Our Stupid Bodies, Our Selves

“The Stupid Human Body”

As humans on this physical plane of existence, we come equipped with fleshy meat suits, also known as bodies. It’s sort of a requirement, a prerequisite, that we be composed of matter to, you know, be here.

It’s an unfortunate condition, if you ask me, on account of all the limitations.

Sure, it’s cool that we are composed of the very atoms and molecules that formed during the big bang and that make up stars and all, but why are bodies so stupid?

My body is so stupid it can’t make normal red blood cells, and now I have to rely on the world’s most expensive medication just to make sure my own immune system doesn’t kill me (it will eventually).

What bothers me the most about this particularly stupid limitation is that it really gets in the way of being good at roller derby, coincidently one of the only things I care about. Oh, are you feeling tired during this jam, body? Maybe you should have thought about that before creating those cancerous stem cells, asshole.

Also, being made of matter complicates things like transportation and mortality. We have to travel between point A and point B to get anywhere, which is pretty dumb when you think about it. And these bodies age over time, experiencing wear and tear the more we use them. I mean, whose idea was this?

Also, they look really stupid most of the time. Case in point: me. 

Then there’s all the stupid questions I have to obsess over every day:

  • -What is consciousness
  • -Is it even real
  • -If it is, where is the boundary between my consciousness and the body that encases it
  • -If my body is subject to time, is my consciousness timeless
  • -How come I wake up as the same me every morning
  • -Or do I just think I’m the same me, when in fact I am a totally different me with an entirely new set of memories
  • -Etc.

There is one person I know of at least who seems totally cool with his body, and that is the guy working on the new boiler system at my office. There’s been a parade of 4-5 different dudebros banging and drilling their way through our building for the past two months, and I’m pretty sure they are all named Randy. They are friendly, hard-working guys, braving the dust and mice in the ceiling, and warning me before every loud noise, which is nice of them.

And at least they are skilled in a useful life trade, while I just stare at screens all day and become quietly enraged over commas.

But they are kind of gross. Two in particular belch loudly on a regular basis. One of them more than once has released a series of farts, nay, a volley of farts, with abandon, including one time while in mid-sentence. This would be fine if it weren’t all happening five feet from my desk.

Moreover, what is he eating? I find burping and farting as hilarious as the next person, but maybe he should see someone about this.

Either way, you’ve gotta be comfortable in your body to just casually let things rip like that. Maybe he is a truly enlightened being, and the path to enlightenment is farting whenever, wherever.

If spiritual teachers have taught us anything, it’s that the journey to nirvana, heaven, enlightenment — whatever you call it — is our most important directive in life, so maybe we should all just embrace our stupid bodies. I certainly am. *farts*

 

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Welcome Back: Post-Tournament Introvert Hangover

Welcome Back: Post-Tournament Introvert Hangover

**Deep exhale**

I’m just going to skip over the obvious OH MY GOD WE WON D2 post, as I’m still processing all that and have already had that freakout over various social media platforms.

I’ll just say quickly that I am positively bursting with pride over my team and how well we came together during those games. I’m really glad I got to jam in three of the five games Boston played (and won), including the championship game against Paris. Of all the tournaments I’ve been to, this one was by far the most fun and memorable. I am exceptionally lucky to be on this team, and I’ll certainly miss those skaters who are retiring this year.

 

Decompressing

I’m currently in the post-tournament recovery period.

As a classic introvert, I have to decompress after being constantly surrounded by people for five days. While the team GroupMe chatter continues with gossip over who was praised in a game recap, who drank what out of the trophy, and who threw up on the plane ride home, I need some time away from the noise.

In addition to being around your teammates nonstop, most of your time during these tournaments is spent in crowded public places – airports, hotels, restaurants, and convention centers.

It’s a massive energy suck for those of us who generally avoid those situations.

As soon as I got home yesterday afternoon, I didn’t leave the house. I stayed in, caught up on Game of Thrones, and ate my way through the kitchen like a human Pac-Man.

Other ways I plan on spending the next several days:

  • – Living in an ice bath
  • – Drinking hot tea after said ice bath
  • – Reading Kurt Vonnegut
  • – Listening to The Drums’ new album
  • – Foam rolling my calf muscles to the point of liquefaction
  • – Speaking to no one

 

The Bubble

That’s not to say that a part of me doesn’t miss all the stimulation. The first 24 hours after a whirlwind championship weekend always feels like time has slowed, like your derby bubble has burst.

