Tag Archives: Personality

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Once again, I circle the blackened sky like a bat. I get myself so worked up in the morning and early afternoon that by evening I fall asleep only to wake up at midnight or so. It’s not so bad, I guess. It’s the not the rhythm of diurnal beings such as typical humans, but at least a late-night drive is filled with light scents of flowers and burnt wood.

Last night I was having a tonic and reading at Fricker’s. It’s just a sports bar, but it has a patio. That part I like very much. However, I happened to be visited by my friend, and master potter, Eliseo. We always have a good conversation, and I appreciate him being in such a simple area.

We talked about many things, mostly art related, but last night’s discussion dabbled in Kokology. This is the study of  心, or in English terms kokoro (“mind” or “spirit”). Its a way of discussing a person’s personality, and how they see the world. This was done in a basic three-part question and answer session called “the Cube test.” The narrator asks the following questions and interprets an understanding of the person answering them:

1. You are alone in a desert. There is a cube near you. What does it look like?

2. There is also a ladder around. What does it look like?

3. There is also a horse around. What does it look like?

Instead of giving away the answers (mine or what the metaphors mean) I’d like to try something. If you would indulge me, please write down the answer to these questions in the comments section of this entry. I’ll put trust in you to not look anything up on the Internet, rather tell me the images that come to your mind first.

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The New Chapter

“And so, my fellow students…” the valedictorian had droned for what seemed like ages in a hot June sun. My thoughts were elsewhere, often on freedom. It was more freedom than I had been given thus far in my existence at least. The compulsory part of my life was done. A new chapter unfolded before me with the dusky scent of printed paper and a fancy dropped capital at the beginning. This would be the last time I’d see the vast majority of them. These cornflower-blue-garbed savages were all quiet with dread and uncertainty… or so I could only hope.

“…pursue your dreams…” Oh, God, he’s not giving that tired old line is he? How typical. The son of a doctor. The right family pedigree. The president of the school’s National Honors Society. The popular caste. What the Hell does he know but spouting platitudes from the silver spoon of society? Had he been terrorized for the last decade plus of his life? Did he know what it felt like to be clothes-lined at recess or jumped from behind while unsupervised? No. He could focus on his life. His goals. Wherever his father’s wealth would take him. Good on him, but he has a lot of nerve glad-handing me or any one of us. By “us,” I mean the scraps. The part of school he couldn’t be bothered with.

After his holiness made his decent, we were all in for three more speeches. I don’t know where I got the energy to hold on as long as I did without hurling my mortar board and tassel like a throwing star at the podium. It came and went, though, and I believe the oddly synthetic gown I was draped in provided more entertainment than it should have. I looked up. They were gathering for the conferment. At long last! I was minutes from unlocking the final door.

There I stood with the mock diploma in hand, feeling as relieved as a convict exonerated of his crime. I was a free man. It couldn’t have been better if Martin Luther King, Jr. was pointing straight at me exclaiming, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, free at last!” With a rush of victory I threw the hastily-prepared cap in the air. A symbol, not of academic achievement but of discarded injustice, soared into the baby blue sky.

***********

The World Guardian (Hooterville’s newspaper) triggered that memory yesterday. In its search for muckraking, they’ve finally gotten wise to the Hooterville City School’s “growing bullying problem.” What they, and a boatload of other Hooterville residents, fail to realize is that it has been rampant for decades. When I mean rampant, I mean mentally damaging at best and criminal (literally) at its worst.

I’ve been the awkward, overweight kid for my entire life. With some pride, I’d like to think I’ve smoothed out many of those wrinkles over the years. It’s still not perfect, but it’s progress. After reading such wide-eyed pant wetting, I threw the paper down with half a mind to spit on it. I didn’t though, because that’s unnecessary.

For those of us who were targets, the Hooterville public school system was little more than a 12-year correctional facility, rife with physically, verbally, and mentally injurious inmates just waiting to take their problems out on you. If we graduated, we survived Jigsaw’s puzzle. We might be a little damaged, but we’re still alive. I come to find out today’s students have resorted to suicide threats. They aren’t winning. They’re not beating Jigsaw.

For as little as a stranger’s sympathy is worth, I can only express my condolences. I know those feelings, and they burn. Children handle these in different ways, but I find three main avenues that come up repeatedly. The first is self-debasement and resignation to the pit. There shouldn’t have to be any clarification on what “the pit” is, but it doesn’t involve anything good. The second is violence. Depending on the child, it could range from fists, to all out Columbine-style death dealing. I can remember reading those headlines about that school. When I saw the reason, it made me very quiet. It was far too familiar for me to bear. The third is a creative or constructive life. This doesn’t mean everything’s OK. It doesn’t mean you’re right in the head. It simply means you’ve decided to be productive, creative, or otherwise constructive with your life.

Between that brand new chapter above and today, I’d like to think I grabbed some of the third part. There have been times where I’ve marched through the pit, especially after Charlotte, but I kept going. I’ve pulled myself through some tough times, and while it shows, I could neither accept nor justify violence or wholesale murder as a solution. While pop-psych can get a little nauseating, living well is the best revenge.

Why did I keep going? Because I didn’t want to get busy dying. I’d like to have a beer with Andy Dufresne someday, but if he’s not available, Tim Robbins will have to do.

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I’m On the Nightrain

Guns N’ Roses indulged in the classic 80s excess Americans enjoyed before the ever-disappointed slab of alternative music cooled teen America in the 90s. I’m not being critical of the 90s music scene, as I was very much a part of it (and ever-disappointed) as anyone else. I loved it, and still do today. Here, have some R.E.M.:

That’s for mainstream America, because it’s accessible. Here’s a young Corvidae’s jukebox in the 90s:

Back to my original thought. The song “Nightrain” has the musical feel of the steam-powered battering ram that is my drive. I’ve been told several times I’m “intense” in conversation, and what people don’t understand is that it’s an extension of my ambition. It’s steady and slow to yield, much like a locomotive. If I retire for the night, you can be rest assured I’ll be back at it soon enough until the job is done.

Today marks the first anniversary of the purchase of Stonefield (my house). I’ve marked the occasion with the completion of the walnut table. It has turned out reasonably well, but has taken over two weeks and $150 to get it back into service. Not many of my contemporaries have that tenacity anymore. I often see people let tasks slide to the point of decay, as this house would have been a perfect testament to that a year ago. It’s far from remodeled, but it’s at least comfortable now.

Before

Before

After

After

I find it very rewarding completing a job without quitting. In fact, I think my personality is primarily based on goal achievement. The happiest moments in my life were the times I have nailed all the goals I set for myself. The lowest were the times I couldn’t complete the simplest of tasks. I’m actually an active person. I need to sweat to feel good, and this feels wonderful.

Now that my chores are done for the day, I think it’s time to stop by the local bar and celebrate. Cheers!

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