Day in the Life, #13028: Stuff. Or, identifying with labels (or not), the weird ways I am like my father, and etc yadda etc.

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Summary: I'm not sure I identify with labels, and I'm starting to feel a bit guilty about it. Also, the deodorant problem, the stormy walk to work, and why I can't seem to get off my lazy butt and get this blog up and going again.

BLOT: (29 Jan 2013 - 10:27:31 PM)

Day in the Life, #13028: Stuff. Or, identifying with labels (or not), the weird ways I am like my father, and etc yadda etc.

I haven't been doing enough with this blog, but if you were going to look into two recent posts/things, I'd make it these two:

Kind of sad, but those are the only two posts that I've written since my previous "Day in the Life" post a week ago, but they mean a bit to me because these are two things I definitely want to write about: poetry and RPGs.

The poetry experiment is half done, or all done in the sense of the original version, where I wrote for a week. Finished today with a pair of meta-limericks (you can read it via Google Drive). I decided, by the time I wrote the above post, to expand it to two weeks. While this first week has been mostly random ideas that popped into my head as I sat down to write (and were also ideas that could come out of my head in the 10-minutes-or-so writing limit), the second week will be an attempt to develop found poetry: words and ideas spotted in the wild. It might flop horribly. We'll see.

As for the title of the post, something I've been thinking about both broadly and specifically is how reticent I am to truly commit to a label. Let me qualify. Specifically, I have been thinking about how it seems hard for me to commit a hobby past second or third gear. I get into things. With a few things—like horror and Doctor Who—I can definitely stay in the mode (let's say this is "third gear"), and with others—RPGs and Minecraft—I can get up to a good "second gear" mode of fair fandom if not constant devotion. What I cannot seem to do is get right up to the tip-top of that fandom, or that obsession, that others can. While I can do well with a wide range of disciplines, I can not absolutely excel. Every time I find something like a niche I find others territorial as hell about that niche and I feel uncomfortable about fighting for it.

Part of this, maybe even all of this, is due to the same aspect of my mind that makes me an excellent reference librarian. I don't see the wonderful boxes of toys, I see the distribution chain. Even when playing and enjoying an RPG, I find myself mapping out the webs of mechanics to see what they imply about life in the game universe and I try to find ways to break them and change them into something similar but not the same. When I read horror stories, I map out uses of certain entities and concepts back down the tree, test them against previous themes to see what it says about the impact of everyday life on horror. Almost never in a way that I could become well-published with these things, but almost always in a way where I can I enjoy things...fourth dimensionally, if you will.

This is not a bad thing, but sometimes I find myself kind of wanting to sit comfortably in a niche and argue about whether [M.R. ]Jamesian worldviews are more or less valid that Lovecraftian ones, or whether the line between James to Aickman was direct or required leaps of insight. And I do these things, briefly, and then while they are still fresh I move on and look at black holes and how they relate to time, and it is really hard to fit hard chunks down into the constant frizzle-fry that is my brain. And it makes me a little sad.

I kind of had another aspect to talk about, almost a rant, but let's drop it there, for now. I can always come back to it.

Yesterday I was forced to buy deodorant (D) online, because I'm apparently a weirdo who doesn't like antiperspirant (A) but many of the stores around here have two or three token D-not-A and dozens of D-and-A. Potentially, there is an A-not-D around, for those afraid of sweating but afraid that people can smell them not sweat, and I don't think Huntsville stocks those either. Though we would be opposite sides in the A v. D wars, I'd like to think of them as my brothers in the onslaught of the lukewarm "best of both worlds" fence sitters. Why am I talking about a stick of stuff you rub against you pits? Am I getting ready to expose yet more of the seedy underbelly of arm-pit fetishism lurking in stock photography? No, actually, I'm going to talk about my dad.

When I was a teenager, my dad made a comment about how I shouldn't use antiperspirant because "you should let the body sweat naturally". And I was astounded. Admittedly, as a teen the juice that comes out of your orifices is borderline toxic, but if there was one thing that seems to be beaten by modern science, it is sweat. We can cover it. We can remove its stains. We can absorb it. And, by Jove, we can stop it from existing on a chemical level. Except, well, maybe not really. People that use it still sweat, some. From heat bumps to gunked up clothes, it feels a little like some are worsening the problem or finding new problems to annoy us with (sweat stains are often a side-effect of the chemicals in it). I am beginning to think it might be tonic sold by a traveling drug show.As I got used to walking to work in the midst of Alabama summer heat, I realized that in another way I was turning into my father: I prefer to just let the body sweat. It feels better. Cooler, at any rate. Now I can't stand antiperspirants. But it looks like the world has moved on and left me behind, with my "scent only" technology. Thanks, local Walgreens.

Maybe you use the old AntiP, and maybe it antis your P so well that you find me to be a ranting lunatic. I am Zarathustra come down from the mountain, and I spake: "I will dance, but if you want to dance with your aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly, then go and be happy, because we'll all be dead soon, anyhow." Something I just learned, via Wiki is that while deodorants are considered cosmetics under the USDA, antiperspirants are considered drugs and under the FDA. That's some X-Files type stuff, there.

Ok, it is late enough that I should be wrapping this up. I have a half dozen blog posts that I really need to finish and get out. Including a "Week in Books" and a "Week in Movies" pair. Assuming the storm doesn't blow me away and/or I survive my tempestuous walk to work, tomorrow, because it is indeedy supposed to storm. I think. The weather is weird lately, and that's all I can say about that.

Me in 2013


Written by Doug Bolden

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