October 19th, 2004

Gather lint, make pillows

The political stuff is getting real old. I have some hopes for escapade52, but I can't find anyone else on either side who seems to actually be open to *thinking* about their positions. Okay, I'll now collect a dozen or so flames from both sides, boiling down to "You hurt my ego! I do *too* think!"

But you don't. Thinking is hard, and few people do it. I'm trying to, on the political front as well as others, and not doing as well as I'd like. Evidently I'm not doing a good job of *gathering* thinkers, either, or alternatively I've gathered y'all and you like my company but do your thinking elsewhere. Philosopher's Leisure and Relaxation Club, that's me.

I've lived the last two years piss-poor. No car, a room in a rooming house, no health coverage, no job despite maintaining my average applications output (I've lost the emotional energy needed to keep detailed records of that, but I submitted something over 6,000 applications during the two years I kept records). This gives me a particular outlook on the libertarian-vs-maintain a kinder society debate; while it's impossible for me to be completely objective, I don't think my being poor during this time is due entirely to shiftless laziness on my part. I'm a pretty hard worker, and I've got a pretty good spread of skills and talents. Sometimes you're good and you fail anyway; the universe I was issued at birth did *not* come with a guarantee.

And evidence is mounting that my Dad is starting to die, a process I expect him to prolong for at least a decade out of sheer stubbornness. I helped *his* father die, taking Grandpa to his doctor's appointments, running his errands and holding his hand, for bits and pieces of the twelve years it took him to lose the fight against Parkinson's. Dad isn't any less stubborn.

And I need him now, dammit. I'm trying to teach *my* older son how to be a human being, and one of the fundamental characteristics we have is that we live in a civilization. And one of the basics of *that* is the focus on maintaining a future. And I *am* my father's future. But I can't convey that very well without having him here to agree with it and help demonstrate it; one of Zack's strengths is his ironclad insistance on primary data. I can only be primary data about myself.

So thinking is hard, and my primary job is doing the thinking, and then the writing, to build a model of civilization I can explain to my brilliant and exasperating son. While I'm doing that, I'll be living a version the typical single-parent's life, running my butt off at a go-nowhere job and living hand-to-mouth to give my offspring a decent upbringing. And helping Dad die, if that's what he's doing, as seems likely. Three rousing choruses of "Oh, Poor, Pitiful Me," and then let's move on, please. I don't like self-pity even when I'm the one doing it.

The political stuff is a distraction. I have to continue living this life no matter who wins what election, or what they do with the power afterwards. If I am the future of my people, I'll have to cope with whatever that future brings, and so I try to peer through the mists and figure out what I might have to cope with. But the mists are getting thicker, and I'll have to cope with it anyway whether I can see it in advance or not.

I *think* I may be inventing a religion. Not a faith, and certainly not a theology; I'll go into those distinctions some other time. But a system of premises on which a life can be based. A lot of people do base their lives on money; money is a religion. So is Jewishness, as contrasted to and distinct from Judaism. I'm *trying* to do something different for my sons; I guess if I'm lucky I'll get to see if I succeed.

So that's an hour's worth of midnight musings; what's next? Get my bank-stuff done this morning, clean my room, interview at 10am, write to Zack, write to Dad, go finish the warehouse job, and fall down. Sounds like a day; it'll be interesting to see how much time I spend on LJ anyway.