Thursday, May 16, 2024

Inglorious Day

If I talk about yesterday, it will all be bad, and I don't want to be a bore,  Sometimes I am, but I don't want to be, so I'll leave off the color commentary of a fairly gruesome day.  I'll just say I am about over "it," whatever one takes "it" to mean.  I'm ready for assisted living where all I have to do is get up, go get a meal in the cafeteria, and watch "Good Morning America" and Rick Steves travel shows with the other inmates.  Nothing to take care of, nothing at all.  It's no mystery why prisoners become "institutionalized" after being locked up for awhile--I forget the exact number of years--after which they can no longer function on the outside.  It's a fact.  You can look it up. 

There are other facts.  Many.  You can look those up, too.  Some seem contradictory, however, and it can make you skeptical.  Medical facts, for instance.  

"A recent study showed. . . ."

"So are eggs good or bad?"

It becomes too much, so we turn to theories.  Theories are easier to digest.  Bigger picture.  The view from 30,000 feet.  Metaphorical stuff.  

I have a degree in one of the fields of science.  Scientific training requires a lot of discipline.  I was sort of media y media when it came to that.  I was never going to be a topnotch scientist, but the years I spent in training were certainly good for me.  I didn't advance the field, but the field advanced me.  

I think.

But there is a whole lot of science, and it seems to be expanding like the cosmos.  With every technical innovation, "we" are able to see deeper into the vastness of inner and outer space.  When I was young, atoms were made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons.  I thought we had that shit down.  I learned the Periodic Table.  Then, over the years, the table kept growing as we added human made elements that existed only in the laboratory.  We could measure them, but they lasted mere nanoseconds sometimes.  Still, they were there, and perhaps they could be made to interact.  They might be useful.

Here's a nice summary if you have forgotten what most of you might have learned in high school.  Weirdly, it seems to me, that was the last place you encountered serious study in the sciences.  Well. . . not "serious," and you probably didn't study all that much, but you know what I mean.  Try the link and see what you remember (link).  Most of you won't, I predict.  Some of you will click on the link but will click out quickly.  And yet, you know. . . people opine about "science."

The 1960s gave us quantum theory and the exploration of quarks.  

The term "subatomic particle" is largely a retronym of the 1960s, used to distinguish a large number of baryons and mesons (which comprise hadrons) from particles that are now thought to be truly elementary. Before that hadrons were usually classified as "elementary" because their composition was unknown.

But this is simple stuff compared to the study of "dark matter."  

Dark matter is that invisible glue that keeps stars, dust, and gas together in a galaxy. This mysterious substance makes up the majority of a galaxy's mass and forms the foundation of our Universe's structure. Dark matter is still one of the greatest mysteries of science.

If you really want to lose your mind, start reading about this stuff.  Or watch YouTube.  Dark matter discussions are all over it.  

But, after all the amateur science sleuthing, you come away from it all feeling. . . what?   You probably don't have the math skills to even read the real science behind these sophomoric explanations.  Americans, in the main, are not very good at math.  

"It's too hard!"

But they get a kick out of watching "Oppenheimer."  

I remember sitting in my Organic Chemistry II class at the university one day in particular.  The class was in a big stadium seating hall.  The professor on the floor had a series of huge moveable chalk boards so that he could write long chemical formulas across them.  Letters and numbers in long, strange sequences.  And I understood them.  It was like a movie, I thought, and I remember imagining how impressed my father would be if he could see me just then.  

"You understand all that?"

"Sometimes.  Most of it.  I tend to forget some of it on the tests, but I'm doing O.K."

I busted my ass to get through the two most difficult courses in the state university system.  It's a fact.  You can look it up.  Organic Chemistry I and II had the highest drop out and failure rates and the lowest average grades in the entire state system.  These were the "wash out" classes.  I knew many people who changed majors so they wouldn't be required to take them.  Forestry, for instance.  Environmental Science.  Some areas of Entomology.  Things that were more "applied."Over 50% of the students enrolled in any Org Chem class were repeating the course.  Three hours of lecture, three hours of lab.  You got only four credits.  It seemed like a cheat, really.  My roommate, a political science major, seemed to have a cakewalk comparatively.  

But it was good for me.  

Then there was physics and lots and lots of math courses including three semesters of calculus.  

What the fuck was I thinking?  

Now, the entire time, just for fun, I was taking film and photography courses.  Yup.  Simultaneously.  And you wonder why I'm screwy?  

Probably not.  

Not screwy.  I keep forgetting.  I'm eclectic.  

What I never took were business courses.  I sorely need those now, I think.  I don't want them, though.  What I want is a manager, someone to take care of all that stuff.  I'm a pretty smart guy, but I am a stupid hillbilly, too.  All those morons I used to make fun of back then, those business majors with middling intellects and shriveled imaginations, those fellows who joined fraternities--holy fuck!--have made money hand over fist, whatever that saying means.  The frat houses taught them "networking," I guess.  Secret handshakes and a dress code.  An attitude toward life.  

I lack "business acumen."  We all have our faults.  

So there you have it--my day yesterday without the actual events.  Can you surmise what actually happened?  Nope.  Nor do I want you to.  All I will tell you is this.  At some point, I just took nerve and pain pills, curled up into a fetal ball, and drifted off into a disturbed and painful sleep.  I'm less than incompetent.  I'm a coward.  

There was one glimmer of light, though.  I found that a European photo site picked up one of my images for exhibition.  Isn't that something?  Everything else is falling down, you know, but. . . I might have some esoteric value.  

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