So yesterday I’m walking on the edges of Downtown Boise. As I walk towards a car stopped at a stop sign, I hear the folks in the car making all sorts of weird ‘animal-call’ noises. Immediately I put on my game face and prepare myself for some sort of catcalling encounter.
But then the car drives off, and it turns out that on the other side of their car was . . . a deer. Eating the grass a few blocks from the capitol. And to top it off, when I look across the street, there are two geese on the sidewalk.
I call the local police station (animal control is closed) and they’re like, Oh yeah we get calls about deer in traffic All The Time.
– Boise, bustling metropolis, it is not.
– How nice that for once, when I heard dudes making animal call noises out of their car, they were really actually calling an animal.
Once every couple of years, I think, “Maybe I should do something with my hair.”
Today I googled “hair styles 2015” to look for inspiration. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the hot look for this season is, apparently, hair that you braided 4 days ago and then slept in repeatedly. This is a look I like to call “Term Paper Chic” — because it’s the way your hair looks at approximately 3 am during the end of the semester — and it is Very Achievable.
Let the record show that I am On Trend and Fashion-Forward.
Hair consultations available.
Look. I want to write about deep stuff. I really do. But I’m afraid this entry is going to be, Things That Drive Me Crazy About Science Fiction.
I can accept the premise of an alien invasion, plague, or nuclear disaster, but I just cannot accept any of the following:
Plot: A mysterious disease has rendered all human eggs infertile. Finally scientists make a breakthrough, and have 100 healthy embryos ready for implantation. The government decides to have a “lottery” and give any fertile woman the chance to be implanted.
What would actually happen: Threatened with the die-off of the human race, the government would pick the 100 healthiest women in the country, and lock them up in a hospital for 9 months under restraints and 24 hour observation. There would not be some touchy-feely ‘lottery,’ and they wouldn’t be worried about their poll numbers because we’d already be under Martial Law.
Y: The Last Man
On a similar “death of the human race” theme, in Y: The Last Man, a guy named Yorick finds himself the only living human male after a horrible plague kills off all men. Even though members of the government know he’s alive, he’s allowed to go off on some crazy dangerous adventure with only a stone butch assassin for company.
What would actually happen: A government official finds the last surviving man? Yorick would be locked up in an underground bunker faster than you can say Jack Robinson, and he would spend the rest of the graphic novel giving semen samples while under armed guard. (Not a very riveting graphic novel, mind you.)
The Last Ship
The Plot: A mysterious plague wipes out lots of people, but one military ship is spared because they were in Antarctica at the time. They have to go back into “hot zones” to get supplies, and they wear protective suits when they’re inside buildings, because the very deadly, very bad virus is airborne. But once they walk outside – still just a few dozen feet from the dead bodies with all the very deadly, very bad germs on them – they immediately take off their suits because there is no “air” outside, or something.
What would actually happen: These guys would die, because it turns out you can also catch an airborne virus when you’re outside! So the series would end after the 2nd episode.
The Plot: A cyborg rebellion has set off a nuclear apocalypse and killed almost all humans. A small band of survivors escapes on star ships. Later, a few survivors return back to their ruined homeworld, Caprica.
The problem: Caprica has just suffered a nuclear holocaust, but somehow most of the planet is still covered in lush, verdant greenery . . . that looks suspiciously like Vancouver, Canada.
The Plot: A group of young teenage felons is sent to Earth to report if the planet is habitable 100 years after a nuclear holocaust.
The problem: Earth has just suffered a nuclear holocaust, but somehow but most of the planet is still covered in lush, verdant greenery . . . that looks suspiciously like Vancouver, Canada.
The Plot: Researchers have discovered a “Stargate,” which is a portal between worlds. Every episode they travel to a different planet.
The problem: In spite of the incalculable amount of variety in the universe, 70% of the planets they go to are covered in lush, verdant greenery….and the planets look just like…well, you get the drift.
The Plot: Humanity lives in the future, where they travel the stars.
The problem: In spite of technological advances that include space travel, teleportation, and so forth, humanity chooses to wear universally unflattering one-piece outfits with no discernable way to go to the bathroom.
I’ve mentioned before my college schoolmate Joel Derfner. When I was in college, I often felt like I had all the emotional shielding of a Disney cartoon character.** But not Joel. Joel was a 45-year-old jaded sophisticate in a college sophomore’s body. Sort of like Noel Coward with a yarmulke . . . a fetching burgundy velvet yarmulke specifically chosen to set off his red hair.
When I told Joel I was taking Ancient Greek, he said, “Oh, I took accelerated Greek. The only thing I can remember now is ‘F*** me until I am penis-mad.’ ”
Clearly, I was in the wrong Greek class.
When Joel spent the summer abroad studying French, he met a nice 43-year-old man in his German class. He described their relationship thusly: “…And then he complimented me on my use of the subjunctive. So of course I had to sleep with him.”
After college, Joel was one of the first people I knew who really saw the potential of the internet. “I’ve started a blog! I write all about my love life on it!” (“Why would anybody want to do that?” I thought.)
His blog has been quite successful, and has spawned several books as well. Makes me happy. In this crazy world, it’s nice to see something turn out kinda how you thought it would.
** And I don’t mean Belle, or Jasmine, or someone with common sense. I mean Bambi.
If my experiences growing up with two packrats have been useful in any way, it’s that I have learned, internalized, and then unlearned a whole bunch of excuses for holding onto crap.
If you’ve ever thought, “Hrmm, I appear to be living in squalor“. . . some of these excuse-busters may be useful.
1. But it’s an Heirloom!
No, sweetie. An “heirloom” is something that is kept by several generations and cherished. You’ll know it’s an heirloom because you love it, you use it, and you want to show it off.
That horrible, heavy old piece of furniture? The one with the smell? The one that’s stuck in the basement because you don’t want it around? That’s called a “burden.”
Keep the heirlooms. Lose the burdens.
2. Aunt Gladys gave this ugly thing to me, and now she’s dead! So I have to keep it forever!
No. No, you don’t.
Aunt Gladys probably gave you many things throughout your life. Really nice things like that sweet 16 necklace, and really forgettable things, like weird fruitcake tins. And then she died and you thought, “I can never get rid of these fruitcake tins because AUNT GLADYS DIED and if I get rid of them it’s like I’m Killing her Again! AAAUGGGHHH!!!”…then you hide the tins in a drawer and feel weird about them.
Did your Aunt love you? Do you think her last wish for you was, “I hope she keeps those fruitcake tins….Forever! May They Haunt Her Dreams! Bwah haha hah aha ha!”
The trick is: “Keep the memories, Lose the stuff.” If you find it hard, you can take a picture to remember it by. You’ll never look at that picture again, of course, because you don’t want to.
3. But Invisible People Will Judge Me!
For years, I carted around loads of books I didn’t like and hadn’t read, because I was afraid some mysterious judge would pop out of the woodwork at any moment:
“You only kept the copies of that series that you like? How dare you break up the set!”
“You got rid of your Algebra II textbook?! But what if there’s an emergency, and you have to factor a polynomial?!?”**
“How can you possibly think of getting rid of your copy of Godel, Escher, Bach? Even though no one you know has ever made it through the whole thing, you just won’t be intellectual without a copy silently glaring at you from the bookcase!”
In short, I feared some friend, acquiantance, or family member would come and insult my book collection if I pared it down only to the books I truly loved and used. But after I pared it down, no one came over to my place to get on my case about getting rid of Coriolanus.***
Oh, and libraries have been invented. So that helps.
** We all felt foolish during The Great Polynomial Apocalypse.
*** Or Titus Andronicus. That is one weird-ass play.