Friday, January 10, 2020

On Wine and Rubberbands

Among several fantastically useful insights I got from my old friend Elliot was this gem:
If a wine tastes overly tannic, that means it's either 1. overly tannic, or 2. lacking in everything else (so the tannins stick out).
It's applicable in every human realm. For example, I'm not particularly bright. Whenever I reread a book or rewatch a film I'm stunned to discover I'd soaked up only 60% of the plot the first time. It comes as a particular shock because I'm too dumb to have noticed my non-comprehension in real time. The glue-sniffy viscosity feels normal, sort of the way one might get used to a darkened world viewed through cataracts.
I refuse to read/watch anything a third time, because if I do and it reveals that wiser, smugger, Second-View-Me - the one revolted by the stupidity of First-View-Me - is highly spotty, as well, I...I...can't even finish the sentence.
Yet for a guy who's not super bright, I produce a lot of novel insights, and have been successful in a number of fields. How do I square the contradiction?

I don't obsess over what's wrong with the moment; over what's missing. I don't frame myself as holding up the world. I don't even think I'm the protagonist in this undertaking. With these impediments lifted, I'm not piloting into a 3,000 mph headwind like everyone else. And so I appear to be flying impressively fast, though powered only by a frayed cheap rubber band.
Remember “guileless clunk“?
I'm okay with my aging process, being the longtime disciple of a certain mangy fish I met as a child (it's a long story). But the real horror of advancing age is having to watch one's peers fall deeper and deeper into trances. By their 50s, you can barely have a conversation with them. They find interaction irritating, because it interrupts their process of endlessly telling themselves who they are and what they find wrong with the universe. You may be trying to share a joke or describe a recent quesadilla, but they’re spottily available, often wanting to be left alone to suck on their bitter lozenges.

By middle age they’ve gotten super good at this rumination business, having reached the ten millionth go-round of these cherished mental loops, so there’s nothing you can say or do to rival the familiar vibrancy of their internal go-to stories.

By the time we're in our 80s, many of us stare vacantly into space. We label it dementia - attributable to inescapable medical issues - and I suppose that sometimes it is. 


Display Name said...

this is one reason why I love my card game. Gym for the mind. Plus I cross path with people I'd never interact with otherwise. And try to kill them. I get younger people so much more than my peers. Practically a millenium whisperer here. Full moon tonight Jim. My meditation leader warned us that the full moon is fertilizer for whatever you plant. Mommy! Errr I'm just trying to keep my eyes and ears open. Was chatting with cdc about something right before we watched Elementary last night and damned if the Sherlock character didn't say part of this line at the end of the show: “This above all: to thine own self be true
And it must follow, as the night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man/Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!” Yikes. Not so elegant as the Bard, who is?, but that very subject. I loved it.

Display Name said...

Oh yeah: I refuse to read/watch anything a third time wanted to give my take on this thought. I've been told that when a woman gets pregnant all of a sudden her and maybe even her husband see preggers everywhere. After the pregnancy the preggers fade into the back ground again. My pregnant friend watched an old movie where a woman was pregnant and then Stuff Happened for like ten years and the story never said what became of the baby??? This horrified her. Prolly no one else even noticed. Jim you don't need to get pregnant to see my point. You see different things when you are in different parts of your life. Can be fun to revisit old neighborhoods. Went to my quaker el school and omg stuff be so much smaller than i remember. Gonna get ready to howl at the moon as soon as it shows itself.

Jim Leff said...

"Jim you don't need to get pregnant to see my point"

Perhaps I do.

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