In the real world, most 30-somethings have lives that don’t include ref calls, plus or minus point averages, or competitive brackets. It’s hard to come back to a civilization that doesn’t really understand or care about where you’ve just left your proverbial blood, sweat, and tears.

This “bubble factor” could be why it’s so hard to take a full off-season, let alone leave the sport completely. I’ve been playing for nine years and will probably continue many more until I find something that matches up to derby. One of my biggest life fears is that nothing will ever be as fun as this, and it’s a thought that seems to creep up on me more after the season ends and I’m left with derby withdrawal.

MOVING ON, I’m really looking forward to the D1 tournaments over the next few weeks. I’ll be watching every single game, albeit consumed with jealously and envy for teams that are still safely encased in their derby bubbles.

 

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Onward to D2 / Owning My Okayness

The WFTDA post-season is about to kick off this weekend in Pittsburgh with the Division 2 playoff/championship tournament. For the first time ever, Boston will be going to D2 instead of D1, and the feelings I’m feeling are the following:

  • A. Excitement
  • B. Disappointment
  • C. General ambivalence between A and B

I know, I’m being kind of a baby about the whole thing.

For starters, there’s no shame in being in D2. We all know that D2 playoffs showcase some of the best up-and-coming teams playing nail-biter games down to the last jam. Moreover, there are some great skaters in D2 that could absolutely hold their own against the best of the best.

But maybe that’s why I’m more nervous going into this tournament. We may have a much bigger shot at winning a few games and moving up, so in a way, there’s more pressure. The tournament is happening in three days, so I’ve been trying to put all that petty rankings stuff out of my head and focus on the task at hand.

That having been said, it was hard to see those rankings released after our rough weekend in San Francisco. It didn’t feel like those matchups necessarily represented what we were capable of (The Apex agrees). But a quick cure to that disappointment is watching footage of the teams we will be facing in Pittsburgh.

This is when I get excited. I’ve never had the opportunity to play most of these teams and after studying them, they are certainly not to be underestimated.

Lesson: Don’t be an elitist baby about rankings. Derby has a way of weeding those types out.

*****

I’m Okay and That’s Okay

The thing of it is, I transferred to Boston because they were (and remain) the highest ranked team in the region. Despite coming from a then-D1 team, it took me nearly two challenging years to even make alternate for the Boston Massacre. Now that I’m finally a primary jammer, we’ve slipped in rankings and are even slightly lower ranked than my previous team had been.

It is what it is. No team is immune to this. It’s certainly not going to stop us from getting back to where we were.

Sometimes Your Best Isn’t Enough (personally speaking)

Even now I get pushed off the roster sometimes. It’s part of being a jammer, competing for a limited number of roster spots. I still see myself getting surpassed by jammers who have not been playing nearly as long as I have. That’s not something that ever happened at the smaller, less competitive leagues I’ve been on.

Playing for such a challenging team has made me face the fact that hard work does not equal talent. To truly stand out or excel at anything, it takes some kind of combination of those two factors. But I’ve learned to accept that no matter how hard I work, I will never be as good as those with that natural edge.

It’s not that I think I suck. I’m just not where I thought I would be at this point, despite working my ass off.

We’re going into this tournament with a deep jammer rotation, and I’ve already been benched for the first game. So it goes.

Basically, the most you can do in roller derby, and probably life in general, is to try to be better than you were yesterday. I won’t be a star jammer on a team like this, for a city like this, but I know I’m far better than the jammer I was before I transferred.

And I’m proud of my jammer teammates. I love seeing them do amazing things at practice. I love having such a high bar. When one of us succeeds, we all do.

Anyway, see you in Pittsburgh. I may not be playing in every game, but I’ll be there.

*****

If you’d like to tune in to the games, they will be livestreamed via WFTDA.tv beginning on Friday.

 

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Um, Excuse Me, Can We Talk About Norman Spinrad’s “The Iron Dream”? Part 1

I’ve recently become aware of the existence of a book called The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad. I know what you’re thinking and no, I’m not talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Iron Dream Concentrated Nighttime Recovery Supplement (“contains no iron”) (“Is worth buying just for the crazy dreams you have. Knocks me out for the night after 30 mins of taking. 10/10 would buy again.”). 

