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Water striders

Thursday 5/25/23

This entry runs the risk of sounding villainous and I don't want to sound villainous because that's often an indication that one is being unkind and that's also not how I wish to be, but it can also be worthwhile to chart a thought process and show where one might be coming from.

I think if you do that thoroughly then statements that might have otherwise resonated a certain way are tempered. One is taking care not to be splenetic or hurtful for the sake of hurting, but also still truthful.

Sometimes when we say the truth--though very few people ever do--we may sound harsh. Not because we are harsh or uncaring, but because truth isn't always soft and cuddly and rosy. Ironically, lies and deceptions often have those qualities, especially when they "work," and a person looks no further or doesn't scrape away enough of the lie and intended deception to locate truth. And this can also be--for it often is--with what we tell ourselves.

It's important to say the truth because there's usually no improvement, no growth, not even an adjustment to the good, without the truth.

The truth can also reinforce things in place that ought to be in place. Truth can change how we interact with others in more fruitful ways, and how we are with ourselves. Really the truth is a key--perhaps the key--to anything worthwhile. To good decisions and good interactions.

Now, if this was a post about people in publishing, I wouldn't care about this issue of, "well, that doesn't sound so nice, how that person was described," because those are flat out bad people--as bad as any--and they have it all coming. And more. If it's true, that's my lone criteria. If someone in publishing is a bigot, a thief, a rapist, term them those things. That's not on me.

Often I see someone write, "Imma a whole vibe," and I have to confess that my reaction each time is, no, you're a whole moron. I don't say this to them because why would one reach out to do just that, or respond that way? If they've issued this line of theirs directly to me, I either just erase that person and block them, or send them on their way with a "Great, good luck." (Again, never underestimate the functionality of a "Great, good luck.")

This is my experience with people who use this phrase. But if it were not my experience, it would still be my belief that if you ever talk like this, it borders on the impossible that you're not the thing that I just said. I think that's true.

Also, I think this line is this person's idea of something intelligent. It's the best line they have in their bag, so to speak. They think it's clever and telling, but really they have nothing to say because there is nothing in their heads.

And if you think it's clever and telling (telling in a good way), well, we come back to the whole moron thing. The good news, I'd say, about being a moron is that you don't have to be one. It's possible to reevaluate, learn, think. But realistically who is going to do that?

People get in touch with me to say pointless things that are barely anything at all. I'm talking this time about the people who want to get something going. Spark interest.

But they'll send me something like, "How are you Colin?"

Rarely is there even the comma that should be present. Is that a petty quibble? It really isn't. If you're not putting that comma there, you're rarely using commas and you're almost always using them incorrectly. "So?" someone might say. The "so" is that you've already revealed yourself as someone who doesn't have much command with language. If you don't command language well, there's a great chance your thoughts are disordered and you think poorly. You've likely read little in your life.

Now all these things are fine--for someone else who is not me. For someone else who can say, "She has a great (insert body part)" and "She likes to drink like I like to drink" and "Bills Mafia!!!!!!" because they are also a Bills fan. And that's all they need, because there's very little to them as well.

But those are other people. I require someone smart who can write--but is not in any way a publishing person, not that they can write--and who thinks well and orderly. And has something to say. Always.

I end up inwardly asking--it's like a reflex because there is no variety out there, and there is no one out there that I can see with a single interesting thing to say--"What are you doing here? You know what I do and what I'm about. You've read stuff. You see me."

It's unwise--and a waste of time--to send me a stock question or a platitude. Be intelligent. Say something intelligent. And don't be a coward. Otherwise, what do you think is going to happen?

Now, someone trying hard to play devil's advocate might say that how else could one start a conversation? To which I'd say, with an intelligent remark? How about that?

But fine--let's say that a pleasantry or stock question is harmless, it's just a way to start things.

That's dead wrong. Because if I took the same tack, and said, "I'm fine, how are you?" they'd say "I'm good lol" and that would be the end of it. Every time. No exceptions. Because it's someone with nothing to say who is trying to get the other person to do all of the work.

