“The Children of the Dirt” by Simon Rich

20 08 2015

I first heard the following story on NPR’s awesome podcast Invisibilia.

“The Children of the Dirt” by Simon Rich

According to Aristodemus, there were originally 3 sexes. The children of the moon, who were half male and half female. The children of the sun, who were fully male, and the children of the earth, who were fully female. Everyone had four arms, four legs, and two heads, and spent their days in blissful contentment.

Zeus became jealous of the humans’ joy, so he decided to split them all in two. Aristodemus called this punishment “The Origin of Love”, because ever since the children of the earth, moon, and sun have been searching the globe in a desperate bid to find their other halves.

Aristodemus’ story though isn’t complete, because there was also a fourth sex, the children of the dirt. Unlike the other three sexes, the children of the dirt consisted of just one half. Some were male and some were female, and each had just two arms, two legs, and one head. The children of the dirt found the children of the earth, moon, and sun to be completely insufferable. Whenever they saw a two-headed creature walking by, talking to itself in baby talk voices, it made them want to vomit. They hated going to parties. When there was no way to get out of one they simply sat in the corner, too bitter and depressed to talk to anyone. The children of the dirt were so miserable that they invented wine and art to dull their pain. It helped a little, but not really. When Zeus went on his rampage, he decided to leave the children of the dirt alone. “They’re already fucked” he explained.

Happy gay couples descend from the children of the sun. Happy lesbian couples descend from the children of the earth. And happy straight couples descend from the children of the moon. But the vast majority of humans are descendants of children of the dirt, and no matter how long they search the earth they’ll never find what they’re looking for. Because there’s nobody for them, not anybody in the world.

It’s August. It’s not hot, but it’s still August. I feel stuck. I feel restless. It’s a Thursday night and I’m facing a Friday that won’t be very TGIF because it just means a whole weekend with no one to see and nowhere to go. I’m alone tonight, just like all every night. But I remembered this story and smiled, because I’m a child of the dirt. and, apparently, so are lots of other people.

Just ten days until September.

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Dear August, Go Fuck Yourself

6 08 2015

August is the cruellest month, breeding
Dullness out of the muggy days, mixing
Boredom and stagnation, stirring
Nothing in the dead air.

– “T.S. Eliot” (though altered, because he was wrong, April is perfectly lovely)

Dear August,

Go fuck yourself. I am over you and your bullshit, and we’ve only just begun our annual grappling match from hell.

I know it’s not your fault that you come at the end of summer. As a kid I was always going stir-crazy by the time you rolled around. June was great – school was out and it was my birthday and summer was just beginning. July was awesome. The dog days of summer and the Fourth of July and homemade ice cream and pool parties and bonfires and chasing lightning bugs and staying up too late. But you. Often too muggy to go outside in the day. Sleeping in has lost its luster and day after day of doing nothing has gotten old. The heat never seems to end and summer has become interminably long.

August, you’ve always bummed me out. I hate heat, especially when it’s muggy. And muggy heat is what you to best. It’s not just boiling; the air is so thick it could drown you. There’s no breeze and nothing moves. All you can do is sit. And wait.

I should never make decisions this time of year. Stupid, stagnant August makes me feel like I’m stagnating. Nothing is moving, I’m not moving, nothing is changing, we aren’t making progress. There’s always been the promise that newness – new classes, new teachers, new friends, new TV shows, new jobs, new weather – is around the corner. But for 31 horrible days we’re trapped. Nothing is happening. Everything is the same. We’re stuck.

It’s easy, during August, to make snap decisions. You’re scared of staying still. Things seem awful, and rather than pushing through or waiting it out, you just want to do something to get out of there. If you’re not careful, you’ll make decisions you regret once September rolls around and you can think clearly again. Once the heavy air becomes crisp and breathable again, things don’t seem so bad. You realize you were making progress and you suddenly see ways to continue moving forward. But if you acted during August, it’s too late. You might have made a mistake.

So, my “dear” August, go fuck yourself. I’m through with you and your mind games. I’ll endure, because I have to. I’ll try to avoid making big decisions until September cools me off a bit. But I’ll leave you with this letter. Fuck you, August. I can’t wait until you’re over.