After a three-hour, early-morning binge, I learned something.

After a three-hour, early-morning binge, I learned something.

So, the lifemate and I are “camped out” in our friend’s basement until we can move into our apartment (we moved states, and so, we could only be so picky as to move-in dates with regards to our move-out date, since, hopefully like most people, we didn’t want to waste any money). This is not about our apartment. It is, however, about the basement. Our friend (an actual mutual [very platonic] friend of ours whom we both knew and spent time with separately before ever getting together) lives in a house far too large for a single guy with a dog (the house was bought and paid for by his parents, so there’s that, too, but it’s a long, personal story of his, so judge less-harshly). And the basement is partially built out with one enormous bedroom (just a rectangle really), a closet outside the bedroom, and a full bathroom with some built-in shelving. Aside from this build out, the entirety of the remaining basement is concrete and completely unfinished. It’s a strange oasis-type feeling. It’s also a strange sort of time dilator as the room itself has no windows.

The basement has two window wells that allow for a peek at whether or not the time is day or night. As the walls of the built-out bedroom/den float freely within the basement space, only the northerly wall is built against the foundation of the house, the other three walls are completely solid, with not a single window frame, and they were built too far from the window wells to have made any use of them. And so, I am living in a windowless basement room (that’s very warm and comfortable, so don’t feel bad for me, please) within which I have little to no conception of what time it is, and I am not free to roam freely about the house whenever I want.

With these two conditions set out before me, I woke up at 6 am this morning. The friend (and I know this because we can easily and clearly hear all of his movements on the main floor) wakes around 6:45 am and is gone no later than 7:15 am, six days a week. I had at least an hour to blow, and the lifemate was still sound asleep. I didn’t want to go upstairs and encroach upon the friend’s morning routine. I also didn’t want to go back to bed. And I’ve been getting these really nasty headaches lately from my screens, which leaves me only my laptop as an option for my viewing pleasure (the tv, I assumed, would be too bright, and my phone’s the usual headache culprit when in near or complete darkness). Plopping open my laptop, I flicked it into Night mode, but I had nothing to do. I didn’t want to write; that’s lame. I didn’t want to read the news that early (or at all in that moment). A general cure to my laziness usually resides in YouTube. My tolerance for the platform is so low that I cannot really tolerate a “binge,” as it were.

Apparently, however, at 6 am on a weekday, I can watch YouTube videos for three hours. And I’m not talking about the “good” kind of videos (of the educational or documentary type); I’m talking about some straight up shit and some straight up waste-of-timers, all of the “YouTuber” genre. This is unusual behavior for me, but after getting into a good little rabbit hole groove, I was happy that I was doing it, watching videos and attempting to learn something. Obviously, the world is changing fast, and not a single YouTuber I watched today had I ever heard of before. In short, I felt really old. But honestly, I’m glad to be out of my youth.

In No Time To Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin, Le Guin states something so beautiful about age. “Old age is for anybody who gets there,” she writes on page 9, and then on the next page, she quotes, “Old Age is Not for the Young.” I suppose, if anything, I’m grateful to be growing older. Not knowing about whatever is going on on The Tube never bothered me before, and after this morning’s junk-food binge, I’m highly confident that it will never matter to me at all.

Petty Report: Cancelled?

Petty Report: Cancelled?

Is it petty to write about a person while they’re in your presence? Is it the same as talking (or whispering) behind their backs? What if that person is a friend of yours? What if that person turns out to say racist things, even though you are certain (90% after the first comment with a gentle decline by 5% with each further comment until you reach 50% at which point you completely give up on this friend) that this friend is not a racist. I know and can rationalize that there is a difference between racial bias and racial bigotry, racial ignorance and racial discrimination. I know this, but the reality is that to have the patience to make a person aware of their racial bias or racial ignorance is to tolerate their racist comments, sometimes, for a long time. And I am not a fan of tolerating harmful people. Nevertheless, I am at the point in my life with this person that I need to make a decision about whether or not I will tolerate the comments in hopes of educating.

