Monday, December 31, 2007

She bang

I don't know why the BBC is reporting this today, since this has been news for a couple months now. But a D.C. security guard has challenged the District's ban on handguns, hoping to get it overturned. "An event happened in 1997," says the security guard, "when a young man defended his life with a handgun against a criminal who had gotten into his house, and the city prosecuted him...This could happen to anyone and that's not what we have a government for - to hurt the people. But that's the effect of the gun ban. It makes people victims who have a right to defend their lives - and that's a constitutional right." Constitutional Law with Richard Heller, J.D. Or not.

I'm not gonna go into a whole thing about gun control or the Second Amendment. Instead I'm just gonna give a bunch of West Wing quotes, because apparently this was an issue Aaron Sorkin cared deeply about. But I will say in way of an original thought that I've always found it sort of amusing that gun advocates think if everyone has a gun we'll all be safer. How's that argument playing in the nuclear arena?

Anyway, West Wing says:

CJ: Obviously, there's one story that's going to dominate news around the world for the next few days, and it would be easy to think that President Bartlet, Joshua Lyman, and Stephanie Abbott were the only victims of a gun crime last night. They weren't. Mark Davis and Sheila Evans of Philadelphia were killed by a gun last night. He was a biology teacher and she was a nursing student. Tina Bishop and Linda Larkin were killed with a gun last night. They were 12. There were 36 homicides last night, 480 sexual assaults, 3,411 robberies, 3,685 aggravated assaults - all at gunpoint. And if anyone thinks those crimes could have been prevented if the victims themselves had been carrying guns, I'd only remind you that the President of the United States himself was shot last night while surrounded by the best trained armed guards in the history of the world.

West Wing also says:

SAM: I am so off-the-charts tired of the gun lobby tossing around words like "personal freedom" and no one calling 'em on it. It's not about personal freedom, and it certainly has nothing to do with public safety. It's just that some people like guns.

This is actually a good point, and one I personally agree with. Given the reality of gun deaths in this country, I don't think the pro-gun argument has any statistical connection with public safety. At best, guns make some people feel safer, irrespective of whether they actually are safer. Because statistics indicate they're aren't.

One last thing. The BBC article ends with a quote from this guy, who says, "Guns may not be necessary for everyone but I don't think that the government should tell me I can't do something." The dude goes on to reassure us that he's "actually intelligent," which doesn't really seem to be the case, since he doesn't seem to understand what laws and the governments that write them are supposed to do. They're SUPPOSED to tell you you can't do something. You can't drive over a certain speed. You can't sleep with a prostitute, or a 13-year-old girl. Yu can't beat your children. You can't use drugs. You can't smoke where someone else will have to breathe it. You can't dump toxic waste into a river, or take a dump in an alley. Governments SHOULD tell you you can't do something. That's what they're designed for.

This is the part where I put on my conservative hat for a moment, because as pro-choice as I am I've always gotten a little peeved with the feminist chant, "Keep your laws off our bodies." Um, hello? Laws are supposed to regulate things. Including your bodies. That's what they do.

Dude ends with: "What you're assuming, by restricting guns, is that a person isn't capable of handling one or that they are going to break the law, and I think that's a little bit ridiculous." Roughly thirty-thousand gun deaths a year mean roughly thirty-thousand times a year someone breaks the law with a gun. But don't worry. The guy's "actually intelligent." It's the D.C. police department that's being ridiculous.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Looks like someone just Greyzed your Anatomy

Could somebody please tell me the moment at which ABC became the channel for women? Because it definitely happened, apparently when I wasn't looking. Bravo has been renowned for a while now - what with its numerous make-over shows, Boy Meets Boy, and Project Runway - as the station for gay people, which makes me sad only insofar as I liked it a lot better when it was renown as the station for West Wing reruns.

