THERE IS NO NEWS TODAY, mine is not a life fast-paced enough to generate new Items of Interest for 30 friggin’ days in a row; frankly that sounds terrifying and exhausting, and if that is true of you, I offer you my respect, sympathy, and the number of a good fake-your-death consultant. I do hope they find my brother and his whole family and the rest of the people on that train, though.
#12: What are some of the things
that get you excited in life?
If it should please the court–AND EVEN IF IT SHOULDN’T, MAYBE IF THE COURT WANTED ME TO WORRY ABOUT WHAT PLEASED IT, IT WOULDN’T SEEM TO BE “SUPER BUSY THIS WEEKEND HAHA” EVERY TIME I NEED HELP MOVING–I’m gonna slightly modify this one because I’ve been working on a similar post based on a daily prompt from WordPress, and gang I am not a deep enough cat to do them both and pretend they’re meaningfully different, so just, like, work with me here.
It is an almost-daily occurrence that I will relay something to She Who Is My Wife and realize too late that there isn’t really a point per se, and conclude simply and doofishly that “It just made me happy” To which she will occasionally reply “Everything makes you happy”, which is not a diss from her but did worry me for a while, until I concluded that there are people in this world who are not naturally inclined to joy, which is no sin or failing but does make me sad, and perhaps I’m simply their natural counterpart, their opposite number in the great balance. I’ve often wished I could just be a leaf on the pond, the chill guy, but the simple facts are that according to the way I’m wired and the soul I was given, almost everything is exciting and hilarious, and if anyone’s going to apologize for that it should be the world, not me. With that in mind: Let us list the ways in which life is beautiful and ridiculous AND, sometimes, delicious.
- When a cat is already lying down and somehow still deflates out of nowhere with a big fmrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrnft
- Closed captions or subtitles where the person who did that work took the time to put a little extra paprika on there; to me, the prime example will always be “[weird, forced laughter]” in an episode of The Legend Of Korra. As a former transcriptionist for reality television, it does my heart good to see somebody out there taking ‘er easy for all of us fretful sinners who struggled our way through Party Down South and No Pants Island.
- When you realize you hadn’t had a thought there for a little while; that was nice
- Stretching real good and getting that actual krlkklklkkrlk in your neck or back or whatever, and then actually feeling looser afterward, man that’s the good shit
- Salting your pasta-water exactly right so you don’t have to add any afterward, ’cause it’s just not the same
- When an actor whose character is usually super-serious or flat or dour–I’m sure there are non-Star Trek examples but Seven of Nine and Spock (all versions) come most easily to mind–gets an episode where they get to sing or be goofy or otherwise let loose, and that’s a lot of fun for everybody but it also forces you to realize that doing their normal character is still work for them, it’s not just who they are, and the next couple of episodes with them are all the more impressive for it because you’re paying attention to how much effort and craft they’re putting into something that’s supposed to come off boring and unremarkable. Ooh, Captain Holt is a good one!
- Listen, I don’t usually work blue and I don’t intend to start, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention like, those good poops. You know the ones, where all of the uh, processes and elements come together just right for whatever that means for you, and you think to yourself man what did I eat yesterday, I’m only gonna eat that from now on, but that’s not how it works champ, it’s just magic, we just gotta appreciate it when it visits us
- When you try a self-kindness or mental health tool or similar (like those on the below list, I recommend them), and you can actually feel it work, for the first time or the hundredth. Also, don’t be discouraged if you try them and don’t feel it; our minds are machines built on and for repetition, and it can take a while to break out of old patterns, but Aristotle said that we are what we do repeatedly, and that excellence (or kindness, or patience) is therefore not a trait, but a habit.
- When little kids start to use slang without any pretension or understanding that it sounds kind of ridiculous; a five-year-old saying “Aw, you hate to see it, Uncle Bageler” when Krang kicks Raphael’s ass will never not be the funniest shit in the world. There’s also probably some reminder-of-our-own-mortality stuff mixed in there, right? Probs? Ah, well; to quote that same grandboy, regarding his frustration at not being able to scratch private itches in Kindergarten, “*sigh*, it is what it is”.
- When you’ve been pecking at a book that you really do like but that you’ve hit a block of some kind with, and you suddenly break through and can start actually enjoying and making progress in it again; maybe it was just a chunk of the story you weren’t interested in, or that you didn’t have spare brain-cycles to deal with, hell maybe you were just sick of fantasy or sci-fi or nonfiction for a little while, but when you finally make it over that hill it’s aaaaaaaall smooth riding from there.
- When the food you had delivered is actually as good as it would’ve been if you’d gone there to eat
- When you’ve been asleep for hours, then wake up to pee or because of the friggin’ cats or something and you think “ugh, it must almost be time to get up”, then you look at the clock like a chump would do and it’s only like 10:30 or something; if this is a basic bitch answer:
- When you see a post somewhere that’s clearly supposed to be shitty negative clickbait but the replies are all overwhelmingly positive and wholesome.
The most recent example I can think of is a picture of some Hamburger Helper and a couple of slices of bread, and the caption is “Fellas [because of course it’s aimed at fellas], you work a 16-hour day outside and come home to this, what’s ya next move?!?!?!!?”, which is a really weird genre of post in the first place because it asks us to get mad at a hypothetical situation and arguably encourages violence, but all of the responses to it were “Uh…be grateful that someone cooked me a hot meal after a long day?” “Say thank you babers and tuck in?” “Gobble it down and do the same to the chef”, etc., and it was clear that the page had not been expecting and was not prepared to deal with this, but all of the commenters were supporting and lauding each other, it was great.
