Day 78: my OKCupid profile


I am an ambiguous figure. I am not being evasive. That’s a statement of plain fact.

What I’m Doing With My Life

Mostly blogging in an effort to distract from the gnawing emptiness in my soul. Also have sorted out sock drawer in manner described by Marie Kondo, who says that if you ball your socks up they “are always in a state of tension.” Enough people are already aggravated with me, I don’t want to annoy my socks on top of everything else.

I’m Really Good At

Hiding in plain sight; slicing bread; making my psychiatrist laugh; finding valuable objects on the ground (so far I’ve found—on three separate occasions—two $100 dollar bills, and one Macbook Air. I kept the cash but not the Macbook Air) .

The First Things People Notice

The first thing they notice is either that I am a duck or that I am a rabbit. Depending on which of these they notice first, the second thing they notice is either that I am a rabbit or that I am a duck. The third thing they notice is that I bear an uncanny resemblance to the seventeenth-century poet John Milton. The fourth thing they notice is that I am either Australian or South African. The fifth thing they notice is that I become tetchy when my accent is mis-identified.

Favorite books, movies, music, shows, food

Book: reading’s not really my bag

Movie: Back To the Future

Music: “Medical Jones.” It’s an original song by my daughter about this cat. The cat’s name is “Medical Jones.” Honestly, once it’s in your head, you cannot stop singing it! [1]

Shows: Punch and Judy

Food: gluten

The Six Things I Could Never Do Without

Hmm. I’m trying to remember what a “Thing” is. Is it an object that only becomes visible when it’s dysfunctional? Like a dirty window? Let’s say that’s one then. What else. A sieve without any holes? No … wait, that would just be a bowl, wouldn’t it? Don’t count that one. Huh. This is way harder than I thought it was going to be. Let me approach this another way: the six things from eighteenth-century literature that I could never do without! Robinson Crusoe’s earthenware pot! Sophia’s muff! Pamela’s round-eared cap! The rock that Samuel Johnson kicked to refute Bishop Berkeley! Belinda’s deadly bodkin! And, last but not least, the enormous helmet that crushes Conrad in The Castle of Otranto! Hurrah!

I Spend A Lot Of Time Thinking About

… what it would feel like to be dashed to pieces by an enormous helmet; whether I am a “new spinster” or just an old spinster.

Typical Friday Night

Babysitting for my husband while he’s out on the town.

Most Private Thing I’m Willing to Admit

My PhD is actually from the University of Phoenix, not Harvard.

Message Me If

You have the answer to these three riddles:

What is born each night and dies each dawn?

What flickers red and warm like a flame, but is not fire?

What is ice which gives you fire and which your fire freezes still more?

If you would like an answer to your message, in addition please answer the following bonus riddle:

What is it that women most desire?


1853 engraving based on 1667 miniature by Faithorne

1853 engraving based on 1667 miniature by Faithorne

Oh wait, I just read OKCupid’s policy on photos. They stipulate that “you must appear in the photo!” a rule they insist upon so “that you will see real people, and they will see the real you.” I would just like to say that I think that this is a terribly misguided rule. I’m not sure I want to see real people, and I definitely don’t want them to see the real me! Not that there is a “real me”! (see David Hume, Gilbert Ryle, &c.)

Oh fine, here’s a “real” picture:

another wittgenstein duck-rabbit

Now, full disclosure: I am naked in this picture, which is against OKCupid’s profile-picture rules. But, I’d argue that it’s OK because you can’t see my torso, just my face. So I think I’m done! Now I’m just going to lie back and wait for the messages from my (few and unfit) suitors to start rolling in …


[1] I’m updating this post to include this footnote. I have this feeling that footnotes are against OKCupid policy but I’ll just have to risk it. The update is because I realized upon reflection that it was unfairly tantalizing of me to rave about this song without telling you the words so that you can sing it to yourself. The lyrics are:

Medical Jones, Medical Jones,

Medical, Medical, Medical Jones.

Medical Jones, Medical Jones,

This is the story of Medical Jones.


That’s it! It’s pretty easy to pick up. As for the tune, I’d give you the score, but unfortunately I don’t how to write music. But the beauty of this song is that it’s not really about the tune. Honestly, you can use almost any tune without any injury to the song. Enjoy!