I could talk and be interesting for a billion years. But why would I want to talk to you when that would be no different than me talking to a blank wall? What inducement is there for me? What am I getting back? What value are you adding to my life, or just my day, at any level?

It depresses me and more than that it's a real source of fear on which I often dwell that this is all there is, and at the same time, there's more of it every day somehow. I am terrified at this notion. And what it means for me.

Because it's then like I am set up for nothing but a continuance of misery, with no hope of any relief on the personal level--a level of relationships, that is--or a societal/global level, with my work, which is what I am really here for, the very point of my existence.

No one seemingly ever asks themselves, "Is this the best way to go about this?" Is that impossible?

It often seems to me that there is no one in the world capable of asking themselves this question or who does ask themselves this question.

You should be asking yourself that with everything. Every last damn thing in your life.

If you were capable of saying something intelligent, shouldn't you say it? So if you don't, that tells me you're not. So, again, what does that person expect to happen here?

Then I have a friend who will see the occasional picture of such a person and he'll say, "She's hot."

He's speaking for himself now. Yes, fine, she's hot. Lots of people are good looking. I realize that when he makes comments like these--which at least happens less often these days--he's looking at it the way he would look at any romantic endeavor for himself. Including someone he'd be with for decades until he dies.

He wouldn't want to be alone, because he couldn't handle that very long--as he requires co-dependency--and he'd like someone that is, yes, hot.

And that's how life went. That was the standard. There was nothing else, really.

My friend is what I think of as a water strider. He exists on the surface of life. Nothing really gets him up, nothing really gets him down, because it's all surface for him. He's not good at handling adversity--any adversity--because he's conditioned to the surface of things and nothing else. So the minor challenge becomes overwhelming.

I don't view that as living. I view it as being somewhere.

To me there's no point in that. One could say, "Well, the important thing is you give your kids what they need."

Is it? Aren't there many important things? And isn't that what people say who have to have their kids be everything because they also don't live life, usually because they were too scared to and had no purpose they could locate so they went the default route?

But okay, let's allow that this is true. Wouldn't that person's parents then have done the same so that their kid--this person--could have a rich life of fulfillment? And isn't that then letting down the side if you go on to be the human version of a water strider?

While we're on the subject of irksome and falsified notions: hundreds of times a week I see someone saying that it's the little things that matter the most.

No. It isn't at all. You can't be more wrong. I would say that such a person usually lacks for courage and rationalizes often, as a defense mechanism; an attempt to forestall truth. It is the big things that matter. The biggest. They matter the most.

Truth, beauty, actual justice, courage, helping people, daily growth, art, nature, striving to be better today than yesterday, honest self-appraisal, vulnerability, vision, purpose, knowledge in all its forms.

Are these not the biggest things? But they matter less than, what, some bubble tea, or a pedicure?

Really? Because those seem to me like little things. And what are you if you think those things matter the most?

You know what one of the most deleterious things you can do for yourself is? Make excuses for yourself. They don't help a person. They stop you from trying. They keep you parted from accountability. When you don't try and you're not accountable, you can't have purpose and vision, nor self-awareness.

If you can't have those things, in large part because you've stopped yourself from having them, what can you really be?

And people are so fast to find the excuse. They'll invent an excuse. Anything to have an excuse.

That's what society now is, isn't it? It's a system that enables excuse-making. Rewards excuse-making. It rewards a life not well lived, but a life lived in stunted fashion.

On the subject of actual water striders: they're kind of the pawns of the pond. It's scarcely a challenge for a fish beneath the surface to eat a water strider whenever it wishes to do so, or a frog coming up from down below. Every day of your life as a water strider is a day that you're likely to be picked off. I feel like a water strider would never rest easy.

Perhaps there are some among them who see the nearby bank and think, "Maybe if I go over there and leave this surface behind?"

I just gave myself an idea for something.


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