Happy New Year. Some of you are pregnant, though you may not know it yet. Some of you are hungover- I will type very quietly.

I don’t drink but I do have fun. My friends and I did a lot of research last night. For example, we discovered that everything sounds fantastic when you say it in Portuguese. Also: even a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free cake is awesome at 4am.

There are very few things I am certain about. I envy those rare people who seem to be born knowing who they are and what they want out of life. When an option comes along, they don’t have to weigh it. They’re not even reading this.

Certainty comes in flavors. Inner certainty is an attractive quality that draws us like gravity to those who have it. Outer certainty is a gassy planet that orbits around in a desolate vacuum. For instance, pick an evangelist. Any evangelist. Don’t tell me which one it is. Okay. I’ve got it. It’s all of them. I know. Amazing, right?

Somewhere in between “this religion works for me” and “you have to do this or I’ll kill all of you” there’s a chance to admit we don’t know. Or, as a friend’s rabbi once put it, “You have such good questions. Why trade them for answers?”

I’m beginning to think the universe doesn’t have any secrets. God goes on blabbing for eternity about how it works and we’re like LALALALALAAA I CAN’T HEAR YOU. We’re stuck in this weird, very short transition where we feel separate from everything else. Before we were born, everything we are made of was eternal and harmonious. When we die, it all goes back to eternal harmony. For this tiny blip of time in between, we run around with our hair on fire and fight or find a way to work with all the other panicked beings in the same predicament.

And we love it! Our primary goal in life is to bring other beings onto this crazy ride. Then we lie to them. We say things like, “Anybody can be the presiden-“ Okay, maybe that one is true. But we totally make stuff up! Let’s see- virgins having babies, people coming back from the dead, humans coming from another planet- you name it. It seems to be a lot harder for us to talk about reality.

Reality is a two-bedroom farmhouse in North Dakota. You gotta make your own fun. Maybe that’s why we make up all these stories. I’m not certain. They do seem to get us through to the non-fiction parts of the holy word.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” -Jesus

“What we think, we become.” -Buddha

“The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr.” -Muhammad

“Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.” -Zappa

Only nothing is not nothing. Or, as Willie Nelson said, “Still is still moving to me.” My job is to observe very small, quiet, queer things, take copious notes, edit the notes down to a digestible essay, and report back to you. That’s one thing I’m certain of.

Also, the Portuguese thing. You gotta try it. Let’s just do one. Okay how about “crackers are nice.” Now put that into google translate and hit the audio. Whew. Is it getting hot in here?

Have a great year. If you don’t like your reality, make something up. It’s worked for eons. Good luck with the baby.

Seu fã,

JByrd

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