I am afraid of waking up on April 9.

On that date, four years will have come to a close, and I’m scared of losing all of it.

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After some 20 years of education, I don’t have to go to school anymore. I’m afraid that with the absence of a routine that throbbed on with a steady, relaxing consistency each day, I’ll never get back these moments back; that in two years, I’ll never remember them anyways. I fear that while sitting in a basement with a tea in my hand, looking at a blank page as people chat around me – some smiling, some working, some pretending to do both – I won’t have much to say when trying to sandwich four greasy, messy years into an article. And I’m afraid that if I try, I’ll end up with a jumble of everything above and below – the borderline signs of an incoherent, rambling old fool.

For four years, I’ve had these fears. Though it seems like an eternity ago, first year found me stumbling and fumbling with the words of what this place means to me. Back then I had the confident air of a blimp. I thought I understood the world and everyone in it, including myself. That’s why I had come to Mac after all – because I could, because I was able, and because I was more than competent.

But one night I found myself on the roof of the student center with friends. We had clambered up there and we were watching people scurry off home from their exams. They looked so small. A friend said like ants. Another added we should try squishing them. So we stuck out our fingers, pinched them together with the fury of a toddler, and imagined. Our laughter shot out into the infinity of the night around us.

Up there gazing upon the cloud-riddled sky and the embarrassed stars, I fell upon a definition of what McMaster meant to me. It has stuck with me over the years, even during second year when I slipped into mediocrity and third year where I fell even harder. It is this: open your eyes, idiot, and pinch.

Aphorisms often have the tendency of oversimplifying realities, and mine was no different. But it was nonetheless true: if I was to do anything here at McMaster, I figured I’d have to experience it fully. I’d have to be awake. And I’d have to feel, hold, and come in contact with as much as I could in as little time as possible.

I tried. I did this and that, that and this. Sometimes, like us all, I did too much. Other times, I did nothing at all. But in each little thing, whatever it was, whether this article or research in a lab or drinking with friends until security chased us away, I ensured that I was alive.

I don’t mean this in the general, clichéd sense. Shit, hopefully after four years I’m better than some hackneyed truth.

And besides, it’s a senseless platitude by and of itself. We’re all living. That’s just about the only thing we know how to do. And there are times when we even forget how to do that, especially when things get bad.

But I mean that in doing what I did and feeling what I felt I ensured that I was there remembering, recording, and laughing. All and all, I made sure I was there – an awkward boy doing awkward things for awkward reasons.

I think that’s why I’m afraid of losing the most – that sensation of feeling as though every little thing is important. In the coming years, the throes of adulthood will give me a knuckle sandwich. Day in and day out will mean something more than an avalanche of texts. I’ll cook. I’ll clean. I’ll shave. I’ll drive. I’ll shop. I’ll buy. I’ll sell. I’ll drink. I’ll be tired. I’ll file taxes. I’ll get paid. I’ll be promoted. I’ll tweedle my thumbs. I’ll live, and then sometime later – maybe 30 years, maybe tomorrow – I’ll wake up and wonder where the heck my life has gone.

At least at McMaster, I know. There is that night where I got kicked out of a club twice and I hadn’t even drunken alcohol. That time I handed in an assignment two weeks late. When I read the wall of graffiti in BSB and laughed until I farted. The moment I fell in love the second time. When 5 a.m came and not one person went to bed. When we painted rooms and moved furniture. When we first tried coffee and puked it out. When we watch plays and tried to direct them too. When we burnt our first pizza. Our second, too. Even our third.

There is everything we did, we saw, we felt. There is that time we wore stupid Christmas sweaters.

This is what I am going to leave behind – the moments that only I know and the places only I have seen. Not because they are mine, but because they belong to others as well. And though I haven’t met you and though you haven’t met me either, I’m going to miss you too.

I am not saying that nothing will be better in the coming years. That’s false. We will be the same people we are now, just different, just older, and everything we’ve learned here, though we’ll have forgot the majority of it like ozonolysis or Lao Tzu’s particular stratagem or what the difference between affect and effect are, will be with us in some way or some form.

So know that these are not the days. They are one of many.

