Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

12/13/2007

The Power of a Will

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:21 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage.
Friedrich Nietzsche

I love quoting Nietzsche.

He was such a brilliant philosopher and not nearly as brutal in life as you would expect from his quotable bon mots. Did you know that he was such a rigid creature of habit that when he forgot his lunch one day, his housekeeper was able to run ahead and catch him with it on his route from home to the university where he worked? She knew just where he’d be and when and what it would take to catch him. I find it fascinating to know that about someone that advocated the abolition of rules and convention for the “superior man”, Das Ubermensch.

When people tell me how strong I must be to have survived cancer so well and easily, I try not to laugh out loud. Death is easy, but life is hard.
They look at me and ask how it was I could have just gone on and on the way I did. They wonder how it is I can shrug about the treatment now as I try to explain to them that it never entered my mind to do anything but take it and go on. I mean, what other choice was there, really? To be honest, I’m a little ashamed that I made as much fuss about the whole thing as I did. I must have debated about calling the nurse, the first time I was sick to my stomach, for a full five minutes before pulling the emergency call lever in the bathroom. I only did it then because I was afraid I’d fall and crack my head on the sink. But, in a way, that was all fairly easy.

You see, as long as I had something to focus on, something to resist, to fight, I was okay. I had an enemy, lymphoma. It’s easy to fight against something like that, but now… Now that I’m having to sort out medical bills and clinic visits and hair growing back, well, now, it’s hard. I’m supposed to have learned something from this experience. People expect that I have gained some wisdom, some insight into the human condition, as a result of my near brush with death. But, I don’t have any. Not a one. I haven’t learned a thing about life and death and everything in between that I didn’t know already. I promise you.
Well, perhaps I have learned one thing: if I die before my creditors can collect, they’re just screwed and I don’t care.

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
Friedrich Nietzsche


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you're wrong, admit it;
Whenever you're right, shut up."
   --Ogden Nash

11/21/2007

On Marriage

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 7:32 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.
Friedrich Nietzsche

I know someone who thinks she’s getting married. It may sound pessimistic, but I think differently.

So, there’s this former receptionist from my office, C. She and this other guy from work have been alternately going out or breaking up or fighting like Arabs and Israelis for most of a year now. Somehow, because I showed more than a little interest in her when she first started, I got sucked into this. Now, mainly, I try to maintain my status as a somewhat interested observer, but I don’t always manage it. She tells me one thing and then I hear something different at work. Now, it seems, after calling it quits a couple of weeks ago, this guy has asked her to marry him. At least, that’s what C. has told me. I think she earnestly believes that’s what’s going to happen, but I don’t. Or, at least, I hope not for both their sakes.

Oh, sure, there’s lots of passion in this relationship and I can tell you from first-hand experience, that passion can be powerful stuff. But, it also lies. It shouts in your ear, telling you that this is the ONE, regardless of all their faults. It bellows about the intensity of two hearts beating as one in a raging forest fire of shared desire. But, to do that, it yells and screams over those little voices that tell you something’s wrong. That she smokes too much or that he pays too much attention to other women. Passion drowns out all those very logical and reasonable voices that tell you you’re making a mistake. And, I’m afraid that C. doesn’t hear those tiny voices over the roar of her amniotic ocean.

On the other hand, take my friends J and L.
Now, these two have something that runs deeper than simple passion. I’ll grant you, I haven’t been privy to all their trials and tribulations of blending two lives together, but I know enough. And, of course, there was the whole “cold-feet” incident around Christmas. It was a close thing, their marriage. But it was different, in part because of the doubts.

You see, doubt really is healthy. When I got married, I was very, very sure that it was the right thing and that everything could be overcome and would work out for the best. And, all the other platitudes one hears about that passionate, erotic love. But, there is no amount of passion that can overcome a huge gap in values or in the value found in another person. You see, The Queen of the Damned and I had different ideas about what to value and how to show it. In the end, we both felt the other was taking us for granted and getting more than they gave. I’m honestly not sure who was right there, if anyone was, but the perception is what matters.
And, that’s why I think J and L will make it, ultimately, but C and her dream won’t. J and L see each other for who they are and value that. Not in spite of their short-comings or flaws, but because of them. Because they can see that most glorious thing in each other, a friend. Someone they look forward to spending time with, but are not consumed by. Now, I would imagine that, being newlyweds, they have to work a bit at the not being consumed. It’s tricky to find that balance between being a couple and being individuals and I admire the work that they put into doing that.

I’m thankful that I know them and can see the relationship they’re still developing. I’m honored that they invite me into a part of that world they’ve created together. They’re far from perfect, but, without realizing it, I think they’ve become the model after which I hope to build my own future relationship, or relationships. (Hey, I’m a realist! For me, there’ll probably be more than one before I find a good fit. I’m an acquired taste!) They give me hope that things can work out differently in my future than they did in my past.

That quote at the beginning, by the way, was something I was going to say at J and L’s wedding, in the toast that I didn’t get to make because I was in the hospital.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"There is no try. Do or do not."
   --Yoda

12/16/2005

Break Point

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:42 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I started to write a very moving entry.
My mother told me, not too long ago, that I’ve always felt everything more deeply than everyone else. Of course, she meant everyone else in our family, but, she has a point. Mom always seems to know, much as I wish she didn’t.
Anyway, I was going to wax semi-poetic about tradgedy and loss in my life, but, really, who wants to read about that? Even I get tired of hearing myself complain about the little inconveniences that crop up from time to time. The complaints don’t help and just become an irritant, so I won’t bother. I will give you the quote that led me to that place, though. It’s a good one by one of my favorite authors of old.

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”
–Ernest Hemingway

In the end, I haven’t lost anything, since I never really had it at all. I was just borrowing it, at best. Now, the lease is up and I don’t have the balloon payment, so that’s gone back to the dealer. (And, no, I haven’t lost my car, I’m speaking metaphorically.)
I guess all I have to hold onto when I do this to myself is a little bit of thin, angry hope inspired by another quote that I discovered long before Hemingway.

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
–Friedrich Nietzsche

So, screw it. I’m going to the movies. Have a great weekend all.


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