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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How Dr. Robot Got His Name

You can pick your child's name but you can't pick their nicknames. Nicknames are assigned by Lady Circumstance. If you were caught picking your nose in 4th grade you might be assigned the name "Booger" or the slightly more subtle "Digger." If your name rhymes with something unfortunate...well, that's just too bad. I came by my childhood nickname by loving a bad guy. I was smitten by the foppish-ly rugged, slightly Semitic looking Captain Hook from Peter Pan. I can not remember if I saw my Cap'n Love in the the Disney animated version or a tape of the Broadway show...it was probably the animated version. It all happened so fast in the summer before my fifth birthday. Apparently I was feverish with only his name on my lips. My brothers and sister all thought this very funny and began calling me "Hook." This became "Hooker" as soon as they found out what that meant. Please be cool and don't call me this the next time you see me - I won't react well and it will likely be the last time we speak. But this is about Dr. Robot.

My spouse, Professor J. Maximus Robot,.PhD., is a scientist. I work in the human service sector. Through my work I became aware of a very troubled boy that required 24 hour supervision. He had severe behavioral issues and his parents literally could not let him out of their sight. They had to hire caretakers to watch him overnight just so they could sleep. He required more vigilance than a toddler with a machete. It is a sad and exhausting situation that will likely not end well. I don't often repeat all the things I see and hear - it doesn't help my mind to repeat these stories and it is often disturbing to other people particularly, J. Maximus. Weeelll, I ended up tellin' him this one. I told him that I was unable to stop thinking about the terrible responsibility, futility, and human tragedy of it all. He seemed to be really listening... considering... maybe even feeling something. When I finished talking he said, "You know, that would be a perfect job for a robot."

In Myers-Briggs terms, he is a classic INTP:  "INTPs live in the world of theoretical possibilities. They see everything in terms of how it could be improved, or what it could be turned into. They live primarily inside their own minds, having the ability to analyze difficult problems, identify patterns, and come up with logical explanations. They seek clarity in everything, and are therefore driven to build knowledge. They are the "absent-minded professors" who highly value intelligence and the ability to apply logic to theories to find solutions."

Yup, that about sums him up. Men often try to solve problems based on their livelihood or hobbies. Perhaps another man would have made a sports analogy, applied their military training, or broke it down to a business model. The world needs men like J. Maximus Robot, PhD. but occasionally I need someone to listen to me unburden myself and just say, "I hear you." Indeed, that would be a good job for a robot.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Don't Start None - Won't Be None

"Enemies are so stimulating!"

It's the time of year when we count our blessings. One of my blessings is that I have my very own antagonist. It's true! She is reliably insulting whenever she sees me so I believe that qualifies her as my antagonist. She has constructed a narrative in which I am not a serious person and she needs to remind me of this as much as possible. She is also the type of person that points out (in conversation and in print) the super subtle details that make your canned food drive misogynistic or how your house plants are racist. Her "quips" - a generous description because they are not even a lil' bit funny - are exclusively themed around me being a "bimbo" in appearance and thought. I would say that by any objective standard, I am neither. If you don't believe me just ask Dr. Robot - he would love an extra helping of bimbo if it were available.

Perhaps I remind her of a dark-haired girl that pushed her on the playground or the brunette secretary that lured away her sweet, chinless father- STAGE WHISPER -from whom she gets her looks.  I can see how that might be wounding. Truthfully, I know very little about her and I will probably never know the reason(s) she coils up and hisssses when I enter a room. Meh, that's alright. It keeps me on my toes and and lets me feel a little outraged - both important activities to keep the mind and body nimble.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Robot wants to go to Mars as our retirement plan

Robot is genuinely excited about a report on the Colbert Report - which he understands might be satire -about people over the age of 60, colonizing Mars. He has always been interested in going into Outer Space. I would be interested if it was anything like "Lost in Space!" He wants to "Terraform" Mars in habitual space with post-reproductive people, or something like that. Conversely, I am really giddy about the next Royal Wedding! I am Irish and naturally disgusted by the British but I am a fan of fashion and spectacle. The British royalty do whatever the hell they want so the wedding will be on a Tuesday at 4:00p.m. (EST). I have plenty of vacation time so this won't be a problem for me.

I don't want to go to space. I don't even like to fly domestic. This is Robot's dream. But if I make it to senior citizenship, and I am hurtling toward death anyway, I would go to Mars.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The cats are guilty of thought crimes

Everyday, after I drag my bloated carcass home from my paying gig, I let my cats out in the backyard to air out. I believe this is imperative in reducing the possibility of them eating me if I become suddenly unconscious. This is also the time when Dr. Robot and I begin our early evening cocktails and discuss our day. Dr. Robot says, "Tenure, blah,blah...research grant, blah, blah...not collegial, blah, blah...I'm going to Central America for a month, blah, blah." I say, "Uh huh, well I saw a guy on the internet that has a 200 pound rabbit and this time I think it's real..."

Back to the cats. The cats are "indoor" cats meaning they are not allowed to run about the neighborhood eating rotisserie chickens from the garbage and planning coup d'etat(s). Anyway, occasionally they will try to "breech the parameter" by jumping to the top of the tall, wooden privacy fence and scribble-scrabblin' off to the front yard and sweet, sweet freedom. Being cats they telegraph this by hunching down and looking up to the top of the fence with a quick glance toward the guard tower (us). When this occurs, Robot (my spouse if you're just tuning in),lets out a yell that will cause your skin to peel. I am always surprised and alarmed by loud noises. I would ask him to stop but it is genetic, soooo.... It is at this point that he declares (in a strangely clipped German accent) that the cats are, "guilty of thought crimes," because they have dared to express...longing. Herr Professor then begins to "herd" the cats with a large staff/stick he acquired when alone...somewhere. I don't know where he gets his staffs and I don't want to know. This signals the end of the "airing out" and dinner time for all involved.