To those leaving with me, I wish that you have developed friendships that bring out the best in you and who you bring out the best in all the same. I wish that you feel happy that you’re moving because it’s better than stagnation. And I wish that you have laughed more than cried because it’s a whole lot cleaner.

Hell. I’ll go so far to wish that you laughed until you farted. It’s good for the digestive track anyways. Or, at the least, I’ve learned as much in my classes.

So goodbye, you farts. I must be going now.

I cried on my sweet sixteen.

While my parents sang “Happy Birthday” in thick, heavy accents, and lit candles were dancing to the tune of their breaths, and wax began to dripping bit by bit on the bright yellow ice-cream cake, I started to sob.

I didn’t mean to nor did I have much of a reason to tear up. Birthdays were supposed to be the happiest days of my life. In fact, they were my life entirely. Because of that day way back when, I had the chance to be happy in the first place.

And my tears weren’t meant to suggest otherwise; my birthday was special to me. For some, this was obviously not the case. There was no significance behind the date. In 1992, it was just another Friday that signaled a cloudy beginning of a weekend. Some, I’m sure, even moaned that their plans would have to change because of the inclement weather.

My parents might have thought the same those twenty-two years ago. Who knows? They may have wanted to go dancing or see a movie or work a bit longer to afford all that I would ask them for. I wasn’t ready to come out yet. Neither was my twin.

But then Friday came and push came to shove in more ways than one and I was born silent as a whisper. I did nothing to deserve the glory. I just flopped out like a fish on land. I couldn’t even breathe right those first few weeks.

When I turned sixteen, I similarly had difficulty both taking the congratulations for the day and inhaling and exhaling. Snot was seeping into my mouth.

The celebratory song ended off-key and early. My sniffles echoed throughout the dining room. My dad weighed his words, then said, “What is wrong?”

I replied, “Nothing.”

He looked at me, and then asked if we wanted to blow the rest of the candles out. My twin and I said yes, and we did, only having to take  a second breath each before all of them went out.

I look back, now six years older to the date, and I don’t think it was just pubescent anxiety getting the better of me. Nor was it because I had some seventy years left. Instead the obnoxious, whale-like tears were a realization that I didn’t know anything about myself and where I wanted to go. I knew very little at all. I had only just arrived here sixteen years ago. But I knew that I wasn’t supposed to cry on my birthday, yet I couldn’t help it. I was growing old faster than I could understand. And there was nothing to do against it all.

Since then, my birthdays haven’t been much different. I’ve wondered what I am supposed to feel and how I’m supposed to get there. More often than not, I don’t feel any different than I did the day previously.

Yet little insignificant moments pile up significantly. There’s that time you had your first kiss and when you laughed until a Sour Patch kid came out of your nose and you made love for the first time. In between the space and time of then and now where every morning was a little birth and every night a little death, everything changed.

By then, you’ll be twenty-two, and you’ll be sitting in a unaired basement in shorts with glasses tilted on your face, little electrical wires for a beard, and your socks are off because you are feeling uncomfortable in your shoes. You flex your fingers, drink your tea, and look at the clock. It is 12:01 a.m. It is Thursday. And it is your birthday.

Later it will be too, whenever that is, and you’ll be doing other things. Until then, you hope to make sense of the routine of every day, including on your birthday. You hope to be successful. And you hope to not have to hope for anything really.

That is the one wish you ask for and it is the one wish you’ll never get.

So, instead, keep blowing those candles, keep saying thanks for the happy birthday, and move on, with your head squirming first, then your body following along, then your legs flailing one after another. Because life, as far as you understand it, is not about the birthday. It is about all other days before and after it because without them, and their daily monotony and cycles and ups and downs, your birthday would mean nothing at all.

Enjoy them. Enjoy everything. And don’t cry because the cake tastes pretty good after all.

“Be a doctor, Kacper.”

I’m six and he’s 63 and with hands carved by dirt and eyes worn and tired, he outlines a world of undeniable possibility, of hope, and ultimately, of love.

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“I was sick. Very sick. Right here.” He leads my tiny paw to his heart. “Hear that?”

A single bump pulses under my fingertips. It sounds like little metallic gears turning together yet there is no clicking or grinding. The single note is smooth, as though there is a solitary string being strum in one direction, then strum again before it can rebound.

