I'm betraying an absolute--I thought--when first our eyes made acquaintance in that gawky flash--you having caught me in what "life" assured me was a moment of weakness since it required my "self" and some actual "esteem" but what I hoped would be more like a mercurial dream sequence from [generic 80s teen movie] (but without the sidetails and turtlenecks)--so I quickly retreated, hoping it wasn't true--the betrayal, that is--damm/ning the feeling, and resolving, like "i" was "taught," to keep check on that capricious emotion you must have accidentally aroused; yet it was the identification of such and the coming to terms with such and the desire to live in such that has had such a profound influence on my understanding as such--that your questioning mind, uncompromising spirit, resplendent attractiveness--and, moreso, your Objective values--made my heart declare not a betrayal but the sound of an inexorable revolution, not a betrayal but the lyrics from [generic 80s love song], not a betrayal but a realization that the "betrayed" and the impetus-of-revolution, though necessarily separate, are not as such.


I rode the metro with an astronaut yesterday--at least I think he was an astronaut. He was wearing a flight suit, and the patch on his arm had a little shuttle in front of an Earth. He exited at the Pentagon stop. Yes, I'm sure he was an astronaut. Otherwise that helmet would have been pointless.

I stopped by a lake today on my way home from lunch. I thought, "Just what I need--a serene lake." So I walked to the shore and sat on a picnic bench and went looking for "the Serene." Oh, I found it. Don't think I'm going to say it wasn't there, that this whole trip was for nothing. No, no. I thought that at first, too--as I sat there staring at the lake. "This doesn't 'do it' for me," I thought. "It's water. I get more excited when it comes from my faucet." The guy at the bench next to me seemed to like it, though. He had his hands behind his head in a very satisfied manner. He stared at the water with a vague smile. He found the Serene in the lake, in its undulating splashes on the shore below. Well, at least I think he did. Granted I never asked him. He might have been as bored as I was, just sitting there thinking about the hot girl in the biking shorts that just rode by. He noticed her. You couldn't convince me that he didn't. His smile did change, though, when a speed boat went by. It went from vague to vanished. His hands went down to his lap and he slowly got up to leave. I think. I wasn't staring any more because I was too busy drooling over this boat. It must have been going 50, 60 thousands miles per hour. "You don't know." I wanted to meet that guy, the owner, and convince him to share his vessel. I wanted to cut through the water and disturb those ridiculous-looking birds--the ones with the really thin beak and flat head. I wanted to relate with the person who looked at this lake or whatever body of water it was and said, "Your waves are pathetic." And so, you see, I did find the Serene. It just had more horsepower that I was expecting.

I was walking up the escalator yesterday, because that's what people do in DC even when they're 30 minutes early for work, and I passed a crazy woman entering the metro. I know she was crazy because she was wearing a silver dress, loads of eye shadow, and not much else while singing at the top of her lungs--something about her uncle. And since this wasn't college, I could certify her insane. Here's the thing. I might have been the only person who noticed her. Again, that's what people do in DC; they actively donotnotice things. Most city dwellers are similar, I imagine--from New York to Chicago to Dallas to LA. There's so much crazy that if you took time to notice it all you'd waste those 30 minutes and end up being late.

I will ride the metro again next week--to and from work, five days a week--and if I see that astronaut again I think I'll introduce myself. Or how about this: I'll at least say good morning to the person who sits next to me--especially if that person is an astronaut. Or a speed-boater. Or a crazy, singing, silver-dress-wearing psychopath. Or that girl from the bike path.

Especially if it's that girl from the bike path.


In many ways I'm still a novice, a recent convert to the art of living. Every morning I awake to a cliché, happier to be alive than I was the day before. (The cynic that lived in me even a year ago would have espoused, "Sure. You're happy now. But how long do you really expect it to last?" He's still there, certainly. I can hear the questioning as clearly as the triangle in a smooth bossa. It's there if I purposely focus on it. But why should I? Unlike the triangle, whose purpose is to subtly enrich the rhythm, this doubt falls behind the beat, dragging the pulse to a dead stop.) There were so many dichotomies presenting hopeless Either/Ors, asserting that my only two choices were a blindfold or a coma. A pig satisfied or Socrates dissatisfied? I choose Aristotle satisfied. A knight of infinate resignation or a knight of infinite faith? I choose a knight of infinite reason. Mysticism or brute force? I choose rationality. Mind or body? I choose soul--properly understood. Slave master or sacrificial animal? I choose rational self-interest. Rationalism or Empiricism? I choose Objectivism.

Scoff. Laugh. Dismiss. Do everything but think. Your denial is your own immolation, and with that attitude, you deserve it.


What do you accomplish with your half compliments and claims to the "truth" "behind" the author? Even if we take the most radical of your accusations as true--which they're not--what have you proven? It's a sad commentary on culturally accepted practices that we must make heroes "real"--i.e., deeply flawed--in order to have any appreciation for them. I literally want to scream, "What do you gain from focusing on the mundane and the trivial?" Any excuse. ANY "reason" not to acknowledge her accomplishments. ANY frivolity that allows you to dismiss an entire philosophic system. "Well, you see, her claims to morality can't be trusted because she smoked." "And, well, you can't expect me to take her seriously if she *gasp* had an affair." "And, frankly, she was mean." "And, you can probably tell by her photos, but she was just dreadful to get along with." "We heard she did drugs." "We heard she was a lesbian." "We heard she didn't tip at a restaurant once." "We heard she didn't applaud at a 20th century piano performance."

"Why why I want to listen to a woman like that?"

If you kill all the heroes, who's going to be left to save your life?


On my first day in the office, a coworker asked, "Are you ready to save the world?" I cheerfully replied, "Can we have it done by Friday?"

Rorschach, though, would have had a different answer.