Creatures of the Wall

Monday, July 24, 2006

I’m back! This is my second day (in a row!) where I place fingers to keys. My goals are small: write something, anything. The quality doesn’t matter, I’ll take introspective, observational, pathetic, consternated, in-the-style-of-a-young-uneducated-baboon writing. What matters is I put words down for some small amount of time. My reasoning is simple: if I do this over a number of days, I’ll eventually grow bored of saying nothing and think of something to say, and, if the stars align and the winds stay to the east, maybe, and this is a large maybe, I’ll actually say that something. Either that or the muse will finally lower her size 13-feet and provide me with fodder so I won’t have to go through this sad exercise.

So with further ado, here goes nothing. Do you ever use your network passwords as daily affirmations? I changed my password a couple of days ago, and for the second time, used a slightly altered daily affirmation. I’m not sure if it’s working, but I am firm believer that self-belief is the first step in self-improvement. Where do you think NEQID (that’s the Never-Ending Quest to Improve David, for all you newcomers) came from?

Ah, as soon as I felt energy, a large cork floated by to stop up the outlet. Damn bottlenecks.

Religion is a funny thing. I’m still exploring this Jewish thing, as you can tell by my books list. Right after a lesson, or while reading a good Jewish book, I feel inspired, wonderful about religion, wondering how I could ever think that any of it was a bottle of hogwash. Then, moments later, when the classes and the books pass on by and I have nothing but the world around me to think on, I begin to have all of my questions again, all of my doubts, and my thoughts about the hog’s water returns. It feels almost like those dream fears, we’re you’re trapped in a crowded elevator that grinds to a halt, and you can’t get out, and the air is oppressive, and why aren’t the people moving away from you, and where’s the backup lighting that’s supposed to switch on when the electricity fails, and maybe there was a huge accident in the building and you’re just moments away from the fireball heading in your directions—that is, until you realize that you’re not claustrophobic, it’s not that dark or crowded in here, and, besides, it was just a dream, and you convince yourself that you will never fear in dreams again, until, of course, you dream again.

That’s how religion feels (with the run-on sentence and everything). When I’m steeped in the learning, I understand and catch glimpses of the amazing beauty, ethics, truths, and consistency (and Judaism is nothing if not terribly consistent with its underlying principles); I become the dreamer who cannot understand how this can be a dream. Or maybe it’s the other way around: maybe it’s when I’m steeped in the learning that I’m truly awake, and my dreams begin only when I’m away from the books and thoughts.

It’s difficult to tell the difference. I do feel that I missed opportunities to start earlier. I’ve had this thought about writing many times before: if only I wrote more as a child, if only I continued after seventh grade to write my (terrible) stories, maybe I would be doing more of this now. But regretting and planning is not the same as living, and I try to limit those thoughts. It’s more important what I do today than what I should have done, or what I plan to do tomorrow.

If nothing else, what my study of Judaism is providing me is a better ethical understanding of life, and a wonderful opportunity to apply NEQID to aspects of myself. I wrote in my Randy dialogues that Judaism has at its heart self-improvement, making a better David. I need to get me more books and continue my journey. One of the commandments in Judaism is constant study (of Torah, the bible), and while I certainly can understand how studying helps propagate the religion (referring back to Dennett’s memes, and my earlier virus theory on the spread of religion), I also see how constant vigilance on the lessons for improving life can be very helpful.

Okay, enough deep thought for one day. And, no, now that you ask, it’s not really deep thoughts—mostly it’s surface thoughts, the small ideas that worked their their way up through the dense layers of my convoluted brain’s knowledge and reasoning that I’ve accumulated over my current reading and to the surface, like the iceberg’s tip. The surface thoughts provide evidence that all my reading and, to a lesser extent, thinking is creating some sort of growth in me, in (hopefully) the positive sense.

I’m throwing thoughts against the wall and watching them slime their way to the floor. I miss those purple rubber octopuses. You remember those? They felt sticky but they weren’t. They were more slimy. You threw them against a wall, and the octopus would walk its way down, the top detaching and flopping down to stick to the wall. They worked great for a while, but eventually hair and lint and rug covered the octopus until it wouldn’t stick to the wall. I would try to wash the octopus in water, and while it would remove the dirt, the octopus would never stick the same way again. Whatever happened to those wonderful creatures of the wall?

Wow, my digressions today are Olympic. It’s growing late in the evening, and while I don’t have much to show for it, this is a day’s work. I’ll try to keep scribbling away tomorrow. Maybe I’ll even get around to returning Chuck’s pong serve. Nah. That would be asking way too much. Doolies returns on Friday! Finally! Yeah!