Suppose I tried to convince you that you should have a horn in the center of your forehead.

In order to convince you, I develop complex arguments, explaining all the values a horn would have. I draw analogies with the natural world, where horns can often be found, and often give the wearers advantage in battling adversaries and attracting partners. I point to art and culture, which cast the unicorn and its magical alicorn in a blessed and charmed light.

Since you're still not convinced, I dust off an ancient tome that I consider sacred. I find several verses of relevance. Some directly extol the virtues of horns, while others could merely be interpreted as pro-horn. Given that other lines lean so expressly in favour of horns, however, it strikes me that interpreting the ambiguous verses in a similar fashion just makes sense, really. I might also introduce you to a controversy among the behorned, the rift between those who favour just one horn and those who believe it is better to have more. While I clearly ally myself with the single-horned side, I note that even those who adhere to the Two-Horned Heresy at least see the importance of horns for humans. (There is also, I let you know, a small group whose members wear an artificial chocolate horn, but they have no real place in the debate. The Chocolate Heresy bars me from excessive pride; obviously, some in the pro-horn camp are silly, as are some among all human beings. Never mind).

But I see you are a person of science, so I put aside the grim fate that I'm certain awaits those who die unhorned. I instead appeal to science, or so I say. I note the number of surgical procedures that have successfully put horns on hornless heads. Several of the newly-horned claim in testimonials to feel so much better.

You are unmoved, and so I resort to mockery. I try outright taunts about your absent horn, trying to make you feel shame. I try subtle means, too, suggesting, that I thought you were "horning in" on a particular discussion, but then realized that couldn't possibly be the case, ha ha.

Would you be convinced? Would you arrange horn implantation? Would you at least feel some shame over your hornlessness?

I'm guessing not.

More likely, you would be baffled by my behavior. Annoyed. Alarmed, even. If I persisted in trying to convert you to the Way of the One True Horn, you would quickly consider me, at best, a nuisance who should be avoided or, at worst, a dangerous lunatic who should be restrained.

At the risk of being obnoxiously obvious: That's how many people feel when you try to convince them that your personal religious taboos are some kind of universal moral law. I'm not talking about murder or assault or theft here, things that clearly harm humans and human societies. I refer to things like, say, what speech constitutes blasphemy. Or what sort of sexual and personal relationships consenting adults should enter. If you want to follow such laws, be my guest. In most cases, I will fight for your right to do so. But you're not going to convince me you have the moral upper ground because you follow one or another ancient tribal custom. And if I've indicated I'm not open to further discussion on the matter, don't be surprised if, when you persist, or when you try to legislate your beliefs, I consider you, at best, a nuisance who should be avoided or, at worst, a dangerous lunatic who should be restrained.

Most likely, I'll look at you as if you have a horn in the center of your forehead.

Today an aunt of mine is celebrating her birthday. I've been avoiding calling her which is immature and irresponsible of me. After falling off the wagon for several days I've decided to face the music and climb back on again. I have a mental list of things to do that I'm going to write out. Yesterday I started sorting clothes in my bedroom. I've come to the conclusion that we have too many dish and bath towels. This makes laundry more frustrating and time consuming. What I can do is separate the ones we need and use on a regular basis and put the rest into storage. I'm not sure why I haven't done this sooner, I suspect it has something to do with my out of sight, out of mind mentality. Like I'm going to forget where I stored these towels and not have them when I want and need them.

I'm still impressed with myself for going to visit my dad after going out to eat with other family members. That was a very difficult thing to do. I did it, I had compassion on him, and I feel better for having had the experience. He's looked better, but he's also been worse. The other day I watched a neighbor of mine mow part of the lawn next door to her. The house has been standing empty for some time. Once the yard was mowed, but the weeds are now feet high. It's unsightly and bothers us all. I've been reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and trying to frame things in light of what I'm learning. This isn't my problem and I'm not going to worry about it. 

After going out on a date I asked him how he would define our relationship. He said he would get back to me on Sunday, didn't, and I called him out on it. It was a mistake to ask and I knew it as soon as I sent him the message. He made a mistake by not getting back to me when he said that he would. There were some tense moments between us, he still hasn't gotten back to me, but I don't really care anymore. Yesterday I sent him a message about walking the neighbor's dog. He sent me a message about hiking with his youngest and their dogs. There wasn't a discussion about burying the hatchet, but I feel much better about the situation. Him not getting back to me is a red flag, but I don't necessarily have to do anything about that right now.

Tuesday was a day of pep talks. I reached out to several friends, a woman I know reached out to me which was great. I received a pep talk and was able to give one to a friend who is struggling. She thanked me for my honest and realistic words, it was really nice to be able to support someone else instead of feeling like I'm always the one who needs a boost. The paperwork in my binder is overwhelming me. Today I'm going to get at least one thing out of there so I can move forward. Another thing I'm going to do is take some chairs I have in the garage to Goodwill since I'm not using them anyways. I want to talk to my ex about moving, but Summerfest is the busiest time of his year, I can wait until a better time presents itself.

A character of mine is a minimalist who is married to someone who confronts unpleasantness like cleaning out the fridge and just does it. This is the person I need in my life. The guy I like just does things whether he wants to or not. He gets a lot done this way, I admire that about him. Today is a good day because I'm sticking to the habits that have worked for me in the past. Get up without laying in bed for a while. Forget about being uncomfortable/tired/whatever and start doing things. Do things right away, be proactive instead of reactive. Remember that my feelings can be subjected so I can do things even when I don't feel like doing them. Very nervous about going to apply for a job, but I read in my book, went for a walk, did my interview, and am making progress in other areas. Just have to make my daily habits non-negotiable. I can do it. 

Robert Smith sings over the rhythmic whir of my desk fan, followed by a succession of artists as I tap tap tap the next song button on my phone until finally settling on Kim Deal's vocals on "Gigantic". Various notes and post-its flap in the artificial breeze around my monitor. My stomach complains in minor indigestion against my increasingly tight pants. Now Chris Cornell sings "Times of Trouble" and my eyes blink sympathetically under the harsh fluorescent office light. But despite my surroundings, a hint of a smile escapes as I dictate something new for everything2 for the first time in over a year.

So what has changed here in the past year? I'm afraid to check the Site Trajectory. That never ends well for me. I did see that Lord Brawl has returned.

Prince sings Cream now and I am reminded about changes in the wider world. Exciting things happened, like our arrival at Pluto, but also disturbing things increased in number like a legion of devils cast among swine. Coral bleaching, Donald Trump, Brexit, the unemployment of Jet-Poop; the list continues but I've been plodding along the whole time.

I've done a bit of reading, including Cannery Row, Giants in the Earth, The Absolute Sandman, The 158 Pound Marriage, Grossman's Magician trilogy, Snow Crash, True Grit, The Ruins, and of course Ulysses.

I've done a bit of traveling as well, visiting Jefferson's grave and Poe's museum, and soon I'll be alone in Kansas and Missouri for several weeks.

But none of this is of consequence to you. While I've been out, you've read your own books and listened to your own music and walked your own trails.

What were those experiences like? Photographed any pornstars lately? Danced in the moonlight? Skinny-dipped surreptitiously in the neighbour's pool?

How have you lived this past year?

Send me some links, I've a bit of catching up to do.....

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