Busy

Posted By on March 6, 2006

Or
“How I Wrote the Greatest First Words of All Time, Witnessed a Witness Witnessing, Argued Needlessly on the Internet, Found Love in the Unlikeliest of Locations, Offended the Sensibilities of Many, and Wrestled a Christian with Cystic Fibrosis.”

First

.: The greatest introductory sentence in all of English literature has just been read by you, reader. You might object to this claim, citing Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” or Dickens’s “Tale of Two Cities” in your support, but you are wrong. My sentence succeeds by virtue of its being completely unrelated to the rest of the following post.


A courageous young student seeks to convert the heathen majority at Baylor, the largest Baptist university in the world.

Witness

.: Two weeks ago I was on my way to my Christian Scriptures class when I spotted a curious scene: a fellow Baylor student standing atop a soapbox and preaching to whomever crossed his path. Apparently, I learned later, he had been doing this sort of thing for quite some time. As I entered my class, my professor remarked, “If that clown brings out his megaphone again, I’m going to go out there and persecute him. Actually that’ll probably make him feel good about himself.”

.: I suppose it’s kind of funny that he chose a spot directly across the street from Baylor’s Bible study building. He might be ass-wipingly annoying, but he sure knows how to make a statement. Also, I have to give him credit for using an actual soapbox.

.: However, I must say I prefer the resident Witness for Christ who hangs around the science building. He has a much subtler method, one that includes writing various biblical passages on several dry-erase boards scattered throughout the halls and wearing a large piece of cardboard sign with a pithy statement like “His Love Endures.” To me this is much more tolerable, all without being any less quirky.

.: The past few weekends I’ve been going to Baylor’s inherently unofficial Atheists and Agnostics group. The name is not entirely accurate, either, since there are regular members who happen to be rather ardent theists. Also, as you wouldn’t expect from a group with such a name, philosophical discussions regarding the existence or nonexistence of supernatural entities are comparatively rare. I go to the meetings mainly because it’s a place to interact with your standard assortment of atypical Baylor students, and because most of them laugh at my jokes.

.: Plus, what other groups allow you to settle your theological differences with a wrestling match?

Internet

.: My pinko commie atheist friend Justin has a xanga wherein he likes to argue with people he has never met in real life. In fact, Justin would argue with me about my choice of words just there. “I’ve met them in real life,” he’d tell me, “because I have held conversations with them. Everything that we experience is materially explicably and therefore real. The notion that I can have a conversation with someone I haven’t met in ‘real life’ is a meaningless concept that wields no descriptive power whatsoever. I therefore reject your statement as nothing more than syntatically ordered gibberish.”

.: Well, Justin and another internet philosopher named jlee22 were in the midst of a discussion about — of all things — all things. God’s existence, morality, agreeable definitions; the usual mix. The way they’ve carried out the discussion is a confusing one: jlee22 will respond to something Justin said in a post, and then instead of responding in that same thread, Justin will go to jlee22’s xanga and post his response in the comments section of jlee22’s most recent xanga entry (whether or not it is actually related to the discussion), and then jlee22 will proceed in kind. It’s very difficult to find the actual beginning of the discussion, and for newcomers who just happen to click on a thread and find either jlee22 or Justin responding to what seem like quotations of their own invention, the matter can be very confusing. Luckily for me, I never let confusion influence my judgment when posting on the internet.

.: One day I visited Justin’s xanga and found the following bit of goofery posted by jlee22:

. . . It may be the case that instead of one linear timeline, reality may be an insanely complex web. So by making decisions we continuously move from one possible world to another. Of course, our movements are small – we don’t immediately move from a world that has a male U.S. president to a world that has a female U.S. president – but we move nonetheless. It is as if we are pawns (aptly put, perhaps), in that we can move forward or diagonally (sometimes), but never backward. So time seems to expand from one dimension to two. Quantum indeterminacy can also be illustrative here. It seems our conscious experience affects our reality to some extent. Perhaps our experience guides us from one world to another. If God has present knowledge in this sense, it may be the case that God has knowledge of all versions of me in all possible worlds. It may be the case then that while God is still omniscient, I am still free as I move from world to world.