“It is different than yours. Different than others, too.” It continues to pound gently. Neither up or down, the rhythm is consistent.

“I came to Canada for this. And from this, you came too.” I look up and notice that he’s smiling.

“You can do this, Kacper. For others. For anyone. For me again if I need it.”

I open my mouth, trying to find the words to tell him that his heart is healthy. But he instead says, “Let’s get some dinner.”

My hand moves away and we eat and I grow, I do, I feel and 15 years pass, and I’m standing in an emergency room. I’m holding the hand of a beloved. People are crying around me. A beep-beep is heard when the tears stop.

I am stoic against it all. It is my grandfather’s words that comfort me: there’s hope here. This is Canada after all. Doctors can make things better. They will respect you. They will care for you. And sickness will be cured, injuries will be mended, and life will return to normalcy again. The single pulse will become immutable in time.

A phone rings. It is my grandfather. His voice is pregnant with worry. Is everything is okay? Is everything okay?

I don’t answer, and time passes, and we find ourselves in a long line. No longer is there the careful weighing of words. Instead in a busy hospital packed with people, we have become meat-wagons preparing for a nameless butcher. A number is given to us, we’re sandwiched among others, we’re yelled at, and shuffled around.

Once it is our turn, a doctor comes in and says this is what we’re doing. Surgery, he says. It is the first thing he utters. We never learn his name.

We try to ask questions. He says he’s busy. We say we understand but… We’re cut off. He says he will be back later to answer our queries. We don’t see him again.

We bounce around from unit to unit. A procedure is done. A mistake is made. It happens, we’re told. The procedure is done again.

We’re furious. Our worries are passed off with rudeness. We’re burdening others with our concerns. We have become a burden, my father says.

Another doctor enters. He introduces himself. We ask how our beloved is doing. He mumbles something, dismisses our questions. “How are the X-rays?” “You wouldn’t understand them.” “How is the catheter?” “It’s a complicated situation.”

He then tells us that surgery is imperative. There is no alternative. We ask about the method, he tries to explain it. We don’t understand. He tells us he has explained the procedure enough and he was the doctor and twice was enough for him.

He left the room, and the power dynamic became relevant. We weren’t just nobodies; we were physical bodies too, and that’s all he could see. Flesh, muscle, and skeleton coming together in the wrong way. We were a problem, an aberration, a sickness and no more.

Perhaps it was just a bad few experiences because the next hospital met us with kindness and a handful of information. We could challenge findings. We could seek second opinions. We weren’t powerless under authority; we were guided by it, and thereby made all the more powerful.

This, I believe, is what is what it means to be a doctor. Having not only technical competence, but also competence in social perception, emotional receptivity, and cultural sensitivity.

This two-pronged approach is necessary for sickness does not simply injure a person’s physicality and rejuvenation is not just a bodily concern. Illness and healing alike involve the whole being of an individual. Both are the unwinding of that patient’s story; there is an assault on the entirety of a person. From a free individual to an anxious, dependent, often bed-ridden patient, they become an iota of what they were and what they saw themselves to be.

Doctors can help lead back to the consistency. Doing so means assessing the whole patient, not just treating them as some means to an end. This means introducing oneself when meeting a new patient, asking how the patient is feeling, ensuring that they understand the procedures, gauging one’s comfort, discussing particular findings, not talking down to an individual, consent is continually stressed, and ensuring that the complications are listed, and not simply discovered haphazardly.

That way a patient can be empowered, instead of feeling like a burden, or worse yet, a cow waiting for slaughter. This is necessary as patients are not just the sum of their sicknesses. In between the coughs and blood and diagnoses are those same stories - stories of peeing in Lake Ontario or eating ice-cream cakes at Dairy Queen or first kisses or last ones all the same - the pages are just curling in a moment of bad weather.

If there is any way not to begin an article (perhaps especially on Ash Wednesday), it’s this: please understand this is not a diatribe against religion.

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No matter how one tries to slice the piece afterwards, you’ll lose. Your stance wasn’t strong enough, says the atheist. Your opinions were disrespectful, says the religious. What the hell, says Mom.

