99 problems but morality ain’t one
While everyone enjoys a good hug we all have to be envious of the way warm toast embraces butter. It’s just the nature of both parties involved. To understand our feelings of envy I think it’s important to come up with a completely fabricated set of circumstances that will in no way shed any light onto the original premise.
Let’s say for instance that the toast is actually an angel. Pick whatever religion you’d like to attach to the angel but it has to be understood that this toast is beyond reproach. If you’re religion de jour doesn’t have angels then just pretend that it does. This will in no way change the look of the toast, nobody wants to be wrestling a set of wings into the toaster.
Now let’s say the butter is possessed by a demon. A tub of “It’s Very Easy To Believe This Isn’t Butter” because the tub is levitating and hurling profanity at everyone who enters the kitchen. Just as I did not go into detail about the toast as to whether it was wheat or white, there is no reason to wonder if other spreadables would work just as well. The first line of the story said butter so there’s no reason to start speculating about various jams, jellies or marmalades. Sure, their sweetness and/or stickiness might offer any number of interesting metaphors but as it is there is no point to this so adding more interestingness would just further the pointlessness of it.
Originally I was going to profess the innocence of the person applying said butter to said toast but as I’ve already mentioned the butter hurls profane language at anyone unfortunate enough to remove it from the refrigerator that particular ship has sailed.
As a quick aside, recently the manufacturers of Pop Tarts (toasted pastries for those of you unfamiliar with what a Pop Tart is … how you are unaware of what Pop Tarts are is a mystery to me, as I consume at least my own body weight in Pop Tarts annually and have to believe that even in the depths of some faraway jungle there are still Pop Tarts to be had) began an advertising campaign that anthropomorphizes them and has them duped into being toasted and consumed by a variety of hungry people and animals. Apparently the fact that they are delicious is all the justification that’s needed by the nefarious consumers, despite the fact that the Pop Tarts are presented as intelligent and seemingly good natured creatures. Kellogg’s runs these ads to invite you to join the party. Ironic that this is a bit difficult to digest.
Perhaps I mention this in case you were having trouble imagining yourself willingly forcing an angel into the 310 degrees Fahrenheit heat of a toaster. If that crossed your mind I have to say that you’re taking this a lot more seriously than I appear to be.
So you can see that there are a lot of moving pieces in this little tale. While it may give you a moment of satisfaction to plunge a knife into the foul-mouthed tub of butter you might still be reeling a bit from pulling the charred remains of the angel from the toaster, the starch within the angel having caramelized. I can almost hear your brain associating the word starch with character and I’ll have to once again caution you that you’re looking way too deeply into this. If you keep it up there’s no way you’ll avoid being disappointed with my summation.
As another aside, there is a thought experiment where a piece of buttered toast (which always lands butter-side down) is attached to the back of a cat (which always lands on its feet) and dropped, thereby creating a perpetual motion machine and a possible endless source of energy. The effects of having the toast be an angel and the butter possessed by a demon on the efficiency of this device would make for some interesting conjecture.
Probably far more interesting than where this appears to be headed.
In the end I think it’s fair to say that the demonic butter would still melt into the angelic toast and the angelic toast would accept the demonic butter into its nooks and crannies (be honest, when you read nooks and crannies you imagined an English Muffin didn’t you? Trying to keep your mind from wandering is like herding cats with pieces of toast attached to their backs). Why? Because it’s the nature of butter and toast. It’s what they do.
And therefore I have invalidated the concepts of good and evil. Didn’t see that coming did you? You thought this was some lightweight reading and suddenly you’re confronted with a profound insight into the human condition.
If you need a minute to go back a re-read this a few times by all means do so.
I don’t know what you take me as … or understand the intelligence that Manion has.
So go be butter or honey or rye bread or a bagel. Do fifty five in a fifty four if you want to. It’s just your nature.
And that’s why we’re so envious of how toast embraces butter.
the birthday shower
It was a bad morning to find a tick clinging in his armpit. Truth was most mornings were bad regardless if a tick was present but this was a particularly bad morning. He found it while soaping up the aforementioned area and decided to just rip off the little offender out without even looking at it.
Ticks got him a bit squeamish, as did anything to do with blood. He had actually passed out cold at a picnic after swatting a mosquito and seeing a big red smear where the corpse stuck to his leg. Things had gotten a bit dodgy when he thought about the blood being his own but the lights flicked all the way out when it occurred to him that perhaps it was the blood of a fellow picnic-goer.
It was his birthday. That’s why it was a particularly bad morning. He hated birthdays and could never understand why people made such a fuss about them.
“One year older and closer to death. Now blow out your candles.”
He lived alone. Although not technically, as his building had plenty of other people residing there, but he lived alone in spirit. Not of hising choosing but completely of his own doing. Although he didn’t consider himself living alone because he had a dog. A dog that was not going to take the news of this tick very well. One of the high points of the dog’s day was when he took him for a walk (you can have the he and him mean the dog or the man in either order, whatever floats your boat) along a new wooded path they’d discovered recently. A path that had resulted in the man getting a severe outbreak of poison ivy and now a tick.
It was back to the paved bike path for the both of them.
The man pinched the tick in between his fingers and gave it a good tug but it clung on fiercely. Clearly the tick was not done with its meal. This enraged the man and he gave it a more violent yank.
The trouble was that he’d failed to remove all the soap before starting the pulling endeavor and apparently there was a friction issue. His armpit hair wasn’t helping either. As he rinsed away all the suds he was tempted to take a quick peek at the offender in the mirror but he was afraid he’d lose his nerve. Gathering all his strength he gave it a final mighty pull and the tick relented.
