Ask a Philosopher and he’ll tell you the thing that makes humans special is our ability to reason. A Writer would probably say something about our ability to imagine. An Artist might remark on our ability to create. Engineers would point out our mastery of technology; Scientists could say something about our curiosity; Mathematicians would gloat over our ability to manipulate equations, while Politicians would say various stirring things while secretly exulting over our ability to manipulate one another. Linguists glory in our ability to use language, Theologians talk about our ability to perceive God, Anthropologists would make mention of our opposable thumbs, Many men would point out our ability to appreciate women, and women would gush about our ability to make shoes …

For my part, the quintessence of humanity lies in the fact that we all experience certain moments.

Early on, there’s the moment when you realize that when mom says “It’s good for you” what she really means is that “This stuff tastes like crap!”  Later, if you’re male, there comes a time when you discover it’s fun to write your name in the snow with urine. Most women, sometime after puberty, discover how great it is to have their nipples sucked by someone they care about, while the someone they care about re-discovers how awesome it is to suck nipples. Everyone discovers, at some point, how embarrassing it is for certain body parts to become erect at the wrong time, and that bad breath happens early in the morning while cuddled up with someone we want to kiss.

There’s the moment when you know you shouldn’t take even one more sip of booze, the moment when you take another sip and realize that you shouldn’t have, the moment when it becomes clear that you must put your face in a toilet, and the moment, several agonizing moments later, when you realize that the toilet bowl you’ve been barfing into has a very cool side that feels wonderful against your fevered cheek, the moment shortly after that when you discover how hard it is to sleep with the room spinning that way, and the moment, many hours later when you realize that even someone stupid enough to drink so much shouldn’t have to suffer through a hangover this bad.

Women experience a moment of dread and excitement when they wonder if they might have gotten pregnant, while men experience a moment of dread and excitement when they wonder if they might have gotten someone pregnant, and both may experience a moment of doubt when they wonder just whose baby it is, then, often enough, a startling moment when they discover that it doesn’t actually matter, so long as the baby comes out healthy, and they get to raise it.

There’s the moment when you wake up on a frosty morning, reflect on how awesomely toasty it is under the blanket, then realize you can’t miss even one more day of school/work, and steel yourself to get out of said warm and toasty haven of sleep and comfort.

There’s a moment when men realize they shouldn’t have said that, the very brief moment when they’re glad they did say it, even though they’re going to suffer for it, and the moment, shortly thereafter, when they wish they’d kept their damned mouth shut, and a freaking huge number of moments over the succeeding 30-40 years when the woman they said it to reminds them that they said it, and makes them regret it. Women, on the other hand, almost never experience a moment when they regret saying something to a man. Ever.

There’s a moment when children learn how awesome it is to run, adults learn how awesome it is to nap, and both discover how amazing it is not to be scolded for either.

There’s the moment (for most it happens around age 25 or 26) when you’re getting ready for work, glance in the mirror, and realize that you’ve become an adult, and the almost simultaneous moment of sheer terror when you wonder if anyone has noticed you’ve been faking it all this time …

There’s a moment when you discover, deep down in your gut, that something is just wrong, and you won’t put up with it any more. For a lucky few, there’s a moment when they realize that some things really are worth dying for, and for an unlucky few, a moment when they know they’re going to die, and wonder if it was worth it.

There’s a moment when you realize that some ordinary sound, like the sound of someone crunching cereal, the overly loud ticking of a clock, the explosive snap some people make when they deal cards, or the snoring of your beloved is so freaking annoying that you simply cannot tolerate it any longer. There’s a similar, horrifying, moment, when you realize you have some chewing-gum jingle stuck in your head and you can’t make it stop, and a moment when you can almost, but not quite, remember a certain word, and a similar, vastly frustrating, moment when you feel a desperate need to sneeze, and discover you can’t, and another moment when you desperately need to pee, but have forgotten how to get things started, and the moment, shortly thereafter, when you realize that all you had to do was relax, and let nature run its course.

Some women experience a moment when enough is enough and they just want to get some sleep, so they fake an orgasm; some men experience a moment when enough is enough, and they need to get some sleep, then realize they  can’t fake an orgasm. Both may experience a moment when they realize that their orgasm was embarrassingly loud, and they won’t be able to meet the neighbor’s eyes in the morning.

There’s the moment some men experience when he realizes with pride that his son has lost his cherry, or realizes with dismay that his daughter has.

There’s a moment we all experience when everything has just become too much and we need to sleep.

Writers face a moment of dread when they need to write, and the page or screen is embarrassingly empty and white, and another moment of terror when they realize that they’ve written enough but have not one clue how to bring it to a close …

I just had that moment.

I’m stopping now.


I mean it.



~ by dourscot on October 17, 2012.

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