Whom

Recently, I was caught up in the vortex of a Writer’s Digest article. It promised a smattering of literary agents and contact info for the same.

As I was perusing, I noticed each and every one of them had pronouns next to his or her name.

Cute, I thought, but unnecessary.

First off, the only reason I would use a pronoun is when I’m talking about someone behind their back. Generally, I try not to do that. The only thing that comes to mind immediately is if I was using an example, like so: His profile picture made him look like an underfed clown.

I definitely wouldn’t send an email with he or she in the text. Could you imagine getting an email written to you but referring to you in third person?

“Would he like to represent me? Recent works are attached to this email for his reading judgment.”

OR

“Her interests are my interests. She likes sci-fi, and I like sci-fi.”

Comes off a bit on the creepy side, don’t you think?

It reminds me of Golem.

Anyway, I wasn’t impressed with any of the agents listed. For one thing, all the pronouns chosen were the same. Nothing wrong with being honest. However, my creativity radar was on the lookout for an agent with the sense to throw a smart-ass pronoun in there, for good measure. You know, like…

WHOM…

And the kind of agent I’m looking to represent me would follow it with a prime example.

“Who? you say. He whom doth enlighten with erudite epigrams.”

Good Things Surround Us

Overwhelming is a word which makes it difficult for me to find anything it describes.

For every challenge in life there’s a tool to overcome it. For every trial, there’s an equal or better blessing.

People around me are the same. I don’t see anyone who is overwhelmed by their troubles.

An example of this is a man I know who has a crippling case of arthritis. He has many reasons to be happy. He’s married to a brilliant, devoted woman. He has great, caring children. He even has grandchildren who boost his spirit. He has a job and friends. He also has an optimistic perspective on the afterlife. Why not? Jesus really does save everyone, whether it’s now or later.

Another person I worked with was confined to a wheelchair for the first part of his life. No one ever heard him complain. He tried to brighten everyone’s day whenever he was around. After years of cheering up others, he got some cheering of his own. He got some prosthetic legs. Soon after, he got a new job. As a grocery store cashier, he stands proudly in those prosthetic legs.

One other person I know had a terrible childhood. She decided long ago she wouldn’t let it haunt her, or even define her. She grew up to be a scientist. Now she teaches other people science.

Life is what you make it, for sure. But if you think you have troubles, just look around and you’ll see the good things outnumber the trials.

Slowshoeing

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Have you ever seen the strangest sport ever?

It operates the opposite from all other sports in its arena. While all other mountain sports enjoy a fast downhill and some sweet airtime, participants in this sport are going slow on the downhill. Slow? Not only do they go slow downhill, they go slower than they did on the way up the mountain. How anyone can enjoy a sport like that, I honestly don’t know.

Then there’s the air factor (and here I mean being up in it, not breathing it). I’ve seen the occasional mountain biker who doesn’t take the jumps and catch some air. I don’t understand them either. My brain wonders what the point is of going up the mountain only to go down in a moderate shuffle. To be fair, some of the ones who go down in this fashion are older people, though I have seen younger kids doing it. My guess for the younger ones is that they’re inexperienced and timid on the jumps. They fear the broken bone. The old ones have the same fear, probably, though they also have the decrease of function to worry about. Of course, all I have are guesses and inference from observations. My purpose for riding is not theirs. And that is the same for the strangest sport ever. Those who participate in the strangest sport are obviously not like me. They don’t think the same as me. They don’t sport the same as me.

I’m referring to the sport of trail running. Optimistically, I can see the charm of being in nature. It’s definitely more appealing to be in the trees than it is to be among the never-ending lines of automobiles where some runners run. The air in the mountains is more healthy than on the road. Despite these obvious similarities, it’s difficult for me to imagine any other appeal. What is the motivation of a trail runner?

For the sake of comparison, let’s list some other mountain sports. Luge, skeleton, and bobsled may not be the first sports you think of when you think of mountain sports, but I’m sure if you think about any of these, you’ll realize they all go fast downhill. Snowboarders may take a lift up to the top of the mountain, and it may take a long time to get there, but they go considerably faster on the way down. Skiers do the same. Even those who go beyond the groomed trails of a ski slope, carrying their skis or board on a backpack, go slow uphill (sometimes by snowshoe) and fast downhill. When the snow is gone, downhill mountain bikers may take the same gondola that the skiers and snowboarders took to the top of a mountain, but they don’t plod down the mountain, they rocket.