I am not a fan of educating the ignorant (and no, I do not believe I am or am even in the vicinity of being the most intelligent, but I know that I am smart enough to understand many things). I am, however, a fan of watching people grow and change, blossom and learn. And so perhaps, the problem truly exists within my general understanding that I am also “white enough” to where people forget that I am not white, and then occasionally, they say racist shit, which means that everyone in my orbit is a bit racist, since the majority of my orbit is white. This, however, cannot be true because this particular person is the first friendship within which this particular issue has come into being.

Then, perhaps, the problem revolves around my general impatience with people who say dumb shit in the first place. I have little to no tolerance for people who have nothing original to say, and oddly enough, this always includes racists comments. Of course, I’ve experienced racists comments said by every type of person, but I have not had a personal friend who does this, not until this one friend. I’m perplexed. I’m confused. I’m more confused than actually concerned about whether or not this person is a good person. I couldn’t care less about his/her goodness. I am confused about how a person of this age, in this day in age, could openly say things without even a hint of awareness about how racially charged the thing said is. I wish I could quote-unquote write what he/she said, but I cannot for then that person will know I am talking about him/her (but actually, the chances that they read this are slim, if extant at all).

Thus, I am forced to simply sit here in contemplation as I continue to have to interact with this person, regularly. The avoidance tactic was not received well, but we are on good terms right at this moment. Eggshells, nevertheless, remain. And so, I do not know if I’m asking for help so much as I’m asking for a compatriot in this particular struggle, the struggle of not wanting to merely “cancel” a friend. I also know, at the same time, that it is not my responsibility to fix anyone. So, there’s that.

Until next time.

The Notebooks That Keep Us

The Notebooks That Keep Us

As an early, avid collector of notebooks, I fondly remember shopping for diaries and journals with my mother from time to time. In my youth, I traveled a lot on various “missions trips” (if you know what I mean, you know what I mean, and no, I am not that person anymore), and so, most of my notebook use revolved around documenting those experiences. Aside from the yearly “trip” journal, I mostly kept a diary of all of my secret thoughts, which were few and not very exciting (one imagines), since I did not keep a single one of my old diaries. What a shame.

Nevertheless, in my early twenties, I took it upon myself to do some writing, be a blogger, which ultimately led me to the discovery that I truly love writing. And so, like a good little perfectionist, I sought to be the best writer through the acquisition of various notebooks, pens, pencils, writing utensils, etc., etc., &c. And for awhile, my notebook(s) (depending upon how many I am utilizing at any given moment) was/were everything. The notebook itself was everything. I found that I had little to nothing to write in them, and so, they were little accessories to my #writerslife. And then, one day, I became a real writer, and with this comeuppance, the realization befell me that I just need some paper (and a pencil [not a pen, never a pen]).

But by this point, I was living in Seoul, South Korea, and so, coming across mere paper became very difficult. In the Land of All Things Cute, Seoul offers notebooks aplenty, however, those notebooks are always decorated in the cutest of cute graphics and/or images. Thus, for my new-found proclivity for simple sheets of paper, I was at a loss and was thereby forced to care through the sheer proliferation of notebooks designed to be adorable.

Now, I am residing in These United States, and I terribly miss the cute factor I inevitably began taking for granted in Seoul. I cannot find cuteness anywhere! Alas, I am reminded that as a writer, I only need paper. And so, I happily turn to the pages bound together in the style of “Composition Book” and remember that my notebooks only carry meaning after I’ve been carrying them for awhile. It’s the transition, now, that really breaks my heart whenever the pages of a current notebook either begin to run out of inspiration or physical pages.

I become attached to the thing, not because of the words written inside or the general look of the notebook, but rather, I become attached through its sheer proximity to me for months and/or years. The acquisition of a new notebook is no longer an act of excitement or anticipation. Instead, these days, a new notebook means the loss of a current notebook, the one with which I have become so familiar over the past months or even years. I now exist in this place where I couldn’t care less about which notebook will become my next new notebook. Instead, I’m attempting (every day) to enjoy this time that I’m having with this notebook that I’m using. The notebook wouldn’t be much to me without me, and I might not be the same me without it.