But Lifetime be damned, ABC is taking the crown as the station for women. Check out Exhibit A: Grey's Anatomy. For a long time I was reluctant to judge what looked like a pretty stupid show because I had never sat through an actual episode, but last week I manned up and did the deed. Boy, was MadTV right: this is a show written by women, for women, and common sense or good taste be damned. I think the one caveat to that should be that it's actually written by women, for stupid women...or at least women who don't know better. This show is like the equivalent of a boy band for women 25 and over: handsome men with carefully-crafted facial hair swear undying oaths of fidelity, nevermind how cliche or unthoughtful they might be. "I will never hurt you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I love you." Wow. You almost sounded convincing there. Want to try again?

I also caught a glimpse of the Grey's spin-off Private Practice, which promises to be as inane as its progenitor.

Now along comes this new show Cashmere Mafia, sporting the ambiguous Lucy Liu. The taglines promise a show about four smart, remarkably successful yet equally fabulous women who "rely on each other" for their success or some other such "girlfriends forever!" bullshit. Are you kidding me? No, really. Are you fucking kidding me? First of all, I think I would have enjoyed this show five years ago when it was called Sex and the City. Second of all, here's a little fun fact: truly successful women are usually too busy being successful to have time to be fabulous.

But this clip is my favorite part:

"If you break her heart, we'll break every bone in your body"? Is that a promise? If I was that dude, I'd definitely be concerned. No, really. Since women have been famed for centuries for both their violent tendencies and physical prowess, that sort of comment should most certainly be indulged with the humoring smile he gives it. If Grey's Anatomy is the 25+ woman's version of boy bands, Cashmere Mafia promises to be the 25+ women's version of girl power.

Fact: If this show doesn't completely tank, it'll be a broadcasted testimony to how stupid the average American woman truly is.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Turtle dreams

I woke up this morning with the weirdest thought running through my brain. I woke up wondering why the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (hereafter TMNT) wore masks. No joke. I don't know why this question suddenly occurred to me after 17 years of TMNT fandom. I didn't dream about them. But when you think about it, it doesn't really make sense. Most people wear masks to hide their identities. But we still know they're ninja turtles, irrespective of the masks. Ergo, the masks defeat their inherent purpose.

There's a glaring logical inconsistency here that needs to be addressed.

I also woke up a little disappointed that no one had ever done a version of the TMNTs with the turtles when they were babies. A ninja turtle version of Muppet Babies. Oh well.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A dog by any other name

Over Christmas my parents got a new puppy. I'd post a picture of him if I had one. But I don't. So I posted a picture of a completely different puppy instead. We named him "Pippin," ostensibly after the character from Lord of the Rings but really because my mother always used to refer to our first dog as "Such a little pip."

Because we got a new dog I spent most of the weekend trying to establish the various nicknames by which he will be known for the rest of his life. So far I've got:

Pippi Long-stocking
Pip of the Iceberg
Pipperoni and Cheese
Poop AND/OR Poopin'

If you can think of any others, feel free to drop a comment.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fashion bashin'

I'd like to talk about fashion for a second. Women's fashion. I'll admit, I'm really not one to be giving fashion advice.* I basically wear the same thing every day. A button-down and jeans. If it's warm I put on shorts, and if it's cold I put on a sweatshirt (sometimes if it's warm I'll put on shorts and then when it gets cold put on a sweatshirt). It's nothing special, but it's the way I like it. Keep it simple. I used to try to argue that I didn't take any real interest in fashion because I don't have a particularly good body, and there's no point building a nice house on a shitty lot. But the truth is I just don't care. Having absorbed the wisdom of some of those make-over shows and having a gay best friend have helped put fashion on my radar. But there are other things I'd ultimately rather focus my energy on. Like reading, or playing violent video games.

* JOSH: I'm not one to give fashion advice...
DONNA: No, you're not.
JOSH: ...but one of them is wearing a Star Trek pin. Is today a special Star Trek holiday or something?
DONNA: How the hell would I know?
JOSH: Okay, well, then would you find out? And is it's know people walk through here and it's not the most confidence-inspiring sight to see in a White House employee.