- When She Who Is My Wife and I make the same joke at the same time when we’re watching a movie or whatever, because while we are very different people with different senses of humor, we’ve also been together a long time and certain things have a tendency to synchronize.
- When a kittycat suddenly turns into a Talky Boi
- When a song has lyrics that aren’t necessarily super meaningful but that just really click for you linguistically or aurally, or that just feel good to say; one of the key examples is Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London, which features the phrase “little old lady got mutilated late last night”, which is upsetting to consider but tastes amazing to say with your human mouth, try it, go on. What’s what? Yes, I have considered that I have some low-grade synesthesia, but this is about mouthfeel, also have you considered that the number 4 is just yellow, okay, it just is.
- Going outside into the hot-hot after being in the cold-cold, and you get that nice temperature-shock; if you can time that so it lasts until just before you start to actually heat up, like the exact length of the walk from the movie theatre to your car or whatever, whoa doctor that’s the good stuff.
- When someone speaks a language you’re learning in something you’re watching and you can actually catch some of it and see your effort paying off; usually this takes the form of turning to your partner/cat/water-bottle and saying “Uh, it–something about either a lighter or an airplane? The ‘zeug’ suffix, it–oh okay no, see, it was about tax benefits, like I said.”
- The blep, in all its manifestations:
- A good back-scratcher? Unbeatable.
- Growing out of old, pointless constraints; I was a picky eater as a kid and still don’t have a very broad palate, but in the past year something clicked in my head and gang, it turns out garlic kicks ass. Generally I want food to be reliable, familiar, and comforting, and I tend to seek out adventure and variety in other areas of my life; I maintain that there’s nothing wrong with that–any more than there would be if someone was a wildly adventurous eater but only read I dunno, Tom Clancy or something–but it is really nice when a limited repertoire expands naturally.
- When a show does a special version of its theme song or title sequence based on the premise of the episode; Psych reliably does this multiple times (and in multiple languages) per season, Supernatural could usually be counted on for a Christmassy title-card, and the shockingly divisive musical episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds had an a capella theme, in addition to the Lower Decks crossover episode having an animated title sequence.
- ALF, the show and the guy. He just makes me happy, especially in the middle seasons when they’d kinda laid off the “LOL alien McDonalds!” schtick but before they abandoned his compassion, vulnerability, and sheer weirdness for later-80’s edgy cynicism.
- When you’re in a customer-service job (or have to patronize one) and get somebody who really understands and enjoys the mechanisms of conversation and is in sync with you about what you’re both doing there; it’s like playing chess or Tak or a fighting game or whatever against an opponent who’s less interested in winning for its own sake than in playing a good game with you.
- Okay this one is dicey but I’m going to trust my readers to assume positive intent and understand that I am always scared of accidentally being racist, but we all know the meme about when an older Black lady calls you “baby” and you feel like you could fight the Devil singlehandedly, right? There are other versions of that, and I wanna be clear that I don’t mean it in a weird objectifying collect-ethnic-compliments sense, but like if I hold the door for an older Latino gentleman and he says “Thank you muchacho” you bet your ass I am riding that high all day. Look at me. Look at me. I am the muchacho now.
Listen, I was raised in a racist society by racists (who were also raised in that same society) and I will never fully trust my own thoughts regarding non-white people because programming like that is a bitch to uninstall, but I try–arguably way too hard, but I’d rather be a tryhard than a doesn’t-try–to be actively antiracist, and I like to think that you don’t get the “Baby” or the “Muchacho” if the person you’re talking to doesn’t get that you are, God help you, trying to be One Of The Good Ones.
- God, I love a good mac and cheese; I think the humble hamburger is probably my Favorite Food, but in terms of sheer comfort nothing beats that delicious orange witchKraft. It takes me back to one of my oldest memories: sitting in my parents’ room, eating a bowl of Super Mario Bros. 3-shapes blue-box, and watching an episode of the Scooby-Doo series that had all the celebrity guests that I am, in retrospect, fairly sure couldn’t have existed. If comfort food means, as I suspect, mostly nostalgia-for-simpler-times-when-you’d-never-had-a-headache-and-didn’t-know-about-climate-change food, there’s just no beating that goopy orange garbage, made with as much butter and as little milk as I can get away with.
- Celebrated Local Cat Tiramisu J. Cat; he’s the tiniest, bitiest motherfucker who’s still in his teething stage, and I can’t imagine my life without him. He was separated from his mother too early and still tries to nurse on me when we sit on the couch watching Star Trek while baking extremely painful biscuits on my tummy. He’s learned all the wrong habits from his older brothers and is well on his way to being a doorjamb-destroying terror I’ll be completely incapable of staying mad at; he’s chewed through three power cables and into our hearts.
- When a character in an animated show steps out from behind something they couldn’t possibly have been hiding behind, like a rake or a spaghetti that had been hung up to dry, that shit gets me every time.
- Oh man when you lash your gripper out like LIGHTNING’S OWN HAND, smack it down with a seismic impact, lift your hand, and discover that yes indeed you did fucking nail that mosquito.
- Honestly, that this list is done. It was a lot of fun, but I’m sure I don’t need to explain how things like this escape your mind entirely when you try to pin them down, like Dr. Phil’s first name1 or your own goddamn phone number that you’ve had since 20082
I have a job interview tomorrow! Wish me luck! Or–or at least not active misfortune. Or if misfortune, at least that it’s hilarious3. Which thing on my list do you find most relatable? Most baffling? Most hungry-making? Make with the answers, tchotchke!