.: There are a few key words that whenever used outside their proper context raise my suspicion, words like entropy, meta-, and quantum [anything]. So with my usual insouciance, I posted the following comment:

“Quantum indeterminacy”

My bullshit-detector just exploded.

.: That didn’t sit well with Mr. lee22, and he fired back with this typical display of philosophical pretension:

Feel free to point out any substantial errors of reasoning committed in my above argument…if you can, that is.

.: I’m particularly fond of the last little bit: if you can, that is. All he was missing was a “muhahahaha.” Had he included that, I would have felt utterly crushed. But he didn’t, so I posted this:

Well, you used a concept that’s unknown or misunderstood by most people without scientific training as a means to further illustrate a point you made (but not too far). You, sir, reek of post-modernist hogwash — or worse yet, the grubby stench one usually finds emanating from Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment.

Fashionable nonsense . . . and thus the reason for my BS-dectector’s [sic] unfortunate explosion.

.: Since you’re probably deeply insulted by my assumption that you would find this pathetic internet squabble the least bit interesting, I’m going to go ahead and forego the usual commentary that would precede this next posting and get right to it (if I were you I’d just skip down to Love):

Your comments do nothing to address the argument in question. Do you even know what the argument in question is? Have you been following the thread between myself and [Justin]? If so, then why not address the main points and premises in the arguments given by either side instead of quibbling over a disposable illustration?

Your lack of anything substantial to say leads me to believe that you saw a lot of words in my comment that you did not understand and thus concluded that I was a bull-shitting postmodernist. In fact, do you even know what postmodernity is? If so, please explain in a sufficient level of detail how my comments are “postmodernist hogwash.”

It looks like someone’s all up in the Kool-Aid and doesn’t know the flavor.

.: With that Kool-Aid joke in check, I knew the kill was imminent. Here’s my final response:

I don’t care about the argument in question. I focus on details; it’s what I do (call it quibbling, I’m not offended). I saw you employ a tactic that many other post-modernists use in their writings: illustrating a point by invoking mathematical- or scientific-sounding concepts that only confuse the bigger picture, and which are often entirely unrelated to the argument in question. A quick gander at wikipedia shows that, yes, this is indeed the case for your use of Quantum Indeterminacy.

Honestly, did you think your target audience (Justin, no physicist he) would have a basic understanding of Quantum Indeterminacy? If not, why bother including that bit in if it were “disposable,” as you say? It looks to me like you’re using impressive language instead of impressive arguments — in other words, fashionable nonsense.

.: After that, jlee22 simply ignored my comment and continued to duke it out with Justin. I figure either I bested him on a subject he thought he knew, or he’s just so far above me he wouldn’t deign to dignify my post with a response. I’m pretty sure it’s the former, though, because who the fuck knows anything about Quantum Indeterminacy?


Texarkana: Home of Downtown Texarkana

Love

.: Last weekend Susan and I drove to Texarkana. That’s not to say we both climbed into a car and took turns driving in one hour shifts, but that we decided to meet each other about halfway between Waco and Conway. Texarkana isn’t exactly halfway (I have to drive more), but it’s close enough. Other than being approximately equidistant between A and B, Texarkana really has nothing to offer. Sure, there was an Albertson’s that stocked Tommyknocker, Sioux City, Jones, and Sprecher brand root beers, but any major city has a grocery store with that kind of variety. No, we didn’t go to Texarkana to see the city; we went for each other. And what a pleasant weekend it was!

.: I rented us a two-room kabin at the local KOA, because we wanted to experience nature as God intended us to: with the bathroom in a separate building 150 feet away. Sure, we could have stayed at the Ambassador’s Inn across the street, but I didn’t trust the name. Ambassador’s Inn? Oh really? And how many ambassadors have stayed there for $29.99 a night? And what exactly would an ambassador be doing in Texarkana anyway?

