I was thinking about woodchucks recently. Everybody says they can’t chuck wood, but has anybody tested that hypothesis? Maybe they can chuck wood and they just haven’t because nobody has made them. It makes sense. Why chuck wood if you don’t have to? Apparently people will do it because of their blind faith that the woodchucks, despite their names implying that they are indeed chuckers of wood, cannot actually chuck the wood.
They’re all having a great big laugh at us. Oh yes. Believe you me, this is the last time I’m chucking the wood. Let the stupid woodchuck do it next time. Isn’t that what they’re for?
Do you ever think about what other people think about you? I mean more than the usual, “Oh my god, I’m so fat” way that people worry about. What I’m trying to get at is what people really think about you as a person. Where do others see you fitting in their world, and what do they think you’re really like?
Questions like this constantly fascinate me because the answers are so odd. The instructor for my Intro to Ethical Theory class in college brought up and interesting point one day, namely that people are walking contradictions. It’s true. People carry around wildly contradicting beliefs, and yet somehow they manage to make it through the day without a core identity meltdown. A few people I know claim to believe in religious principles of equality and fairness, yet they’re the first ones to justify low tipping on the grounds that, “Well, they should’ve gotten a different job if they wanted more money.”
Other times it’s not so simple. Even thieves believe stealing is wrong. I’m sure plenty of politicians believe lying is wrong, even though they’re perfectly aware that many promises made during campaigns aren’t going to get a follow-through. People aren’t strong all the time. We have weaknesses, systemic and momentary. What’s more, there’s a certain part of us that only we see. The mind is perfectly transparent, but it’s a one-way window. We know deep down what we really think, want, and believe. But other people see something else. It’s filtered by what we let out and what they observe. We are distortions of ourselves in the eyes of others.
Recently somebody told me that I’m a constant source of optimism. Ha! I tried to correct the fellow, but he wouldn’t believe a word of it. It makes me wonder what he sees in me that would make him see such a thing. Yet somehow, through that strange alchemy of observation and action, it’s the picture he formed in his head. How does that happen?
I think he’s the optimistic one. It’d take an endless font of hope to think I’m one of the joy-ridden people.
I bought a case of emergency food from a company that makes food for disaster preparation. When I bought these things, it because I wanted to do some research for a novel. That was all fine, and I’ve learned a lot, but now I’m eating them just for fun. Even now, I’m enjoying the electrolyte drink beverage. It tastes like raspberries and evidently will supply me with essential electrolytes. Good deal.
Now, at this point I’m sure you’re all thinking, “Wow, I can’t believe he eats that stuff.” Plenty of people already have. But let me tell you, I’m eating better than I ever have before. These emergency rations are great. I get a main course, some fruit, dessert, and some crackers. It really is a whole meal. Compare that to what I make when left to my own devices, which is pretty much, “Find something that looks like it hasn’t gone bad yet. Boil. Eat.”
Every time I open an emergency ration I think, “This is so much more complicated than anything I would’ve made for myself.” I’m not kidding here. They sometimes use two, even three vegetables to make the main course. Novel! Now let me make it clear that this is in addition to pasta or rice. And putting crackers and some jelly on the side for later? Gods, if only I had such culinary ambition. I would be like a cook among men. Now if only they could make one with fried chicken and French fries. Or maybe hash browns. That’d be pretty good.
I’m going to be sorry when that tornado with my name on it finally comes around. I’ll probably die of starvation, or maybe I’ll just run out of electrolytes without this drink to keep me going. But until then, it beats getting scurvy.
A while back somebody posted a request for book recommendations. At the time I couldn’t think of a good non-fiction one. I can think of several good non-fiction books, but most of them are too specialized for the general public to read. The DSM-IV, for example. It’s a great read, and an absolute must for some, but for the average person? Not so much with the useful.
But I was looking over my shelves today, and I saw the perfect book to recommend:
FM 21-76 US Army Survival Manual
This is a great book. It’s chock full of information on interesting and useful topics like finding food, building shelter, basic medical and sanitary practices in the field, signaling for help, and plenty more besides. The prose is straightforward, practical, yet confident and authoritative. One of the best parts about this book is its effort to familiarize the reader with the rudiments of survival in nearly any situation, including what to do if your plane crashes into an oil fire at sea. There are sections for jungle, arctic, mountain, and desert survival techniques. What more can you ask for? There are a few sections that seem glossed over, such as evading enemy patrols (this subject is given very light treatment), but overall great book. Highly recommended.
I now have a venus flytrap.
I love these things. Imagine: a plant so hateful that it felt the need to evolve a way to trap and kill animals. What stories would it tell us if it could speak? What blasphemous litany would it write? This plant refused to allow its vegetative nature to limit it. The venus flytrap overcame its base nature and raised itself unto the position of carnivore. No victim, that plant. I'm sure it's only the first step. Give these guys a few million years, and they'll be eating small rodents. Now that I'd like to see.
My new plant requires a name. Henceforth, let it be known as Steve.
I'm thinking about designing an experiment to determine if Steve can eat french fries. The way I figure, plants don't have hearts. What's cardiac disease to them? Just think, there could be a form of life that can eat french fries all day and suffer no detrimental health effects.
The venus flytrap could well be the ultimate form of life.