Some Things I Don’t Understand

There is a lot about life that I don’t get. String theory. Or, for that matter, physics in general. Well, to be honest and to take it one step further, I don’t understand any of the physical sciences. Or math past algebra and geometry. Or 90% of biological science. I just can’t understand them. It’s not that I don’t have the ability to learn about them. I think I’m smart enough to grasp the concepts of moles in chemistry and irrational numbers and all that horseshit. It’s just that as soon as I come across these subjects, my brain waits one minute, decides if it cares about anything just mentioned, then just veers off into imaginationland as it tries to entertain itself. My apathy is strong, and it takes a lot to overcome it. It’s the reason why I can’t understand physics or chemistry or calculus or architecture or art history or poetry or fishing or the million other things I don’t understand – my brain won’t let me, and instead tries to figure out which color has been used most often in Marvel superhero and villain names.

Then there’s the stuff that my brain wrestles with over and over, and still can’t come to grips with no matter how hard I try. These are the issues that vex me, that I ponder as I drive for long stretches, letting my brain work on them like it’s part of the SETI program, and one day it’ll filter enough information that I will finally understand one of those things that for the life of me I just don’t get. What follows are some of those things I’m trying to work through.

  • Why do they play reggae on rock stations? I’ve never understood this. I have 4 rock stations programmed into my car stereo: Typical Rock, Harder Rock, Old Rock, Alt Rock. There is definite overlap between them, but the main thing they have in common is their unique ability to all manage to be on a commercial break at once. The other thing is that they all play reggae. I just don’t get it. Why? Reggae is an entirely different genre of music. They don’t bust in with a smooth jazz number from time to time. They don’t play straight blues or bluegrass. So why in the hell do I get to hear a set of AC/DC, The Killers, Jefferson Airplane, and suddenly POW here’s Bob Marley live. Wuh? And it’s not like they play a whole line of reggae. It’s just Marley. It’s like the Beastie Boys. Rock stations play them too for no reason I can think of. It’s like some algorithm somewhere discovered that they both somehow fit into it. I can’t wrap my head around it.
  • Why are you talking to me in the bathroom? This drives me out of my goddamn mind. I’m in a public restroom, minding and handling my own bidness, when some asshat decides to spark up a conversation. “Hey, Alan, how are you doin’ today?” You know what? I’m fucking pissed. My junk’s in my hand, and I’ve got some douchebag who apparently has decided that picking the urinal right next to me instead of any of the other fine porcelain products on display entitles him to strike up some kind of fucking banter about the project everyone is working on and no-one is happy about while he gleefully scratches something that I sure as fuck don’t want to know about. THAT’s how I’m doing.
  • How or why is Billy Joel popular? Who are the legions of Billy Joel fans out there that are perpetuating this monstrosity? Can we invite them all to a country that allows euthanasia? “We Didn’t Start The Fire” is more than enough cause for the death penalty, as far as I’m concerned.
  • Where did all this Steampunk shit come from? Somehow, within the last couple of years, an entire subset of my friends have become obsessed with Steampunk. I’m getting catalogues in the mail trying to sell me incredibly expensive Victorian-esque clothing with some lame brass shit haphazardly attached to it. It’s a fetishization of Victorian England melded with ridiculously stupid “inventions” with idiotic names. Where exactly is the appeal in that little description? A party I’m going to this weekend has suddenly decided as of this morning that it will be Steampunk themed. Where did this come from? Why is this happening? Where is the great fucking cultural touchstone that has set this all in motion? How did I miss this?

Maybe I really am just stupid. That’s honestly just the tip of the iceberg, though. I still don’t understand the appeal of flip-flops, either. Put the everyday things you don’t understand in the comments. Maybe we can all work it out together.

About Alan Edwards

Former cancer caregiver. Husband of the most magical and amazing person who ever lived.

Posted on May 23, 2011, in Rantin' and Bitchin' and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Love this post. I agree with the two middle things. But not the two outside things. Mostly because I don’t listen to the radio, and I think Steampunk is interesting. But I don’t know where the obsession came from. Hmm.

    • It’s funny – Steampunk isn’t my thing, but I don’t begrudge anyone their interests (despite my having a bit of fun up there with it) – but I for the life of me can’t figure out where it’s all stemming from.

      And I’m glad you liked it, and am very happy that you a) read it, b) liked, and especially c) commented about it. =)

  2. reconstructed

    Why is Safeway putting organic bananas into cellophane plastic bags?

    1. People that buy organic typically like reduced packaging, not non-biodegradable plastic

    2. Wrapping fruit up in plastic holds in gases which make them rot faster, don’t bananas go off fast enough?

    3. Bananas kind of have their own bio-degradable wrapper last time I checked. Isn’t that good enough?

    I heard a rap song on the alternative rock station today over the lunch hour. A true honest to goodness rap, not the Beastie Boys, I thought they changed the format of the station until is was followed by Green Day.

    • Alan Edwards

      That. Makes. No. Sense. Unless they got tired of people trying to pass them off as regular bananas. I know someone who’s done that once or twice.

      And I’m not sure I can handle a different rap artist on a rock station. It’s going to upset the balance of the universe.

  3. Nice post.

    I’ll add one to your bathroom question: Why in the hell are you a) on your cell phone in the bathroom, or b) talking BUSINESS in the bathroom. Do you think people can’t hear the terms of your confidential information just because you’re in the can?

    Oh, I’ll add one more thing that I love: when two guys are having a conversation, and one of those guys is taking a dump. First off, it’s stupid because they have to talk LOUDER to hear each other through the stall walls (apparently), which means that the rest of us get to hear the entire conversation. Love. It.

    On your other items…I’ll share my opinion as if anyone actually cared ;):

    I have no opinion on #1 (I avoid radio stations like the plague). My only guess would be that playing reggae improves their demographic. That, or the DJs smoke a lot of weed.

    #3: My wife likes Billy Joel (I don’t mind him, really, and I can think of much worse plagues on humankind…like Rod Stewart).

    So far as #4 goes, Steampunk is trending for fantasy right now. I think one of the reasons it’s popular is because, generally speaking, it’s fairly whimsical and upbeat, and as such it’s a departure from dark and gritty fantasy while not automatically being a YA novel. (Again, that’s a broad statement. Cherie Priest writes fantastic Steampunk zombie novels, for example.)

    See, I have the answers. All you have to do is ask me. 😉

    (And if you believe that…)

    P.S. I understand even less than you do. I’m almost certain of it.

    • Alan Edwards

      Cell phones – that’s another one I don’t get. I would imagine that the first time they drop it in whichever receptacle they’re using they’ll probably stop, but there will be two new people ready to take their place.

      And here I was starting to like your wife (hah, just kidding. I mean, I still like her, that’s the part I was kidding about.)

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