.: Other than several dozen Waffle Houses, the one thing Texarkana has going for it is by far the coolest playground fortress I’ve ever seen. The plaque at the entrance told us that it was designed by kids, for kids — which I think is odd, because the location of the playground is smack in the middle of Texarkana’s worst area, represented by the pink zone in this helpful map.


We had to wait for the other people there to leave before I was able to act like a goofus. Enlarge image

.: This playground was the perfect place to shoot another composite clone picture (cf. “Me, Myself, My Clone, etc.”), and I think you’ll agree with me that the end result came out amazing.

.: Come to think of it, I didn’t actually find love in Texarkana, and it’s also not the unlikeliest of places. In fact, with our plan of meeting halfway, it is the likeliest place. Still, it doesn’t matter if the city is uninteresting; I went so I could see Susan, and I enjoy her company anywhere. So, while I didn’t “find” love in an “unlikely” place, I did get to be with someone I love, which is kind of the same thing, only better.

Sensibilities

.: I recently attended a magarita party hosted by the friend of my neighbor. I knew a good many people at the party, but there were some new faces who didn’t recognize me either. I’ve learned the most bewildering thing to say to a college student is the following combination of words: “Sorry, I don’t drink.” To them, you might as well be speaking in tongue. “Sar ru, Iei do na tri kay.”

.: “Huh?”

.: Granted, I was at a magarita party, so I could understand why they’d be a little confused. But some of these people — the ones I didn’t already know — reacted with genuine disgust. “Ugh!” I heard them gasp under their breath. They looked at me like I was some sort of outcast, someone not worthy of their presence. And yet, these are the same people who decided to put molten velvetta cheese in a chocolate fountain, so clearly you can see how valuable their opinion of me is.

Wrestle

.: As I mentioned earlier, the Atheists and Agnostics group fully endorses the physical act of wrestling as a legitimate means of resolving theological conflicts. Well, that may not be entirely true, but they did take plenty of pictures.

.: Our resident Seventh-day Adventist couldn’t quite accept that moral objectivity doesn’t exist, so he challenged us to a wrestling match, and I accepted.

.: By standard wrestling rules, I won the match, having pinned both of his shoulders on the ground for more than three seconds. The best part is that this person has Cystic Fibrosis, which makes him the second cripple I’ve wrestled — and beaten.

About The Author

Comments

10 Responses to “Busy”

  1. Christina says:

    Is that related to the time you wrestled a cripple? You need to stop thinking that these things are achievements.

  2. Dallas says:

    “Sar ru, Iei do na tri kay.”

    Ye pu sae.

  3. Cody says:

    surreal, that link is broken. However, thanks to internet forensics, I was able to determine what exactly it was you were trying to show us. Behold!

  4. Steve says:

    Good God, there are so many of you on that playground. Reminds me of Matrix Reloaded. Next time you do it, you should were a suit and earpiece.

  5. Christina says:

    What a grand idea, Steve! I’m pretty sure that Cody’s a robot anyway, so it makes so much sense!!

  6. Ian says:

    Just so you know, in case I don’t talk to you before then, you’ve been okayed to drag all your bum friends along to my house, so yay. See you monday!

  7. Gigi says:

    Well, you pinned him down, but he drew blood. Did.. did the theist pwn the theological debate? Say [whoops, I accidentally deleted the rest of this comment while cleaning out spam, sorry – Cody]

  8. Party Chairman Justin says:

    The Christian did draw first blood (ironic… or expected?), but I’d have to side with Cody on the legitimacy of the Thee Olde School Rules.

  9. Gigi says:

    Woo hoo! I did it! The picture’s on Xanga, and let me know what you think. I [damnit, I did it again! I fucking clipped a part of this comment ’cause of stupid comment spam. Shit. – Cody]