This website has no other purpose than to display Chris Barclay's apparent lack of writing talent.

Physics Cars and Poison

Physics Cars and Poison

I will never again give the time of day to the one kid who stole my physics project for the after-school "Science Olympiad," hoarding the credit for himself. I was ready to forgive him in the 10th grade—it being 3 years, and him being a bit of an Apple incorporated fanboy who will undoubtedly be mugged or hacked by a Linux XP user in the back alleyway of a Las Vegas hotel after Defcon—but no. He did it again. He not only stole my project (this wind-up, rubberband car with CD wheels and fairly lightweight axels) in 7th grade, but he re-used it in 10th grade without citing me, or consoling me, or speaking one word to me in 3 years. Truthfully, I think he was afraid of me. Somehow that hurts me a whole lot more. But anyways he re-used my project and took all the credit, again. I won't mention his name, but! one day.... one day my son/daughter is gonna kick his son/daughter's physics project's ass in the science olympiad, and he won't be able to use my wind-up car to compete, because I will have taken it back, and snapped it in half right in front of his cold, Apple-adoring eyes.

There are many things that rub me the wrong way, but I never think: boy, i'm utterly wasting my life here and have that rub me the wrong way. 

I work a lot. The majority of days, I total around 10 hours give or take, but on key days, important days, I end up getting fucked—12.5 hours, 4:30am to 12. 4pm to 10pm. For what, for who? Am I really building up for some future job? I'm losing a lot of time handing some person their donut or a pizza, but I know that I have to have some incentive to get up in the morning and evening. Plato's whole thing with the chariot and the two winged horses, the article I wrote about it being a sitcom summer. There are reasons why I can't just stop.

So I'm stopping. I handed in my two weeks notice. I'll be gone from my 2nd job next Sunday, and hopefully I'll quit my other job sooner or later. The pizza job is too wracking and, what's the word, mentally "demanding" without any cognitive effort. The donut job is sorta like when you're petalling as fast as you can down a long steep hill and you're rushing so fast and the wind is slapping your face and then you look down and there's no longer a bike and the next sound you hear is the tearing of flesh grinding up against sand-paper asphalt. It rubs me the wrong way.

 

It's automation. When I visited Boston, Massachusetts, I did not bring my phone. I read (past-tense), a lot, more than I usually do. And I observed Boston, and I slept. The trip made me realize I have nothing to look forward to. There's nothing on the horizon. I've already done everything I had planned to do!

  1. Get two jobs. Become productive
  2. Save up for two helicopter tickets (me and another friend)
  3. Helicopter tour of the city of Atlanta
  4. Go to Boston and college search
  5. Read Infinite Jest
  6. Quit my second job

Automation is keenly discussed in Infinite Jest. It's what makes the tennis pros great. It's escapism. You practice the same tennis stroke (swing?) over and over 1000's of times and you don't think about it. Practice over and over, and you'll be playing the game like you're just in some weird dream where you're moving but you're not really in control. 

You enter a trance. You feel the seams and edges of everything. The court becomes a . . . an extremely unique place to be. It will do every thing for you. It will let nothing escape your body. Objects move as they’re made to, at the lightest easiest touch. You slip into a clear current of back and forth, making delicate X’s and L’s across the harsh rough bright green asphalt surface, your sweat the same temperature as your skin, playing with such ease and total mindless effortless effort and and and entranced concentration you don’t even stop to consider whether to run down every ball.
— Infinite Jest page 166

It's really interesting. It's like the human body is a made machine, ready to be trained and taught and pulled and contorted in any which way, like clay. And whatever works, works, and it's just evolution. And here's the thing about objects—manipulation. A tennis ball, the perfect manipulatable object.

. . . a tennis ball is the ultimate body. Perfectly round. Even distribution of mass. But empty inside, utterly, a vacuum. Susceptible to whim, spin, to force— used well or poorly. It will reflect your own character. Characterless itself. Pure potential.”
— Infinite Jest page 100 something

A thought occurred: what if the rules were made by someone else? What if this whole thing. our entire society, what if it were just some set-up made by people relaxing on some far away beach living life to the fullest? I'm not making a conspiracy, but I really, really hope that this is the case. I hope that they're manipulating us, cheating us out of true happiness. Do you know why? Because the truth that we're failing at creating a reasonable society that gives people meaning and treats everyone fairly, the fact that we can't even make a fair utopia, that's pretty awful. That says a whole lot about us. You could blame it on miscommunication, or human nature, but at the end of the day we should be able to forge a utopia. Being manipulated—that's the dream! Because that means that there's someone manipulating you, and that it can be stopped. The idea that we're fallible and unfunctioning as empathetic creatures, that we really don't care about other people. That's—that's just awful. Being poisoned is treatable, being poison isn't.

An Insult to your Intelligence, an Op-Ed

An Insult to your Intelligence, an Op-Ed

The Reason I'm Obsessed with David Foster Wallace

The Reason I'm Obsessed with David Foster Wallace