talking after sex, while our phones recharged, it turned out that we felt very vulnerable and uncomfortable getting to know each other as people. The outrage that brought us together was gone. So I tweeted him the next day that I had fun, but that I didn’t think we should go out anymore. He got upset and tried to fat shame me because of his concerns to stop obesity and this forced me to shame him back to stop misogyny. I am sure he’s a better person now as a result of it. I don’t know…I had to block him when he started to slut shame me.”
To get a better perspective on shaming on social media, this reporter talked to Dr. Leonard Orville at Cornell University who said that social media has really led to a lot of healing in the U.S. today. “I don’t want to be too bold in my prediction, but I think that if we are able to maintain this level of shaming, by the year 2025 problems like racism will be a thing of the past. So many celebrities, athletes, politicians, and just regular everyday people are being shamed into a more egalitarian mindset and society is being mended at an alarming rate as a result. Hold on…is that a dreamcatcher on your tie? That’s cultural appropriation. Let me get my phone to take a picture.”
I conversed with a heavenly body last night,
She was particularly beautiful,
She radiated tenderly on my face,
I knew she belonged to another, a great man,
But she was so lovely and alone that I stayed
Of late I had given in to her many times,
I knew he would not mind,
He being so far above us anyway,
And I could not resist her flattery,
And the way her faces expressed sympathy.
With heavy eyes she looked at me and said,
“You are too much in my light friend,
Find your way into the day,
I have been romanced since days of old,
And your companionship is unnecessary.”
Confused and yet boldly replying,
“You may be invisible without him,
But don’t dismiss me so easily,
I do understand you the best lady,
We are much closer than you are with him.”
I paused and pondered in reflection,
“Please see me as I am fair lady,
Though you radiate with less intensity,
You can illuminate me and more,”
But she shook her head in revolution.
I turned away from her rejected,
Feeling her pale light, my desperation waxed
“But lady I am going through a phase,
I know that’s your expertise,
Please let me stay in your company.”
She said, “For as much as we share,
In the end only one face remains,
Your perception of me is as he desires,
Instead, strive to be like him always,
Cast your own light into the universe.”
I said, “You underestimate your value,
But perhaps I do as well,
And alas we are once more alike,
Don’t shut me out from your gifts,
Let me bask in ambiguous beauty.”
I then searched the source of my thoughts,
My lamentations were in orbit,
Do I choose fruitless pursuit in my sky?
My separation from her dawned on me,
But I continued to argue in circles as she circled.
“Why have I never seen you from behind?”
As I turned, her turn kept pace with mine,
“I only see your face changing,
I long to see the curve of your back,
The flowing of your lustrous hair.”
Though she knew the reasons for my pleas
Tears fell from both eyes and she said,
“My motion is fixed and I have no choices,
You do not know the gravity of my situation,
If I was different it was so long ago.”
“You must understand that he is the only one,
The only one who sees all of me,
Though your heart may sink at this,
I am not here for your benefit,
He and I have been together for so long.”
A fog then began to grow in the night air,
She became featureless but glowing,
And I heard her anguish over me,
I felt her obstinance waning,
And I longed to press my face to hers.
She sighed “Only one knows me entire,
And long familiarity has faded to habit,
So expert is my illusion I am whole,
Few show interest in more of me,
I am complimented, but you know the truth.”
“It has been a long time for me too,
Since one has appreciated my other side,
My memory is as clear as yours,
What good is it to rise as he does,
For all my beauty I am shallowly perceived.”
With empathy she resigned and said,
“Let us pass the nights together my darling,
When you are ready to take me from your sky,
You will rise one morning with him,And the thrill of a new day will set you free.”
I conversed with a heavenly body last night,
And as I fell asleep she was there,
And when I opened my eyes I was dreaming,
Dreaming of the warmth of the sun,
When the dream ended, I waited again for her.
“And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl sitting on her own in a small café in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything.”
