one of those heartfelt emails

So… at the time of writing this I’ve been drinking. For some, way too much. For me, 1/3 of a bottle of whiskey. I’m sure there is a name for that somewhere but I’m too goddamn bothered to think of it. There are units for everything.

“Let your units be your guide!”

There was a pretty good (good enough to be sued) picture of Jiminy Cricket from the 1940 Disney film “Pinnochio” posted to one of the whiteboards on the southern end of the room. One of those movies you saw as a kid but never really remember a whole lot other than the major plot points. It said on the side of the cartoon character,

“Let your units be your guide!”

This was 10th grade honors chemistry in August 2004. If you’ve taken a chemistry course ever, you know the majority of the first half of the course is basically not losing track of your units. If you can call high school chemistry anything, it is a unit conversion discipline. You learn a few cute physical and chemical laws, but ultimately you are there to convert things.

This damn cricket and the man who taught the class have literally led my life since the day I was exposed to them. And, tonight, in one of those “times” I tend to have I sent him an email that I am just going to paste here. It’s a little personal, yeah, but so is most of this when I get around to it. It sort of has something to do with another post I am thinking of writing but haven’t had the courage to.

I’ll just say, I didn’t get a lot of attention at home and this man was really one of those people who encouraged me to be curious and seek more from life.

Thanks, Mr. Iucker.

Hi Ivan,

“Mr. Anderson” as you would say in a drawling voice, because the Matrix was only like 4 years old at the time of my long haired ass being your student. I remember giving a shitty answer to your question as to why we worked in groups of four on large boards; something about “encouraging teamwork”. You immediately said that was bullshit (not your exact words, this being Utah and 2004 of course) and went on to someone with a real answer.


And for some reason I went on to being in your class for the next two years despite not being what most would refer to as a good student. Sure I did fine on tests but the rest of my work ethic was lousy as best. Hell, senior year I failed AP Physics twice, mainly because I didn’t feel much need to pass as I didn’t need to. 


Something stuck with me though, a fair number of years later. I joined a party of those one year my junior in drinking with you, and you said something that confuses me to this day, “I need more students like Anderson.”


Why? I wondered. You’d probably lose your job or as close as one who works for the state can lose their job if you had a bunch of witty underperforming students like me. But, I have to say to you now… Thank you Ivan. You really gave this shitty little Magna kid, a descendent of San Diego meth dealers a view into his future. You really had a huge part on how I view myself now, especially since I now know as much as I do about my family and how they were.


One thing I remember: Ember Storrs once asked our class, “what keeps us wanting to excel as students?” I never really thought about it before, and as a solid ‘B’ student at the time I was not sure if I could say I was excelling. 


My answer was “myself”. This was a huge difference from all the Mormon kids I the class, whose answer was predictably “my family” or something similar. I was seriously the odd one out in all this. And even then, that really stood out to me and hurt. Why the hell was I any different?


I’m the second youngest of two marriages, and six children. I’m also the only one of my mother’s children to ever graduate high school, let alone get by with a degree from a university. There was something dearly wrong with the woman’s genes, and maybe that’s why I’m writing this email at 10pm on a Wednesday night after 1/3 a bottle of whiskey? 


But you spring to my mind as one of the most important people I had, and one of the most influential people I have to thank for who I am today. Which, maybe isn’t saying much compared to some others, but at the very least I live a fairly comfortable, easy life alone which some other of my peers might not be able to say. Hell, looking at the Cyprus High faculty list surprises me with how many people I went to school with. That said, I’m not in prison or living with my insane father like so many other of my siblings.


And I really do have you and Melissa to thank, Ivan. You two really had SO MUCH to do with who I am today. And I have such a tremendous place in my heart for you two and the memories I have from your classes. Far more so than I ever had in University. 


I mean is that a real Eyring that is at Cyprus? I had Ted Eyring when he was like 90 and he shouldn’t have been teaching at the time. I remember saying something about that on Facebook and people were so rude to you of all people. I felt so bad. Ted Eyring made me feel bad for making fun of him, despite the fact he really should not have been teaching at the time, but I really didn’t want to make anything about attacking you at all. 


This was all before the last time we met though. Even if what you said when we were having beers together with Burga and Oates was facetious… thank you. 