But this segues into my point. People talk about how celebrities seem to expend so much time and resources to ultimately look like crap. I think the same could be said of a lot of everyday women. It amazes me how girls can spend so much time and focus on their clothes and yet still make such consistently poor decisions. I'm particularly focused here on any article of clothing that involves needless frills or floral patterns that look like something my grandmother would have worn in the 70s. Not sexy. What are you thinking, girl? They make you look like a butterfly, instead of a real, warm-blooded woman. Most important, they don't make me want to sleep with you. Surely that's not what you want.

I sort of feel like it's the fashion equivalent of garish: rather than being elegant or vogue, frills and floral patterns just feel loud and distracting. They're a load of needless bells-and-whistles. It's hard to go wrong with the female body. It's a pretty beautiful thing. So why would you want to distract from it? To quote Kevin Costner in Robin Hood, "Milady, a woman of your beauty has no need for such...decorations."

If I was a girl, I'd basically stock up on long-sleeve Ts. Sure, it may be boring. But it works. They're clean, they're classy, and they still showcase a woman's best parts without being slutty.

Just so we're clear...

Want to have sex with:

Don't want to have sex with:

Dress accordingly.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Enough to make me vote Republican

I have a confession to make. I believe in high taxes. I do. I believe a society should be able to provide its citizenry with certain things; and that costs money; and that means taxes. And I don't just believe this as a moral imperative. After about three months of an on-again, off-again relationship (not unlike some girls I can think of at the moment), I'm finally close to finishing Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat, and Tom is right when he says the only hope for America's future is to actively invest in its citizenry. As the growing economic divide will attest to, a rising tide does not lift all boats, and higher taxes are the best way to avoid a return to the era of robber-barons: not for the purpose of diverting wealth, but for the purpose of funding the means to true meritocracy.

That being said, my perspective has been altered somewhat after getting my biweekly paychecks...or rather, getting a pale shadow of what they should be. For real, right now the government is taking 28% of my money away from me. WTF? I don't even make that much. I particularly enjoy the part where I pay into the Social Security I will obviously never collect. It's enough to make me vote Republican. Lower taxes now!

The next question is: which Republican? We won't go there.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Notes from the Workplace, Part III

In Legally Blonde Elle Woods says something to the effect that all law students are ugly. That's not entirely true. Certainly I'm Exhibit A for just how handsome a law student can be. The truth of the matter is that law students are really pretty average. There certainly aren't many lookers among the cadres of Mondale Hall, but the ranks aren't filled with creatures from the black lagoon, either. I'll admit there does seem to be a genetic disposition towards the more unattractive end of the sexual spectrum, but anyone who's ever sat in a law class will probably agree that a good shampoo and clothes that don't look like they're from the goodwill are probably half the battle.

Here's another thing I've learned at work, though. I now get the opportunity to interact with girls who went to different law schools than me. And I've discovered that as a general rule at the less-reputable law schools (or rather, "less-reputable"), the girls who are more attractive are MUCH more attractive. But, at the same time, the girls who are less attractive are MUCH less attractive. It's a pretty assholic observation, but that quality doesn't negate it's truth.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Spoilers, and the people that own them

I wish people who had spoilers on their cars knew how much I hate them. Not just the spoilers. The people. I hate them. Do you have any idea how ridiculous you look with a spoiler attached to your Dodge Dart? Can you even begin to comprehend the astronomic levels of ridiculousness to which you are currently aspiring? Can that thing even get to 70 mph? Apparently not, because half the people I see with spoilers are driving them 10 miles under the speed limit. There should be a law requiring people with spoilers to drive above a certain speed. Just make sure you don't leave the ground. Oh wait, you've got a spoiler, so you're covered there.