But it’s been written and so I endeavor on ever the martyr. Slay me here if you must, but know that I am a very religious person. I pray that my computer won’t crash as I type this. I look to the ceiling for comfort. And I bless my food with saliva each time I bite into it.

I preface my introduction because I’m notably dumbfounded. Not that it takes much to do so, but because despite all evidence otherwise, we remain backward in our ways.

After Bill Nye’s debate against creationist Ken Ham, it has turned out that rather than deflate the ancient belief of creationism (where God created the Universe according to a Biblical account) the debate has created an apparent legitimacy to the literal interpretation. Before the live-streamed event, Ken Ham was in a rut trying to garner $62 million for a proposed Noah’s Ark theme park. After it, a miracle flooded Ham’s way – God had apparently found his way into people’s hearts (and wallets) to fund the project.

By having the great Bill Nye, the science vanguard and educator, argue against Ken Ham, creationism was given a backbone. No longer was it some triflesome, erroneous, and misguided principle. It was instead something that needed to be defeated and won against. It was a contender, an opponent to the world that science had defined and constructed.

Creationism’s outlying religious viewpoint was given a stage to globally parade on. Despite Nye’s enthusiasm, science seemed too cold and unforgiving, a mere shuffling of the furniture of the universe and no more. We were hilarious hiccups, and that was that. On the other hand, creationism seemed so personal. It gave humankind a Gardner, a garden, and flowers to mend and care for.

But this worldview is wrong. Not maybe wrong. But flat out, unequivocally, absolutely, don’t-even-think-about-it wrong.

I’m not saying belief in God is wrong. What the heck do I know about that? Nadda. Nor am I arguing that religion and science cannot coincide – they very well can. Enter my Mom again.

Instead I am suggesting that the two paradigms of universe conception are too conflicting – and as a result, one must be adapted. In this case, the debate on evolution isn’t a debate at all. The evidence is overwhelming for Darwinian selection. The hypotheses have been confirmed time and time again. And the best part is that even if one doesn’t believe in natural selection as the evolutionary mechanism, it is right. It is there. It is here. And in some way or form, it is working on us now.

I may not believe in gravity, but that doesn’t mean my laptop won’t crash if I drop it. Here’s to ‘praying’ that creationism follows suit in time; that is, it crashes in its paradoxes and backwardness.

One second you’re driving with the radio humming and your fingers tap-dancing to the tune. The next - boom, blam, kapow -  and you’re under the car wondering where the hell everything went wrong.

The tire has blown. It’s torn to shreds. Your hands shake in the cold as you run your fingers through the backside, trying to find the puncture. You wonder if you might have hit a small army of children with swords. That, or a cat with titanium for claws. And skeleton. And everything else.

“Don’t worry,” you tell yourself while your breath gives evidence of your life. It barely escapes your lips. “You’re in university. You can do this. Didn’t you solve that di-2-pyridyl carbonate synthesis question on your CHEM BIO 3OA3 exam? Didn’t you tread through that mountain of a 5000-word essay from scratch the night before it was due? Aren’t you writing those Daily Doses for the Silhouette?”

You laugh, remembering all you have done over these four years, and you open the back of the car with a smile. You can do this. You’re a machine. You’re a monster. And you can do anything because you have done everything.

Time passes, grease drips, metal clinks, and somehow the car jack has wrapped itself around your leg. You fling your feet around, trying to lose this metal contraption. Meanwhile, ice bites your bare back. Snow tickles your exposed fingers. And your mittens are scattered on the sidewalk like bloodied battle gear.

The laughter has long since past, and what remains is a short, concentrated breath. In then out. Out then in. You look into your heart, bounce around in your mind, and try to move slowly, carefully outward from there.

A single phrase enters your mind as affirmation: You can do this.

But all of a sudden – maybe it’s the fumbling with the tools or the squeak of the spare or the cold nipping you hungrily – you start thinking that’s the problem exactly. You don’t know what this is.

So instead you place the jack too far on the front side, and the car titters and totters. You unscrew the bolts, losing one to sewer. You turn right instead of left to loosen. You turn left instead of right to tighten. You lug the tire around. You lug the spare around. You dirty your clothes. The jack slips. The car falls. And you start again, this time remembering, admitting, and having no other choice but recognizing that you, the fourth year in University, have no idea what you’re doing.