I don’t know about you, but for me, my notebooks know all of my thoughts. Usually, I imagine that my notebook knows me better than myself. It certainly stores my mental whims and wishes effectively enough so that years later, I may look back upon my mental whims and wishes and understand myself better today. Perhaps, then, my point is less about the notebooks I carry and more about how the notebooks carry me. Each one of them was used during a very specific time in my life (within a very specific state of mind). And so, as I write my mind into these books, I am imbuing them with the essence of myself. Of course, this can all be perceived as spiritual mojo, hub-bub, nonsense, but it could also be read with an air a bit more akin to realism, something fairly straightforward. The straightforwardness would have to stem from the thing about literacy, but I do not know what it is exactly that makes literacy so powerful for/to the intellect.

And so, I must end with this, “Am I the collection of words I leave behind?”

Podcasts: Use Sparingly

Podcasts: Use Sparingly

The thing about reading is that it helps your brain understand itself, which in turn, allows you to understand yourself. When you read (and I do not have scientific backing or proof, only personal observation, introspection, education, contemplation and experiences), you are not only reading the words off the page so that you do not have to listen to someone else speak them, but rather, when you read, you are teaching your brain how to think, and when I say “read,” I am nearly always speaking about nonfiction books and/or thick literature. Yes, general fiction is absolutely important and included, and I have found that general fiction can challenge the way I think, but usually it doesn’t, like the way movies are capable of challenging you intellectually, but usually, they don’t. And so, I do not rely on general fiction nor to I reach for general fiction to educate me. If a general fiction novel does educate me, then I’m all the better for it, obviously; I merely do not turn to it to educate me, like I do nonfiction and literature.

The thing about reading is that it challenges your brain to either defend itself, accept itself or change itself. A good nonfiction book embeds itself deep into your brain, gives your brain a lot to think about, and then, after your brain has come to a conclusion, after testing it against everything else you knew about the subject before, it reveals to you what you think. When you hear someone speaking to you, you are confined by the whims and speed of the person speaking, and you can read much faster than you can listen to someone reading to you. You can also see and hear reading. When hearing, you typically do not see words in your mind, so, you’re not deepening your ability to write (i.e. the expression of your mind in words), and if you’re illiterate, you definitely do not see words flashing across your mind; you see images and are incapable of writing.

And so, this is my case against relying on listening. Of course, indulge yourself from time to time, and absolutely partake regularly so that your brain is intellectually well-rounded, but don’t consume only through your ears (and yes, I mean video, too, because when you watch someone else speak, you are not reading the words coming out of their mouths, and it’s the thing about reading that makes this so important, and yes, the blind can read with their minds’ eye). When you read you consume through both your ears and both your eyes. And the thing about reading is that it goes directly into your head at the speed your brain enjoys most. You can see the words for yourself, with your own two eyes, hear the words in your head through means nobody can explain, and your brain can decipher the words of other people at the speed at which it is most comfortable. This powerful combination is the power of literacy, and in a country where nearly everyone except the severely underprivileged is taught how to read and has access to every single book ever published for FREE, I am appalled at how so few people are avid readers. It’s shameful. When you think about how oppressive illiteracy is, how it fuels inequality, Americans should care more about their privileged position of literacy by reading all the books they can get their hands on. Instead, nobody reads.

But, your life is your own; what do I care? In the end, you can keep on listening to all that consumable “information” but all you will ever learn about is the opinion of the person speaking. Why would you want to spend all that time learning about another person when you could be spending that time educating and learning about yourself. When you read a book, you are presented with information, and your brain comes to a conclusion, thereby creating your own opinion, which now makes you an educated contributor to the conversation. Regurgitating the opinions of others makes you a mere puppet, parrot, tool.

So, I suppose what I’m saying is that you should just keep listening. I’ll go ahead and keep reading so that I can be part of the conversation with my own conclusions, theories and opinions to share, while you sit back and listen all while knowing nothing about anything except the opinions of others. I prefer it this way, actually.

