Review: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Grabbed this one up because a Silicon Valley genius-type said he was reading it, and looked interesting. The first chapter, was, indeed, great, but then it sort of petered out. Ever read a non-fiction book and get far enough into it that you feel you need to finish, but you’re keeping an eye on that page count the whole time? “ 60 to go, 50 to go…” And then, hooray! The last 40 pages are end notes and index. Whew! Yeah, that was this book.

Not that it was bad, or poorly written—just a bit longer than it needed to be. Perhaps this could have been condensed into a long chapter in a different book about human evolution or the history of people, or whatever.

The points he makes are good ones—homo sapiens has developed, over time, and most of that very recently, through a series of “revolutions” which, specifically, where revolutions in cognition, agriculture, social unification, and science. This is to say: we got big brains, grew crops, got religion, and invented the steam engine.

Along the way we found time to kill off the other neo-humans, invent money, and create the internet. And yet, for all of that, nothing has changed, in as much as the universe is still hostile and indifferent, there’s no right or wrong, and happiness is nice but ultimately pointless. At least, that’s what I gleaned from my reading.

But the problem with a book like this, in my opinion, when it goes a bit long, is that the author can get a little preachy. A little sanctimonious. That’s fine, I guess, since he says right off the bat there’s no right or wrong—so there’s no hypocrisy, right? The thing is: opinions are boring. (There—I just gave you my opinion. Hypocrisy achieved.)

Many of the facts were interesting, however. The most successful organism on the planet to date is wheat. People are dying from violence orders of magnitude less often than they used to. But shove that up against repeated finger shaking, like for example, that maybe we’re too cruel to animals… and that’s why I found myself counting pages, glad when it was over.

Glad I finished it, though, glad I read the thing. Something to discuss with those Silicon Valley genius types if we ever meet up.

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The Mean Tree

What if there was a tree in a town square that had branches on it such that, when the wind blew just right, it sounded as if the tree was saying “You fat ass.”

I mean, that would be hilarious, right?

Well, maybe not for someone who was self-conscious. Or someone who had been called that before by someone with hatred in their heart.

But lots of us would laugh.

Some of us would wonder if the tree grew like that naturally, or if there was some designer involved.

Some people would want to chop down the tree. Or at least prune the branches a bit.

There would be arguments. “If you don’t like it, don’t walk by it.” “Don’t go outside when it’s windy.” “Maybe lose a little weight?” “IT’S JUSTA TREE.”

I don’t want to be too philosophical here, but it seems to me that until you’ve been inside someone’s heart and felt their pain, you can’t really tell them they’re not in pain. Doesn’t matter if they hurt because a real person said nasty things to them, or if it was just the sound of the wind in a weird tree. Pain is pain.

Which is not to say I would want to cut down the tree.

Rather, I’d like to get people to start talking, maybe see if we can shift our perspective.

You know, it’s not that the tree sounds like a person. It’s that those people sound like the tree.

Somebody called you a fat ass? That’s not a person talking. That’s just some wind blowing, and it has nothing to do with you.

This is easy for me to say, I know—no one has ever called me a fat-ass. But I’ve been called other things.

I try to remember that, 99% of the time, when a person opens his mouth, he’s only describing himself.

“You’re kind of stupid” really means “I’m kind of a jerk.”

“You fat ass” is the tree’s way of saying “I’m a weird tree.”

And the only real reply to that is “Okay.”

So, maybe, the next time someone says something hateful, instead of yelling back, try saying “Okay.”

Cause then you’ve told them you understand that they’re just being a jerk. And while it’s not necessarily “okay” to be a jerk, some people just need to be allowed to work on their issues on their own.

Who knows what kind of pain is in the heart of someone who feels the need to shout “I’m a big jerk” all the time.

At least we know the tree isn’t in pain.

It’s just a tree.

High School Violence

fiction by Jason Edwards

The fattest girl in our high school was Lori Eastman, and the second fattest girl was Gloria Beastman. Now what I want to know is, what kind of asshole keeps the name Beastman? How did he think it was going to go for his kid? And could he not see, at some point, that she was getting kind of large? Surely, by the time she hit Junior High, Gloria was not petite. I don’t know. Maybe it’s the same kind of myopia that lets dads forget that their daughters get periods and have sex. Well, girls other than that tub of lard Beastman.

