Douglas Adams

Addressing the Absurd

Douglas Adams once wrote, “The chances of finding out what’s really going on in the universe are so remote, the only thing to do is hang the sense of it and keep yourself occupied.” While some would call Myers-Briggs psychological typing complete and utter nonsense, I think it is, at the very least, an interesting way to categorize people, regardless if it’s true or right. I am an INTJ: one of the rational types, the mastermind, the one who figures out how everything works and why. The last thing one of us would do is “hang the sense of it,” but it’s a necessary skill for survival, no? Many of the most influential writers to me—Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carroll, and Emily Brontë, to name a few—are also INTJs, non-sense-hanging lovers of everything rational. But we’ve adapted to survive, we’ve adapted to write. Lewis Carroll took it the farthest, obviously, but there’s an element of the absurd, an embrace of it even, in all their work. Because, let’s face it: people are absurd. There’s no getting around that fact. (more…)

Advertisements

“Yes, it is true,” he was saying, “that sometimes unusually intelligent and sensitive children can appear to be stupid. But, Mrs. Benson, stupid children can sometimes appear to be stupid as well. I think that’s something you might have to consider. I know it’s very painful, yes. Good day, Mrs. Benson.”

—Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

Endemic Species

The world is full of oddities: naked mole rats, haunted dolls, toe socks. The whole spectrum of human emotion is an oddity if you think about it for to long. As is the entire human body. There are so many things that no one understands. And there seems to be a startling lack of curiosity in the world.

The more time I spend with other people, the more I wonder how the human race got to the point it is today. Are people less curious? Or have there just always been the select few who say, “screw your laws and customs” to the universe and go ahead and make scientific and humanitarian and technological advances despite it all? (more…)

Eff It All

Well, the first week of my last semester of college has come and gone, and I’m resigning myself to the fact that my constant state of being for the next four months will be tired, stressed, and surviving. So, with that in mind,

F is for eff it.

As in, “Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.” (If I were a book, it would be Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Or possibly Good Omens. Both wonderful reads. I’m not biased at all.)

As in, keeping up most relationships is more trouble than it’s worth.

As in, conversely, my plan to avoid all but like five people this semester is going terribly. I’ve had plans with different people every single night so far. And dare I say I’ve enjoyed it? I’m exhausted, sure, but I don’t like being alone. Might as well make the most of college. So my plan has changed. Rather than avoid everyone, I’ve resolved not to unduly dislike anyone. It’ll take some work, but I hope it’ll turn out worth it. If people want to be my friend, I might as well be theirs. I’m too tired to hold pointless grudges this semester. For the most part.

As in, I spent all day yesterday at a bridal show with my best friend and seeing that many happy couples made me want to vomit. If you had enough patience, a bridal show would be a great place to pick up chicks. Because all the single bridesmaids are there with their soon-to-be-married friends, surrounded by things meant for couples, and already used to writing their name and phone number on things. It’s pretty much foolproof. If only I could have run into the cute male model from the weirdly upbeat fashion show.

As in, I WANT TO BE DONE WITH MY THESIS.

As in, I’m supposed to have a writing portfolio completed in about three months and I have next to nothing that’s not the novel I’ve been writing since June. And I can’t decide if I care.

As in, a coffee addiction is only detrimental if your heart stops, right?

As in, my priorities this semester are having fun and getting thin, but everything is enough of a priority that they all have to get done. If everything is a priority, is anything? Is it possible for me to stay sane right now? I have my doubts.

As in, it’s much more fun to get organized than it is to do the things you just organized.

As in, caring about things takes too much effort. I’m not a robot, but I want to be. Life would be infinitely easier if I were as task oriented, practical, and emotionless as I pretend to be.

As in, I have no idea what I’m doing after graduation and it’s terrifying and I’m occasionally crippled by panic but I’m not actually worried about it.

As in, eff you.

As in, I don’t actually know how to say eff it and then follow through. Like the character in Dirk Gently’s Holisitic Detective Agency, my life is a constant cycle of this: “That was it. That was really it. She knew that she had told herself that that was it only seconds earlier, but this was now the final real ultimate it.” Until the next time.

As in, I can think the unthinkable. I can do the undoable. I can grapple with the ineffable itself. And we’ll see what comes of that.

star trek ng dance party.jpg

Philosophical, Theological, Mathematical Nonsense

I’ve decided to do an A-Z blogging challenge, because apparently I can’t keep anything up unless I’m competing.  Even if it’s with myself, though that’s not quite as compelling as beating other people.  So, I suppose, without any further ado, here goes:

A is for Adams.

Specifically, Douglas Adams.  This wonderful man is quite possibly my favorite writer.  He writes like I think: philosophical, theological, mathematical nonsense.  If I were a book, I think I would be Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.  I’m not sure why; I just identified with the writing style and the story and I felt the details in my soul.  He and C.S. Lewis are my main inspirations when I write.  I mean just listen to some of these quotes:

“Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable.  Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”

“He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.”

“For a moment, nothing happened.  Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.”

“The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.”

“The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.”

“The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it which the merely improbable lacks.”

This last quote has become sort of an impromptu life motto for me.  Which brings us to my next point.

A is for ambitious.

Not ambition, ambitious.  There’s a difference, and not just in the part of speech.  Ambition is something that is admired in a person.  “Oh,” you say, “that person has such great ambitions.  She’s going great places in life.”  Ambitious, on the other hand, is what you say when someone attempts something stupid and seemingly impossible.  “You’re going to what?” you ask.  “Climb the Empire State Building with a paper clip and some twine?  That’s ambitious.”  Waggle your eyebrows and scoff.

I, unfortunately, tend to be habitually ambitious.  What’s the fun in doing something easy?  For that matter, what’s the fun in doing something merely improbable?  As Walt Disney said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”  So, my goal for this year isn’t to graduate, it’s to write and edit an entire novel.  My goal isn’t to make the most of the last year I have with friends, it’s to find a date to the infinite number of weddings I’ll be attending next summer.  Someone who’s going to be in town who I can stand (and who can stand me) long enough to do this.  Of course I want to do the other things too, but they’re easy.  I don’t want to say I’m taking them for granted, because that will give you the wrong idea, but they’re things I trust myself to do without trying.

I like challenges.  I like beating challenges.  I like puzzling things out.  I like winning.  I’ve always had the habit of biting off more than I could chew, and then choking myself trying to get it down.  I always do, though, so I suppose I’ve cultivated this ambitious streak.  It’s fun to watch people’s faces, the ones who said “Seriously?”, the ones who said “Well that’s ambitious.”, the ones who scoffed.

The problem, as usual, comes in somewhere about the place people start peeking their heads and egos and emotions in.  People have caught on to my attempting the impossible and winning.  They’ve started to root for me.  They’ve started believing in me.  And now, if I fail, they know.  I’ve disappointed them.  Not in any tangible way that they’d ever tell me, or even think it of me.  But somewhere deep down I am no longer the person who beats impossible odds and attempts things that only a crazy person would only to come out both not crazy and having completed it.  I’m the person who tried the impossible, and like any other human, failed it.  But that’s another closed bag for another, more melancholy, day.

“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”

Here’s to foolishness in the eyes of everyone except those few noble souls who have peeked their heads in and somehow labeled themselves “friends.”  And here’s to continuing ingenuity because of them.