Four years have passed, and this is what you have to show for: a few bits of torn rubber, black stained hands, and a sloppy job for a tire transfer. You wonder what it all means, and you ask yourself if you failed the education system or did it fail you.

But then you look to your fingers and see that some of the grease still hasn’t washed out. So you scrub, and scrub, and scrub again. The day wears on. Class begins somewhere in between.

A recent post on the Spotted At Mac Facebook page stated the need for a women-only gym because a participant at the Pulse felt that she was being reduced to eye-candy. This concern is warranted, certainly, for it details an issue of discomfort. If a person does not feel the environment is conducive to working out, then something must change. Does this imply the gym itself requires restructuring? Perhaps. Does this mean all should work out in isolation, though? Absolutely not.

Don’t let the gains confuse you. A gym is not a place of objectification, though objectification may very well occur within its walls. Instead it is a place where gender equality comes to thrive.

Some argue otherwise. They say that the Pulse is the problem. This is certainly hard to quantify off of one anecdotal account, harder yet by the inaccuracy of the claim. The Pulse, while minimal, has women's hours from 7:00-8:30 Mondays and Wednesdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:30-6:00. In such a limited space, that is something, and maybe even more than that (particularly given that there are women-only intramural leagues such as basketball and women-only fitness centres in Westdale like Allure).

Others say that the system in question is not the gym itself but the larger societal construct of oppression and marginalization. The gym is just one instance where a woman’s body becomes a trophy worthy of eye-gawking. It is not the problem, only part of it.

This may be true, and if there is to be a change, then, it must not be restricted to the gym. Patriarchy must be sussed out everywhere.

Part of me believes a gym attempts to solve - or at least muddle - this in some way, though. The gym is an area where one’s physical capability can be demonstrated and built upon. The goal applies equally. As a result, men become eye-candy just as much as woman may be, a consideration that is especially true with a variety of sexual orientations. Men can look at men. Women can look at women. And so on.

It may be that the patriarchy demeans all as objects, yet this is in tension with a gym being based on the community that can result from physical activities together. Take the football team working out with its players. Or members of a spin class that develop a friendship after Circuit City. Or a group of people from the mind and meditation session that go for beers after reaching some inner peace. There is a sense of belonging shared, and restricting these possibilities through arbitrary concessions is to deny what brings us to the gym in the first place: to grow, to celebrate, and to become better together.

Of course, what must also be remembered is that gender is fluid. Not all will identify as strictly female or strictly male. What of the trans-gendered? What of those biologically androgynous? And those who identify as nothing at all? Where would these multitudes of people go in this women-only gym?

Some may say trying to answer these questions is just an infinite amount of pandering to an infinite number of categories. This is not the case, however. It is not us, those who are steadfast in their identification, to decide if one’s gender compartmentalization is relevant. We do not face their struggles nor do we understand their successes all the same.

Even if it is just seems like liberal nonsense to some, then it is nonsense that allows for a simple solution: the inability to separate strictly on gender. If there is no such thing, then there is nothing to separate on. This, too, leads to further questions about trans-gendered changerooms, an outcome some may be even less comfortable with.

So, what's left? Exactly what was begun with: we must open the gym to all for all. Such an idea is what we’re striving for in the first place: gender equality. And in a gym, this is where the idea can be built upon one weight at a time. Doing else wise is creating a burden too few can lift.

In a few moments of time, I will no longer be here. It may be minutes. It may be 74.5 years. But before I know exactly what’s happening, I will be dead.

I don’t mean to state the obvious fact of life, but it’s a forgotten truth when inundated with busy lives that insist on living. We eat. We sleep. We do, we act, we feel. We try to kill time so it stops killing us.

But the moments still tick, and the events still tock, and like a kiss, the lips will one day leave. In these final instances, we’ll be breathless and we’ll have to inhale the emptiness, but there will be nothing left to inhale with. The fire in our lungs will have gone out, and we’ll have faded in the darkness with it. Let’s just hope that when this occurs, smoke wisps through the air from us. It will signal how hard we tried to live.