Day 73: several things

Since moving down the street, I have discovered several things. Here are some of them:

  • It turns out that I can zip up my own dress. It just requires doing a version of cow-faced pose, first pushing the zipper up with my left hand twisted behind my back, and then pulling the zipper up by reaching my right arm up and over my right shoulder and down between my shoulder blades. Doing the zipper up fully gives me a great sense of accomplishment.
  • It turns out that I can also parallel park when there is no other option.
  • When I arrive home I dispose of my belongings in a manner that one might characterize as the direct inverse of that described by Marie Kondo in her bestselling guide, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This is how Kondo, who lives alone, describes her routine upon coming home from work (I’ve cut a lot out, just to save space):
    • “ … I take off the shoes I wore today and place them neatly in the entranceway. Heading to the kitchen, I put the kettle on and go to my bedroom. There I lay my handbag gently on the soft sheepskin rug and take off my outdoor clothes … I put my tights in a laundry basket that fits into the bottom right corner of my closet … my next task is to empty the contents of my handbag on the rug and put each item away in its place. First I remove all the receipts. Then I put my wallet in its designated box in a drawer under my bed with a word of gratitude. I place my train pass and my business card holder beside it. I put my wristwatch in a pink antique case in the same drawer and place my necklace and earrings on the accessory tray beside it.”
  • When the duck-rabbit writes its eagerly anticipated lifestyle book, it will go more like this:
    • “I open the door, drop my bag, and kick off my shoes, which come to rest on their designated space on the floor. I dump my keys and phone unceremoniously onto the nearest surface possessing the requisite solidity to bear the weight of said objects. I plop onto the sofa, my designated resting place, and stare into space. I sigh or perhaps groan to myself before rousing myself sufficiently to reach one of the many half-full glasses of water placed conveniently on various surfaces around the flat. I shuffle to the kitchen, refill the glass and take perhaps two sips of water before putting it down on the nearest surface to hand, whether that be counter top, book, floor, etc. It is vital to one’s well-being to have glasses of water distributed liberally around the home. I flop back onto the sofa.”
  • I brought this really old tape/radio/CD player to the new place so that I could listen to the radio. I think I last used it in grad school. There’s a CD stuck in the CD player. When I turned it on there was a blast of atonal, distorted noise and I immediately turned it off again. I think it might be Zooropa by U2 but we may never know for sure.
  • It turns out that no-one likes sleeping in the top bunk: not the elder, not the younger, and not me. This is a problem.
  • It’s amazing how much work you can get done when your internet is not hooked up. I would never have read Leibniz if the internet had been working.
  • My favorite kind of coffee may actually be the kind that I am now making daily in the stove-top espresso maker, which, until last week, I hadn’t used for years. The coffee it yields has a pleasing heft to it.
  • I choose to stock 1% milk in my fridge. I am done with nonfat milk.
  • Even when I suspect that a spoon has fallen down the garbage disposal, I cannot stick my hand down there to fish it out. I blame Flash Gordon and Indiana Jones. Did someone say vagina dentata?
  • Time-Warner cable is the devil. And Earthlink is its evil henchman. I had several “conversations” this morning that went like this:

“My name is Bruce, how can I help you?” [Obviously, this is the Time-Warner / Earthlink representative speaking, not me. Although maybe next time this should be my opening move. Just to confuse them.]

“Bruce! I am SO relieved to have gotten through to you.”

“If there is no response on the line, I will end the call.”

“Bruce, I’m here! I’m here Bruce! Don’t hang up! Hello hello can you hear me?”

“If there is no response on the line, I will end the call.

If there is no response on the line, I will end the call.

If there is no response on the line, I will end the call.

If there is no response on the line, I will end the call.

If there is no response on the line, I will end the call. [This sentence uttered at least five times in rapid succession.]

Have a good day.” Click.

When I got someone on the line, I was desperate to keep them there.

“I’m Chip, ma’am, how can I help you?”

“Chip, I’m having a really terrible time and I need your help.”

“I’m just going to put you on a very short hold, ma’am, and then I’ll be back.”

“But Chip, do you promise? Do you promise to come back? Because that’s what Becky told me last time and she didn’t come back.”

I still have no internet.


This morning we were sitting, the three of us, listening to KJazz and eating toast.

“Are you going to eat those crusts?” I asked the younger as she hummed along to the radio.

“I am not,” she said. “I don’t like the crusts,” she explained. “But you like the crusts,” she said, magnanimously, offering them to me.

“I don’t exactly like the crusts,” I said, taking the crusts, which were especially dry because the bread was already a bit stale, “but it’s what I have.”

“So ….” I continued, “what do you guys think of this so far? Coming over here, I mean,” I clarified.

“It’s fine,” said the elder and went back to reading The Wizard of Oz on the iPad. I sighed.

“OK, but I want to know specifically. What’s good about it and what’s bad about it?”

The younger piped up. “What’s really good is all the kids here that we can play with, and now we made friends with them all!”

She’s right: this probably is the best thing about this apartment. The structure of the complex is such that all the kids from all the apartments can run around together without them really ever being out of sight or earshot. Every night they’ve stayed over, the flopsy-duckits have scampered around outside with the others playing tag or hide-and-seek after dinner.

The elder nodded his agreement with the younger.

“OK, that makes sense. So what’s bad about it then?” I asked, holding my breath. The elder shot me a dark look.

“No internet!” he said. “Give me internet!” he intoned, shaking his fist at me in mock-outrage.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m working on it. What about you then?”

The younger pondered the question thoughtfully. “More washcloths,” she said finally. “You need more washcloths.”