Me Week: What Are Jobs Even About?


One of the essays I’m happiest with was Working Out The World. That’s from May 2015. It was inspired by some of the baffling things we were asked to do as students. And it got into some mulling over what jobs are, and what kids understand jobs are. I grant that in many ways I was a nerdy, oblivious child, but I never really quite understood what grown-ups did all day. A couple tasks I understood but they didn’t seem to quite fill a whole job, much less a career. Decades on, I’m still not really good about it. I don’t think I’m alone, but, maybe other people do.

I think the line about “what’s a job to a kid? It’s just a place adults go to become tired and unhappy somehow” is maybe the most Ian Shoalesian thing I’ve written. If it isn’t, it’s only because identifying corporations as the imaginary friends of an adult who had money edged it out. I don’t think I quite manage the transition to the closing paragraph right, but the closing paragraph is where everything falls apart.

Also the ‘Paleo Diet Treats’ Better Just Be ‘A Stick Covered In Honey’


The magazine at the checkout counter showed off a woman with the headline, “She Lost 172 Pounds On The HAPPINESS DIET”. The idea’s caught my mind, certainly.

I picture the happiness diet consisting of sitting down to a sensible breakfast of cottage cheese and melba toast, because I formed my impression of dieting in 1978 and haven’t really advanced any since, and then checking a little journal to see whether one can have that giggle after all. At lunch, besides a half-sandwich of tuna on crumbly little unappealing diet bread and that awful substance sold as diet mayonnaise in 1983 that had the consistency of motor oil and tasted like vinegar and tinfoil, one reviews whether it’s probably safe to read what Letterman’s Top Ten List was last night. Finally for dinner one splurges by watching a supercut of Carl Sagan saying million, billion, trillion, or even quadrillion on Cosmos and letting its rhythms kind of amuse. At night, sprinkle a bit of trying to remember whether one read Herb and Jamaal today, and think about that good chortle being saved for the weekend, and maybe — if things are going well — about taking in a Sunday brunch of looking at pictures of rescued baby kangaroos in footy pajamas hopping around licking things, and let the pounds just melt away.

If I’m wrong about this in any particular I don’t want to know.

Meanwhile, On A Bad Star Trek: Voyager Episode


Mutated lizard-man Tom Paris wears jammies and kidnaps Captain Janeway, because this made sense in context.
Screen capture from “Threshold”, which is a legendarily awful Star Trek: Voyager episode, and shut up, fans can too tell. And yeah, it’s pretty bad, but in its defense, it’s gloriously bad instead of being just boring.

Mutated Lizard-Man Tom Paris ponders, “You know, I thought this would make me happy for sure.”