Dead Caterpillar


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Man vs. White Space

Sunday, Nov 14th, 2010

I often email myself files because I forget to carry my USB flash drive / thumbdrive / removable drive / flash-thumb drive or whatever the proper term for that really is.

After I attach the file, before I click “send,” I inevitably spend time staring at the white space where the body of the email text ought to be.

The white space, all empty and blank-like, mocks and pokes fun at me. It’s a face off that every writer is familiar with: Man vs. White Space.

I’ve never once lost this battle. The stubborn and pig-headed me is more prone to fill white space with utter trite than to let it remain empty. So I fill the white space in the emails sent to myself with pithy motivational one-liners. You know, the sort of bullshit every man tells himself in the mirror.

“Chris, you are one exceptionally handsome fellow.”

“Chris, you are winning at life.”

“Chris, the extent of your coolness can hardly be described in one email. I will just have to do it in two.”

(second email) “Way cool Chris. That’s the best way to describe the extent of your coolness. You’re just way cool.”

Boldface lies, I know. But sometimes I find it necessary to write myself with some level of candor:

“Stupid. Stupid. Stupid, Chris! A 15-page paper? And you are emailing yourself the instructions the day before it’s due? If I wasn’t you, I’d hate you. But since I am you, I’m gonna tell it to you straight: stop playing rummy till 3 AM and start waking up before 3 PM. Get involved in your classes. You might want to start by memorizing the names of your professors and their course titles. Also: pens. Seriously. Buy some pens. It’s mid-semester. That girl who sits in front of you in Bio 101 is noticeably tired of being asked for a pen. Last time she looked like she wanted to pelt you in the face with a uni-ball. So it’s either new pens or a face mask. Got it?”

… Like I said, candor!

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