I know I’m sending this from my official email but I don’t care. I hope we can keep in touch and get a beer sometime because you’re truly one of the biggest people in my life and I really want to thank you for that Mr. Iucker.


Yours,
Christopher “Mr.” Anderson

self-post

This title works on so many levels.

I think I am going to start trying to post once a week from here on, just about anything. I have been wanting to make this more… thought out I guess? That carries with it the problem of not being me though.
My usual writing style is sort of stream-of-consciousness as you may have noticed, tired, and usually unedited.

So, starting today I’m going to try and do this on a weekly basis from now on, just as an attempt to find my own voice and just rediscover some sort of creative outlet, even if it is mostly just personal diatribes that most would deem better for a journal. But that’s okay because I feel like sharing this stuff.

Also my journal is mostly just me complaining that I’m horny and no one wants to hear that.

People in the past have shared with me a less than flattering take that I am, “hard to read.” This has especially rung true in regards to my feelings about someone. Relationships have often had rocky beginnings because of my inability to show how I’m feeling.

Continue reading

t-minus six days

Edit (the next day): This was a mistake. 

How am I?

How are you?

Well, lets get into how I am: I turn 30 in six days as of this writing. As a friend said, that is nearly TWO decades on Earth. The first decade was somewhere else, probably some alternate dimension or Venus or something.

My complexion makes sense with that latter option.

I am currently typing this in a library, which is a place I have not been to for a very long time. Hell, since I was a kid of 22 probably, doing all that collegiate stuff. Though not terribly sure why I was there at that point, since I’m certain I wasn’t doing anything related to studying. I was a good student at student stuff.

Why am I at a library? Because I’m in Copenhagen and I don’t like reading! No better way to not read than be somewhere you literally can’t read the language. Honestly I’m mostly just waiting for my check-in because I’ve been awake forever. Well, 24 hours.

There will be better posts than this. But for now… my brain isn’t working.

conversations with my father: on history

Hey look, this place isn’t as dead as I thought!

Anyways, I have a few thoughts. “About what?” you may wonder. Well, what family is; and how important respect is in these sorts of relationships. Respect is an important thing, as I feel one needs to have some sort of feeling of equality or magnanimity for a person that can translate to respect. And it’s not always a reaching up thing. You can have great respect for something working hard to reach your level and beyond. And while this simply sounds like I am only referring to this in a, let’s say, skill based way; it is definitely important in all interactions with a person.

So it’s really hard to define respect. There are so many ways to respect a person; and as such the opposite is true.

Now you may be reading the title here and wonder… what the hell are you on about? Well, much like a turtle making love with a shoe; I’m getting there.

Continue reading

the post about impostor syndrome

Have you ever stood in line at an Arby’s and thought, “I feel like the dumbest person in here”?

And while you are enjoying those curly fries and medium roast beef sandwich, you sigh internally about the fry cook behind the counter likely looking at you and thinking you’re an idiot.

I mean, they slice that roast beef every morning. It’s so thin. They take a meat slurry, compress it, and turn it into 1mm thin slices of food that you can only describe as what paper looks like after getting stuck to a tire for 100 miles. Is that something you can do? You big phony. How do you even dress yourself?

Now while everyone has those grand Holden Caulfield fantasies of intense self-hatred and thinking everyone else is fake, there is always that little…teensy…itsy-bitsy voice that says to you,

“hey you’re actually pretty good.”

Easy to ignore that though. Honestly its kind of passive aggressive.

So, this happens all the time to people in Arby’s. But I’m not here to talk about the dread that we will never amount of anything at all that all of us experience while inside of one of those restaurants. God help you if you’re inside of a Kentucky Fried Chicken. Did you know they require 10 years experience for a starting position there now? There is a paper out there about how the KFC breading has some crazy quantum linking between fat chains making it that much more delicious. And you need to know that mechanism and wave function in order to dip the chicken correctly.

There are things much less serious I can talk about instead here, because I don’t want to be a very serious.

Something less likely (but still pretty likely, unless you are President Trump who is definitely not self-conscience about anything ever) for us to experience is that feeling inadequacy we might feel around peers. A kind of feeling that you may not actually meant to be there. As if you took your place from someone else, someone more deserving. Being an impostor in your own daily meanderings.