Now the fun was about to begin. He hated ticks with a passion, they reminded him of other parasites like leeches and people who lived on welfare, so he made it a point upon discovering one to pull off all their arms and legs (he assumed half were arms and half were legs despite them all looking and acting very much like legs) before setting them on fire. He glanced down to his pinched fingers to see the soon-to-be-victim of his birthday wrath … but it wasn’t a tick at all.
It was a pinkish lumpy thing. A mole. He’d ripped off a mole. A mole that hadn’t been there yesterday. A birthday mole.
His eyes wandered to points further south and he saw blood swirling around his feet. On the white tile it looked like a demented candy cane being sucked down the drain.
Things began to swim in his head. He tried to drop the birthday mole but his fingers wouldn’t let go. He was shaking his hand vigorously but his fingers would not play ball.
He looked at his armpit. Blood oozed out of the birthday-mole-sized hole.
He also considered people in prison serving lifetime sentences without the possibility of parole to be parasites and he silently admonished himself for not including them in the first batch of bloodsuckers. What kind of society would find an act so bad that they would lock someone away for life and feed, clothe and entertain them but not pull off their arms and legs and set fire to them?
It made no sense.
He slumped against the shower wall and slowly slid to the floor, all the while the water cascaded down without a care in the world. His mole-sized hole gave no indication that it would be closing up any time soon but he wasn’t about to start calling out for assistance because he was sure nobody would come anyway. The only scenario worse would be if someone did come and see him in his present state.
If he would have just taken the time to look at the tick/mole before reacting so hastily this whole thing could have been avoided. One more lesson he should have learned a long time ago … but who in the world would have figured that a mole could have sprung up overnight? That made another lesson he could take away from it. When you’re old moles can just start popping up unannounced. Moles and age spots. They’re like super organisms that can’t be reasoned with.
Getting older sucks.
He realized he was going to pass out. The edges of his vision got blurry and he remembered that there is supposedly a room in New York City where all the teachers who have been convicted of pedophilia and other horrible things report to every day because the teacher’s union won’t let them be fired. They get paid for doing nothing.
“They’re definitely parasites” he thought to himself before things slipped into blackness.
keeping it real
Today I’d like to discuss reality.
That got your attention. Pretty heady stuff I know but I’ve never let my complete ignorance of a topic stop me from discussing it. To compensate for my breathtaking lack of knowledge about the field of metaphysics I will try and wrestle the topic in the direction of something I’m more comfortable with … language.
To try and define reality without using words seems an awful lot like the cartoons where the rabbit/pig/duck/etc… continues to walk along a path only to find that the animator has stopped drawing and they are standing in front of a blank backdrop.
i.e. if there is no way to verbalize what you’re thinking as you watch a tree fall in the forest does it matter that it’s falling?
Once you allow yourself to buy this premise, go ahead … this won’t take long, you begin to understand why our reality is so messed up. We’re using words and words are inherently complex and yet nobody wants a complex reality. While it is true that words can offer us some helpful red flags, starting with the word reality (what kind of a word has only seven letters yet has four syllables? is it just me or does that immediately tell you that something is up?), it can also make everything we think subject to multiple interpretations.
When cement is finished drying it is hard. When something is difficult it is hard. My penis gets hard.
See what I mean?
I can’t even get a boner without having to deal with issues involving context? It doesn’t get any more primal than an erection but even that seems fraught with double-entendres and although I might not be consciously aware of it as I go crashing around with one, behind the scenes you know my subconscious is hard at work muddying any waters it can get its hands on.
You know there is nothing more it would like to do than whisper “Relationships are also hard” just seconds before I relinquish my seed.
I don’t want to argue that perception is the problem, I just want to stick with the fact that the words that we use to process information make it hard to stick with whatever reality we’ve invented in our head for more than a short time.
Learn a new word or a definition for an old one and you forever change your reality.
Along that same line of thought is my fascination with men who, when referring to masturbation, use the phrase “I beat it like it stole something from me.” What exactly could it steal? Their innocence perhaps?
Even beat could mean assaulted or triumphed over.
Words, word, words.
I remember playing a prank on a friend staying at my house. What I did was cover a bar of soap with tons of my pubic hairs. It looked like a hamster with mange. Don’t ask me why, or the discomfort involved with getting the pubes, because it’s irrelevant. The point is that listening to him shower I couldn’t wait to hear a scream or groan or something that indicated that he’d stumbled upon my soap and my plan to nauseate and amuse him had reached a satisfactory conclusion.
The problem was neither a scream or groan came. Twenty minutes later he emerged without a care in the world. When I later snuck into the shower I saw the object of my tomfoolery had not only been used but half the hairs were gone and the other half had been pressed into the soap. Pressed in as if forcefully pushed against a face … including a set of apparently-harder-than-you’d-think-to-clean lips.
I reeled. What kind of a moron doesn’t look at a foreign bar of soap? Did he think it was some sort of Somalian Monkey soap? It was only years later that he admitted that he’d recognized what I’d done and decided to play alone to gross me out.
The point being, for years my reality was different than his reality. And why? Because of the words I’d used in absorbing the information around me during the event?
No. Not at all. I couldn’t have given a worse example if I’d have tried. A really, really horrible example.
Not only that but now I’ve discussed it I can’t duplicate said prank on my next houseguest.
Although I did get to invent the visual of a bar of Somalian Monkey soap.
Without the words Somalian Monkey soap you’d have never gotten the image in the first place so I have successfully rescued my original assertion. I was going to actually take a picture of a bar of soap coated with pubic hair for this story but then it occurred to me that I don’t need to. It now exists in your head without it. Somalian Monkey soap now exists because of the words you read. Obviously now you realize that I was being realistic when I said that language is the basis of your reality.