Rendered Fat Content


I say I’m getting back to normal, but I doubt anyone feels that way the DayAfter. The holiday’s past, the short vacation’s over, but who feels normal then? Besides that twinge of familiarity huffing up the hill with me, the easy oblivion that routine always brings, this does not feel normal at all. It feels almost as alien as the first day on the job. I’ve been off the merry-go-round for a few cycles and I do not feel dizzy anymore; and I do not miss the easy disorientation that passes for normal most days. This morning tastes fresh. Not even the espresso bitters its sweetness.

I might have a choice today. The break in the routine disrupted long-preconscious patterns, and I woke up on purpose today; with purpose. I felt, in the absence of the usual yoke, a real sense of destiny, of capability, of present possibility. I could not slip more deeply back into my pillow to dread this day coming. I could make it different, create a new normal, and not repeat the patterns that tired old normal seemed to insist upon Slip over here for more ...



I understand that in the Irish tradition, marriages were proposed by the hopeful groom asking his prospective bride if she would consent to being buried with his family. This strikes me as both audacious and entirely appropriate, since my own family’s history can be plotted by clusters of gravestones in only a few, very distinct locations. Whatever the vagaries of westward migration and modern rootlessness, this tradition shows every promise of surviving even this century.

In more ancient times, of course, cemeteries were largely family affairs, a corner of pastureland, perhaps atop a hill, set aside for this unwanted but necessary service. Visiting the old home place included a trek to that hilltop to remember the prior inhabitants, too. But as we began settling into and around cities, it became fashionable to set aside community park land for these purposes. Slip over here for more ...



In this culture, deep truth seems indistinguishable from deep cynicism. We learn at an early age to deeply discount the (air quotes) wisdom of anyone more experienced, AKA: older; anyone, in other words, who might know better. Just because they’ve never yet seen anything like MY brilliant strategy work, doesn’t mean it’s not brilliant. Or that it won’t work. Enthusiasm trumps experience. Naivete supplants knowledge. Youth must make its own mistakes, which tend to be the same mistakes their elders made in their time.

I’m feeling older now, probably because I have grown older. I notice my age in my growing inability to feel cynical about anything, and also in my growing acceptance of what matters. I once believed that I might have stumbled upon a bit of radically new knowledge. I now understand that my elders had staked claim to both that knowledge and its adjacent folly long before I appeared to deride them. Slip over here for more ...



A cautionary tale in two stanzas; a reminder to myself, perhaps to you, too.

My two most dreaded activities: promising and footnoting. I despise these when I get downwind of others doing them, and hate myself when I catch myself inflating these useless balloons. Political speech overflows with promises. Academic writing smothers beneath footnotes (and parenthetical asides). I am more capable of promising than anyone should be. The past no longer cares where anyone learned anything. Frequent reverent reference to the source suggests only denial on the part of the story-shower. Don’t tell, just show. Lecturers and scolds commonly exhibit these flaws. Slip over here for more ...




"Our language doesn’t provide a translation to tell us what it is. Only our hearts can do that."

Nothing seems to work very well without it. Push, shove, wink, nudge, nothing really makes anything better without some ability for it to hear itself. Without some mysterious coherence, we’re never more than the simple sum of our parts, and often much less. No instruction manual ever showed how to create or even install coherence. For most, it’s either there or not; and might be the most commonly overlooked component. We might not consciously notice its absence.

I believe we each can feel its presence, though we might not have a ready name to assign to it. We might mistakenly ascribe its effect as luck, or synchronicity, perhaps superior design, though no spec sheet ever prescribes its presence. Only charlatans ever promise to deliver it. Only rubes ever agree to accept that delivery. It might be the rarest element, sufficient without ever approaching necessary; the cherry on top.

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Even a half-assed consultant can see far more choices than even their most insightful client ever could because they’re not climbing the spiral staircase, but watching their client climb. Their perspective mostly goes to waste, however, and could not possibly help their client see. Long consulting engagements often start with the so-called consultant trying to persuade their hapless client to see what they could never see from where they stand. Should the client say they can see what their ... ahem ... consultant just directed them to imagine, the half-assed consultant might feel a burst of validation without realizing that they just hobbled rather than helped.

I’ve long espoused the conviction that change arises from choice. I don’t always understand the more subtle point that choices seem scarcest whenever someone’s stuck, and I can (really, I CAN) proliferate choices forever for anyone else, but to no useful end. Until the client sees a choice, he cannot make a choice, and who knows where the insight necessary to see alternatives comes from? I don’t, though I used to believe that I did. I didn’t. Slip over here for more ...



Reason, long-presumed to be the only thing other than fashion separating us from the chimps, seems over-rated. What the old, reliable predicate calculus can represent kind of skirts around the edges of human difficulties, but we rely upon it anyway; probably over-rely upon it. Just because there’s no reasonable way to resolve something doesn’t limit choice much. Limiting choices to only reasonable ones might be the most common cause of modern difficulty.

I subscribe to the perhaps delusional belief that reason makes a better excuse than it does an imperative. Much of what everyone does every day makes little sense, it just works. If it has to make sense to even qualify to be tried out to see if it might work, we shouldn’t need to make any excuses if we’re stuck. We know the cause and it is us. Slip over here for more ...



Hooey’s hard to spot. It seems to show up dressed up like anything else; sometimes professorial, other times, harmless clown; maybe a touch pissed off, or just plain hard-to-stay-on-point distracted. We’re all prone to slip into our disembodied selves; The BriefConsultant, too.

I almost never catch myself slipping into my second person, where a disembodied ‘he’ replaces me. I’m a zombie then, looking for fresh brains, undead but not yet realizing it. I feel strangely powerful when I pad myself behind some projected persona rather than presenting myself as just my little old self. I can spew mindless he-mes as if ithey were genuine self-reflection, and I’m usually the last to know. Again. Slip over here for more ...


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