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Davis, California

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Questions abounding

You’ll throw this newspaper away.Crumple it up.Fold it up.Forget about it.Stick in a trash can or maybe a recycling bin.What’s the difference? Why either one? Is a recycling bin really better? Why? And are you doing it for what you believe it does for the environment,or are you doing it for the good feeling you get,or the thought that maybesomeone will see you doing it? And how honestare you with yourself,really? Are you being candid or are you rationalizing? Are you making excuses? And if not,how are you sure you aren’t making excuses forwhy you aren’t making excuses?

But these questions aren’t worth your time,your effort.It’s difficult to think– more difficult,anyway,than doing your homework or listening tomusic or talking with friends.So you walk across theQuad or talk to somebody about something frivolous or put in your headphones to drown out the boring quiet.

On the way home,in the busoron your bike,your headphones are in.Maybe you stop bythe ARC.You tell peoplethat youwork out becauseits healthy but really it’s because you’ll look good if you keep at it.And why do you want to look good? For sex? And why do you want sex? Evolution? Societal expectations? And what does that mean? Does that mean you’re justified in what you’re doing? Does it mean you’re just programmed to do it,that you’re a mindless drone? Does that mean anything at all? And if that doesn’t mean anything,what does mean something? Is anything worth anything?

But you don’t thinkabout this.You don’t care.It’s stupid to think about stuff like that.It’s not practical,not applicable to real life.So you keep in your headphones and you go on the treadmill or hit the weights or whatever.

And eventually you get home.You take off the headphones and put onthe stereo or you go online or you call your friend.You jump from activity to activity,never touching the ground of boredom.Boredom is badbecause it makes you feel bad.But does that sentence make anysense? Are things which make you feel bad always bad? Andwhy do they make you feel bad? Upbringing? Evolution? What’s wrong with sittingboredfor5minutes? Is there anything intrinsically wrong with that,considering the alternatives are just as useless?

And speaking of useless,what’s useful? The homework you’re doing for class? Why are you doing it? For a grade? For the knowledge? Are you going to remember this in a year? And if not,what are you gaining? Are you wasting your time,then? Your life? Maybe you should go outside and play and frolic in the sunshine.But why do you want todothat,either? Because it’s fun? But why is fun any better than being bored? Because it makes you feel good? But why is goodness good? Does a good life just mean being happy? Then maybe none of us should get educated and we should all have a great ignorant time and entertain ourselves with colorful shapes.

Isn’t this what you do anyway? You get yourwork done and then go have fun? Do you actually care about what you’re studying? You tell your relatives that you likeeconomics or writing or whatever,but do you really mean it? Do youstudy in your free time,or writewhen there’s no upcomingdeadline? And if not,areyoujust lying to yourself? Are you merely choosing the most tolerable subject and feigning interest? And why do you feign interest? To fool your relatives? To fool your parents? To fool yourself into thinking you aren’t wasting your time,your life?

But who cares about all this,right? These thoughts aren’t practical.These thoughts aren’t fun to think.Why should you justify your opinions and beliefs? They’re already grounded in fact,unequivocal,and you don’t haveto worry about their security.The goodness of things like justice,equality,freedom is self-evident,right? They can’t be fallible.So you dismiss these thoughts.You ignore any doubts,or,if you don’t have doubts,you don’t question why you don’t have doubts.You havemidterms to study for.Soon enough,you’ll throw this newspaper away.Crumple it up.Fold it up.Forget about it.

 

KOJI FRAHM isnt writing enough funnycolumns.Express your disappointment at kcfrahm@ucdavis.edu.

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