Just imagine what my (BMcC) life could have been like instead [And perhaps yours, as well?]; But I was no big deal [Were you?]
"I didn't ask for it." (BMcC)
When I was a child, I often wanted to be somewhere other than where I was. I was often dragged around to places by my "parents". When we got there I wanted to leave because it was not a place I wanted to stay. When I did want to be where I was and to be doing what I was doing or not doing, "they" would take it away from me. My parents, and then also the faculty of St. Paul's Day Carcel for Pubescent Virgin Minotaurs (except for the one in 2001 who caused the big society scandal by video taping himself doing a sex act with a female from another "prep" school: Oink! Oink!), determined my itinerary.
Before I grew my fingernails grow "long" [I was never homlosexual, and much less than that , LBQWERTY], I would mutilate books I was reading by rubbing my fingernail into the corner of the pages to soothe myself. I had a hard time reading. It felt at least relieving. (This was high school, or, as they called it, "prep" school; it certainly did not seem to me to be preparing me for anything I might hope to attain.) When I let my fingernails grow longer (in part to protect my fingertips from unwelcome environmental impingements), then I wrecked the corners of books less because rubbing my fingernails against each other provided the same kind of soothing; I had strong fingernails, so they easily endured this service; like much else on my physiology my fingernails were not "good" for trying to brutalize people (varsity contact sports and 'Nam, e.g.), but would have been probably very good for experiencing gentle pleasure insofar as my oppressors would have permitted it, and that, in general, pleasure is possible for what Walter Ong called: the expendable gender. (Medieval Ottoman Islam said that Allah gave 90% of sexual pleasure to women. No wonder, consequently, that men abuse wome; Mr. Sigmund Freud never to my knowledge psychoanalyzed his own or anybody else's infantile ritual genital mutilation (aka: circumcision), did he? (Prig.)
I thank classsmates.com for having my 1964 yearbook online (if I had the free ca$h I would purchase a copy: $99). "My page" has me, at the bottom, digging thru a box of perhaps discard paper with the caption (although I never read Proust or studied French): "A la recherche duo temps perdu". The top part (see above) shows my then face looking like maybe a mannekin: Big ears exposed by a haircutted head I do not identify with. The caption (probably from Jean-Paul Sartre's play "The Files") which surely I did not understand whatever it mean, because I had been ignoranced to understand very little of anything even though I may have had the innate ability to do better, reads (all lower case letters):
orestes: you will give me your hand and we will go--
orestes: i don't know. towards ourselves.
I was not not waiting for Godot. The text is not formatted with conformist upper and lower case letters (surely it was not all lower case in the play from which i quoted it). I did not have an electra, and if I would have, it had better not have been a sister because incest was/is not approved of by my social surround. Note (this is just from a screen shot) the instance of what they deprived me of at left. I was never interested in women's "lingerie"; I always just wanted a girl who was very intelligent and also easy on the eyes without any makeup. I am not one of those people for whom variety is the [superficial] spice of life; whenever I find any thing (or person, or more easily, a cat) I want, I want more of it, not any different thing more (i.e.: other). The sorrow and the pity.
Soul murderers. Human traffickers. Kidnappers. And more.... Not a single one ever lost their job, paid me reparations, was incarcerated or even was just publicly shamed for what they did to me. Except, by proxy, in 2001, in two articles in the nationally honored Baltimore Sun newspaper about the big society scandal one of their pride and joys did (may I say, understanding the words in some of their metaphorical senses: he fucked the bastards good! Alas, the kid was probably too well indoctrinated by them to appreciate what he was doing but was just being an unthinking
jerk jock Prosit!)
Back to the quote: It should be obvious what that quote could point to, of which I had no idea at the time: Ulrich and Agathe in Robert Musil's "The Man Without Qualities", where ever since I first read it (the original Picador English translation edition, and without any relation to Teachers College) I have thought the third volume was lab exercises. Imagine!
The other man without qualities (BMcC)
I never identified with any of the properties I had or currently at any moment, have. (Do people really do that?) I never felt good about getting award for being what the people around me wanted people to aspire to be (of course, if it came with money or other useful secondary effects, I wanted all I could get!). "Headmaster's List" in perp school? That meant I could spend my "free periods" in the peace and quiet of the institution's small library, not in the oppressive mass "study hall" where I did not even like the knotty pine walls. Praise just meant -- and this was not unimportant! -- not being harrassed more for the moment, because I mever won the only meaningful prize: To no longer have to compete any more. I study my own social customs. I was never into helping keep America beautiful by getting a haircut.
