They All Count

I like Chuck Klosterman a lot, even though his take on the nemesis thing is sexist and he got bounced as The New York Times Magazine ethicist for I don’t know why.

One of my favorite Klosterman books is the not-critically-acclaimed Killing Yourself to Live, which features Chuck ruminating on his exes while completing a cross-country assignment for SPIN Magazine, visiting the sites famous rock musicians died by suicide.

In it he makes a useful point about romantic partners in general while writing specifically about “Lenore,” the pseudonym for one of his exes:

“The problem that has always been between us: Lenore wants me to be a slightly different person than who I actually am, and I can’t force myself to care about the things that are important to her. So even when we both ‘win,’ nothing really changes.”

Moral: Don’t try to make it work with someone who will always want you to be a slightly different person than who you actually are.

And since it’s Valentine’s Day, here’s a more sentimental one, about the templates for who we love.

“We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime. It’s easy. The first girl I loved was someone I knew in sixth grade…The last girl I love will be someone I haven’t even met yet, probably. They all count. But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. These are the most important people in your life, and you’ll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years.

Heart-shaped meat box, and other metaphors…

But there’s still one more tier to all this: there is always one person you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it always happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of those lovable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable. You will remember having conversations with this person that never actually happened. You will recall sexual trysts with this person that never technically occurred… This is because the person does not really exist. The person is real, and the feelings are real — but you create the context. And context is everything. The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, they’re often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else.”

Recommended Links: Dad Jokes And More

Links from my newsletter, in the form of a list. You can get these in your inbox by subscribing.

NPR is marking Father’s Day with a barrage of dad jokes on Twitter.
Everything is coming “in two weeks.”
Acts of gun violence are inherently political.
The trouble with telling American women they can do anything.
Analyzing James Comey’s high school yearbook entry.
An excellent longread on following Trump’s money.
My two favorite culture writers hung out.
The literary greatness of a rabid raccoon drowning story.
The pet “cone of shame” is so yesterday.
The Senate health bill is the logical end point for politics as performance art.
How many times since 2011 have courts found the Texas Legislature discriminating on basis of race? SIX TIMES.
Indian-Americans could be just as dominant in basketball as spelling if given early access.
“My husband and my travel wife are both generous.”
Marie Kondo, but more, is the Danshari way of life.
Sequels to Hemingway’s six-word story.
The unfettered joy of a surprise Tiny Desk Concert.
Britney Spears sings Toxic without autotune.
A peacock walks into a liquor store…

Writings and Other Creations
A dispatch from the #Hyojam nuptials, and NPR rolled out two Elise Tries episodes since my last letter: the one about pore vacuuming, and the one about Japanese toilets. Speaking of which, apparently Americans are all walking around with poopy butts, so it’s time for everyone to invest in TOTO’s. (h/t Friend Sean)

Watching

Recommendations
Take a break from headlines to look at beautiful images. Aforementioned Friend Sean has a book of Tokyo street photos available on Amazon. Or just gander at the photo blog of Channing Johnson. A friend of 15 years, I used to rent his talent for free we were in school together. Now he’s a big time wedding photographer and his work is so, so lovely.

Preparing For The Cross-Planet Move

The view from my packing position.
The view from my packing position.

So between the last time I blogged and tonight, I was in Cancun with the besties, many of whom were part of The Great Sucia Treinta Cumpleanos Extravaganza, in which Terp was briefly detained by Costa Rican authorities.

Maybe I will get to sharing the photos from that time (which was followed by a terrible bout of Montezuma’s revenge — what a crisis), but tonight I was just feeling reflective after a day of packing for 2015 Cross-Planet Move: Storage, Part A.

In order to move some clutter out of my house, I’ve decided just to call movers over tomorrow and take away as much nonsense as possible so the house can be shown for potential renters. We spent the day packing up mementos, books and a lot of things that were frankly already mostly packed from the last move and left untouched for the last three years.

Among the items, I found the “yearbook” my South Carolina TV news colleagues signed for me when I moved away in 2006. It’s filled with hilarious memories, some of which I’d forgotten. JL‘s was probably my favorite, and amazingly, all true:

All of this happened between 2005 and 2006. Because South Carolina.
All of this happened between 2005 and 2006. Because South Carolina.

Moving always makes me feel a little wistful. This is my seventh move since graduating from college, not counting this summer, when I helped move all my childhood things from a childhood home, and I seem to have more crap with each move. I love it when old mementos (like above) pop up but it all reminds me of something Chuck Klosterman wrote in Killing Yourself to Live:

“When you start thinking about what your life was like 10 years ago — and not in general terms, but in highly specific detail — it’s disturbing to realize how certain elements of your being are completely dead. They die long before you do. It’s astonishing to consider all the things from your past that used to happen all the time but (a) never happen anymore and (b) never even cross your mind.”

So it’s onward, with the 2015 version of me. I’m definitely less reckless than I used to be (but not so conscientious that I don’t get my purse stolen from my unlocked car as we saw two weeks ago).

One of My Favorite Chuck Klosterman Hypotheticals: The Cheating One

The one time I met Chuck Klosterman I totally whiffed my pickup line.

For Christmas, Matty got me a set of Chuck Klosterman Hypothetical Cards. (If this sounds lame, he did get me other stuff, too, like a TripIt PRO account! I was most excited about that and promptly started updating my TripIt on Christmas morning.)

Anyway. There is one hypothetical on each card, and they involve situations like what you’d do if you came home to a trashed house and Shaquille O’Neal was in your shower, or whether you’d own up to the fact you accidentally got selected to be saved from a meteor crashing to earth. Stuff like that. Every time we’ve been in the car since I got the cards, we have chosen one hypothetical to talk through or argue about.

But the reason I enjoy Chuck Klosterman hypotheticals so much in the first place is because of this one — the one about cheating on your girlfriend:

“This question raises a larger point about everything we pretend to understand about relationships, and particularly what we assume we understand about monogamy (and when infidelity technically begins). So while your answer to this question might seem unambiguous, the criteria you use to reach the conclusion are generally more important than the answer itself.”

If you haven’t considered this one, read it through. Once you’re done, we can have a conversation about it sometime over food and beverages. Regarding whose side I’m on, I’ve consistently held my position and am happy to defend it. Then again, if you’re a friend of mine that goes drinking with me, you probably already know whose side I’m on.