Physician, n.: Paid assassin.
Monthly Archives: September 2013
Intellect, n.: The ability to reason: that which distinguishes humans from superior mammals.
Enemy, n.: Former friend.
Fiction is one of the few experiences where loneliness can be both confronted and relieved. Drugs, movies where stuff blows up, loud parties—all these chase away loneliness by making me forget my name’s Dave and I live in a one-by-one box of bone no other party can penetrate or know. Fiction, poetry, music, really deep serious sex, and, in various ways, religion—these are the places (for me) where loneliness is countenanced, stared down, transfigured, treated.
—David Foster Wallace
I’m fond of saying that I have a high tolerance for solitude but a low tolerance for boredom. When I get bored, I don’t just wander off and find something else to do. When I get bored, I get colossally bored, and if I wander away, I will not come back.
I tried to read a book about boredom but I couldn’t finish it. And it’s not like I need car chases and smoke screens and clever reveals. All that stuff is boring.
My boredom is like a hydra on steroids. If I cut off one of its boredom heads, another seventeen boredom heads pop up. That, or else my boredom is like an inverse hydra: if I cut off a head, multiple abysses open up.
The solution is probably to not chop off any heads. The hydra defends the underworld and, after all, is only doing its job. Which is to say that boredom probably has a purpose.
The solution might be to think of boredom as something else so as not to judge it so harshly. Better to give it stoic regard, even infuse it with kindness, possibly even glorify it as Daily Drudgery That Builds Character.