Saturday, July 13, 2013

99 Rejections

"The faster my mind journeys through abstract thought, the slower its "mathematical clock" ticks, as seen by the observer."

iSoph

      I refuse to accept the notion that the actions of all humans are inherently hevel, a word meaning “vain”, “futile”, “empty”, “meaningless”, “temporary”, “transitory”, “fleeting”, or “mere breath” just because the lives of the wise and foolish both end in death. I refuse to believe that we are nothing other than copies without an original, and I absolutely refuse to take home plastic bags from the supermarket when I can bring my own bags or opt for a paper one, thereby saving the environment from the ravages that arise from overflowing landfills.



      I have spent much of my life refusing thoughts, refusing unwanted advances made by would-be suitors, and refusing dessert, despite my wanting to order it. All this rejection leads me to the territory of my mind as well as the state of known as singledom whereby one has more time on their hands to think than one might ordinarily have if one were in a state of perpetual bliss with a rich, handsome, energetic partner who laughs at one’s jokes, helps to expand one’s thinking into new territories, and who keeps his passport on his person just in case the opportunity to hop a flight to Majorca arises.



      Thinking could be described as a state characterized by a lack of physical activity, one that can cause premature death, a higher risk of chronic diseases, and love handles if not properly compensated for with rigorous, strenuous physical activity. Irrespective of the inherent dangers associated with thinking, I risk these adverse health effects, the torture of existential angst, and not fitting into my favorite little black dress just so I can indulge my thoughts (and you, dear reader) ~ despite not fully understanding from whence they ~ or I ~ or you ~ originate.



      When I look at the photographs that have been taken of me and the fact that I save them or post them on Facebook for my friends and family to critique or enjoy or otherwise associate a physical image with the mental expression of self I publicly share, I sometimes find myself wondering if these photos are just a metaphysical beauty testifying to a genetic pride one rarely has control over ~ other than the ongoing maintenance associated with the real loss of youth and beauty through aging. In this sense, photographs are copies of an original that does not exist. Something Jean Baudrillard might have called a “beautiful allegory of simulation”. And yes, in case you’re wondering, I have indeed been watching and thinking about the Matrix again.



      But I have also been thinking about the problems with just about everything. While philosophers and physicists are busying themselves thinking up Theories of Everything, I am busying myself thinking about The Trouble with Everything. Due to some twisted compulsion I have with writing down my thoughts for an audience that does not exist, I find myself here, in my library, feverishly typing away on my MacBook Pro, smoking sage from a pipe, and drawing upon literature and philosophical theories and Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers for concepts that might cure what could be described as an existential longing for self-expression despite the futility associated with being original.



      I could write about anything from the future decline of symmetry (long since associated with so-called mathematical constants) to the seven greatest underwater places to see before one dies. I could instead draw a Stick Figure and post it on Facebook, Fine Art America, any one of my blogs, or on Deviant Art to cure my compulsion to draw. I could write about the problems of the world or the problems associated with bread size management in the face of toaster resistance. All these thoughts are abstractions that only exist during those moments when I conceive of them and or share them with my small nonexistent audience.



      This all reminds me of cake and the fact that I have a piece of children’s birthday cake in the refrigerator available to me should I choose to indulge my passion for sweets rather than my desire to maintain a slim, fit figure. Cake has been an integral component of my life since early childhood. I do not recall the first time I had cake, but I know I was very young. I have a photograph of a toddler seated in front of a birthday cake with one candle adorning the top while relatives surround me wearing birthday hats in an image that reminds me of Jesus’ ascension into Heaven. Only in this scene Acts 1:11 reads: “This same cake, that has been given to you from heaven, will come back in the same way it did last time.”



      Do not ask me to explain that quote because I refuse to do so. What I will do is tell you that cake is an integral component of my life and something I very much enjoy eating and thinking about.



      I began rejecting concepts early in life. The first conscious rejection I made was during infancy. There I was happily playing in the sink with what can only be described as God’s play toys, affectionately known by their common name: “bubbles,” when suddenly my grandmother decided that bath time was over. She picked up, the bubbles slid down my wet, infant body, and I was placed onto a thin, yellow towel. It was remarkably thin for its intended use, which even then I presumed was to envelope me in the warmth of love and thick cotton. But no… the blanket was too thin. As I sat there rejecting my grandmother’s carelessness and abrasive fabric, I scanned my surroundings. I was in what looked like a cooks’ kitchen. I noticed that the cabinet door to the pantry was open on the right side. This bothered me. I rejected the idea of objects not being symmetrical. I thought the refrigerator was too small against the backdrop of the wall, which could clearly accommodate a much larger appliance.


      This pattern of rejection continued with a rejection of my little yellow blankie, though that particular blankie was not actually a rejection, it was my mother giving it to the new baby ~ perhaps in a foreshadowing of events to come. Nevertheless, this occurrence did result in a rejection: a rejection of things that made me unhappy.