I say all this because yesterday, I learned of a family friend who passed away. She was sixty-three. She had brown eyes. She always greeted me with a candy, even when I tried to stop eating them.

I think back on her and the experiences we shared, and I wonder what I would of said had I known that she was going to die three days ago. What would’ve I said differently? Would I tell her I will miss her? Would I warn her of what’s coming and demand that she to do everything to stop it? Or would I grab her hand, sit her down, and wait there with her as she told me about this night or that day or how hard she laughed at this one joke.

Would I laugh with her?

I’m not sure. But this is not about my opinion or me. More often than not, the former is worthless and the latter couldn’t give a shit about the former anyways. Perhaps this is especially true in a fleeting world where we all are going. Inevitably, we are all stuck on a building that is burning from the bottom up.

Still, I would like to hear what she would say in that creaky, worn voice. I imagine it would be something this, with the conversation bouncing around in her house with its florid walls and its cheap teacups and those pictures of her daughters in Poland. It would be a sunny day, I hope.

“Kacper."

“Yes?”

“Don’t cry.”

“I’ll try.”

“Do that always.”

“I’ll try to try.”

“Thank you.”

“Thank you as well.”

And then she’d smile and I’d try to smile back and we’d sit there, waiting for whatever life had in store.

We wouldn't know how much or how little it would be, so I’d comment that the tea was good. She’d say the bag was left in too long for any practical use. And I’d say, No, no. It’s fine just the way it is. It’s delicious.

 

I’m an idiot.

I know, I know. You already knew that, dear reader. My articles are your proof. So is this sentence. And so is this one just because of the repetition.

But I need to say things many times to understand them, and among the many things I reiterate is that I’m oblivious to my own stupidity. I mention my intellectual ineptitude because the whole world looks as if it has gotten up in a hurry and I’m just here type, type, typing away. Look: did you hear about that whole Ukraine situation? What about that riots in Venezuela? And don’t get me started talking about Syria. Seriously. Don’t. It would be a very short conversation.

Let’s not get it twisted. I’ve tried to understand. Really, I have. In between this show and that, in between my own bumbling work and pretending I don’t have any, I’ve tiptoed on the issues. Whole minutes have been dedicated to appreciating the gravity of the kerfuffles. I’ve read opposing viewpoints. I’ve tried to probe the discontent. And I've tried to use what I’ve learned in university to contextualize the numerous worldwide problems, but I found myself referring to a textbook for help.

In the meantime, killings happened. Lines blurred. People exchanged blame. And in just a matter of hours after I lifted my nose from a theory that might just solve everything because it did so on this one test, the black and white bled into the grey.

In each revolution, riot, and dispute, the simple causes that led to an ostensibly justifiable and morally correct stance compounded into something incredibly complex and unsettling. Aren’t the majority of the Ukrainian protestors part of the Svoboda party, a Neo-Nazi-propaganda machine? Aren’t the rebels in Syria massacring average civilians and blaming it on the Assad regime in order to incite military assistance? Why are the Venezuelans revolting against the supposedly injust government when it is the petrodollar that has caused the corruption, and isn’t their inequity a prerequisite of the capitalist model of having oil-rich wealthy elite, and doesn’t this very same model lead to my own comfort, and isn’t it their arduous labour for penance that helps keep my gas costs low, and did I just cause deaths in Venezuela?

Before one can understand the volatile situations, it reaches flashpoint, and whoosh there it goes. The circumstances change. Lives are lost. And nothing remains the same. So you go back to grindstone, trying to understand a state that seems so alien yet is on the same world as yours, that seems so inexplicably intricate yet is being lived out on a daily basis somewhere else. And just as you get close, when you think you can understand the whole snafu, whoosh – there it goes again.

So back you go. Whoosh. Back. Whoosh. Back and whoosh again.

Most of us give up in this ever-increasing whirlwind of misunderstanding. And even if we don’t and we keep trudging through the mud, things almost never become clean. Corruption blooms from corruption. The positions of power that led to injustice are filled with new titles and new problems. The model of governance is abused without complete oversight, something an average citizen cannot possibly ensure with their busy lives. And the multitudes of people, all different and all vying for unique goals and hopes, are still unhappy whatever the situation.