Sex Day

Sex Day

To you Lady Lovers out there (and gents, I suppose, since, god-forbid, someone’s left out), who may be feeling at odds or some other unnameable thing at this point about your sex life, you need to establish Sex Day within your daily life and routine. What is Sex Day, you ask? Well, it’s the day that you schedule to have sex with your partner.

I don’t know about you, but my man has the libido of a man needing to populate a small colony, all by himself. Luckily for me, I used to have a similar libido, which made us quite the horny pair. As I’ve grown older, my horny-ness has subsided (what?, with being a female who menstruates every fucking month, which essentially means that my menstrual cycle overshadows three weeks of every single month—week one: PostMS recovering from period week; week two: the best week of life, life is #sogood; week three: PMSing for the upcoming volcanic eruption; week four: Purgatory—it’s a bit much to ask for sex all the time.)

Thus, my partner and I have recently established Sex Day, and it’s been working really well. As unromantic as it may sound, it really is quite freeing, which allows for an air of romance. Obviously, I’m not suggesting that you follow in our lead, of course, I would never do that. And so, the most important aspect of this whole process is that you complete Step 1. Step 1 forces us to do the one thing that, as an American society, we are not allowed to do: Speak openly about our sex lives. This leaves us all to our own devices, and perhaps, some of us think that we’re crazy or worse, deviant. Rest assured, you are not deviant. Whatever sexual proclivities you may possess, the internet has revealed that you are not alone. So, don’t feel alone. Perhaps you’re only able to see this representation through pornography, and that’s a shame. But don’t let that make you feel … morally wrong in some way. Unless, of course, you’re some sort of serial killer that gets off on murdering people, well, then, yes, perhaps you’re deviant and unhelpful to society.

Deep breath. Here we go then, a few easy steps to get Sex Day onto your calendar, today!

Preface: If you are not orgasming regularly, this issue needs to be resolved first and foremost. Talk to a doctor who actually cares that you’re not orgasming. Also talk to your partner. There’s no faking it until you make it, in this case. So, speak up! Get that Screaming-O!

 

Step 1: Talk with your partner about your sexual wants and needs.

If you find that your partner wants sex twice a day, and you’re fine catching dick once a month, well you’ve got a lot of compromising to do. If you find that you and your partner fuck every single day, but then realize that you’d rather also fuck other people, well then that’s great too. The point is that you need to TALK about it, whatever IT is.

 

Step 2: Compromise but be satisfied.

You need to be really honest about your needs, but you also need to be realistic. If your partner works from 6 AM-10 PM every day, and you have two kids under the age of three, and one of you is the president of the PTA or whatever (sorry, I don’t know what adults with children do), then it’s probably not very realistic to schedule Sex Day as being every other day. BUT, if, like me and my partner, one of us needs to get laid twice a day and the other needs twice a week, then Sex Day is every other day, which realistically turns out to be about 2-3 times a week (excluding that fucking time of the month). This, of course, does not mean that we have sex every other day, but because it’s on the “calendar” that means it must be addressed, ahead of time, if there are going to be changes. Maybe the changes mean that someone gets oral. And for you men out there, if you want to get laid more, you’ve gotta get your partner, who are we kidding, I don’t think that homosexual men have problems getting laid, so you straight-assed men out there, you gotta get your woman horny and aching for you, which probably means you’re gonna have to use that good old fashioned saliva-based lube and get to work.

 

Step 3: Converse regularly

I’ll tell you, I’ve been fortunate enough to find someone who satisfies me greatly, and so, I can also tell you ladies, that you’ve gotta speak up. You have to tell your man what you want. I hear that ladies are quite good at getting their ladies off, so that’s why I haven’t mentioned you. And men, you’ve gotta listen. I’m on a Sex Day schedule that has both me and my partner compromising, but it is geared a bit more toward my partner because he’s expressed his needs clearly and rationally. Therefore, our initial Sex Day schedule is tailored toward his needs, and if it ever does not work for me, I can say so, and we’ll change it up. But for now, I will say this, running on a man’s libido has actually made me feel great. I honestly thought that I would get burnt out by this heavy sex load, but it’s starting to become routine, which means that I’m now also starting to really want Sex Day too.