This is usually referred to as impostor syndrome. I’m not a psychologist so don’t quote me on that of course, nor do I really want to refer to the DSM for anything of the sort. I’m going to speak of my experience with this, being that guy that works in an academic environment with really no qualifications in a normal sense. Nor have I woken up in anyone’s garbage, found some discriminating objects and blackmailed my way into the job. I’m wanting to try that for my next career step though.

I work in a University as a lab technician/manager/specialist for an isotope geochemistry facility. A man of two and a half hats. I also manage a few other pieces of equipment, which are a cause of frustration at times due to having too many things to do.

Okay, so you have job security, what the hell are you complaining about you phony?

Hold on Holden, things are getting better! Geochemistry is one of those advanced subjects you don’t choose to go in to as an undergraduate, that is even if anything even offers that as a degree. I think one of our grad students, who is from mainland China did, but it a largely unheard of in most western schools.

Now what are my qualifications? I have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, with a 2.1 GPA, and that’s it. Granted, now I have experience, but on a purely scholastic level no one should trust me on anything. I am basically a lab whisperer, I am just really good at figuring out what is wrong with things and fixing them. I am good at what I do. I make things, and make them work for the lab. I guess I’m alright at other things too, but mostly I have been making my living as the tech guy the last few years.

Now, I should take some pride in that. I basically helped build this lab into what it is today through the last eight years. We are a unique facility within the state of Utah, and we get clientele and students from all over the world. And I don’t know how possible a lot of this would have been without me. I definitely think differently than students, and really want this lab to succeed as a business.

Which it isn’t. It’s a school facility that is literally not allowed to make a profit. Isn’t that nuts? That’s a country giving its citizens free health care. Just complete nonsense that has never and will never work in the real world, only in movies like Deadpool 2 and The Notebook.

But, part of working in a school means, unfortunately for me since I can’t talk as I am a large sentient mass of meat, people are going to ask you questions. The first of which is, which I absolutely hate:

“So are you a post-doc?”

I answer no.

“I’m staff. I’m the lab specialist.”
“Oh.”

It is always, “Oh.” Never anything nice. Ever. Or I get something like:

“You should get a graduate degree.”

Oh gee thanks. And you think that is a nice thing to say, but the way it is usually said is kinda demeaning. Like, “You’re too smart to be doing this,”

It’s flustering. Flamboozeling. Flubbertingly. Fuckering. Inclitterating.

(I just wanted to put clit somewhere. Because I can never find it on my own.)

And maybe I am in some respects. But don’t say that to me. Don’t say that to anyone that is doing their job. That question has all the elegance and tact of a penguin yelling at a DMV worker with its own shit in its mouth. Which is to say very little.

I am the sort of person that takes things hard too. When I hear this, I am left feeling down for the rest of day, if not the week. Then when people ask me questions that actually matter, I mess them up, or sound like an idiot circling around the point.

But that happens on its own too. I have my specialties. Stuff I like. But I am in charge of other things I don’t like. And when people ask me questions about those, I always feel so bad because I can’t give them a good answer. It’s almost a heartbreaking for me.

I know that’s a weird thought, but I feel like these people are trusting me for knowledge that they may not get elsewhere, and I fail them. I should be the expert! But I just know the bare minimum of the theory in most of these cases. And it’s mostly because I am a very self-conscience person, and have a deep need for affirmation. As do most people though.

Anyways, it’s definitely a feeling that I don’t belong, that I don’t really know anything. And that feeling spreads. And in a place like this, where you are judged by the initials after your name, it can stick. And fester.

Like your gut after an Arby’s sandwich.

You feel like an impostor of your own creation. And maybe others think that, but its most likely just a trap you place on yourself. And indeed, a self-fulfilling prophecy in some ways. It is a terrible pit to get into, and its hard to climb out of. You end up making people think that of you.

But there is always a reason for you being there. There is a reason for me being there. I, as many of you maybe have, just need to calm down and think of how you are important. Because, likely, you are. And you need to just remember that about yourself.

So, my example is not the best to always go by. Or really ever. But it is better than that of thinking a person in an Arby’s is not looking down on you. Because they are.

 

 

 

 

Seriously though, if you read Catcher in the Rye and didn’t want to kill John Lennon afterwords, did you really read it?

Then you are an impostor.

A begin

This is another start. Something I did a long time ago, that I now plan on doing again. A source of mind. Something to ruminate on.

Ruminate sounds a lot like urinate.