“I Have No Idea What’s Going On”

^ is the most beautiful excuse for missing class I ever read, so I saved it. English 65-01 was a high school level remedial English class I taught at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, CA. 1995 would have been my first or second year teaching there. Luis turned out to be a good kid who worked hard. I always had a soft spot for a kid that could call the office and tell the secretary he missed class because he was confused. ❤

Once upon a time I had the idea that the grown ups knew what was going on and they were keeping the truth from me. Stop it. Stop laughing. I bet you had a similar idea about things. I bet you thought that one day you’d grow up and all the words and all the everything else would make sense FOREVER.

I guess I was in my late 20s when I had the profound realization that “Change is the only constant in the universe.” Of course, at that time, I thought I was incredibly deep and wise and finally had it all figured out. All I had was a sentence that made sense, nothing more than that.

My dad loved math because it has rules and the rules were REAL rules. Within the boundaries of a mathematical problem there could be only a finite number of outcomes. OF COURSE within that scenario, the variations might be immense, but who was he to split hairs? He specialized in game theory which is basically the mathematics of uncertainty. He applied his knowledge to the national defense.

Game theory is basically defined as “…the study of mathematical models of strategic interaction in between rational decision-makers.” It’s a lot like throwing the dice. It is the direct application of probability theory to objective reality. People playing chess, and anticipating the moves of their opponent are applying game theory. People in love are ALWAYS doing it.

“What did it mean that he didn’t call me for three days?”

“It could mean he didn’t was busy, or didn’t want to seem too eager, or lost your number, or lost his phone, or or or or…”

There is a finite number of possibilities but the obvious and easiest one is the most likely. That isn’t always easy to identify.

The assumption of rationality raises the hackles of skepticism for me at this point in my life. Things — and decision makers — can so quickly go off the deep end. One of the things “rational decision makers” do is lie. They can also be hungry, tired, drunk, high, scared — all kinds of things compromise “rationality.”

Sometimes I think we’re more like pinballs than chess pieces. Our lives are circumscribed by the box that is the pinball machine. Someone at the low end is pushing buttons and flipping flippers, hoping to get us to the end of the game in good time, but stuff happens in between all the time. I don’t know who’s operating the flippers — I think it’s our genetics.

Like a week ago, I was just walking along a flat, soft and comparatively even path. I was wearing hiking shoes. I wasn’t running or doing any dangerous movements. I was just WALKING. Recently I’ve been pretty happy because I’ve been walking with comparative ease and freedom. Suddenly, for no reason that I could identify I sprained my foot, not the ankle, but some tendon in the metatarsal area. WTF? How? Why? My first thought, “Walk it off, Kennedy, walk it off.” But I knew that wasn’t a likely outcome in the game. I turned around thinking, “You have to go home. You’ll have to walk slowly, but you’ll make it. I don’t think it’s broken.” I didn’t really know, but I still had to get out of there. I think I set my foot down hard on a rock that was half-buried and covered by grass, but I don’t know for sure. It is the most likely explanation for the event.

A sprained foot was not on my agenda at all, but there it was, and here it is. That’s why I consider South Park’s Towelie (high though he is) to be kind of a sage. Like Towelie…