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Company Men (The Diaspora Trilogy #3)


I just don't like this se­ries. The sci­ence is mud­dled, the char­ac­ters are stilt­ed, and the ca­su­al way they are dis­card­ed when they die is off­put­ing. "O­h, sure, that guy killed my moth­er. Oh, well!" (not a lit­er­al quote).


El viernes que viene me voy a París. Me lle­vo a mi mu­jer, a mi nene, y a mi vie­ja. Me lle­vo a mi mu­jer porque nun­ca tu­vi­mos lu­na de miel, en­tonces cualquier ex­cusa es bue­na, me lle­vo a mi nene porque tardé mu­cho, y me lle­vo a mi vie­ja porque se lo de­bo.

Mi mamá tiene 78 años y cuan­do es­tu­di­a­ba, pupi­la, en un cole­gio de mon­jas, es­tu­di­a­ba francés. Y cuan­do es­tudiás francés semipresa, las lec­ciones so­bre París, el li­bro con fo­tos de la torre Eif­fel... se me hace que deben haber si­do ma­te­ri­al de los sueños de esa pi­ba de quince. Yo sé que mi vie­ja sueña con este vi­a­je hace más de sesen­ta años.

Tam­bién lo soña­ba mi viejo que siem­pre con­ta­ba de cuan­do tenía que es­cribir una redac­ción (en francés ob­vi­a­mente) so­bre el puer­to de Le Havre y co­mo no la había he­cho la in­ven­tó al vuelo, hi­zo co­mo que la leía y le pusieron un diez igual, en su se­cun­dario en Re­sisten­ci­a, pero mi viejo se en­fer­mó y se murió.

En­tonces aho­ra que puedo, porque con la tar­je­ta la saco en muchas cuo­tas, y ten­go un de­s­cuen­to, y el pasaje mío lo pa­ga un clien­te, y Tato pa­ga la mi­tad, y alquilar un de­par­ta­men­to al­lá sale lo mis­mo que en Mar del Pla­ta (o lo mis­mo que una carpa en La Per­la), y ten­go un ahor­ri­to, hace un tiem­po le di­je a mi vie­ja que sacara el pas­aporte, que se venía con­mi­go.

Y que no, que es­toy grande, que qué me vas a ll­e­var, para qué, qué voy a hac­er al­lá, pero el ojo bueno se le ilu­minaba, porque mi vie­ja por aden­tro es to­davía esa alum­na pupi­la del cole­gio en San­ta Fe, que tenia que es­tu­di­ar en si­len­cio sus lec­ciones de francés, so­bre esa tier­ra le­jana, exóti­ca de gente con boina.

Y la pla­ta no com­pra la fe­li­ci­dad, pero es­ta plata, jus­to es­ta plata, me de­ja dar­le de re­ga­lo del día de la madre un vi­a­je con el que sueña hace mi vi­da y me­di­a, ir a Mont­martre, sen­tarnos en al­gu­na parte, pedir dos cafés, mor­farnos dos crois­sants, dar­le un be­so a mi Tato, abrazar a mi mu­jer, a mi vieji­ta, salu­dar a mi viejo, y sé que se me va a pi­antar un la­grimón, si se me es­tá pi­antan­do aho­ra, mien­tras es­cri­bo, có­mo no se me va a pi­antar al­lá.

Y me la lle­vo para al­lá. Y va­mos a ser fe­lices.

Kremlinology of Myself

Un­der­stand­ing what goes on in­side my head is not easy for me. I am sep­a­rat­ed from the thing I am ex­am­in­ing by sub­jec­tiv­i­ty, and suf­fer a com­pre­hen­sive ob­serv­er ef­fect that clob­bers sim­ple re­port­ing and dis­ables my com­pre­hen­sion.

So, it's rare that I have a mo­ment where I feel one way or an­oth­er in a clear man­ner. To me "How are you?" is con­fus­ing. I tend to hes­i­tate for ten sec­onds while scram­bling for the stan­dard re­spon­se, like the ter­mi­na­tor scrolling through re­sponse trees. Usu­al­ly my state is, I feel ex­act­ly like my­self. I feel the way I feel, and I just have not put that in word­s, scales, and com­par­ison­s, much less one word.

Half the time it's eas­i­er for me to know how oth­ers feel. I look at my wife and I know. I look at my son and I can prob­a­bly tell you if he got a good lunch at school to­day, and whether he won his last rock pa­per scis­sors match.

I can do that be­cause I can see them. I can see their faces, and I know how they look, how they change, how they re­ac­t, I know Juan does this thing with his lip when he's frus­trat­ed, I know Rosario puts her sweater back­wards if she's dis­tract­ed.

I have to get my self­-s­ta­tus in­di­rect­ly. I woke up ear­ly and rest­ed. I look for­ward to work­ing, or to do­ing some­thing in the week­end. I at­tack a task with in­ten­si­ty, I avoid an en­coun­ter, I for­get to start mu­sic, I aban­don pro­ject­s, I reach out to peo­ple, I can't come up with ideas, I make up ex­cus­es, I make a quick joke.

I have to won­der where that comes from, then. Who is the me do­ing those things I ex­am­ine to de­cide how I feel? I feel like my head is a town and I sit in a cafe, in a street table, and lis­ten to the passer­s-by, gaug­ing the mood.

Some­times, just some­times, I wish I was sim­pler, and straight­fr­ward. I wish I could do things with­out think­ing so much. I wish I could re­act nor­mal­ly with­out in­ter­me­di­at­ing my­self in my own thought­s.

Of course maybe ev­ery­one does the same things. Maybe ev­ery­one is the same. Even if not the same, strange in the same way, just like things can be all dif­fer­ent and part of a class, dif­fer­ent in de­grees and the same in essence.

I am fine, thanks. And you?

Nature Hates You.

The next time some­one sug­gests you take a di­etary sup­ple­men­t, or a plant or herb ex­trac­t, or tells you to eat, drink, ap­ply on your skin, in­hale, or do any­thing with the ar­gu­ment that it's nat­u­ral, re­mem­ber this:


Al­most ev­ery­thing that comes from na­ture will kill you. All an­i­mals would pre­fer that you die, all plants are tox­i­c, and it's on­ly through a long evo­lu­tion­ary process that you are bare­ly ca­pa­ble of di­gest­ing any veg­eta­bles.

There is a rea­son why we take as­pirin in­stead of chew­ing bark, and why we cook meat be­fore we eat it. Freak­ing potatos are tox­ic if eat­en raw.

Give pars­ley to a par­rot, give choco­late to a dog, give cel­ery to a cat, give hem­lock to you: DEAD. Be­cause all around you is try­ing to kill you. All the time.

Na­ture is not a moth­er, na­ture is ac­tive­ly hos­tile to you and will be hap­py to make your life as hard, brief and painful as pos­si­ble. Man has changed that. Say­ing "o­h, but this is nat­u­ral" is an in­dict­men­t, a warn­ing sign.

Raw food­ist­s, pa­leo di­et ad­vo­cates, herbal-­sup­ple­men­t-chug­ger­s: you are all the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of a long his­to­ry of know­ing what is semi-safe to eat be­cause ev­ery­thing else will kill you.

I will not eat any­thing na­ture gives me un­til it has been care­ful­ly test­ed by men and sci­ence. Be­cause sci­ence is good and na­ture is evil.

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