"I Chew Chew Chew Choose You!" or "Let's Admit It: the Hokey Pokey Isn't What It's Really All About."

posted by Guy Geaux on 22nd Feb 2016, 7:36 PM

I've written this apologia for blogging/drawing and writing web comics more than once. You could say that I am getting to be an expert at failing at them. Still, I'm going to keep doing this until I get it right, and I guess you could argue that that brings me to my first point.

In some unapologetically circular logic, I'll say that I choose to write this blog and Do its attendant comic because it's the choice that I choose to make.

Choice is perhaps the most fundamental criterion for human existence. Think about it. Without the ability to decide what to do and not do, can we really say that a being is even sentient? Sure, there's plenty of argument about the fallacious and perhaps even illusory nature of choice, but even if choice is somehow predetermined or false, the idea is so ingrained into everything that we do, that the very idea of removing choice has a punitive taste to it. To wit, choice is everything. Even if its false. We like being able to pick, and we like to be rewarded for making the right choices. Aren't all of the most heinous crimes against our species related on a basic level to choice? I don't think that it's too contrived to say that rape is the negation of choice, slavery is the repeated negation of choices, and murder is the negation of all choices – forever.

That took a dark turn pretty quickly. My girlfriend says that I need to not do that so much. It's a work in progress, really.

It's 2016. Today is my thirty-fourth birthday. It's alright, I guess.

A few weeks ago, I found out that I had a fatty mass in my back, just beneath my shoulder blade. I've had one or two of these in my arms, and they're of the brand of benign tumors that David Sedaris describes in the following scene:

Oh, that’s nothing,” Dr. Medioni said.

A little fatty tumor. Dogs get them all the time.”

I thought of other things dogs have that I don’t want: Dewclaws, for example. Hookworms.

Can I have it removed?”

I guess you could , but why would you want to?”

He made me feel vain and frivolous for even thinking about it.

Your right,” I told him.

I’ll just pull my bathing suit up a little higher.”

When I asked him if the tumor would get any bigger, the doctor gave it a little squeeze. “Bigger? Sure, probably.”

Will it get a lot bigger?”


Why not?” I asked.

And he said, sounding suddenly weary, “I don’t know. Why don’t trees touch the sky?”

This was the first one I've ever had on my back, and it was recommended that I get it checked out by a doctor. I did.

After navigating my insurance company's baroque phone system for re-finding my primary care physician (the one I had chosen before apparently wasn't accepting new clients, and much of the information on the website was 'apocryphal or at least wildly inaccurate.'), I had an appointment. Seriously, four hours on the phone just to find a doctor within my insurance network who would see me. To all the people kvetching about the potentially unnavigable bureaucracy of socialized medicine, I say, it's practically already here... oh, and the fees here reach laughably unattainable heights.

Anyway, I breathed a great big sigh of relief when the doctor said that he was certain that this was just another fatty tumor, to keep an eye on it, and not to go mad worrying about it. It's nice to be told that you're over-reacting sometimes. I think we all need it.

Sometimes though, letting your mind run away with itself to that fatal place where everyone goes eventually, is the kind of memento mori kick-in-the-pants that you need to say, “no, my work isn't perfect, but I've given it everything I've got. Now, it's time to move on to other things.”

I've decided, again, that 2016 will be the year of volition. The year where I get my proverbial excrement together. I make the decisions. Finish editing one of my novels. Get on a good schedule with drawing and playing guitar. Don't waste time. ...and chew.

I've written this blog post before. I've deleted it. I've wrestled with the idea that any blog that I would put out will be self-indulgence to the extreme and unnecessary reading for just about anyone. But then again, I'll never be anyone but who I am.

Like everyone else in the world, I am playing the hand that life has dealt me. I'll get into more of what that means to me in later blog posts, but the long and the short of it is that I have some ideas about things, just like anyone else, they're probably marginally better or worse than anyone else's, and unless I am testing them against the world, they're doing no one any good. So there you are. If people are going to blog about the different types of farts, I feel like I am on pretty safe ground throwing another opinion into the maelstrom dealing with metacognition and cognitive biases.

Which is where we get to chew.

I'm not great at chewing. It's such a necessary, mundane task. I take it for granted; I'll admit to that. But really, doesn't volition begin at the things that we have to do but we can decide how we do them? Think about it, all of those seminars and yogis – they always start with “take a deep breath,” right? Well, yeah, you have to breath. You can't not. But you can opt in or out of really noticing those breaths. And I can't realistically choose to notice every breath I take. I probably can't or shouldn't attempt to savor every bite I take, but if I am going to really try to make this year the beginning of a more about making those choices, this is, I think, a good start.

Prayer before eating was a fact of life in my childhood. I'm not religious at all anymore, but I like the idea of taking a minute before each meal to think about the food. Think about how it's going to taste. Rev yourself up to it. I mean, if you hog your food down at speeds that cause you to bite your tongue, are you really even enjoying it? It's something I really need to work on – enjoying myself instead of using each achieved goal as an opportunity to begin worrying about the next thing. I'm saying this now, and I have a feeling that it's going to become something of a mantra in this blog: I'm not special. There are over seven billion people on earth, and I am just one of them. The best I can do with my life is be the best me that I can be, and I think choosing my choices well and enjoying their fruits is the best way to do that.

So yeah, while I am alive, I am going to choose to chew. After all, my girlfriend is a fantastic cook, and I'm no slouch when it comes to making omelettes, waffles, and pancakes.

Except my nasty fiber cereal – that stuff I can opt out of tasting.

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