Well, This Was a Quiet Birthday

The things we thought that we should do
We other things have done
But those peculiar industries
Have never been begun –

(Emily Dickinson, from poem #1293)

1. Just wandering around online and realizing that there are whole clusters of people – and I don’t mean this in a bad way entirely – that I can only term “losers.”

I don’t mean it in a bad way because some have much to offer, some are really productive, and at times all can be of enormous benefit to others. It’s petty to put the “Is this a life well-lived question?” to them. The “peculiar industries,” the things we thought we should do, are a luxury. In some way or another, they’re confined to necessities, and I wish them the best.

2. But I still persist in terming them “losers” because they willingly let themselves be trapped by others who have nearly nothing to offer and are more interested in throwing tantrums and heaping abuse because they can. And that latter group never thought they “should” do anything, and if they say there’s something they “should” do, they say it in order to justify the fact they’re doing nothing. So all of us who are trying and failing, or those of us who have simply failed, end up in their lot, because hahahaha life sucks and no one should do anything except take stuff and whine about not getting enough.

3. I don’t know if brighter times are ahead. I really don’t: a way in the world isn’t made by an individual effort of will. We can see even the will of a group fail oftentimes. What “will” does is set forth a “way,” but there’s no guarantee of success.

I almost feel compelled to give myself an “incomplete” this birthday. The clusters I’ve run into online remind me of the cliques in high school. Part of me believed when I first started writing and publishing on here, I’d help create an environment where people could feel they were getting something beneficial for the time spent. If my commentaries were confusing or poorly edited, for example, there was always the fact of the text they engaged at the very least.

I dunno. Aging makes you wonder what “persisting” means, and milestones force reflection where there is no real opportunity to reflect. After all, no one said “persisting” was terribly intellectual – it’s just what one has to do.

4. On the brighter side: aiming to give all of you a dissertation update shortly. Also – thank you to all who wished me a happy birthday, and all those who didn’t yet, thank you for your support and prayers every day. Many of you have no idea how much I think about you: it’s strange knowing thousands of people and remembering nearly all their names, but it is a reality.


  1. Happy birthday, Ashok.

    Those about to fail salute you.

    “We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,–
    One equal temper of heroic hearts,
    Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

    (Excuse the cheesiness, but I can’t help ending with this rather popular piece of Victorian (“Reconstruction?”) edification. A better year to you this time, good sir.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.