“In his face there came to be a brooding peace that is seen most often in the faces of the very sorrowful or the very wise. But still he wandered through the streets of the town, always silent and alone.”
It was in April, but for a second or two as he was coming awake in the strange room and the racket of big and little cousins’ feet down the stairs, he thought of winter, because so often he’d been wakened like this, at this hour of sleep, by Pop, or Hogan, bundled outside still blinking through an overlay of dream into the cold to watch the Northern Lights.
They scared the shit out of him.
—-Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.”
― Mother Teresa
“The Unicorn looked dreamily at Alice, and said “Talk, child.”
Alice could not help her lips curling up into a smile as she began: “Do you know, I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too? I never saw one alive before!”
“Well, now that we have seen each other,” said the Unicorn, “If you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you. Is that a bargain?”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
Oblique Strategy: Twist the spine
I have been working for more than forty years now. I have some education. I get paid more than many… possibly more than most.
But I still find my self buying crap at thrift stores. Used stuff. Cheap stuff.
When is the best time to go… this time of year? People get new things for Christmas and donate their old crap to the thrift stores to sell. They might even get new gifts they don’t want and donate those.
But there has to be a time lag between decided to donate and when the stuff shows up on the shelves with a price tag. How long? It’s important for me to figure it out. There was a time when I could always buy stuff I wanted in the Thrift Stores because the usual customers were interesting in other things. Now though, since eBay became ascendant, there are people buying stuff in the Thrift Stores, bargain hunting, with the simple intention of reselling it on eBay.
I see these people – they are waiting at the door at opening, buying a seemingly random pile of crap – yet carefully curated to be worth more to someone gazing at it online. They skim off the cream of the crop of the Thrift Store bargains before I can get my greedy mitts on it.
I did stop by the local Thrift Store on my way home from work today. I am very proud of myself. I found two things that I wanted… but didn’t need. I walked out empty handed, which is good. It isn’t a matter of cost… it is a matter of space.
“After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.”
― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
Oblique Strategy: Do something boring
Went in to work today for the last time this year (not entirely true – thanks to our government and their thoughtful regulations I will have to stop by a couple more times, but that doesn’t really count). It was surprisingly not-unpleasant despite the fact that I finally had to to all of the stuff I had been putting off all year.
Oh, sorry, can’t help myself – I stumbled across one last quote:
“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.”
― George Carlin
Man, I miss George Carlin. Actually, now that I think about it – as far as I’m concerned (I never met him and never would anyway) he is as much still here as he always was.
“The waves broke and spread their waters swiftly over the shore. One after another they massed themselves and fell; the spray tossed itself back with the energy of their fall. The waves were steeped deep-blue save for a pattern of diamond-pointed light on their backs which rippled as the backs of great horses ripple with muscles as they move. The waves fell; withdrew and fell again, like the thud of a great beast stamping.”
― Virginia Woolf, The Waves
Oblique Strategy: Would anybody want it?
There’s a button on a stand. The button doesn’t do anything at first – but then the water, a little bit at first, then more and more and more until torrents are spewing from pipes and nozzles. A plastic bucket fills, tilts, and dumps it’s cargo of dihydrogen monoxide out in a foamy amoeba into the hot Texas sun.
“But he said, in substance, to himself that if the earth and moon were about to clash, many persons would doubtless plan to get upon the roofs to witness the collision.”
― Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage
“This tower, patched unevenly with black ivy, arose like a mutilated finger from among the fists of knuckled masonry and pointed blasphemously at heaven. At night the owls made of it an echoing throat; by day it stood voiceless and cast its long shadow.”
― Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan
“Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.”
― Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Cat’s Cradle
“The serial number of a human specimen is the face, that accidental and unrepeatable combination of features. It reflects neither character nor soul, nor what we call the self. The face is only the serial number of a specimen”
― Milan Kundera, Immortality