Once you and your partner have set a Sex Day (or two or a thousand), try your best to stick to it. And remember, it doesn’t matter if your Sex Day schedule is twice a day or twice a year. We’re all getting laid! What matters is that we’re all getting sexually satisfied. And absolutely don’t forget, if you have time to waste wondering whether or not you’re getting laid enough, LIFE IS PRETTY FUCKING GOOD.

Migraines & Me: A lifetime of learning and now, some reprieve

Migraines & Me: A lifetime of learning and now, some reprieve

As a long-time (and I mean this relatively speaking as I have suffered various types of headaches and migraines over the course of my entire life’s memory), chronic sufferer of headaches and migraines, I have had a lifetime of trial and error when it comes to attempting to either rid or avoid a headache and/or migraine. The first head-splitting headache I vividly remember (and there are many remembered headaches) was sometime in the first or second grade when my family attended Korean Heritage Camp (a long weekend filled with activities that introduce adopted Korean children to Korean culture and tradition). Prone to nosebleeds, I got a pretty gnarly nosebleed over the course of the long weekend. Immediately after the nosebleed (which lasted an inordinately long time as I also remember my parents not being sure what to do after I my nose kept bleeding after thirty minutes), I became ill with a nasty headache. The rest of the weekend was basically ruined. This was probably not my first headache, as my mother has always seemed keenly aware of any situation that may give me a headache (even to this day), but it is my first memorable headache. Another nasty migraine happened (again) over the course of a long weekend. My partner and I took a little trip to a small beach town, and by the time we rolled back to our hotel after an afternoon about town, I came down with a migraine that knocked me out through the entirety of the only full day we had. Luckily, I eased out of it by the time the final morning rolled around and we had a nice day and afternoon, but I basically ruined another trip, another weekend, another event. I do not know exactly how many situations my headaches and migraines have ruined for other people, but to the people in my life who have felt short-changed, I promise you, I’ve never once used a headache or migraine as an excuse to get out of anything. I would never inflict so much bad mojo onto myself.

As far as the techniques I’ve tried, not a single one has worked to quell or dispel a migraine, that is, until recently. At the lively age of somewhere in my early thirties, I have finally come to the conclusion that I have done everything completely wrong.

In the past, I’ve always opted for soothing sounds, dark rooms, sleep. My typical migraine strategy included (but was/is not limited to): putting some sort of dense carb into my stomach so that I could down two generic Excedrin with as much water as I could tolerate, and then off to bed I’d go until the generic Excedrin kicked in or didn’t. This strategy never helped to quell the discomfort, and so I kept on living in misery, hoping that this time, it’ll work. It never did. Not once.

Then, I learned that migraines often times come with some sort of aura (a sort of signal or warning sign that a migraine is coming on), and so, as soon as I realized that I had a migraine, I attempted to remember if anything felt strange or if any sense felt disturbed. After nearly a year of paying attention, I’ve found that my aura is a combination of sensitivity to sound and screens. I’ve always been sensitive to light while in the throws of a migraine, but (after my intentional determination to find out what my aura was [if I had one]), I became aware of the specific misery that the light from screens (my phone, computer, television) exasperated the problem in the form of nausea. Daylight and lamp light disrupts me in a way that creates a sharper head pain during a migraine. Screen light specifically made me nauseous, and after an hour or so of feeling sick to my stomach, I inevitably get beaten down with a migraine. This was the first big clue.

The second big clue was when my migraine cleared. I continued to notice that my ears always popped shortly before feeling that sweet sweet relief of the pain dissipating. That made me pay attention to my hearing just before coming down with a migraine. What I noticed was that my ears sort of ached like my ear drums were being stretched. And then I noticed that I would hear a bit of static off and on for a while before a full-blown migraine rose up.

With this new found knowledge and familiarity with my aura theories, I made a few attempts to preemptively strike against my migraines.* My first attempts went well. As soon as I felt as though my aura had appeared (either through static in the ears or nauseated sensitivity to screens), I would go through the routine: down a carb, two generic Excedrin, and as much water as I could tolerate. Then I would go to bed and try to sleep. This worked pretty well, but taking a nap in the middle of the day is not very convenient. Nevertheless, I stuck to the strategy, and it worked most of the time.

