The thing about psychotherapy and its ilk is that it's hard to tell, especially during the process, if it's doing anything other than annoying you. Anecdotally, that is; this is based on my many years of experience with the sport. I'm not even really in therapy at the moment, other than brief checkups to ensure that my drug mix is still treating me right - or, more importantly, that it's not treating me wrong.

Sometimes, though, you find yourself doing something banal like washing dishes when all of a sudden you have a Thought. A Thought which hasn't just come to you out of the blue, but feels like it landed on you like a massive piece of river ice from upstream with no warning. In my limited experience, this usually means that therapy dug something out of the ground, worrying it up through the strata and the mud of emotions and self-deception. That little kernel sat there, newly exposed, and then ice started to form around it, and it kept growing until one day it collapsed the riverbank it was sitting on and floated off.

Around a few bends of said watercourse sat you, perhaps watching the water, perhaps fishing, perhaps skipping stones, perhaps plinking at ice chunks with a .22 while drinking beer. Doesn't matter.

In my case, today, I was washing dishes. This isn't quite as banal as I make it sound; I hadn't washed the dishes for around four weeks. There were entire alien ecologies lurking in there. I had scraped and rinsed them, so it wasn't, you know, forestry work, but it involved dealing with a lot of primordial muck.

Oh look! There's a connection.

Anyway, today I realized something about my ongoing unhappiness, which is the source of much of my whining, writing, drug-taking, therapy and so forth. I realized, as the ice chunk slammed into me with no warning, that I'm unhappy possibly because I have no idea how to be happy - and in addition, I realized that at some level I don't think I deserve to be happy.

Therefore, I'm not.

That's a really nasty, evil thing (or pair of things) to realize about yourself while elbow-deep in soap and algae.

But it's true.

Where to go from here?


Today my best friend asked me for some advice. I am not used to giving advice, mainly because people don't ask for it. She is a new graduate student with studies focusing on Analytical Chemistry. I'm done with graduate school, so I guess that's why she asked my advice. She seeks advice on how to be a good teaching assistant. She has to "be the teacher" during weekly laboratory experiment.

So, my good friend, here is the advice that comes to mind. You'll do great.


Of course, you're not going to have all the answers, but always come off like you know it all. If you don't know something, make it up. If someone corrects you with a textbook, correct them using a textbook - as a weapon.

Always remember that experiments are only experiments. There is no foreseeable or predictable outcome. Take laboratory time as a learning experience, in which you learn that whoever devised the experiment yielded absolutely zero proof that they had actually carried out the experiment, and the predicted results are probably erroneous.

Steal lab rats as often as possible. They are helpful for doing chores around the house. They can also be used to scrub pots and as an environmentally friendly alternative to toilet paper.

No matter how safe a chemical compound may seem, always wear the proper protection of the eyes and skin. Dangerous chemicals like sulfuric acid should be disposed of in the human digestive tract, using the mouth and throat as a drain. All dangerous solid chemicals should be promptly eaten upon completion of the experiment, and all noxious, lethal vapors should be inhaled by as many people as possible to prevent dangerous compounds from escaping the laboratory.

Lab monkeys can be helpful for simple tasks in the laboratory like inspecting the performance of fume hoods and demonstrating the proper way to smoke while using pressurized flammable gases.

Devise your own theories. In theory, it's a valid theory until it's proven wrong. Eradicate those who you deem capable of proving your theories wrong.

As long as the ink flows red in the pen with which you grade papers, whatever you say is fact.

Always fail at least two people. This will keep the learning curve in its correct, normal curve shape.

If you can't get an experiment to work, blame the theory behind the experiment. If the theory seems sound, refute it.

Strive to be like a teacher - Drink excessively large amounts of coffee. Always carry a textbook because they have many uses, from warding off stampeding elephants to a foot rest. Give a puzzled, condescending look before you answer any question, no matter how trivial the question. Develop a mannerism that people will make fun of you about. Tell uninteresting stories about past students you've had and things you've experienced while you were an undergraduate. Write in a manner such that no human being could possibly read your writing. Give time consuming and tedious assignments that have nothing to do with a real occupation that anyone on Earth would have, making sure that the assignments are unrelated to anything that any sane person would ever do in the first place. Never organize your desk. Become an expert at diverting attention away from questions that you should know, but don't. State obvious facts that have nothing to do with the subject at hand and smile confidently at the fact that you said something that sounds 'smart'.


i want to eat the banana, but it's not at the right kind of ripeness yet. i need it slightly green so that it'd be perfect. it's ok if it's not as green as i'd want it ideally. i wonder if i could put a condom on a banana and draw on it... it could be a new art form! (the drawing is one thing without the condom and when you put the condom on, it's something else. maybe i could create some awesome illusion thingies... but it's too bad i'm not artistically talented. if i were, then maybe i'd have the guts to try and sell my bananacondom on ebay and hope that some wealthy drunk moron buys it.

my banana's kind of small... but that's ok. small bananas still taste the same as big bananas, but with MORE FLAVOR and less sweetness in the midsection. yum. the top end of the banana is especially good, unless the top part gets smashed and softy-like if you try too hard and phail at cracking open the banana on the first try. one day when nobody's home, i'll fry all the bananas in the house. when everybody comes back home, they'll be like, "what's that smell?' and i'll be like, "it's the smell of modified bananas by yours truly" and throw them some banana cakes or whatnot. maybe i'll feed some to my dog or various other animals to see if they die of heart palpitations or an anyeurism,

bananas are weapons of good. if you stab a person in the eye with the stem, their eye will most likely bleed, or better, pop out of the eye socket. if you feel particularly threatened, then scoop out the eyeball with a finger with the aid of your trusty banana, remove the eyeball from its socket, and viciously jab the banana into the person's empty eye socket. hopefully you can get it stuck in there well enough for the person to appear to have a second (or first) penis sticking out of their heads. if your banana happens to be mushy, then it's even better. the banana may leak and the person with the banana stuck in their eye socket will have trouble taking out the remains of the banana lodged into the place of his/her eye. clap giddily and attempt to eat the remains of the banana straight from the person's eye socket with your tongue. it will be a special kind of kiss. the kind that will be unforgettable for you, but terrifying to the person with the banana in their skull.

if you're a guy and you think that you could be gay, peel a FIRM banana, stick as much of it in your mouth as you can, and suck. bananas taste good, and you have no chance of losing your virginity to a banana if it's stuck in your mouth (unless you're one of those ultraflexible people *shudder*). if you enjoy the experience of sucking on a banana, then keep sucking on it; you wouldn't want some good food to go to waste. maybe this sucking experience will make you believe that you are one step closer to being gay. i've never tried this myself, but in my opinion, it's better to try this with a banana than with a pickle.

or maybe it will only tell you whether or not you have a gag reflex.

once you're done sucking happily on your banana, i suggest that you eat the rest of it and chew thoroughly.

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