It is today my 42nd birthday and I decided this would be a good year to reflect. Why 42, why not 40 like any other normal person with a penchant for round numbers? According Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series a supercomputer was asked to come up with the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything and 42 was that answer. So I am at the age which is the answer, but of course if you read the series you know that while the answer was determined a more powerful supercomputer had to be created to determine the question (which turned out to be the planet Earth). So 42 seems like a great age to think about answers and questions.
This is also the year that I often joked would be when I started my own cult. This was supposed to be easy as I was going to have a good portion of Twitter followers, find myself a good compound with fertile soil and enjoy the good life. Extra wives would have been optional. It’s weird how as I get older there seems to be more of a drive to keep life simple and surround yourself by like minded people. Anyway, Twitter really doesn’t suit me, for as you can see, I don’t say many things in 140 words or less so my followers are few, and I think life is better that way, and also I’m not a very proficient gardener, so I’m probably better off living close to the farmer’s market. So here I am, nobody famous and nobody to follow, and a mini essay of reflection is probably more suited to greater personalities, but hey, it’s the age of information and I have a blog, so why not write? 🙂
I think what makes being a teenager so difficult is that this is the time in your life when you start to self-actualize a lot more and really think about the future. It’s a terrible thing really, because you are also still young enough where you really don’t know shit. I remember thinking a lot about the type of person I wanted to be. My dad was (and still is) an alcoholic and as a teenager I knew that I didn’t want to be like my dad. Kids respond to those who are consistently there for them, and my mom was that person. Of course I’ve come to realize many positives about my dad as well, but as a kid I knew that whatever way my dad was, wasn’t working. My mom was loving, supporting, nurturing, and always there. At the time I never really looked at my mom and dad’s personalities as related gender, but more as what are the behaviors that lead to increased happiness and that bring increased happiness to others. I am sure it did in many ways shape why I’ve always felt more free to be myself more in front of women than men, and why I look beyond arbitrary categorizations of people and simply try to stick to values that bring happiness.
I also remember thinking that I was not the person I wanted to be. I felt like I was this amazing person who was trapped inside myself. Inside a shell that I needed to break out of. I know now that there is a certain element of being a child of an alcoholic that makes us more fearful of self-expression because of how we internalize our parents’ addiction, but I think teenagers can simply be apprehensive about inserting themselves in the world no matter how much they want to. I know I am a person who leans toward safety over risk, and that was one of the things I wanted to get better at as I got older which was to be bold. It’s still the quality I struggle with the most, but I’m proud to say that the vision I had for myself at around the age of 16 isn’t far off the mark. The compliment that I have received several times and means the most to me is when people tell me that they can tell immediately the type of person that I am because I am so open and. It is the part I like about myself the most especially because I think life is too short to pretend with people. I am proud that I have reached a point in life where I am comfortable in my own skin, and it is something that has always seemed like a necessary way to be, but I in no way want to imply that I have go there solely on my own.
Another thing I worried about when I was young was that I wasn’t original. I felt like everything I was, was copied from somebody else. I didn’t have any original ideas, I wasn’t creative. As I was thinking about what to write in this post yesterday I was wondering if I should say that the meaning of life is “theft”. We are born as absolutely blanks and while genetics may texture our canvas to a certain respect we are painted on by the many people we come to know in life, our culture and society also paints broad brushes over us too. Of course theft isn’t really the right word. People and society paint things upon us and we have little say in that. And in most other cases it is people who in my life who have given, and I have taken, and I would like to believe that with time I have been better about showing my gratitude. It would not be until a certain Star Trek: The Next Generation Episode that I felt better about my lack of originality. Here Captain Picard comments on the emotionless android Data’s violin playing.
PICARD: The good doctor was kind enough to provide me with a recording of your concert. Your performance shows feeling. DATA: As I have recently reminded others, sir, I have no feeling. PICARD: It’s hard to believe. Your playing is quite beautiful. DATA: Strictly speaking, sir, it is not my playing. It is a precise imitation of the techniques of Jascha Heifetz and Trenka Bronken. PICARD: Is there nothing of Data in what I’m hearing? You see, you chose the violinists. Heifetz and Bronken have radically different styles, different techniques, yet you combined them successfully. DATA: I suppose I have learned to be creative, sir, when necessary. PICARD: Mister Data, I look forward to your next concert.