Why do I hate spoilers so much? It's just a ridiculous notion. You have a mediocre car. Deal with it. Sexing it up isn't going to change the fact that you paid under $20,000 for it, and we all know it. It'd be like putting winged sandals on a turtle. I don't care how aerodynamic the sandals look. It's a fucking turtle. It's slow as shit. The only way it gets any speed is if it's being pushed down an icy ski jump.

The first of many

Waiting for Meet the Press. Just saw the most bizarre commercial ever. This is the script. I shit you not:

WOMAN: I was the first to do a lot in my family. The first to graduate college. The first to own my own business. And the first to choose cremation...when that time comes."


Saturday, December 15, 2007

When do I get to the fun part of being President?

You wanna know the worst part about being an "adult?" The amount of time and energy it takes just to keep all my shit in order. I've been an adult for only a couple months now, yet every night I come home to find a shitload of mail concerning stuff I didn't even know about. "Dear Mr. Law Revue, as a member of the Minnesota state bar, you are privileged to this..." "Dear Mr. Law Revue, as an employee of Thomson, you are entitled to this..." I have to dedicate my weekends to going through all this stuff, instead of watching basketball like I'd prefer. Thursday night I had to meet with the guys my company has provided me to help plan my investments and long-term assets. What investments? What assets? I feel like I'm still 22 and fresh out of school, and these guys across the table are talking to me about my house mortgage and retirement plans. It's exhausting. I feel like John Goodman in The West Wing:

"When do I get to the fun part of being President, Debbie? When do I get to fly around on Air Force One?"

Friday, December 14, 2007

If only I could bend time and space

Tonight I came home to a text message from my best friend from college: "I'm in chicago this weekend. You gonna be around?" Um. Around where, exactly? How close do you think Minneapolis is to Chicago? You have to understand, he lives in New York, so maybe in his mind everything in the Midwest is fifteen minutes away. But it's an 8-hour drive from Minneapolis to Chicago. Trust me, I've driven it. Several times. Granted it's still closer than the drive from, say, Minneapolis to New York. But telling me you're gonna be in Chicago and am I gonna be around is like my dad's friend in India saying he's gonna be in London for the weekend and is my dad gonna be around. Yes, you're closer than you were before. But it's still an eight hour flight.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

And now the part where I come off like a complete nerd

This is why I dislike user-written quizzes on Facebook:

Taken from a "The Lord of The Rings - The Fellowship of The Ring" Quiz:

Q. What is Amon Sûl?

1. name of a Hill (My Answer)
2. name of a Valley
3. name of a Tower ("Correct" Answer)
4. name of a Man

Amon Sûl means "Hill of Wind." Idiot.

I also enjoyed the question that asked, "Who did Gandalf wanted help by going Isengard?"

Put a smile on your face

You wanna know something that makes me feel sad? Pictures of young lovers. You'd think it'd have the opposite effect. I've been flipping through some of my friends' pictures of themselves with their boyfriends/girlfriends on Facebook, and you'd think I'd be able to write, "They look cute together." But they don't. Honestly, some of them look like they are having the most mediocre time imaginable. Standing next to each other with generic smiles--they look like siblings posing for the family Christmas card. Come on, guys! You're young, and in love! You should be kissing and wrapping your arms around each other, sporting the kind of laugh we can hear through the picture. You should be having a good time! But for real, it doesn't look like you are. One of my friends has posted about 20 pictures of herself with her boyfriend, and they look like they are seriously enjoying each other's company in exactly none of them. Granted, if they were laughing in all 20 I'd probably be writing right now about how tired I am of couples eternally trying to pretend like they're having such a great time. Just act normal!, I'd say. But I'm not saying that, because a lot of you look like you're trapped in an eternally mediocre time. If this is what you're like now, what are you gonna be like when you're 60?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Notes from the workplace, part II

Working life has changed my perspective on all sorts of shit. Here are just two examples:

1. Older women. There used to be a time when I was against couples of considerable age differentials. Admittedly my opinion was probably negatively influenced by high school and college, where the girls would put out for older guys but insist it was because "older guys are just so much more mature." Right, sweetheart, because you're so mature yourself. I don't care what your biology textbook told you about comparative gender development, I've been more mature than 90% of the girls in my class since I was about 3, so it's always been hard for me to swallow the argument that girls (more so high school and college girls) are attracted to maturity as opposed to, say, various incarnations of social power.