And then, I had an epiphany, What if I force myself to stretch? I stretch regularly because it’s just something I do and have always done. But now, I had to stretch for the good of my neck. One of the causes of my migraines is my neck injury. While working as an alterationist, my boss accidentally dropped a steel bar onto my head. It’s a long story that did not end well for my career at his store, but I am generally quite well. All-in-all, my neck needs to stay loose or I will get a headache. Thus, I realized that instead of going to bed and lying completely still, I thought that I’d force myself to stretch.

The first time I tried my new strategy, it worked really well. It worked so well, I couldn’t even believe it. So, now, as soon as I sense all of the signals of my aura, I immediately go through the same routine as before except now, instead of going to bed, I specifically get moving, despite how I feel. If a migraine arises, there’s not much I can do but pass out in bed, BUT, if I feel well enough to walk around, I get up and stretch on my yoga mat, go for a walk, and generally try to stay active while actively avoiding screens. I’ll throw on some tinted shades as well. I’ve also realized that screens, in general, really bother me and so, use the night light at all times, on the darkest setting, and now, I’m going so far as to get a pair of rose-tinted glasses, specifically for screen-time, as screen-time cannot be avoided in my line of work at this point in time.

Honestly, I am not even sure why I am so compelled to write about my migraines and newly-found strategy that actually works as I am sitting here now after deploying this strategy this morning after realizing that checking in on my friends on insta this morning was making me nauseous. Yay! I know that there are many people who suffer from migraines, and so, I am sharing my successful strategy with hopes that perhaps someone out there will find it helpful. I know that all migraines are unique, and so, you will probably have to come up with your own solution, and so, I suppose my real point is that you need to figure out what works for you, and if you still have not found a solution, keep trying. I’ve been suffering my entire life, and it took years to learn about my own body. In the meantime, I hope my strategy is a winning strategy for all of my future migraines, but I am realistic. There’s a chance that a simple change in water will affect my headache frequency, but for now, I am hopeful and ecstatic that my newest strategy is the first strategy to work successfully.

Until next time.


 

*I’m realizing now that I have not given you a sense of how many migraines I fight off at any given time. On average, I suffer one and a half migraines per month. They are, presumably (by both myself and my physician), related to my menstrual cycle. Every once in a while, maybe one or twice a year, I will suffer a stress-related migraine, and about once or twice a year, I will suffer a physical-tightness-related migraine due to issues that are beyond the scope of this here piece.

Conan The Clown (slash American Cultural Ambassador)

Conan The Clown (slash American Cultural Ambassador)

Recently, my mind has revealed a little tidbit of itself to me with regards to the “late-night comedian” Conan (Conan O’Brien). Conan O’Brien is not a late-night comedian. I mean, obviously, he is a “late-night comedian” in the sense that he jumps into our devices every day, late at night, in hopes of humoring us. However, this label of “comedian” does serve his purposes.

Since Conan identifies as a comedian, he can gain access to places and ideas without the typical strings that are typically attached to say, politicians or lawyers or even … journalists. Nevertheless, the essence of Conan is not comedy. The essence of Conan is education. It is by Conan’s intellect that he moves through the world, grapples with and deciphers the problems of this world. Comedy is his vehicle, and through humor, he can bring even the most complex things back down to Earth, creating Bathos. Conan’s genius is his ability to do this. Unfortunately, the masses do not care to learn, and so, even if those lessons are directed at you subliminally, your mind will reject this (and I have no proof of this, and I am too lazy to find a source to back up my claim; you were warned, which is why this is all theory, conjecture, especially since I do not know Conan O’Brien personally). This is the foundation upon which my theory about why Conan lacks mass appeal is built.