One of the reasons trail runners plod downhill is because the sport is hard on a body. Running in general is hard on the knees, ankles, and hips. Adding the extra gravity of a slope also adds to the pounding on the body. The pounding of a runner’s game can result in ailments such as bone spurs and plantar fasciitis, among many others. The wear-and-tear can affect a runner’s tendons, cartilage, and joints. The bones in a joint can be used beyond the design until they begin to touch. Bones aren’t meant to rub together unless you’re talking about teeth. Even then, the action can be painful.

So let’s weigh it all together. You’ve got the injurious factor, multiplied by rough terrain, loose rocks to stumble over, slopes which add to the wear-and-tear on the body. You’ve got the slowness factor (weighted heaviest as a negative). You’ve got the no-airtime factor (next heaviest). To counter those negatives, you have pleasant scenery and fresh air to breathe as positives. Putting it all this way, in this perspective, tells me there must be a measure of insanity to a trail runner, unless they’ve somehow never heard of hiking. You could get the same fresh air and beautiful scenery while hiking and have none of the excessive strain on the body. Hikers, even snowshoers, can enjoy the scenery both up and down the mountain and at the same speed in both directions. Nothing seems strange about that.

I suppose if you want the hardcore burn of one thousand stair laps, maybe the best advice would be to trade in the slowshoes for some snowshoes.

Sweaters

No, not that kind of sweater.

What kind of sweater are you? There are so many different kinds.

There are so many different ways to SWEAT.

1. Armpit sweater: the most common type and possibly the easiest to handle (unless it’s a number 13).

2. Chest sweater: usually noticeable on guys when they exercise.

3. Forehead sweater: you know it’s going to end up on the back of the hand.

4. Under-the-hair sweater: it comes leaking, creeping out.

5. Back sweater: again, this is mostly guys when they exercise, but exactly like chest sweat, women experience it too.

6. Everywhere sweater: those poor souls.

7. “Aaaugh! It’s in my eyes!” sweater: if this ever happens to you, then you know how bad it can be.

8. Crotch sweater: ewww!

9. Palm sweater: do NOT shake hands.

10. Back-of-the-knees sweater: gets stuck to the leather sofa.

11. Neck sweater: brown collar on a white shirt.

12. Just-drank-a-beer sweater: sometimes known as the maintain-your-distance sweater (see number 13).

13. 13 foot sweater: minimum distance to keep the nose alive.

14. Beltline sweater: how?

15. Nervous sweater: doesn’t even have to work, only worry.

16. And those who only “glisten”. Create your own reality.

Remember-It-All

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What if we really know everything there is to know, but we have to relearn, and remember, it all?

This is an idea based on the fact that we all come from somewhere and we’re all going somewhere, though we can’t see that far. We don’t know everything, do we?

Any human who assumes to have reality dialed in is usually only deluded. Such a person is drowning in overconfidence.

You’ve probably met someone who has an answer for every question, but no questions of their own. These are people who have become static. They’ve stopped learning. In other words, they think they know it all. They have “no need” to learn more because they think they have all the knowledge possible inside their minds already. Of course, if they truly know it all, why haven’t they transcended like a Buddha? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

It will also make you so, so “jealous”, but only with your best sarcastic voice. Wouldn’t it be nice to be sure of yourself in any discussion and on every possible topic?

We don’t know everything.

To that statement I would add an all-caps YET.

We don’t know everything…yet. Isn’t it a possibility that we’ve forgotten what we knew before we were born into these corporeal forms, and that we only need to remember it all?

Certainly some people are better at remembering than others, which leaves us with another question: those who claim to know it all, why are they so ready to make a claim of knowledge and not a claim of learning? Why is it more common for such a person to act as if it was all their doing? Are we supposed to believe this person never had a teacher, never read a book or watched a television program? Are we supposed to believe they collected all the learning on their lonesome without anyone else’s help? It would be easier to believe Sasquatch stole my sack lunch than the idea of an entity who knows everything due to a singular brain cell collecting facts from the universe by absorption and adsorption and osmosis and then imparting that knowledge through narcissistic monologs.

(And isn’t that an accurate description of a ‘blog post?) Yessir, we are getting to know ourselves better the more words come out of us, aren’t we?

All of this begs the question: Which are deeper, the mysteries of the universe, or the mysteries within ourselves?