That’s cruel but she brought it on herself. Maybe she was just the victim of a life time of abuse, with the name and the fat and all. But I’m here to tell you she was not a nice person. She was cynical and sarcastic and maybe she was smart but not smart enough to justify treating people like crap.

There was this one time when the teacher was calling roll and goes “Larry?” and even though he was sitting right here, he didn’t say anything. And the teacher was one of those insufferable types who insisted on doing things one certain way. So even though she can see him, she expects him to say “here.” I mean, for crying out loud, she had exactly 30 kids in her class, the chairs were arranged in a perfect five by six square, all she had to do was see there were no empty seats and, voila, roll call is done. No absences.

But not this teacher. How is a teacher like that going to teach English, anyway. Sure, there’s rules and such, grammar and APA style I guess, but anything other than spelling is open to interpretation. And that includes whatever the hell Hemingway meant when he wrote “We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in.” I mean, there’s a comma splice right there.

Finally the teacher goes “I can see you, Larry, are you here.” And he goes “My name isn’t Larry. It’s Lawrence.”

I mean, fair enough. You get to an age where you want to define yourself, want to be your own person, why not start with your name? It’s given to you, forced on you I suppose, so why not own it however you can, insist people call you what you want to be called. Like if a guy decided to put on a dress and go by the name of Brunhilda, were supposed to go along with it, right? Let him drain the lizard in the girl’s restroom, even, I mean, there’s laws in Congress about that. If Larry wants to be Lawrence he can be Lawrence.

And before the teacher could say anything (I mean, stickler for rules, maybe she would have been into it, maybe she would have approved, maybe she would have given Larry a gold star for the day) Gloria Beastman goes “Oh please, you little weasel.”

Half the class laughed. I think they laughed because it caught them off guard. No one liked Gloria, not at all, and so the other half managed to not laugh because they had that not-like fresh in their minds. Or it wasn’t that funny. Or they didn’t hear because they were busy scrambling to get next periods homework done.

And then Larry goes “Whatever, Beats-men.” And nobody laughed. Larry was the skinny little shit, you see. I mean, born premature or didn’t get enough protein or hadn’t hit puberty yet, something along those lines. But he was an okay fellow more or less, no Napoleon complex that I was aware of. And Gloria had this reputation. That tiny little Larry would take on Gloria like that– it was easily the bravest thing any of us had ever witnessed.

Gloria turned red. I mean bright red. I mean, you have to understand, that as awful as she was, and as scary as she was, she was not safe from getting picked on by the popular kids and the assholes. So it’s not like she hadn’t been called every name in the book. But the names were all around how fat she was and how she was, you know, a “beast.” I have no idea where Larry got “Beats-men,” and no idea why none of us thought of it before.

She launched herself out of her desk. Across two rows, screaming this loud, high-pitched snarl that, since she was so damned huge, reverberated on a subliminal level too and made everyone’s spine quiver. She landed right on top of Larry and went to town. Holy shit.

I mean, he called her “beats-men” and the she beat him. I mean, it’s poetic or something. It took two jocks to get her off of him, and when they did she just thrashed around and let loose with the most vile, disgusting tirade I’d ever heard in my life. Racist stuff, anti-Semitic, coprophagic, demonic. It was amazing. We all cowered in the corner, Larry crushed beneath us and forgotten, while she tore the room apart. A couple other jocks went and got the football coach, and they all hauled her out of there.

She sued the school for that. Got a settlement. We never saw her again. Lawrence went to the hospital but he was more or less okay. Was a kind of celebrity for a while, but then it died down and the school went back to being just another bunch of assholes.

The third fattest girl in our school was Calliope Winthrop. We dated for a while. She was a sweetheart. Sort of smelled like peaches.

Little Red, Riding

Daily Writing Exercise,

Fiction by Jason Edwards

She keeps thinking she’s forgotten something, and then she remembers that what she’s forgotten is to remember that she hasn’t forgotten anything this time. And she’s usually so forgetful. Then she tries not to think about it because the light turns green and she doesn’t want to kill anyone by accident.

Not by accident.

In her red car. The dealer had said “Red? You know the cops pull over drivers in red cars more often.” She’d replied with something about red hiding the blood. He’d laughed. She’d kept him in the trunk for a week before she’d remembered.