Spinrad’s book of the same title is actually satirical science fiction with multiple layers of meta – basically, if Hitler wrote a Nazi-themed sci-fi slosh that was also its own anti-fascist allegory. Its hero, Feric Jaggar, is a motorcycling, xenophobic, racially pure human living on a planet of mutants. He’s basically Hitler’s alter ego, were Hitler a mediocre sci-fi author.

 

AND CAN WE ALSO TALK ABOUT THE COVER ART?

  • -Height 80’s hair.
  • -Fist punching you in the face.
  • -“Exciting and tense”

 

  • -Sweet block font.
  • -Cool lasers.
  • -Rocket ship dick.

 

  • -Hitler doing a wheelie.
  • -Boots badass af.

 

  • -Hair blowing in the wind.
  • -Pegacorn motorcycle motif.
  • -Swastika choker.

 

I straight up don’t know what to say about this one, except that it’s a thing of nightmares.

 

What’s fun about this book is that it’s a satire on Hitler, fascism, and the sci-fi genre as a whole. I want to own every single one of these paperbacks. I don’t care how it looks having so many books with Hitler on the cover.

I found a used copy on Amazon, which I went ahead and ordered. There is a Kindle version available for $2.99, but there are multiple reviews about it being riddled with errors on nearly every page. I can tell you right now that I can’t handle that, so paperback it is. I get the sense that I am going to have some strong ~feelings~ one way or another about this book, so I’ll give it a read and follow up on it with a sequel to this post, “Um, Excuse Me, Can We Talk About Norman Spinrad’s The Iron Dream? Part 2.”

Stay tuned.

 

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Puking Aardvarks and Other Weird Shit I Wrote About As a Kid

Awkward child or creative genius?

 

On my first day of third grade my class was given the simplest of homework assignments: write a story. It could be on any topic we wanted. Any topic at all, my teacher assured us. I was delighted by the possibilities. I couldn’t wait to get home and start my masterpiece.

That night, the words poured from my tiny brain and onto the wide-ruled paper with fervor. It was my first experience of a piece writing itself and my first time feeling that laser beam focus brought on by inspired writing.

The end result was an epic tome about a family whose home is invaded by a wild aardvark that trashes every room, eats all their food, and then barfs everywhere.

The end.

Not only did I write this story with zeal, but the barfing sequence spanned a whole page. I thought it was a comic triumph, a true literary accomplishment, a droll, insightful tale for the ages. I couldn’t wait to turn it in.

So you can imagine my surprise the next morning when I realized that everyone else had simply written a few paragraphs about their summer vacation. I knew this because my teacher read every story out loud to the class.

As anecdotes of beach outings and Disney World adventures were met with applause and even some Q & A, my puking aardvark extravaganza was followed only by a long, stunned silence that will forever reverberate through my soul. 

I had no friends going into third grade, and needless to say, I did not make any more that year.

I learned a few things that day. (1) I was not like everyone else, (2) there’s a sort of subtext in school and in society that everyone seems to understand but that I clearly do not, and (3) the act of writing awakens weird things in me and perhaps I should tone it down.

The spewing aardvark tale is just one of many strange short stories I wrote as a kid and later threw out from embarrassment. But today I would give anything to be able to read those stories.

Other story premises from my childhood (that I can remember):

  • -A scuba diving family of oceanographers
  • -A fish named Rufus who discovered a treasure chest and had to fight off an evil pirate named Frank (coincidently my oldest brother’s name)
  • -Various adventures of a giant named Arooga Ganooga or something
  • -A haunted house with a mirror that led to another dimension (possible rip-off of a Goosebumps book?)
  • -X-Files fanfiction, including a bananas backstory about the Cigarette Smoking Man being an alien king

All this reminiscing about the absurd things I wrote as a kid is starting to make me think that I was way cooler and more creative back then. If I could tell the eight-year-old me anything, I’d grab her by the shoulders and tell her she is smart and capable and funny and has more potential than all those other boring losers who bully her everyday. I would also tell her to please save all those amazing things she wrote so that I can post a better blog about them in the future.

Stay weird, my dudes.

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