      The next rejection I recall was similar to the first. When one day, out of nowhere, for no apparent reason, my mother decided it was time to get rid of my favorite sippy cup. She recklessly threw it into the trash bin where shortly thereafter, as if out of nowhere, arrived a large truck carrying two men who absconded with my sippy cup. This rejection was a rejection of mindless action, in this case, the recognition that one can overlook the importance of attachment.

Clearly my mother should have first consulted with her three year old before making such a momentous decision. This incident resulted in a rejection of not considering others in our thoughts and actions irrespective of whether or not it is customary to drink out of big girl glasses. 



      The rejections continued throughout my childhood. They included a rejection of violence, of shag carpet, of pastels and neon and mixing plaid with stripes. At this very moment, I am rejecting the idea of writing out all these rejections into entertaining sentences correctly punctuated. Thus, here is a list of 99 random things I rejected during childhood:



1.     Easy bake ovens that take forever to cook
2.     Enemas just because one has contracted a case of pneumonia
3.     Not being allowed to stay up late to watch Star Trek
4.     Adults who do not explain why they’re laughing
5.     Adults who call your bluff when you insist that you washed your hands before dinner
6.     Cousins who pour soy sauce into your food
7.     Death and Homework
8.     Food that spills on white clothing
9.     Toys that break
10.  Funny smells
11.  Loud noises
12.  Not getting something EXCITING in the mail
13.  Not knowing what’s “out there”
14.  Having to rush to get to school on time
15.  Nightmares about being late to school
16.  Teachers who don’t listen
17.  Schoolmates who don’t think
18.  The social responsibilities associated with being Team Captain
19.  Getting hit in Dodge Ball
20.  People who cheat at Four Square
21.  The News and Soap Operas
22.  Nuts in candy
23.  Not knowing the answer to a Jeopardy question
24.  The amount of time it takes to learn something
25.  The ease in which we forget what we learn
26.  Anything associated with manual labor
27.  Not hitting a ball in the sweet spot of one’s tennis racket
28.  Running out of breath while running
29.  Not having someone to play tag with
30.  Getting scratched when climbing a tree
31.  Falling down
32.  Getting sunburned even after putting on suntan lotion
33.  Peeling off wet bathing suits
34.  Not being allowed to go play at a friend’s house
35.  Beef stroganoff
36.  Crab salad
37.  Brussels sprouts
38.  Peas
39.  Burned toast
40.  The white part of the egg
41.  Dust
42.  Clutter
43.  Not being born into royalty
44.  Skinning one’s knee
45.  Going to the doctor
46.  Running errands
47.  Shots
48.  Cough syrup
49.  Not being able to control one’s dreams
50.  Cigarette smoke
51.  Mean people
52.  Scary images
53.  Being dragged to the grocery store against one’s will
54.  Standing in line
55.  Pens that run out of ink
56.  Pencils that get dull
57.  Drawings that get bent up
58.  Little brothers that bend drawings on purpose
59.  Tattle Tells
60.  Being called a "Tomboy" just because you like sports
61.  Teachers who make you read “Little Women”
62.  The song, “YMCA”
63.  Sunday school teachers who tell you stories about little lambs losing their lives
64.  Not having a transporter beam
65.  Not having turbo powered sneakers
66.  Having to learn stuff you’re convinced you already learned once before
67.  Commercials in the middle of your favorite television shows
68.  The Road Runner
69.  How fast Christmas ends
70.  Having your parents put you on restriction
71.  People who do not have a sense of humor
72.  People who do not tell the truth
73.  Bullies who make fun of other kids
74.  Overly serious people
75.  Upsetting others
76.  Not being able to explain how you can compute numbers with shapes
77.  Dresses
78.  Shoes that give you blisters
79.  Sticky stuff
80.  Mayonnaise on sandwiches
81.  Haircuts
82.  Being stuck in a human body
83.  Being told you're not doing something productive when clearly you're busying wondering about important stuff
84.  Getting a "B-" on a book report
85.  Not having your very own roller coaster
86.  Mundane thinking
87.  People who act snotty
88.  Chores
89.  Waiting for dinner to be ready
90.  Not getting Bubblegum ice cream for desert
91.  Bubblegum trees that grow in one’s stomach from having swallowed the bubble gum in one’s ice cream
92.  Running out of Ketchup or sugar or flour or eggs when you need these things
93.  Not getting a red Ferrari with a red bow on top for your 16th birthday
94.  Having the school nark on you to your parents
95.  Not being able to draw a perfect circle
96.  Not being able to draw a perfectly straight line
97.  Not being able to shrink in size at will
98.  Not being able to make oneself invisible at will
99.  Not being able to perform real magic

     



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