Thirty-one things I have learned

Stuff that I have learned over the past thirty-one years:
  1. Crazy people, left to their own devices, do not become less crazy over time.
  2. Virtually everything my mother has ever told me about my own personality is wrong. It would be hilarious except that she insists on treating her ideas like unshakable reality.
  3. I don't have to talk to my family. Ever. Really.
  4. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and I do not mix well. Medical personnel also look at you like you have a second head if you're staring down the barrel of something that really hurts and you specify that you do not want opioid painkillers.
  5. Trying to adhere to an 8-5 schedule, no matter what the reason is or how much I want to, makes my mental and physical health deteriorate very quickly. I am (rightfully) terrified of this, and will drop classes/quit jobs before trying to force myself to run on normal business hours.
  6. Relatedly, you would be surprised at how little money I actually need to live.
  7. I am still the only meat-eater on Earth who doesn't like pepperoni on pizza. Although I think there are two or three other American adults who don't have any dietary restrictions and still won't drink coffee.
  8. Not everybody has to like me. Not everyone will. I'm okay with that.
  9. I don't have to like everyone else, either. I just have to treat them with civility.
  10. Smart is more important to me than happy. If I were offered the chance to be blissfully happy forever at the cost of also being stupid, I would choose to retain the ability to write intelligently about being miserable without hesitation.
  11. V05 works great as dish soap. Not so well as shampoo.
  12. I will voluntarily starve before giving up the following: Computer, MP3 player, NDS, Kindle. On the other hand, I am not all that passionate about maintaining phone service.
  13. Dysfunctional assholes appear at about the same rate in any given subset of the population. Seems to run somewhere around 5%. Most people choose to act like civilized human beings if given half a chance; devoting yourself to being a complete jerk to everyone you meet takes a surprising amount of time and energy, and most people just can't spare it.
  14. I am surprisingly photogenic, when shot by someone who gives a shit and is using a camera that cost more than $7.95.
  15. If you are a generally-liberal academic who likes rain and dislikes violating the civil rights of others with a large police-issue nightstick, Arizona is a shithole.
  16. I refuse to pay more than $19.99 for any pair of shoes, ever, no matter what they are. This is apparently a hard limit. If you offered me a genuine authenticated pair of diamond-encrusted Louboutins for $50, I would turn you down. This has not stopped me from repeatedly running out of space in the shoe caddies hanging in my closet.
  17. Life is ultimately fatal. It is not possible to cheat death by figuring out the minimum amount of broccoli you need per week and the maximum amount of time you can spend in the sun per year. I live in a magical society where I can go down to CVS and buy both SPF 95+ sunscreen and an industrial-sized bottle of multivitamin pills that contain all the micronutrients I need. Freckles are not a sign of impending doom, and I can eat whatever the fuck I want.
  18. People are way more concerned with how stupid they think they look than how stupid you're worried about looking. If you look stupid with enough panache, everyone else starts wondering whether they've really been doing it wrong all this time.
  19. I am not required to care. I often do, but I don't have to. I am not required to put everything up for discussion, and if I do, I'm not required to solicit input from everyone on Earth. You're allowed to think whatever you want, but sometimes, your opinion just doesn't fucking matter.
  20. It is entirely possible to be Sherlock Holmes in real life. Freaks people out, though.
  21. Except people who have discovered that it's also possible to be John H. Watson in real life. They think it's cool.
  22. There are very few video games that aren't worth $3.99. Most of the ones that aren't are still in the $3.99 sale bin.
  23. The only way to make moving painless is to own nothing. You can make it into only a mild pain in the ass by paying someone to do it all for you. You can get your friends to help you by asking nicely and maybe buying a pizza. Padding helps with transportation. I have never heard the people helping me move utter the sentence, "You have too goddamn many blankets."
  24. Once you have moved house two or three or six hundred times, you start offering to give people intangible things for housewarming gifts. People who have just moved everything they own love this idea.
  25. My brain does a lot of things that aren't normal. Most of them aren't bad, they're just weird. It takes forever to figure out which ones, though, because I have no really good frame of reference for what normal is -- I live in this head, and it's always looked like that in here.
  26. When you ask people about things that are potentially not-normal, they think you're kidding. It took me ten years to get someone to answer the question "Do people who don't wear corrective lenses also see halos around streetlamps at night?" (answer: yes.)
  27. People who tell you they're not good enough for you are almost always right, although not for the reasons they think.
  28. There are a lot of things in life people tell you not to do "for the wrong reasons". Have sex, date/marry someone, change careers, drink, take drugs, buy some cosmetic surgery, change your weight, etc. They never tell you what the "right reason" might be. The right reason is: I thought about it, and I want to.
  29. People act like you're being obstructive and lazy if you don't decide what you want to do with your life while you're still in the womb, especially when you apply to colleges. Nobody knows what they want at age eighteen. In most US colleges, you have about two years to fuck around and take your gen-ed electives before you really need to decide what you want your degree in. Until then, sign up for something that sounds like it might be cool and absorbing. If it is, great. If not, change it.
  30. "I'm sorry" is for things you've said or done that you regret. It is not for feelings. Emotions just are. You have very little control over how you feel; what you do have control over is who you tell what to, and what you do about it.
  31. Pain is a warning system. Listen to it. If you're really hurting physically or emotionally, something is wrong. Consider very carefully whether this pain is likely to be temporary or chronic, and whether that's worth whatever you're getting out of the thing hurting.
I would very much like to think the assortment of people who sent birthday wishes, donations, gifts, and an assortment of brain candy. I have no idea why I'm so surprised when people are nice -- I've been saying for literally years now that my mother's view of humanity as a faceless mass of selfish assholes who would sooner screw you over than notice you is ridiculous, counterproductive, and just plain miserable. If you're one of the people who sent things for me to investigate and write about, your question will eventually hit the front of the line, I promise. Blogger lets you queue things for posting at a set future time; in order that I don't post nine things in one day and then leave you all bored and frustrated for the next week, I set them up to post every day at midnight. It'll also bounce to Twitter automatically once it posts, but for some reason it won't auto-share to G+, so I have to do it manually the next time I get around to poking the double handful of drafts I have sitting around in a half-finished state.

(Another thing that puzzles me from time to time: people who send in questions keep reintroducing themselves for some reason. If you've commented, I almost certainly know who you are. I may not know much about you [yet], but I do go 'oh, hey, that name matches the one on a comment-thingy from a couple weeks ago'. Given the stats I get on this thing, I'd say something <1% ever actually bother to speak up, so when people do it's noticeable. This is particularly true if you're not a native English speaker -- English is unusually flexible in many regards, especially when it comes to stuff like word order and having multiple synonyms of different origins for common things, so even if your English is perfectly fluent, the way you choose to phrase things in my native language tells me a lot about what yours actually is. Unless my response to your comment was "Fuck off back to Troll College and stop bothering me," I'm not going to remember you as an annoying twit either, so feel free to come back and ask more things.)

I'm also going to wander out into Somerville and Cambridge and go to street fairs today, for obvious reasons, so I probably won't do anything much tonight.

Tschüß! See y'all Monday.


  1. Hi, I've been reading with interest since you got linked on Captain Awkward, but apparently what it takes to make me comment is that I'd often wondered about the streetlights thing but never actually asked anybody. So thank you.

  2. Both pepperoni and coffee are objectively gross. End of story.

  3. Life is ultimately fatal. It is not possible to cheat death by figuring out the minimum amount of broccoli you need per week and the maximum amount of time you can spend in the sun per year.

    Mother fucking yes.

    Happy birthday!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The mystery of "Himmmm"


WARNING! Sweeping generalizations inside!