AIdolf Hitler or Ronald
MacDonald Reagan? Just don't bug me [Of course I wish neither one of them had ever been or in future might be born.]. One good afternoon from my teenage high school years I recall was spent wandering around the Johns Hopkins University bookstore; problem? I didn't know what the good books were. Few places are lovelier than white-collar offices at 04:00 when only the soft glow of emergency exit signs provides inadequate lighting to not see where i'm going— and nobody's there;except then I had to work there. Cats like to push anything they can move with their little front paws off a desk and observe it fall to the floor.... [Thunk.] Meow!
I (BMcC) went to work in an engineering office (computer programming). I saw the engineers (computer programmers) sporting tie tacks with little horse's heads on them (or similar), who, in their work, displayed a spirit of precision. Computer code does not tolerate any sentimentality; either it's right or it's a bug. But I expended 40+ years of my life there because I did not heve the capitalization to leave. I lost a lot and I learned some. There probably are few other persons who have such a jaded estimation of the banality of most computer programmers'
souls minds, as me. I prefer garbage collectors because their heads are not are piñatas. With manual laborers, from the "sanitary engineers" to master potters (not fop ceramic "artists"!), what you see is what you get, not lipstick on a pig (those tie tacks with the little horse's heads on them, architect Robert Venturi's "decorated sheds" which are not real farmers' barns with Mail Pouch Tobacco ads on them, etc.).
"Other than chance encounters,
We can only encounter in reality
What we have previously encountered in fantasy."
Other than chance(Gordon Hirshhorn, 1929-2012)
In the matter of J Robert Oppenheimer
I was surely far less intelligent than J Robert Oppenheimer. But, to adduce an image, if he was 10 feet tall and I was 4 feet tall, and he started off life at an elevation of 40 feet while I started off 50 feet in a hole, it should be obvious that the differnce in altitude could have been less. My childrearers and the rest of the people around me were mostly potholes, and in the best cases could have been pavement. His were cultured people. Life is not fair, but that does not make it right. We surely had one thing in common: we both weighte under 130 pounds. HIm being jewish, he was probably also genitally mutilated (aka: circumcised, but mine was not for religious reasons, just due to secular social habit of people who have eyes but do not see and ears but do not hear (Jeremiah 5:21)).
Something I read that really excited me was that when he had defended his dissertation, one of the examiners "reportedly left the room stating 'I'm glad that's over. He was at the point of questioning me'" ("The Eccentricities of J. Robert Oppenheimer", Jørgen Viesdal, +2021,07.21) Reading that made me want to SCREAM: "MeToo!" Not about my dissertation committee, who were mostly quite decent to me at my orals (and the one, a junior faculty member, who was not I dispatched without any protest from the two endowed chair professors, and the third full professor who may have been dozing off), but in any number of other situations in my 75 years of less-than-living. And I actually sort of did it to Professor John Wild when I called him to an accounting for lecturing about human freedom when I would have to take an examination at the end of his course. I may not have been major league material, but at least I could play ball unlike the slugs not sluggers, but including even a sluggie, around me. I have tried in my way to be free (Leonard Cohen). I have not always been honorable but the people in their cheap glass houses love to throw stones, don't they?
Which leads me to an aside. The potholes around me complain that I don't talk normal but always am associating the trivia of daily life with "big ideas", or that I make a big deal of doing something insignificant. If it's no big deal, why should anybody do it? If it is mere trvial then that's what the person doing it is worth, isn't it? (Of course the implicit reason they don't want me making a big deal out of each thing they want to dump on me is that if each of these things is big then they can't happily dump as many of them on me as if each of them is just trivial. They are so selflessly concerned about me!.) Semi-contrived examples: When I clean the cat litter box, I always think of buddhist monks raking dry gardens in their temples in Japan. Or taking a shower I think of Auschwitz. Should I be less and just be banally "realistic"? ~ Imagine how much better off America would be if every time anybody emitted words from their facial orifice that they had not originatively cooked up themself, they had to add citation information. I would change the First Amendment freedom of speech to: You can say what you want as long as you also give credit to the source so that anyone who wished could follow its audit trail, and you would thereby also show you had some care about it and were not just vomiting back up what somebody like maybe your parents or advertising previously fed into you.
Which leads to anothe aside: The potholes don't like that often I do not answer the question they ask me to their gratification. But they do not pre-provide tha answer they want out of me, so that I could hand it back to them, nor do they give give me a multiple choice: "(A) Blah1, (B) Blah2, (C) Blah3, or (D) Other". When I feel the question is wrong, how can I give a correct anwer to a wrong question except by correcting the question first? (This is something I learned as a computer systems progremmer fixing application programmers' problems: The problem as stated is often not the problem but just more data for figuring out what the problem is or if indeed there is any problem and not just the asker's not understanding something. "Oh, that's business and this is family"? "Uh, please explain how the sun I see rising when I look out the office window is a different sun from the sun I see rising when I look out the living room window, etcetera and so forth.)