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Monday 12/21/20

Meatheads love theories. They don't have many theories because theories can be hard to think of, but when a meathead has a theory, they will repeat it often. Meathead calls the sports radio station today. "Hear me out here," he begins (meatheads often initiate their theories with the words, "Hear me out here"), "but the Patriots dynasty really ended in 2017." (Dramatic meathead pause.) The host says, "They won the Super Bowl in 2018." To which the meathead responds--viewing this, of course, as the ultimate clincher--"Yeah, but they didn't wanna." (Reprise of dramatic meathead pause.)

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It was eighty years ago today that F. Scott Fitzgerald died of a heart attack, aged only forty-four. I don't live as he did, but I have a lot more stress, so I think about this a lot. When I was in college, I read everything that Fitzgerald wrote. By everything, I mean everything. Poems, notebooks, letters. I wasn't assigned any of it, but by then I wasn't going to class. There wasn't a professor who had anything to teach me. I needed to teach me. I learned a lot at the time. I think any human can profit by reading Fitzgerald's Crack-Up essays. There are three of them, and I'd wager I've read them in full 500 times in my life. Just about anyone else could live to be 4000 years old, and not come close to the wisdom that Fitzgerald clearly possessed when he wrote these essays. They are what courage and truth look like.

Hemingway made fun of Fitzgerald for writing them. He called him "unmanly," which is about all you need to know regarding Hemingway. By which I mean, his writing is the prose version of that statement and the attitude behind it. An insecure person who is not confident in who they are, and aware of who they are, cannot write powerfully.

Put no stock in degrees. Fitzgerald didn't have one. They don't mean anything. They don't mean you're intelligent. Often, the more of them you have, the less intelligent you may well be. They don't mean you worked hard. They mean, in all probability, you think you worked hard, which can be a very different thing.

I sent out five cards today. And since I wrote a big thing for one niece, I hadn't to match that with the other kids, so it would all be equal. The guy at the post office is quite strange. Joe. He talks slowly, and he is so by-the-book that he recites the official postal worker script when you mail something, continuing on after you've answered him, if you answer before he gets to the end. I was there years ago, summoned by Molly's lawyers--because she hired multiple lawyers--and those were always bad days. Bad on top of bad. My phone rang when I was next in line, and I didn't pause, skip a beat, anything like that. And this Joe--who is really quite an asshole--barks something to me about how rude I was and I could put the phone away. I wasn't talking on it. I move with alacrity. I'm never in my own world. I get in, get out. He just did it to be a dick. I was kind of taken aback. My life was coming apart. It was my mom on the phone. It was emergency time. But if you saw me, you would have thought I just stepped up to the desk with a phone against my ear. No delay, hesitation, absent-mindedness.

Today I'm mailing the cards. There's no line to speak of. I get to Joe, and there are two people behind me. This isn't a complex transaction. He just has to apply the postage. There's no big box, nothing fancy. He shoves three of the cards at me, and three stamps that are on one sheet. This has never happened before. He takes the other two cards, mumbling something unclear to me about what I think were instructions to put the stamps on the cards he shot back to me. Like, it's take-your-Colin-to-work-day at the post office. So I start putting the stamps on as he's fiddling about, which will take ten seconds, and he tells me to get out of the way so that the line can be processed. It's two people. I've been up there for twenty seconds. This fucking guy. I get this really weird attitude coming off of him like I just dumped his sister. He wears a thimble which creeps me out a little. The woman who works there is really nice. She always makes a point to say hello to me even if she's in the back room. Having said that about Joe, he was playing the 1992 Chicago Symphony Orchestra version of The Nutcracker with Claudio Abbado conducting, so that's a point in his favor. But this guy sucks.

Someone sent me something today about a film a friend of theirs had made about Kurt Vonnegut. Presumably not for my edification, but rather as something to shill for. I am fighting for my life and a lot more. That's what I'm doing right now. If you know me, you should know that's what I'm doing right now and that's just about everything I'm doing right now. As for Vonnegut, I have no regard for his writing. It's the writerly version of a cartoon for adults, or people aged between 16 and 24. I've written about Vonnegut, though. But I've written about mostly everything it feels sometimes. I like this person so it's fine, but if that's the one time you write me in your life, make it about something else.

Walked five miles today. Came up with a new story for Longer on the Inside that I did not formally write but it is in my head. Starting to feel it again for Musings with Franklin. Wrote a bit in my head, started figuring out what the cover could be. A radical novel--being told entirely in conversation--and one that people would try to imitate.

Now that the Patriots are officially eliminated, I wonder if they will play Stidham. I'm not sure why Belichick hasn't, but my guess would be this: Belichick is a culture guy. He wants someone to take a job in the right way. But rising up and seizing an opportunity. In other words, you take the job more than the other guy loses the job. But I really have no idea. In Newton, I saw a guy who couldn't play the position physically or mentally. Newton is a brawn guy. He's not a brains guy. He's not a read-a-defense guy. He's not a touch guy. He was raw strength back when he was better, but I never thought he was that good at all. He was always going to age poorly. His career should be over and those should have been his last snaps yesterday. He can't start, and if you want him for a back-up, I'm not sure what the point is. Belichick needs to win again, or he will look like someone who required Brady. Brady's stats look great when you look at them in isolation, but they're less great if you 1. Compare them to the rest of the quarterbacks in the league and 2. Watched those games. He wasn't crisp and in control a lot. Another big comeback yesterday against a terrible Falcons team. I want to do that book in the future about comebacks and the psychology of comebacks. I feel like my life is about a massive comeback. Pulling that off. You'd have that Patriots-Falcons Super Bowl in there, of course. That's a bang-on idea for a book. Tie it into life.

Dabo Swinney is an obnoxious person and he sounds like an uneducated twit, but I can understand him putting OSU #11 and the gamesmanship of it also makes me laugh.


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