Monday, January 18, 2010

Life Sentences #3

During one of my unhappier periods – a while back, not long enough back – I knew somebody who kept telling me I was repetitive, that I had like three things I talked about, that’s it, and that everyone was complaining about my repetition problem behind my back. “Everyone” wasn’t really the word, of course; the word was “people,” which, when a person says this in a needling context, has a tad more acid to it. Now, this person was correct: I was, and still am, prone to dwelling intellectually on a narrow range of items, perhaps more than three things but still, I keep it simple because goddamit I’m not a genius and consequently have to take comfort in the familiar: food, music, cycling, sports on TV, and, um, that’s about it, I guess. Probably I could attempt wrapping my peabrain around some other subjects, but then again, even if I could figure out quantum mechanics or additive number theory or the nature of the sixteen cases in the Finnish language, why in the fuck would I want to spend my free time discussing this shit? And what would it say about me if I actually had friends who did? Maybe it would be nice to have smart friends. Check that: I do have smart friends but we remain friends by keeping the standard of conversation nice and low: we never tire of discussing the merits of medium-rare steak or of room-temperature cheese or of the opening speech in Patton, which never fails to stir the heart into an ironic slurry of American military-industrial shame. The point is, if you’re going to be friends with another human being – and I’m talking about being friends for a long time, for the duration – you must accept that human beings, deep down, are creatures of comfort and of habit. To wit, if you are bored by your friends, you are either 1) not meant to be their friend or 2) you are an asshole. If you are bored by people in general, sorry, there’s no hope for you whatsoever. Find a hole, place your head in it, and keep it there.

This leads into our wonderfully poetic sentence of the day, a sort of trick sentence for the minus-eight percent of the population who enjoy sentence diagramming. The trick will be that ‘shit’ is not actually the object of the sentence because we’re going to use ‘the same,’ normally an adjective, as a pronoun.

The sentence of the day:

Mike says the same shit.


Mike (a noun, also the subject of the sentence) says (transitive verb) the same (a pronoun substituting for any of the three or four things Mike might say) shit (while this is a noun, we can see if we were to eliminate ‘shit’ from the sentence, the sentence would retain its meaning, albeit losing a bit of its charming tone, because we’re not really saying that Mike says ‘shit,’ we’re saying that Mike says ‘the same’).

Further analysis:

What’s for lunch?

Further further analysis:

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe 'same shit' really is an adjective-noun combo expressing the essential truth to living, and I simply prefer not to think of it that way.


  1. I can't speak for "people," but I happen to like the three things you talk about (or rather the way you talk about them) and will always come back for more.

  2. Geez, Mike, nobody would get tired of you, whatever the heck you were talking about. Did you assume we were actually listening to you?

  3. Adjective-noun. Substitute another pronoun:

    Mike likes his cheesesticks.
    Mike likes him.

    (Or "himself" if you want to be reflexive. And I know you do.)

    Two nouns in the predicate? Needs some punctuation:

    Mike says the same, shit.

    An odd sentence, yes. But compare to:

    Mike talks cycling, competative cycling, cycling on TV. He is quite versatile.

    (Unless you wear your pants too tight and demand the "and.")

  4. Interesting, A.E.M.
    I sort of prefer this: "Mike likes him some cheesesticks."

    Anyway, two nouns in the predicate is very, very common in my native dialect.
    Thus: "Mike is a bullshit artist."



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