Sunday, October 23, 2005

Meme Epidemic

Well, I was exposed. I tried to fight it off, but it appears I have been infected with the meme bug. Fascinating, in a way, though. The way these waves spread through blogs and websites. It kind of reminds me of the popular fads in middle school. Do you suppose Slam books are still around? I bet you they are. That was the one where some kid, inevitably cooler than you were, got a whole spiral bound notebook and devoted each page to some pithy question, like "favorite food." And there was an intricate pretense of anonymity, where you signed your name on the first page and you were assigned a number which you used to "sign" your entries. An then there were "the anonymous pages" where you wrote such delicate private information as "the cutest boy" and the cruel pages like "nerdiest boy" or "ugliest girl." As I remember, you still wrote your private number down, but it was as if the folded over page was enough to erase your identity, to absolve you from shame, not to mention the big "GIRLS ONLY" or "BOYS ONLY" scrawled in capitals over the covering half (but the secret thrill was--what if the boy you wrote down saw it and he liked you too? Surely there was romance novel material just waiting to descend!) and if you were hapless enough to peek under the "ugliest" page and find your name it was your fault for choosing to look in the first place, since those pages were supposed to be secret. That was the evil bind: you were complicit for looking, you agreed to your fate, since admitting you looked was proof that not only were you the ugliest, you couldn't be trusted either.

Looking at it that way, memes at least so far are harmless, more of a "look at me and how I relate to the random universe" kind of thing. They don't demand you participate in your own degradation. More of a cold then an Ebola type virus. So I guess I'll sheepishly admit to being more amused than anything else by this meme. Although I'm a bit concerned that the virtual Emily often seems to be a disturbed child, and picking through some of these search pages gave me that same feeling of turning over that folded page and seeing my own name.

"Emily needs" Meme (Put "{your name} needs" into Google and away you go)

Emily needs to find something that's her own to fulfill her

Emily needs to be whipped into shape by Nanny 911

Emily needs to get control of her business and begin to set some boundaries

Emily Needs Attention.

Emily needs a series of exemptions to Harvard’s administrative rules

"Emily" needs to be read as part of the American gothic tradition
(I'm a classic)

Emily needs to know exactly what the girls want

Emily needs extra vitamin C so she poops.

Emily needs a boyfriend so she'll leave me alone.

Emily needs a great deal of persuasion to talk about herself.
(Hmm...not this one--hence the blog)

All Emily needs to do then is click Send.

All Emily needs to do now is to be quiet while the machine makes its measurements.
(My favorite--so ominous. THE MACHINE...)

Emily needs a little time for herself.

Emily needs a comfortable and inspirational place to brainstorm her money-making ventures (I do, I do...)

Emily needs to calm down (I AM CALM! VERY VERY CALM!! Don't you know calm when you see it?)

Emily needs to really focus on some comprehension skills (yeah, that vet school thing ruins your mind)

Emily needs total support for all of her personal care needs (so get moving, will you?)

Emily needs funds
(and if I could just get that place for my brain storming, I'm sure this wouldn't be a problem any more)

Emily needs a special certificate for her efforts.

Emily needs some intensive work to change these deeply ingrained habits

Emily needs to learn how to be a super-hero (whaddaya mean, needs to learn?)

Emily needs to reclaim her life.

Emily needs to make a choice,

Emily needs some excitement and mystery to feel the relationship is beneficial again.

Emily needs an abundance of supplies.

Emily needs to go sit on a bench on Lake Mendota and have an existential and journalistic awakening.

Emily needs help from no one

Emily needs to dig deep down for strength.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I can't be bothered with promises right now. Sorry, but that's the way it is.

Let's all stop to take a breath.

This poem is in honor of Dr. William Hanff.

On Death, without Exaggeration

Wislawa Szymborska

It can't take a joke,
find a star, make a bridge.
It knows nothing about weaving, mining, farming,
building ships, or baking cakes.

In our planning for tomorrow,
it has the final word,
which is always beside the point.

It can't even get the things done
that are part of its trade:
dig a grave,
make a coffin,
clean up after itself.

Preoccupied with killing,
it does the job awkwardly,
without system or skill.
As though each of us were its first kill.

Oh, it has its triumphs,
but look at its countless defeats,
missed blows,
and repeat attempts!

Sometimes it isn't strong enough
to swat a fly from the air.
Many are the caterpillars
that have outcrawled it.

All those bulbs, pods,
tentacles, fins, tracheae,
nuptial plumage, and winter fur
show that it has fallen behind
with its halfhearted work.

Ill will won't help
and even our lending a hand with wars and coups d'etat
is so far not enough.

Hearts beat inside eggs.
Babies' skeletons grow.
Seeds, hard at work, sprout their first tiny pair of leaves
and sometimes even tall trees fall away.

Whoever claims that it's omnipotent
is himself living proof
that it's not.

There's no life
that couldn't be immortal
if only for a moment.

always arrives by that very moment too late.

In vain it tugs at the knob
of the invisible door.
As far as you've come
can't be undone.