It’s 3:45 in the morning and I’m up as usual. My sleep-wake cycle is all weirded out much like half the country’s attitude right now. Social screens blowing up with contrarian viewpoints, arching flame-filled volleyballs across spiked nets … works of biased broadcasting to be sure. I’m certainly not one to kick sand in anyone’s face here. Or, am I. Atlas shrugged his shoulders at the man and then became a body of reckoning by facing down his bullies. Ayn Rand served up potential of the human mind and the consequences of our good intentions in “Atlas Shrugged”. Both are digging their heels, deeply, into the dark wet sand of our emotional ripples. We sit watching them play as the volley never ends.
Above looks like an itchy, painful, sand-in-the eyes mash of mix metaphors and cross-pollinating literary plaah. I grant you that. Again, it’s early (now, 4:32 a.m.), I’ve run low of hot tea, am checking in on Facebook as I type, and hear funny voices in my head. The latter not uncommon, by the way. Oh, and we are still Social Distancing … not from anything inanimate, mind you – just from anything breathing, moving, or otherwise capable of interacting on any level keeping me from losing my ever-loving mind.
So, let’s tie all this together .. the little bit I’ve here so far. Charles Atlas Shrugged (not shagged .. be careful – now, now) Ayn Rand at the beach playing volleyball. We’re watching them early in the morning on March 29th, 2020, during a mandated mindful-ish, societal time-out. I am sipping once again after filling my monopoly-themed mug once more with Garden Andes organic tea. Facebook became boring so I clicked out and the voices still remain but are less funny …
All this to say, you have my almost complete attention. For now. To the subject at hand: The word BUT. Not, BUTT, but BUT … only one “T”. Being ever so careful, I am clarifying for clarity, exacting for exactness. In the case of this word specifically, it’s … Always The T’s, … always. T’easing and pleasing, in the most joyous of ways, during these confusing, hard days.
This word has been peeking around the dunes lately, wanting to play with the big boys and girls on the beach. I am as guilty as the next bikini-clad, batman-boxer bathing suit, speedo sporting, sand surfing writer. We invite it on our literary towels, where tanner more sporty looking words lay, without considering its ability to shun onlookers. Once a but is seen, an interested glance accompanied by a wink and a nod turns away. Exposed to the sun’s light, a but cracks open a spasm doubt previously unkown to snufflers walking by. It negates any sweet smelling idea proposed by the sentence structurer. Therein lies the rub.
I’m not completely adverse to the idea of using the but word, however, it is used way too often. It’s crammed into sentences so often I don’t think even the most exquisite among literary laxatives would ease the log jam. So apparent in columns of online social and professional colonoscopical bloviating, I find its usage exhausting. No wonder we’ve seen a run on toilet paper. It’s not just due to the Covid-19 outbreak and panic buying ad nauseam. Some fault to all the professional editors who are scurrying about, raiding the big box stores, maxing out their corporate credit cards, driving up the stock prices of Charmin, Cottonelle and Angel Soft. They are trying to clean up the crap-storm, but messes of contradictory information floating around in every crevasse of porcelain popular opinions.
So, here we are … buckets upon buckets of wet sand starting to build castles on a beach that will, eventually, be washed out … BUT for now, we have to deal with what is. A world of he-said-they-said-she-said information where everyone is entitled to their opinion preceded by the word “but”. I see it everywhere, especially in the Facebook universe where a man-boy founder’s vision of a better, less ugly world is certainly not that right now. I would argue today is more in line with Zuck’s original intent, anyway. Lining up faces in a juvenile dorm room to poll away the pretty from the ugly … just now we are substituting opinions for faces.
We are caught, non-professionals and professionals alike, in this goofy paradigm. Our line in the sand is the constantly moving narrative of what is true and what isn’t. Every day the stories change. President Trump vacillates more than a well-oiled, grease pole of slimy day old engine oil and Congress couldn’t agree on where to take a sh*, well … I’ll keep it clean because they did, sorta, manage to pass a massive relief. err… bill, BUT …
We will pay for it … eventually. There’s the rub, again.
Opinions are like ***s … as the saying goes, so I will get back to my original premise. But is a problem, Give me any proposition, follow it with “but”, and you’ve just negated your original position.
“I think you are gorgeous, but…”
“Wow, you certainly look nice tonight honey, but…”
“Thanks for your order, but…”
“I hate being Socially Distant from you, but …”
“Spiders can go suck on poison, but …”
See the problem? Now, to be clear, as a reply to another’s opinion, I could be persuaded. For example:
“I’ve been up four hours now and I think the two mugs of tea I’ve consumed so far are making me delusional.”
“Yes, but think of all the fun you are having click-clacking away knowing you have all day to do absolutely nothing … abso-freaking-nothing!”
Aside from me asking why you are sitting next to me and I can’t see you, get my point? As a reply, it is ok. After your own idea, though, I’d avoid it like the Covid-19 virus…especially on social media. You’ll confuse an already stressed, red-eye-ball popping public whose tolerance for anything less than a two-seconds meme is already stretched thinner than the skin of a …. _______ (fill in your own descriptor here). The above examples are fine for humor’s sake, BUT when politics get involved, nasty-nasties comes out to play. I’ve seen it. To my shame and pity, I’ve engaged in such malfeasance to such a degree … forcing my play shovel into the sand … causing me to say…
… Here I sit. Watching Atlas and Ayn lob and volley. There are consequences of good intentions. One of them being my ability to not sleep during the night. Another, a willingness to share deep, profound knowledge with you, my loyal reader. So, here it is:
“This whole Covid-19 virus could be a once in every 100 year plague, or a simple over-hyped common flu bug, but maybe neither one. Could be somewhere in between the two. What do I know?”
Let’s hold hands in agreement as we sun bathe together here on my Superman towel. Oh, by the way, could you put some SPF 50 on my back? I’m starting to burn here.