Hey, here's a fun fact: in high school all the girls in my class put out for the older guys and then complained when we all started dating younger girls. Hypocritical much?

But working life has changed my opinion on that, and I know Mike will like this part. Because, on the downside, all the women I work with are basically over 30. On the plus side, they're all basically over 30. I have been finding myself extra attracted to the stilleto-clad beauties that march past the coffee machine for what can only be described as the sole reason that they are older than me. Hmmm. Interesting. What is this sensation?

2. Presidential primaries. For a long time I thought I was leaning towards Obama in the Democratic primary. If we accept the paradigm that the race between him and Hillary is about vision and optimism versus experience, I (as I suspect many among the younger generations) were willing to dismiss Hillary's insistence on experience. Experience? Humbug! You can figure this stuff out on the job. Raw talent is more important than how many free throws you've taken.

Having entered the working world, however, I'm not so sure. It's amazing how I can be so competent at what I do and yet essentially fuck up at work for the sole reason that I'm raw and, therefore, not particularly experienced. I stumble. I get flustered. So I'm getting a new respect for the importance of experience--a respect school did not instill in me, given how very not impressive all the seniors and 3Ls were. I'm not saying I'm voting for Hillary, but getting my ass kicked a couple times has given me more appreciation for the validity of the experience argument.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

It's a date

User comments on dating-related sites crack me up. Here are some recent instances:

1. On a consumer page covering the break-away hit It's Just Lunch (what if I want more than just lunch?), one woman lamented, "The men that I went out with were very average. I stated that I wanted to date someone very attractive, fit and confident. I went on a few dates - the first, I couldn't even look at (very unattractive), the second - very average (I will admit that he was a nice gentleman) the next - again, not attractive." Honey, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but very attractive people don't use dating services. They (we?) can rope in enough catches on their own that they don't need to pay some stranger to help them. Maybe when you went to Fat Camp you complained how all your co-campers were chubby, too?

2. Yahoo!, the font of all dating advice, sported this comment from a user: "I will say that I am a male, and that I was raised with things called family values, respect, and morals. It has been my experience that most women view me as too good to be true, and get flighty." Psst. Here's a little secret: part of being too good to be true is not thinking you're too good to be true. Another part involves not having women run away from you. I'm just saying, you might want to reevaluate what quality of yours is making women avoid you...because somehow I suspect it's not because you're just too awesome.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Leadership's a bitch

This morning the New York Times ran an op-ed from Gail Collins (any relation to Phil Collins?) about how she would love to vote for a candidate who had aspired from a young age and for a long time to be President. This is in response to the clash of wills this past week between Obama and Hillary: he says: "She's been positioning herself for a presidential run for twenty years, whilst I am simply rising to my country's call," while she says: "Here's Barack's kindergarten essay entitled I Want To Become President." But Gail Collins says: Hillary shouldn't have accepted the underlying premise. It's not a bad thing to have aspired to be President; presidential ambition is good, particularly when the person is running for President.

If there was ever a time a West Wing quote was pertinent, it is now.

TOBY: [Santos is] not Presidential material.
JOSH: Why?
TOBY: Why? Because he left. He left Congress, he left Washington to go home and do small, important work. You had to haul him by the hair out of the family bed. Did you never stop to wonder if that was a good choice?
JOSH: He stepped up when presented with the opportunity.
TOBY: The man in that job shouldn’t have to be presented with anything! It’s for someone who grabs it and holds on to it, for someone who thinks the gods have conspired to bring him to this place, that destiny demands of him this service! If you don’t have that kind of drive, that hubris, how in the hell are you going to make the kind of decisions that stump every other person in this country? How in the hell are you going to hold that kind of power in your hand?!