Maybe this cycle unavoidable. It’s hard enough for five people to agree on where to eat, so what hope does any movement, however seemingly good it sounds, have with millions of different people with different ideologies and different experiences and different aspirations?

The answer may be too dark, too unsettling, and so we avoid it by craving simplicity.

We digest easy content like stories on Miley Cyrus or Kim Kardashian. The fact that those names mean something in the first place serves as evidence enough.

But this insipid lifestyle of the useful useless is accessible and simple. Anyone can participate with these mediums. Anyone can watch it, enjoy it, and relax with it.

It starts off small – a few magazines here. A few videos there. Then our indolence grows as we laugh harder and follow more intently and oh did you see what she was wearing and I need to buy those shoes and oh my god like who does she think she is, Chloe, and we begin to melt away as complicated individuals. As a whole, we become vapid and superficial because we observe those that are vapid and superficial.

And then just as a commercial fires off about a burger or we’re chasing some car or did you read that tweet by Justin Bieber, we realize we are bored of the real and substantial issues. We can’t be bothered to care. They are too complex. And besides, the show is coming on and we don’t want to miss it.

That is why it easier to say that we are stupid, that we can't understand, and to dress up an article in inadequacies, uncertainties, and reductionist statements than it is to actually say an opinion on some issue. We don’t want to be wrong because it is easier to be right about things that don’t matter. I can sit here, write about nothing at all, and wonder where the time went instead.

But then again, I’m just an idiot. I’m not sure about anything really. Even this. And this. And this. And so on.

I’m an idiot.

I know, I know. You already knew that, dear reader. My articles are your proof. So is this sentence. And so is this one just because of the repetition.

But I need to say things many times to understand them, and among the many things I reiterate is that I’m oblivious to my own stupidity. I mention my intellectual ineptitude because the whole world looks as if it has gotten up in a hurry and I’m just here type, type, typing away. Look: did you hear about that whole Ukraine situation? What about that riots in Venezuela? And don’t get me started talking about Syria. Seriously. Don’t. It would be a very short conversation.

Let’s not get it twisted. I’ve tried to understand. Really, I have. In between this show and that, in between my own bumbling work and pretending I don’t have any, I’ve tiptoed on the issues. Whole minutes have been dedicated to appreciating the gravity of the kerfuffles. I’ve read opposing viewpoints. I’ve tried to probe the discontent. And I’ve tried to use what I’ve learned in university to contextualize the numerous worldwide problems, but I found myself referring to a textbook for help.

In the meantime, killings happened. Lines blurred. People exchanged blame. And in just a matter of hours after I lifted my nose from a theory that might just solve everything because it did so on this one test, the black and white bled into the grey.

In each revolution, riot, and dispute, the simple causes that led to an ostensibly justifiable and morally correct stance compounded into something incredibly complex and unsettling. Aren’t the majority of the Ukrainian protestors part of the Svoboda party, a Neo-Nazi-propaganda machine? Aren’t the rebels in Syria massacring average civilians and blaming it on the Assad regime in order to incite military assistance? Why are the Venezuelans revolting against the supposedly injust government when it is the petrodollar that has caused the corruption, and isn’t their inequity a prerequisite of the capitalist model of having oil-rich wealthy elite, and doesn’t this very same model lead to my own comfort, and isn’t it their arduous labour for penance that helps keep my gas costs low, and did I just cause deaths in Venezuela?

Before one can understand the volatile situations, they reach flashpoint, and whoosh there they goes. The circumstances change. Lives are lost. And nothing remains the same. So you go back to grindstone, trying to understand a state that seems so alien yet is on the same world as yours, that seems so inexplicably intricate yet is being lived out on a daily basis somewhere else. And just as you get close, when you think you can understand the whole snafu, whoosh – there it goes again.

So back you go. Whoosh. Back. Whoosh. Back and whoosh again.

