1. Love it, of course. But not for the reason you might think. And to that end, a question: How did the jewelry industry come to clutch the Valentine's Day narrative so tightly in its gold-plated fist? I suppose it happened in the same way most of these things do -- by endless repetition. For the last two weeks I've noticed the standard exhortations to Mr. T that he buy me baubles in order to get the sex we're going to have anyway. Although Mr. T has lovely taste in jewelry, he knows I'd rather spend the money on travel or a new piece of outdoor gear for us.* And vice versa. But really the nugget of it all is this: Once rampant consumerism takes over a holiday, it starts to feel forced. This is one reason I like Halloween; because it still has elements that can't successfully be consumerized.
So, no. I don't love the standard Valentine's Day narrative, which I find kind of boring. But what I do love is the quirky, authentic parts of it.
Like this (via):
Hosted by zoo ambassador Ron Magill, the popular lecture attracted more than 400 people to see and hear the intimate details of how wild things do the wild thing.This is the sort of thing Mr. T and I would do on Valentine's Day if we lived in Miami. And we're not the only ones:
''This is the fifth time in a row this thing has sold out,'' Magill said.
And really, where else can you learn about the exhibitionism of pink tropical birds?
Magill dropped plenty of nuggets of who-knew? information, such as:
• Flamingos like to have sex with others watching them. Two of the birds will get down while 30 others look on.
• Frogs sometimes do it with two or more partners at a time. Most animals are not monogamous, Magill said.
• Female pandas only have a three-day window each year to get pregnant. Zookeepers have shown the pandas films of other pandas having sex to get them in the mood.
• Tigers in captivity are implanted with birth-control devices so they don't over-reproduce.
• Some animals are gay, too. ''Homosexuality is found throughout the animal kingdom,'' Magill said.I suppose the entire kingdom Animalia Sodomitica is going straight to animal hell. Ahem.
In sum, I like this part of Valentine's Day. I like the graphic on Google today. I like the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals' impeccable timing in striking down Texas's law against the sale of sex toys. (I like it all the more because the Fifth Circuit is one of the stodgiest, most conservative circuits in the country.)
Happy Valentine's Day! More dildoes, less jewelry!
2. I had to reflect on this one for quite awhile to really consider what I think of as a "guilty pleasure," and I realized that my difficulty stemmed not so much from a lack of pleasure as a lack of conscience. I had to reframe the "guilty pleasure" concept to "something I engage in that I know I shouldn't because doing other things would be much more productive."
And in the process of reframing it, I named it. My biggest guilty pleasure is anything I do to avoid work. Which feels increasingly like what I do for most of the day.
I should be researching the theory of collateral estoppel right now, but guess what? I'm writing this post instead. And when I consider my hourly rate, it's kind of stunning to realize just how much blogging and reading about politics on the internet is worth to me. I make a paltry yearly salary considering the earning potential reflected in my hourly rate.
This would, of course, surprise no one at my former law firm. Particularly my supervisors, who received my monthly timesheets with no small measure of frustration. Back then, though, what I did to avoid work was interact. I'm an ENFP, so interacting with people is fun to me. It was so much more pleasurable to be gabbing with someone, even if it was about strategy in a case or something, than actually doing the scut work of lawyering, which always must be done in isolation and quiet. (That kind of scut work now constitutes 100% of my work now, unfortunately.) So billable hours were and are a challenge for me. And perversely, those with the biggest interest in my achieving those hours often enabled my avoidance.
You see, people seem to find it easy to talk to me. They will often reveal sometimes striking personal details to me, unsolicited, very early on in our acquaintance. When I was at the firm, this led to a parade of people in my office, chatting with me about one thing or another. Half of them were partners. They'd talk about uncertainties about their career choice, their kids, whatever. Some of them would drop by for an hour to yak under the guise of "getting the associates' take" on some act or another taken by firm management.
Had they made me the Firm Ombudsman, I'd still be there. But alas, there is little upside to having such a position in a large law firm, and I burned out and left. If I could go back to my early twenties and do it all over again, I wouldn't become a lawyer again. I loved law school, but the actual practice of law goes so contrary to my temperament that it's frequently painful. It's purely an income thing, these days.
If I had a clear expanse of time in front of me as I did in my early twenties, I'd probably become a therapist instead. I don't really want to do that now, in my late thirties, but it's probably what I should have done to begin with.
These days, since I'm holed up in a home office like a fricking hermit, I avoid work through the internet. Political blogs, personal blogs, the news, e-mail, IM -- it's all good. I just wish someone would pay me my hourly rate for doing that instead of legal work.
But they don't. Back to collateral estoppel.