Hello Happy Robot from 2010
Hi Robot Friends,
Its been 7 years since I've posted. That was about two months into Barack Obama's first term. I was not thinking so much about Barack back then. I did a little, but mostly I was distracted- about the time of my last HR post Barack was rolling out his "clunkers for cash" program. I think he meant well, and wanted to start out well. I was hopeful, but distracted.
I've thought of you guys a lot over the years. I stopped writing because I got in the weeds and couldn't say anything about it (I thought) because I couldn't see the end of the story.
I was worried about not having the end of the story and writers are supposed to have an ending they are building up to. I didn't see it. I was hoping to see it- I haven't.
I keep hearing the term "narrative"- that seems to be a new 2017 word/idea that's taken off (if its been around longer- well of course its been around longer, but if its been used in casual conversation and the internet and by pundits and politicians before the past six months- I am/ was not aware), and except for the fact it is about to be so overused it will soon become as annoying and meaningless as terms like "synergy" or "team building"- it has meant a lot to me. Its the idea I should have had so I knew it was a thing I wanted, so I could have understood it better and then maybe have figured out how to be all Zen and in the moment where there is no narrative arc and then gotten the fuck over that idea (or learned to understand its place).
I think of "narrative" as framing the story so as to get the reader to come to some conclusion. Like the special education teacher, or the police officer, or the rental agent, or the insurance company or the auto mechanic or TSA or the Judge, or the Neighborhood Watch or the insurance company (life, health, auto) there is no end to the practical uses of the word "narrative"- maybe its a cool word for rationalization- or spinning, working the system, sometimes blind faith or revisionist history OR raising children. Its creating a story and I like stories- I love them. Take a bunch of facts and put them together and you will have a story. If you don't like that story, take the same facts and shift the perspective, add some different punctuation, a different take, stop it at a different place. Come up with a conclusion for where ever you stopped it. Make that conclusion mean what you'd like it to mean. And why not? I love stories.
This is not a story- just an update. Today I worked with a 55 year old man who is dying. I got into a pissing contest with his hospice nurse. Which is ridiculous- like dying, which is also dumb, dumb, dumb. It rattled me. It was startling. But I will be talking to her tomorrow (hospice nurse) and with this guy tomorrow (man dying) and I didn't burn any bridges and my patient has his own narrative arc. I will help this 55 year old man be as ok as I can. And I'm ok. And somehow- according to my personal narrative, its going to be ok. that's my mantra.
I hope you happy robot kids are ok, too. This is not what I wanted to write about a few days ago but this is it for today. xoxo, kids. Thanks for listening.