Most of us give up in this ever-increasing whirlwind of misunderstanding. And even if we don’t and we keep trudging through the mud, things almost never become clean. Corruption blooms from corruption. The positions of power that led to injustice are filled with new titles and new problems. The model of governance is abused without complete oversight, something an average citizen cannot possibly ensure with their busy lives. And the multitudes of people, all different and all vying for unique goals and hopes, are still unhappy whatever the situation.

Maybe this cycle unavoidable. It’s hard enough for five people to agree on where to eat, so what hope does any movement, however seemingly good it sounds, have with millions of different people with different ideologies and different experiences and different aspirations?

The answer may be too dark, too unsettling, and so we avoid it by craving simplicity. We digest easy content like stories on Miley Cyrus or Kim Kardashian. The fact that those names mean something in the first place serves as evidence enough.

But this insipid lifestyle of the useless is accessible and simple. Anyone can participate with these mediums. Anyone can watch it, enjoy it, and relax with it.

It starts off small – a few magazines here. A few videos there. Then our indolence grows as we laugh harder and follow more intently and oh did you see what she was wearing and I need to buy those shoes and oh my god like who does she think she is, Chloe, and we begin to melt away as complicated individuals. As a whole, we become vapid and superficial because we observe those that are vapid and superficial.

And then just as a commercial fires off about a burger or we’re chasing some car or did you read that tweet by Justin Bieber, we realize we are bored of the real and substantial issues. We can’t be bothered to care. They are too complex. And besides, the show is coming on and we don’t want to miss it.

That is why it easier to say that we are stupid, that we can’t understand, and to dress up an article in inadequacies, uncertainties, and reductionist statements than it is to actually say an opinion on some issue. We don’t want to be wrong because it is easier to be right about things that don’t matter. I can sit here, write about nothing at all, and wonder where the time went instead.

But then again, I’m just an idiot. I’m not sure about anything really. Even this. And this. And this. And so on.

Sometimes I look back on all I’ve written here on this Daily Dose section and I wonder how the heck did I do it all. I’m not amazed by it, though. How could I be? With lifeless asyndetons, hasty word choices, and jokes that are almost as bad as a clown at a funeral, I often felt that my thoughts were unoriginal and trite. Topics cycled, my ideas were poor and misshapen, and whatever I was writing probably wasn’t worth the page that held it.

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I could have been doing other things instead of sifting through sentences that ignited like a wet match. I could have not wasted the ink. The energy of typing could be put to better use. And I could have been outside, could have been laughing, and could have at least saved my eyes from the eventual screen-induced myopia.

But despite such mass production of words that may be hardly worth mass-producing in the first place, I am still writing this – everything above and everything below.

This persistence against all other opposition is important. Though my determination may just be the sign of prolific-amateur who is hunting for the right words to describe a world that shifts as he pens it down and so he goes searching again, I like to believe that even if this is meaningless, it is worth something to me. Not because it inherently is, but because I can make it so by slugging on day by day by day.

Sure, it’s draining. Yes, it’s thankless.  And more often than not, I wonder why I’m still here, still looking into the screen, then the ceiling, then a boy in front of me with coiffed hair, a knitted sweater, and shoes that’ll leave his toes cold. Then I wiggle my own toes, feel the warmth in my socks. Then I write, erase, and write again.

Why?

Because in doing what I have to do, and in doing what I want to do, and in trying to find the line between the two, I have lost the ink in my pen, tattered the pages of my journal, and ruined my fingers with uneven callous that now tickles my tips as I type. I’d rather have this – the weariness and exhaustion, the bluntness and the fumbling around with sentences like wine-corks in my mouth – than the alternative of a pen clothed, a paper unwrinkled, and a finger where even the slightest mark seems foreign. I’d rather do, act, and feel with vulgar inaccuracy than sit here, cross my arms, and wait for the world to wake up when I do.

That does not mean I should write, of course. But even if I shouldn’t and if I have worn down these words, diluted my paragraphs, and filled an entire page with nonsense, it is better to trudge and to struggle with what to say, knowing that you tried to say something in the first place, then to say nothing at all.

I have much to say still. Rested after Reading Week, I have stories to tell, opinions that should be voiced, and experiences that need to be highlighted, criticized, and laughed about. I don’t know what they are yet exactly, but I’ll write until I find them in between the infinite spaces between this word and the last.

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