So yes, I now feel original, thanks to lines written by somebody else. Star Trek has actually taught me quite a bit now that I think about it. 🙂 Life is also full of irony and paradoxes enough to make you scratch your head for a lifetime. In the end though, isn’t this what we really are…a product of others, both biologically and environmentally with a unique level of proportions such that we are originals? What I really mean to say about all this is that I feel really grateful to all those who have given and for what I have taken. I have taken the best of you to the very heart of me and a result carry you everywhere. Some I’ve not seen or talked to in some time, some it may have only been a brief time in which we knew each other, or perhaps were not even very close friends, but I saw what was good in you, I smiled at it, and celebrated it and let it course through my arteries. I am thankful for all the love, the friendship, the inspiration, the memories, the lessons taught, and yes even the criticism and in some cases hurt. I am unique and original because of all of you and there is no other way I’d rather be.
Growing older also means growing more aware as you continue to experience and learn in life. As someone who is strongly committed to learning as awareness grows so does the burden of that knowledge. It is only in the most recent years that I have truly understood the expression ignorance is bliss. However, it is also important to remember that your own bliss is of little value to anybody else but yourself, and we are a social species. As I’ve learned I continued to have more awe for this amazing universe we live in, uncovering the darkness that shrouds knowledge also means discovering the horrors, the malice, the pain, and the suffering. It is all the worse when you are one of the lucky ones to have things far better than so many. It makes you question the very right to feel happy. And when it comes down to it, it makes me feel bad just complain about how heavy the thoughts are sometimes, because I am so fortunate to just have to think about it and not actually experience the hardships so many bear. I am fortunate that I can put those thoughts to the side at times. However, I also know there is no denying it either. And I know that just feeling sad and depressed all the time would be debilitating so there is nothing for it but to do something about it. I am not helpless under this weight although sometimes it can feel that way. So I try, and I let myself feel happiness for all the beauty that exists as well. There is much to fight against in this world, but I feel if we forget what we’re fighting for, it’s easy to get lost in the darkness.
I believe that it is this mixture of awe-inspiring beauty and soul-draining horror that drives us. I think we can’t help but feel small in the face of it. Some try to conquer it by building belief systems that explain it all, some try to chip away at the answer slowly through careful investigation, and some just turn to vices to distract themselves and to numb themselves. However, from what I’ve seen, the true winners in this world are always the ones who accept how small they are in the face of it all. It’s bigger than any one individual and it’s the one thing we all have in common. It is enough to make you just sit there and think “Why can’t we just all get along? It really does seem so simple to just be nice to each other. Nobody has to get nailed to anything.
As I look forward the things on the horizon are amazing. Just as there are things in my young life I never thought possible but exist now, I know there are many unknown wonders that await me for the rest of my life. I like being this age and knowing all the things that I know. Wisdom comes to you without even knowing it, and I like it. I admit that I am not a big fan of leaving this existence. I see us getting closer to things like unlocking the mysteries of aging, replacing organs, interfacing the computer to the brain and I wonder if in the not too distant future we might have a choice to live far longer than we do to do. I am jealous quite frankly. As someone who embraces change and has seen how changes occur over time spans far greater than our human lives I would like to experience it. I want to choose when I want to leave this existence and have a shot at deepening that well of wisdom beyond this short time on Earth. When I think of all the change that has occurred over 1000 years, 10,000 years and so on…I wonder what it would be like to see it…what perspective that would give you…how you would look at the universe differently. I suppose such a chance will not happen, but I keep the dream alive only because it is at times helpful to remember that we are not only small in terms of the vastness of space, but also the vastness of time. I can’t be expected to figure it all out, and that’s okay.
There isn’t much more to say here. Of course there is more to life I suppose, but it’s amazing how important some people become so that even the other things seem to tendril out from it. I know that there are no guarantees in life, but that’s why living in the moment is so important. I am lucky that I have a life where I can take care of them just as much as they take care of me. The fact that our love can put some things at the center of our life, at the center of our universe, is amazing What more could I want? I do have everything.