Tag Archives: Ridiculous

‘Pop!’

There’s a jar on the Sunday morning breakfast table. What’s inside, we do not know, but it must be some kind of jam. I’d like to put some of it on my bread. I seize the jar and get my fingers around the lid. I try to twist it once, but it doesn’t move. My girlfriend asks me to give her the pot, so she can show me how to open it. I don’t. One of our guests also makes a move on it, while I make more attempts with the kitchen towel. The tension rises as I buy some time by explaining them how ridiculously they behave. I would probably do the same.

What makes jars so fascinating that everyone wants to open them? Why do people feel the need to grab it out of another’s hands when they not instantly succeed? Where does this unlikely increased helpfulness come from?

The first thing that comes to my mind is proving yourself. By smoothly opening a jar you can show your strength, or, if you use one of the myriad jar-opening-tricks, your wit. Then again, do we really believe that there are grown up people out there who are incapable of opening a jar? Or is it collective youth trauma? Perhaps we were all so eager to open jars when our hands were smaller than the lid, that the desire has grown out of our control?

An important factor here may be that any jar can only truly be opened once. Opening it makes you the one and only breakfast table overlord. The satisfaction there is comparable to being the first to tread virgin snow, calling upon our animal desire to irreversibly devour beauty.

The opening also causes an irreversible obligation. Not only can we eat, we have to. We have a limited amount of time until its content goes bad. A deliberate reducion of our reserves. Quite a big choice for a jar opener to make, is it not? It showcases the abundance of resources in our domain: what a wealthy collective we are to be able to open a jar.

Finally, there is another kind of satisfaction you can experience there. The jar was stuck and now it’s not. Only the opener will know the secret of how tight it was. ‘Pop!’. It feels funny. And the point in between stuck and released reminds you hands of some inner stuckness, equally looking to be released. There is a sense of infinity there: once the lid turns, it could keep turning forever. You feel a void. The void of your own unhalted force which just opened the jar. As if a little piece of yourself gets launched into freedom.

It turns out that opening a little jar, in our world, can be quite a big thing. Aid should be offered quickly and with stress, else its holder may succeed. Perhaps my friends were not so ridiculous after all.

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Appearances

Walking through the Flevopark I saw this scene and took a picture of it. It shows a tree that has fallen down, lifting its roots in the process. The roots have ripped along a mat of soil from the ground, revealing disturbingly well arranged bricks. The tree, no longer standing, is now growing branches from its trunk. Out of the view jump an awfull lot of questions and speculations into my mind.

One might ask why the tree fell over, since it doesn’t seem too heavy, but you’d immediately answer: because as you can see, it barely has roots. True, but why is that? It seems obvious at first: it could not grow roots because of those bricks. Then again, why did it not simply reach through, disorganize them, and find its stability deeper down? Those little seedlings below sure didn’t have a problem with that. Well, one could answer, it did not root deeply because it was positioned at the height of the water and it did not need to look any further. In which case the bricks may have nothing to do with the downfall whatsoever.

What are those bricks doing there, anyway? They can’t be there for long yet, because they’d have had too much time to sink away or lose their structure. But someone arranged them there deliberately. Why? Surely not to support the establishment of the vegetation? Are those bricks under the entire park? And what are they lying on? Sand? Concrete?

Will the tree survive, now that it has claimed a bigger land? Will the branches form new stems, and will the stem grow new roots? Was this all part of its plan? I doubt it. Even though I admire the trees courage to keep growing after this disaster, I suspect the water will quickly suck its way through. It is probably rotting already, on its way to be pulp in a few years.

So what are we looking at here? Is this humans millionth failed attempt to do something constructive with nature? Is this a painful proof of how we don’t even manage to keep our city parks in one piece? Is it a millionth tragically failed attempt of nature to make something out of our ridiculous inventions?

Or is this a success story and am I missing out on something essential? If you have a clue, please let me know.

Europe in times of anti-ism

The EU countries are voting for the future of the continent. In the Netherlands, one of the dominating questions in the matter is: are you pro or contra Europe? I was raised as a European and I my life is marked by transborder friendships. Regardless, I have recently started to doubt. Not because I actually doubt, but because the black and white question echoes in society and it has invaded my mind. Yet if I take some time to contemplate it, anti-Europeanism appears to me as one of the most ridiculous ideas of this time.

Some talks on this matter led me to believe that when a person says he is anti Europe, he usually doesn’t mean it that way. The person could mean that he or she is anti-capitalist or anti political power accumulation or anti politics in general, or maybe that he just hates some French guy he once met during holidays. Because of that, I’m sad to see that the pro or against debate rules so much of the political propaganda. It is an easy way to draw votes, no doubt. The concept of a European union brings forth a spectrum of collective emotion.

And does that not say enough? Doesn’t that show we have little other choice than to deal with each other the way family does? Europe has grown into a network of entangled stakes. The very parties we vote for could not operate if the European Union did not exist. They cannot interrupt its existence either. That would be comparable to a liver saying goodbye to a body because of all the crap it gives it. It would die. We need our neighbours as much as we need ourselves. Our union is a given of this time and we should be grateful for its vitality. That’s fragile.

I won’t advocate that everything is going smoothly. There have been bumps and mistakes. What I’m saying is that anti-Europeanism is a waste of thought. A fake debate. The more such virtual constructs occupy the public opinion, the less power people have.

Go vote one of these days and please do it because you believe in something better, not because you want the borders back.

In circles

Do you know which group of people I find silly? Joggers. I’d hereby like to ask them all: where do you think you are running to?

Consider person X. Person X takes the car to work every day, sits behind the computer organizing his or her mind for eight hours straight, then goes home in the same car. Feeling lousy, person X puts on aerodynamic clothing, bouncy shoes and headphones. Listening to commands about speed and timing, person X greets absolutely no one on the street, nor is there any other contact than his or her unusual speed and outfit being noticed. Within fourty five minutes and twelve seconds, person X is back at the door he or she left earlier, two seconds faster than last time. Now, what’s wrong with person X?

First of all: bouncy shoes? Aerodynamic clothes? Isn’t person X trying to get fit? Then what sense does it make to make the effort lighter? It kind of misses the point, doesn’t it? Person X should wear thick winter clothing, perferably with a hat and wear a ten kilo backpack, regardless of the season. A healthy side effect of this outfit is increased sweating, which expulses the toxins person X ingested during the synthetic lunch enjoyed earlier that day.

Then this one: the running is to compensate from all the sitting, am I right? Well, what is person X doing sitting behind the computer all day anyway? Why doesn’t this person, say, build a nice little arty house in nature for his or her mom? Or help a poor truck driver carry some of the heavy stuff that will end up in person X’s fridge? Why doesn’t she or he bring some mail to the houses nearby? Constructive effort. That would make this whole jogging business useless.

Or how about the fact that person X doesn’t greet the stranger on the street? Physical health means the world, but a little effort on the emotional side is too much? Why isn’t person X joining a team sport? Something amusing that can facilitate some physical awareness? Let’s face it: even though person X is putting one foot in front of the other all alround, he or she is unlikely to discern the feelings of his or her third and fourth toes.

Finally: two seconds faster than last time? Well that will be of good use once a tiger attacks person X behind the safely guarded computer desk. Why does person X’s condition need constant improvement if it’s just for the jogging itself? Some secret dream of a marathon? Perhaps person X would like to carry an interesting fact along these 42.195 kilometers back to the start?

In summary: person X is a silly person. That’s all I have to say.