Sometimes I don’t feel like writing. Either I have nothing to say or that clapper monkey that occasionally takes up residence in my brain bangs its cymbals over and over until any ideas I might have had flip and jumble and end up on the page in a pile of word vomit not fit for human consumption. (Not that vomit is ever fit for human consumption. Dogs seem pretty into it, though, so who knows what we’re missing. See? This is gross. Some thoughts aren’t meant to be broadcast.) But, in a stress-inducing attempt to prepare myself for meeting deadlines, writing under pressure, and all manner of academic rigors, I promised myself I would write two blog posts per week. Unfortunately, that means subjecting you to this stream-of-consciousness, quota-fulfilling ramble in an attempt to get something, anything, on the page–no matter how meaningless. And oh boy, it does not get more meaningless than this. This is Seinfeld levels of nothingness, but lacking in any of the entertaining characters or pithy observations that made Seinfeld great. I have no observations to share, partly on account of the Blue Oyster Cult being pumped into the boxing class where I work at a decibel that would have cleared all thoughts from my mind, had they been there to begin with. It doesn’t help that that bastard monkey is urging me to sing along while I attempt to write (nothing screams professionalism like audibly rocking out to the greatest hits of the nineties with your legs draped over a space heater and your feet propped on the desk as you write shitty blog posts on your iPad), making it incredibly difficult to keep track of what I’m saying. This whole post might as well consist of nothing but the words, “don’t fear the reaper” in an endless scrawl, a la Bart writing on the chalkboard in the opening credits of the Simpsons.
There’s a good chance I won’t even post this (unless you’re reading this right now, in which case I’ve ignored the one sound judgement I’ve made today) and will meekly accept the large, scarlet F I imagine stamped on my forehead like a brand whenever I fail to meet the objectives I’ve set for myself. Sometimes those objectives are reasonable–writing two blog posts per week shouldn’t be an unmanageable task (despite this abysmal entry being evidence to the contrary), but sometimes I set myself up for failure by convincing myself I should be able to achieve feats far beyond my grasp. I know you’re half that man’s size, Zoe, but you should definitely be able to lift as much as him. Never mind your arm wrenching out of its socket–just a flesh wound. Don’t let him see you sweat! Or, You haven’t been in school for over a decade, but you should certainly already know everything they’re going to teach you. Anything short of omnipotence and you’ll look like a damn fool. So, study up! This is clearly insane and antithetical to the very purpose of school, but I have what we refer to in my family as, “the Hammerman gene”–an unwavering belief in the necessity of being skilled and knowledgeable beyond reproach at anything we dare attempt, and if we have even the faintest inkling we’ll fall short, best not to attempt it at all. So maybe by posting this meandering, sub-par heap of word vomit, I’m actually rebelling against the unreasonable standards I’ve set for myself and fostering personal growth by embracing the idea that imperfect efforts are more constructive and worthwhile than making no effort at all. Sure, let’s go with that.
To round out this mess (now that my shift is over, my errands run, and that monkey has stopped clanging cowbells in my head) and perhaps infuse it with some semblance of Seinfeldian observationalism, I’ll leave you with this: What is it about grocery stores that seem to elicit some sort of mental breakdown? Upon entering, every negative emotion, everything going wrong in your life–things you’ve managed to hold together until crossing that mystical grocery store threshold–appear to amplify and disintegrate into a seething mass of dysfunction that leaves you wandering the fluorescent-lit aisles, muttering, “Five different kinds of mixed vegetable juice, but no tomato juice? WHERE’S THE FUCKING TOMATO JUICE?? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO MIX WITH MY VODKA??” as though you’re not actually in a public place where people can hear you talking to yourself and swearing at all the various food items that fail to live up to your expectations. Back when I was depressed, I was generally adept at putting on a brave face, but one trip to the grocery store and all of a sudden there I was, standing in the frozen foods aisle with tears streaming down my face. By the time I made it to the checkout, my eyes would be red-rimmed and swollen, making my cart full of liquor and waffle cones all the more pathetic. And god forbid you wind up in a slow line, your normal reserves of patience and civility disappear faster than your paycheck, and when that lady in front of you, who has spent a good fifteen minutes grilling the cashier on hot sauce preferences and has mercifully turned to make her exit, turns back at the last moment to ask the cashier one more time, “Remind me, what was that hot sauce brand you recommended?” it’s all you can do not to shout, “I believe it’s called FUCK YOU! It comes in mild, medium, and, oh yeah, FUCK YOU!”