Learning In Spite of Myself

I Want To Tear Out My Remaining Hair Department

Two nights ago, while I slept, the OS of my laptop updated itself. It’s my fault, of course, in a weak moment years ago I gave the computer the okay to do that whenever an update came along. But yesterday morning I found that the new OS doesn’t play nice with WordPress, the service that allows me to pass this blog along to you.

It doesn’t screw up everything, but just enough to make me crazy. Now there are days when making me crazy doesn’t take a whole lot, I admit, since I am hovering on the brink of one mental disorder or another most of the time. But this time … I cry out to the universe … Why Me?

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Here is a list of some of the disorders that I am on the brink of nearly every darn day:

  • Golden Years Depression – this is what happens when the reality of not being 25 years old any longer filters through my defenses
  • Socks don’t match and I don’t care-o-philia – Even when it is such a horrid mixing of colors that they offend my feet
  • Metamucil intoxication syndrome – the fear of becoming suddenly “regular” that comes from accidentally doubling the evening dose of psyllium husks. The uncertainties involved here keep me at home for days until the crisis has past.
  • Covid rage – a variant of road rage, this involves a serious rising of my personal gorge whenever I read another article about our brothers and sisters who still aren’t vaccinated and who think not wearing a face mask is courageous in some strange way
  • Insignificant Bipolar Syndrome – where I have these abrupt mood swings, but they are so tiny that only I notice them
  • Incomplete Narcissist Syndrome – just when I think I’ve got narcissism down pat, I break out in empathy somewhere, which I find very disorienting

And this is by no means a complete list, nosirree. Just enough to let you know what I am dealing with. I may seem serene and placid on the outside, but internally I am quite a jumble. So when Apple and WordPress don’t agree with one another … it’s all I can do not to toss my laptop into the dishwasher and be done with it once and for all.

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Bob Woodward has brought out yet another book about former pres. cluck. I saw the author on a news program the other night, talking about the book’s contents. But I don’t think it was really Woodward. I think that he has been replaced by an animatronic version of himself which is trotted out for public appearances. There was just something about the episode that didn’t ring true. I went back and calculated that if he had been 35 when he and Carl Bernstein published their stuff about the Watergate scandal, he would be 237 years old today.

So watch carefully next time you see “Bob Woodward” on television. He has only two facial expressions. This is one of them. The other is a scary sort of grin.

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Thursday night Dakota and I (Robin was still out of the country, in California) drove up to Black Canyon National Park to check out the sunset at (where else) Sunset Point. There were clouds, but they only added interest to the skies for the small group of souls and the three-legged dog who had gathered there.

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The evening was perhaps not quite as warm as Dakota’s t-shirt-only costume might suggest, but it was very nice indeed. Everyone was quiet and subdued in their conversations, being respectful of the daily setting of the star we depend upon utterly.

I do remember distinctly when I was first confronted by the truth that everything changes and nothing goes on forever. I was less than ten years old and my grandfather had taken me to a movie at the Time Theater in Kenyon MN. There was a short film about astronomy that came on before the featured attraction, where the narrator’s voice told us how long it was estimated that the sun would last before it vanished. Even at that tender age I could put two and two together and I realized that if I lived long enough everything I knew would either go away or freeze up forever.

It was sobering, and I don’t think that I ever completely got over it. Sure, it was going to be one heck of a long time before that happened, but the frightening thought was that it would happen. Not might, but would.

See how dangerous knowledge can be? Who would ever think that a simple astronomic fact could be so alarming to a child? But even back then I knew exactly what to do about it, and I have resolutely avoided learning anything that I didn’t absolutely have to from that moment until the present one. Call me backward and a fool if you will, but I know what I’m doing.

[BTW: I know that I’ve told this story before, or one very similar. Not knowing which is the true one doesn’t bother me at all.]

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In what passes for a humor section, the New Yorker on Friday posted this bit of nastiness, entitled “Behold I Have Returned From A Hike. It is making fun of people (perhaps people like myself) who do some simple thing like take a walk in the open air and then rush to tell others about it. And maybe to share their pictures of the trek as well.

Does every adventure have to be heroic in nature or epic in scope before it is worthy of being reported? Must we all be Stanleys out there looking for our Dr. Livingstons before what we say is worthy of the pixels employed? I say Bosh! to this attitude. Yes, I have saved one of my strongest words for this occasion. I repeat it once again for emphasis. BOSH!

If a person (again, perhaps someone like myself) wants to write down every piddly thing they do, take a photograph of it, and then splash it all over a tiny corner of the publishing universe I say Bravo! Let’s have more of this twaddle! If nothing else, it may allow the reader to say “Why, my life is way more interesting than his. I feel much better now than I did before I read it.”

There are so many ways to serve humanity. This is only one of them.

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