Sunday, September 8, 2013


This is a piece about nothing. Why? No reason. Why not? Jerry Seinfeld, for good or ill, had a sitcom dedicated to nothing for 10 years, and Jean-Paul Sartre wrote a whole damn book about it, so I see no reason why I can’t put a little thing together about it, too.

Maybe, on the other hand, I just don’t feel like doing much today. I’ve been fighting a cold for more than a week now, which has as usual been passed on to Da Wife and perhaps one of my sons (too early to tell), so my ambition writing-wise isn’t what it could be. I’ve got a fair amount of ideas for real pieces; I just don’t feel like moving on them right now.

I think, though, I should at least do something. I took last week off from writing, after all. Again, why? It was Labor Day weekend of course, and, like so many other red-blooded Americans I felt like celebrating by doing, well, nothing. In fact, I was going to write this piece last week about that very thing, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Best thing really, in my opinion. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is, well, nothing, to allow yourself to recharge and reinvigorate.

It’s a lost art, I think, in the US. We’ve become a nation of workaholics, with most of us pounding away just to keep our heads above water while the select few are driven by simple greed. Not a healthy way to live if you ask me. Hell, even the Romans finished their business by noon to make sure they had time for a trip to the baths or a good healthy orgy.

Where am I going with this? Nowhere! It’s a piece about nothing! And I’m gonna keep on writing until I’m done. Maybe I’m done now—no, I still have it in me. Time to keep going.

Makes me wonder, though, just why so many people have ascribed to it. Ever read “The Dead”? That’s a whole lot of nothing right there, which makes sense when you think about it. Yet, it’s considered one of Joyce’s best pieces.

Even today, when most professional philosophers scoff at modernist ideas like existentialism, people still somehow value the idea of nothing. What? You want examples? Sorry, I got nothing. I suppose I could think up a few, but I have neither the energy nor any inspiration to try.

Actually, I find the whole idea of nothing unnerving. A void, where there is no movement, no chaos, no diversity, it all sounds so very oppressive to me. As a child I used to have nightmares about being caught in nothingness and, in the process, I became nothing. I still have them, once in awhile, but I know them now for what they are: nothing, so they can’t possibly hurt me.

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