To me, Conan O’Brien lacks a bit of proliferation; I do not see him “everywhere.” I also know that he’s never one of the big three late-night comics. And I used to understand why: He’s a clown. But then, desperate for any entertainment when Colbert is away (I am capable of appreciating more than one person at a time), I started watching Conan’s “Conan Without Borders” segments while living in Seoul, South Korea. I couldn’t believe that Conan was even viewed in Seoul, much less adored. It was a weird awakening. So, inspired by the popular, I began watching Conan. Honestly, I don’t really care for his show, but I am absolutely obsessed with all of his “Borders” segments. I’ve seen them all, and I love every one of them. And I know I love them because of Conan.

While “Without Borders”, Conan can be the ridiculous American that the rest of the world may enjoy because he lives up to an American stereotype, The Clown. And Conan’s smart. He’s an actual intellectual. You do not end up with the types of credentials that he has and remain stupid. The difference is that Conan is not an elitist intellectual. He doesn’t sit upon his high horse (like say, Bill Maher, and I appreciate him so much, too!) and look down on all the uneducated (by systemic inequality or sheer laziness) people and call them stupid. He also doesn’t want to be surrounded by only those who are equally as intelligent as he is. He wants to be around people. And I cannot even qualify or “define” what type of person because Conan sees people as people. He does not treat a woman like a woman, a dude like a dude, an Asian like an Asian, etc., etc., &c. He treats everyone he encounters like a person. And that’s saying something, especially for someone who could so easily sell out for any number of reasons.

Conan is good with people in person. I find his pieces to be most consumable when watching him interact with other people. Hence my indifference to his late-night show. I basically watch everything of Conan’s on YouTube, except his late-night riffs, because he is so good at interacting with every type of person, he is hilarious to watch. He has no shame. He’s willingly going out there and representing the idiocy of Americanness to the rest of the world. He’s our global Bathos Ambassador.

People want and will easily think the worst of you, no matter what. The global community, the peoples of all the different, varied, cultures of the world do not have a positive, glowing, sunshine-and-rainbows perspective, perception or opinion of These United States. Of course, many people do want to come here to experience the ginormity of American life, but generally speaking, the American people are not looked upon with the same light that Americans use on themselves. And clearly, Conan knows this.

Not only does he know this, he is capitalizing on it. He is playing the role that the global community wants to see, wants to be proven right about, wants to interact with, and Conan plays that role unlike anyone else because nobody else is doing it. With all of Conan’s big intellect, he didn’t decide to point the cameras at his big intellect. Instead, he said (and I “quote,” but not to quote him but rather, to write a bit of fake dialogue), “I’m sick of all these intellectuals talking down to the less educated and calling them stupid. All you have to do is educate them.” And even if Conan has a smaller base of fandom here in These United States than I would like, it’s comforting to know that the global community has embraced him, enjoys his perspective, and feels as though they’ve won a small victory against the USA by being right about us Americans: We are clowns. Our day-to-day problems are so miniscule that we have problems and arguments about basic necessities (say, what type of person gets to use the millions of free toilets available to the general public) that other nations do not even have at all.

We’re all clowns. And so, if Conan has taught us anything through all his years entertaining us, it is that American comedians are not the only clowns. We have one sitting in the White House, and we are all clowns ourselves. To be American is to be a clown. Our problems are of such little consequence because we brought all of these problems on ourselves. We could literally fix all our problems tomorrow, with a few swipes of a pen. Yea, we then have to get to work and get it done, and so, again, Conan proves a point. It’s not only about realizing that you’re a clown and that you’re part of the problem; it’s also about how problems don’t fix themselves. So, if, as a nation, we are going to allow people to in our society to exist who are uneducated and lazy, then it’s our responsibility to change that, to create the world in which we want to live. If we do not want people to be uneducated, then we must educate them. If we do not want people to be lazy, then we need to build and create things and spaces for them to do and create things.

And so, I want to thank you, Conan, for getting out there and being the face of America. Conan may have a reputation of being ridiculous, but he does not hold a reputation of being stupid. So, whatever Conan does accomplish while the cameras are turned off is his real work, his learning. Nevertheless, he remains dutiful to his responsibility to also educate the masses, and for this effort, I appreciate everything that he does. Thanks, Conan! You make me laugh, but more importantly, you make me think. Thank you.