I really really really like XKCD. There’s the geeky science stuff that one can get into. There’s the crudely drawn stick-figures, a minimalist take on the complexities of modern life. There’s wry social commentary. But I’ll be honest. Half the time, I have no idea what he’s talking about. Whether it’s my lack of a general knowledge of quantum mechanics or the fact that I missed that whole Firefly fan-boy thing, some stuff I only sort of get.
That’s okay though. I think you can appreciate the genius of XKCD on many different levels. As is the case today. In today’s installment, our hero is overstimulated by a cocktail party and longs to be holed up in his room writing papers.
I get that. Oh boy do I get that.
I’ve got a couple of self-promotional sort of things to say. And then I want I want to talk about what a big fat jerk I am.
For Christmas this year, my mother gave me a first edition copy of J.D. Salinger’s Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction. When I was a younger, angrier, more confused man (or, ever since I discovered The Catcher in the Rye on my mom’s bookshelf when I was a fifteen), I was a die-hard Salinger fan of the type he would probably have deplored. So I’ve read Raise High probably a half dozen times, at least, but not once in the last half-dozen years. Since Dana and I were on the road (literally) over the last week or so, I took the opportunity to read it again. Salinger’s command of language still brings me great joy, even if, philosophically, I feel like I’ve moved on from him. And something in Seymour still inspires, still helps me overcome my own personal and professional slumps.
There is a tendency in the modern world to compartmentalize. To keep various aspects of our lives separate. To say, “this is my home life, this is my work life, this is my private life, this is my public life, this is political life, this my spiritual life. They’re separate spheres of activity. Distinct and isolated.”
And I think this is pretty much a bunch of crap.
Some woman is suing Prudential Insurance for â€œforcingâ€ her to participate in the â€œreligious practicesâ€ of Buddhism (and Hinduism, though the lawyers canâ€™t seem to keep the two separate). Basically, some idiot in management picked up Nancy Spearsâ€™ Buddha: 9 to 5 and thought it would be a good idea to make all of his employees sit around meditating and chanting the sacred syllable (à¥ if you havenâ€™t been paying attention).
This can’t end well.
Several years ago, I worked for Starbucks. I know, I know. Starbucks. (I feel so dirty.) But what can I say? It’s sort of like the dot-com boom, right? In college, everyone worked for Starbucks just like in the late ’90’s, everyone worked at a dot-com. (I worked at a dot-com, too, but that’s another […]