This is actually a really stupid quote from Toby, since we learn in Seasons 2-3 that Bartlet had to be hauled by the hair by Leo, that he was "never supposed to win" and only got in the race "to give some speeches and keep [Hoynes, the frontrunner] honest." It's a shame, really, that the Season 7 writers never bothered to watch Seasons 1-4, or they might have caught that gaff.

It's also a stupid quote, though, because it's wrong. I agree with Barack. I believe in the Cincinnatus variant of leadership, which means (besides having a crappy city named after you) that the best leaders are the ones who don't want to be. Because, really, why would anyone want to be in a position of a leadership? Why would anyone want to be President? Making life-or-death choices every day, with the fate of nations on your shoulders, knowing that the split-second decisions you make could have far-reaching consequences for generations. Why would someone want that kind of responsibility?

My concern--my belief--is that anyone who wants to be President doesn't really understand the responsibility involved--particularly not if they've wanted it for a long time. Because it's an enormous responsibility, and I have a hard time imagining a rational human being who would truly understand its extent and think, "Oo, I want that!" I think there's something else at work here--ego, or insecurity, or something. In an interview with Charlie Rose Martin Sheen said that he approached the character of Bartlet with the mindset that each day of the presidency took an enormous cost out of him, and I think that's why we consider him to be the epitome of a great leader. Being President isn't about flying around on Air Force One. It's about sending men to die.

In her article Collins cites a certain President as an example of what happens when guys without any real ambition or drive become president (when there's trouble you call G.W.), but I think President Bush is actually a good example of what I'm talking about. There are many criticisms one could level against Bush, but at his core my greatest concern is that he's never really understood the nature of the responsibility that comes with the presidency. That every action he takes now--the war in Iraq, obviously, but also less-obvious things like tax cuts, global warming, health care, etc--will have enormous consequences. I read the biographies, I listen to the speeches, and I just don't feel that grasp of the gravitas. He just doesn't get it.

So I want a Cincinnatus, or a Matt Santos, or a Jed Bartlet. I want a candidate who's been thrust by circumstance into a presidential campaign, and who bears the torch not because he wants it, but because he recognizes no one else has the strength necessary to. In short, I want an Obama.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

And now for something completely depressing

Happy fucking birthday.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

We gotta storm the fuckin' beaches

This post is roughly a week too late. But last Monday I needed to rant about how much Heroes blows my nuts (and I'm guessing tomorrow night's finale will bear me out on that). So here it is now instead. Better late than never, right? Tell that to a girl regarding her period.

Last week Swami said something about Halo and online gaming. It was particularly relevant to my life because he apparently spent Thanksgiving weekend playing Halo online instead of being on time to his own rendezvous, and during the same weekend my bff from high school told me that I should steer clear of installing World of Warcraft because of it's addictive qualities. He needn't have worried about the specific example of WoW; while I was an avid fan of all the Warcraft games, I've watched some video gameplay on YouTube from WoW, and I really don't get what all the hullabaloo is about. Looks pretty lame to me.

Not to say he was wrong. In Cyberlaw last year we actually studied how China had to pass legislation limiting the number of hours people could play WoW and Second Life, because apparently all these Chinese were so hooked they weren't showing up to work. But like I said, I don't get the whole WoW craze. Nor do I get the Second Life one. Although my life is currently so great that I literally want a second one, I think the game sort of defeats the purpose of gaming. I play video games to do shit I can't normally do in real life, like shoot aliens and drive race cars and wield the Master Sword. Second Life seems like more of the same old shit. In Cyberlaw we actually played Second Life for a bit, and we asked this one European girl online what she liked about it so much. Her rationale: you can meet all sorts of new people and have, and I quote, "dance parties" with them. She then proceeded to have her avatar dance. I'm not an avid dancer--never have been, and my high school peeps will bear me out on that--but I'm pretty sure having your avatar dance online isn't really what a dance party is all about.

