The Clown and the Rakes—part 1


Welcome back. Turns out, writing about heavy topics weighs on me more than expected. Here’s a much lighter post. I hope this makes the heavier content more manageable (for me)… As always, I welcome feedback!

The Clown and the Rakes—part 1

Have you ever seen that Simpsons clip of Sideshow Bob stepping on a rake? I’m talking about the episode where the Simpsons enter the Witness Relocation Program: They exit their car and head off to their new lives, but soon after they leave, a battered Sideshow Bob rolls out from under their car, stands up, and steps on a rake. He shudders. He takes another step—on another rake… After the second rake clocks him in the face, the camera’s zooms out from the closeup of his face to an aerial shot revealing a field of rakes surrounding him… The scene implies that he’ll take a few more rakes to the face before moving on. That triggered this writing.

NOTE: I've described the (roughly) 35 s clip above well enough, so you don't need to watch it—quite frankly, it's popular enough that you probably know what I'm referencing. I considered linking it here, but that kills the momentum of my writing: an embed solves that problem. However, as I'm unsure about the ethics involved in embedding—especially an optional clip that isn't even mine—I've provided it in my postscript notes... What are your thoughts on the matter?

I don’t know why that came to mind; I wasn’t watching the clip when it triggered my train of thought—it just appeared… I’ve decided to use it as a writing prompt. I hope it works out. It should (at least) provide further insight into why I never truly have a boredom problem—despite what I claim for the sake of (everyone’s) convenience… Anyway, onto the actual story…

Names intrigue me. Why? Well, stories fascinate me; that shouldn’t surprise you—that’s just human. I like efficiency; you probably knew that (if not, now you know). Names marry stories and efficiency: they’re incredibly efficient stories. It’s hard to get more efficient than a one-word story (though it is possible—when provided appropriate setup)…

NOTE: ...

Names define identities. The identity it represents contains the story. Therein lies what I meant: when you hear a name, it conjures an identity. Other words and metaphors lack that uniqueness of names.

Names bestow individuality. They link so strongly to identities that even substitutes for names define identities; case in point: pronouns. When you use a pronoun, it influences the social dynamics within a conversation. When you use the right pronoun, you connote something (e.g. respect, awareness, empathy); when you use the wrong pronoun you connote something else (e.g. ignorance, disrespect, confusion). Even pausing before using a pronoun connotes something (e.g. thoughtfulness, confusion, anxiety). Then there’s ostensibility: did others think you used the right or wrong one? You might use the right pronoun, but if others think you used the wrong one it reflects differently than if they think you used the correct one. Similarly, when you use the wrong pronoun, if others think you used the wrong one it reflects differently than if they think you used the correct one.

Pronouns define identities—and they’re not even the actual names: they’re substitutes… Realizing this helps frame the importance of actual names.

P.S. 1: Sideshow Bob steps on rakes

P.S. 96: I’ve updated my Contact Me page explaining how you can help me if you choose to. This includes a messaging form, my gmail address, my Twitter account, and a donation button to my Ko-Fi page. I’ll update specifics gradually. If there’s one thing I could ask for above all else, I’d ask for two—then I’d use one of those two to say that the best way to help is to share my work with someone.

On a serious note, thank you so much for reading—it truly means the world to me!

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