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Where I ponder why I’m pondering what I’m pondering

by John on January 25th, 2018

“Dad, what’s the hottest pepper?”

That came from my son, the other day. I mentioned that I thought it was the ghost pepper, but that I was hardly an authoritative source. Apparently, it’s a new “Pepper X”.

My kids claim pepperoni is way too spicy. Why do they care about hot peppers?

I know late-night binges are harmful to the way I’m trying to craft my body. I know I love sleep. I know I have trouble with: cashews, beer, wine, and cheddar cheese.

Why do I insist on trying to stay awake at night? And why do I keep my problem-foods around, in plain sight1?

I have my two dogs – they’re both badly behaved. Benji, the larger and older of the two seems to know what is expected of him – but often just does whatever he wants, anyway (for example, I’ll leave the house in the morning to grab the travel mug out of my car – he’ll take this as “dad has left for the day” and jump onto the table to clear whatever foodstuffs the kids have left). When he’s caught doing something wrong, he acts like the guiltiest dog in the history of canine domestication (ears go back, tail goes between the legs, won’t make eye contact with anyone). Blondie, on the other hand, shows no remorse (the other day, I caught her dragging a jar of peanut butter, which she had managed to pilfer from the pantry, across the living room floor).

Why can’t the big dog teach the little dog manners? Why am I expecting human-level responsibility and initiative from my pets? And why the hell won’t the cat knock the ever-loving-shit out of the little dog2 so that the little dog might not chase the cat every time there’s an opportunity?

As I wrote about last, I spent two days in the past few weeks basically being entirely useless. During that time, I lost a not-insignificant amount of weight. My weight has been all over the place, but, lately, I’ve settled into a “I can maintain this without going crazy and most people don’t ask me if I’m sick” zone after being below it immediately after the plague. I just re-entered said zone. And I know that weight is just a number.

So why am I freak out about gaining 8 pounds in a week?

I’m a pretty technically-savvy person. I love a lot of gadgets in the house. I really don’t need anything else. I certainly don’t need to spend any more money.

Why do I obsess over whether I should get a Google Home or an Amazon Echo?

Being a dad, I find that I hold onto dollar bills — while I have a stash of dollar-coins, I have a “the tooth fairy needs to be prepared” thought. So I keep stray dollar bills in a drawer in my bedside table. And as a musician, “seeder cash” when you’re playing for tips is, well, a sad necessity.

Why can’t I shake the thought of making a strip club visit every time I see this assortment of singles? Again, I don’t need to be spending any more money.

I’m a casual sports fan, at best. When I played sports, I was moderately good at a few – but that was mainly because I was bigger than the other kids my age3. In all of my time, I have bought a single relic of a specific player: A Vladimir Guerrero jersey from his days with the Montreal Expos.

Why do I feel proud in the fact that he was just voted into the hall of fame?

If I go more than 2-3 hours without checking twitter, I start to get “the shakes.” Why do I obsess about hiking the Appalachian Trial? Consequently, if I were to go on a long-term hike, the main reason would be to unplug for a bit – so why do I ponder whether I’d get cell-phone signal in some of the remote places on this will-not-happen-anytime-soon hike?

1 Well, not the cheese – though maybe if I left the cheese out, it would get moldy, and then I’d get disgusted with myself for having to throw it away so that I don’t buy it the next time.
2 The cat has claws – she’d win.
3 In fourth grade, we had a substitute teacher come in – the first thing she did was send me to the principal’s office. I went. They called the room to see why I was sent. The teacher’s answer “the high schooler was pretending he belonged in the class.” The office sent me back – the substitute was embarrassed, but I don’t know if she ever actually bought that I belonged there.
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