Anyway, the games I get hooked on are first-person shooters. The only time I've played one online was senior year when my roommate had apparently decided to play Wolfenstein multiplayer rather than work on his thesis. One night he bursts into my room panting, "Dude, you have GOT to reinstall Wolfenstein multiplayer! We gotta storm the fuckin' beaches!" And I did, and we did, and it was a great time: shouting smack to each other from across our common room as we liberated Europe from the Nazi stranglehold, over and over and over again. I don't know if it was the adrenaline or what, but we ended up playing all through the night and into the morning, ending our mission with a game of squash at 8 am.

So I recognize the addictive quality of video games. After I took the bar I purchased as a treat Half-life 2, a game I had wanted all through law school but had declined to buy for fear I would not be able to resist its temptations. And for a week straight all I did was play Half-life. My friends would call me up and say, "Yo, we're going to So-and-so's party tonight." Yeah, well, maybe you are. I'm staying in and leading a pack of antlions into the bowels of Nova Prospeckt.

This is the benefit of the single-player game: when I beat it, I beat it. I was done. Sure, I replayed a couple of my favorite levels and downloaded the most popular mods, but at the end of the week I was basically done. $20 well spent. But with online games, there is no end. You just play over. And over. And over. It's like some twisted variant of Sisyphus.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ask not what your girlfriend can do for you

I had an epiphany this morning when I woke up. More like a therapeutic breakthrough, really...although since I've never been the beneficiary of professional therapy, I wouldn't know an actual breakthrough if it came up and introduced itself.* But I assume this is akin to what a breakthrough feels like.

* West Wing reference: I also wouldn't know a spotted owl if it came up and introduced itself.

A couple months ago I said my conception of love was based on the example set by my mother. Here's another way she's influenced it. My mother's a Giver. She loves to Give. If the Bartlet administration was never happier than when it was educating the public, my mother is never happier than when she's Giving. This morning I got an email from her informing me of the imminent arrival of a package she sent "full of wonderful surprises," which is just one example of her ceaseless and incorrigible Giving. And it's not just me. She's constantly Giving to tons of people. She Gave our dry cleaner a new purse. She Gave some coffee shop girl my LSAT study books. And so forth.

Because my mother has been a Giver my entire life, I have obviously become what can only be referred to as a Taker. I Take. It's not my fault; it's just what I do. You can't blame a dog for hunting, or a vampire for feeding on the blood of young maidens. In order for the Giver-Taker relationship to work, one of us must be the Taker. And if one party is constantly Giving, the other must be equally constant in Taking, over and over and over again. It's the only way the relationship can survive.

Unfortunately, I've become so conditioned to Take that I extend it beyond the mother-son relationship to any relationship generally. It's reached a point where I just don't feel comfortable Giving. I feel like I'm being phony--like I'm trying to be somebody I'm not, acting outside my nature. If I Give you something I don't want you to be vocal in your appreciation; I just want to Take it, so we can both move beyond this uncomfortable moment.

This part wasn't the epiphany. I've known I was a Taker for a while now. The epiphany came when I realized why I'm so focused on sacrifice when it comes to my romantic relationships. It's because I want there to be at least one relationship in my life in which I get to be the unequivocal Giver. I want to experience what that's like. To Give and Give and Give, without the awkwardness. It must be nice. At the least, there must be a corresponding sense of smug moral superiority, rather than the constant feelings of guilt and self-centeredness that accompany chronic Taking.

One of my female friends said something similar about me. She's one of the several parties in my life that seem sort of obsessed that I date someone right now. Doesn't seem to really matter who, just so long as I'm doing it. And her rationale was that she thought I make a very selfless boyfriend (although she said all this when she was drunk, so I'm not sure if I should take it more, or less, seriously). I don't know if it's true. But I'd at least like to be.