She’s killed a lot. A lot a lot. So much that she’s lost count, it’s beyond counting, way beyond there ever having been a first one or a first time. Might as well recall the first time one saw a tree. Sure, in the desert, your first tree must be a sight to behold. But in a forest? Its only trees.

Pointless to talk about. She just does it. Drives to a motel, goes to the front desk, asks for a room, takes the key, kills the woman behind the desk, stuffs her into a closet. Goes to bed and goes to sleep. Wakes up. Something about checking out?

Or: drives to a hotel. Goes to the front desks, asks for a room, takes the key card. Goes to bed, wakes up, call downs for fresh towels. When the maid arrives, kills her, stuffs her into a closet. Takes a shower. Uses, like, every towel on the cart.

DNA? Please. This is real life, not an episode of a television show.

Another red light, so she remembers to stop. Is that what she forgot? To stop at the last red light? That time in Ann Arbor. Ran a stop light, got pulled over. The police officer had said, do you know why I pulled you over? She’d said something about the color red, and when he’d walked back to his cruiser, she’d ran over him. Stuffed him in his own trunk. Had to go back a few hours later because she’d forgotten about the camera mounted on his dashboard.

A hoot and a holler. An actual wolf whistle. Two guys in the car next to her. It’s a black car, filthy. Black cars always get dirtier than white ones. “Where you headed, little girl?” The one shouts. The driver’s leering at her too. She says something about Grandma’s house. They laugh. She laughs. The light turns green. They accelerate, she accelerates, she clips their bumper, speeds up and passes them. They give chase. They drive deep into the forest of the city.

It’s not always this easy. Sometimes it’s everything she can do to lure someone to a secluded area. Not that it has to be secluded. She’s forgotten how many people she’s put a knife into, in restaurants, fast food joints, convenience stores. But those places sometimes don’t have closets or trunks. At least in this alley, when she’s done with them, she can stuff them into their own trunk.

She thinks about stuffing the good looking one, the one who wasn’t driving, into her own trunk. Then she has a bad moment- has she forgotten that there’s someone in there already? She could go check. She’s covered in their blood, a little of her own. If there’s already someone in there, she’ll be very disappointed in herself. For having forgotten.

She decides she won’t check. She stuffs them into their own trunk, along with her bloody clothes. Fetches distilled water out of her back seat, has a nice shadow bath there in the alley. Gets dressed in fresh underwear, jeans, a t-shirt with a gas-station logo on it. That poor old man, who had smiled at her sweetly when she’d gone in to pay for gas, saw the shirts, knew she’d need a pile, put a knife through him, stuffed him into a supply closet. After a while, you can really tell the difference between different brands of disinfectant, in jars and bottles and cans.

Back in her red car, she drives around the city, towards suburbs, towards Grandma’s house. That part was true. But then she remembers: she’s always told the truth. Always. Because why not. A lie takes effort, energy, invention, fabrication, creation. She has no interest in creating anything. That one guy in Texas. Those hands. The bruises on her ribs when she’d been on top of him, choking him. And then nausea and sore breasts and clean underwear. And utter depression.

They don’t do abortions in Texas. But she does.

Space Aliens Have Landed In The American Midwest

fiction by Jason Edwards

Space aliens have landed in the American Midwest and taken on the form of indigenous peoples of the region from 10,000 years ago. Despite hailing from a star system several million light years away, these bioforms now look and act like Indians. “But don’t call us that,” says X!3gkrk Twofeather, one of their leaders. “The forms we have now predate such nomenclature.”

“Even travelling faster than the speed of light,” Twofeather explains, “it took us several thousand years to get here. We took readings with worm-hole scanners to find a form we could shape ourselves to and in that way blend in. We chose what was, at the time, one of the most stable, long-lived forms. We used a controlled evolutionary process, which took as many years. What we were before was, basically, sentient rocks. The switch from silicone to carbon was itself a few millenia.”

Astride his horse, wearing a war bonnet and gazing regally out at the plains, Twofeather is utterly unmistakable from an authentic Native American– at least our modern sense of one. “We didn’t expect your planet to change so rapidly. But here we are. And we’re adapting as quickly as we can. This horse, for example. The bioforms who dwelled her ten thousand years ago didn’t have horses. We’re just catching up.”

As expected, the arrival of foreign bodies has stirred up protest. Hundreds have gathered at the edges of the designated encampments to expression their displeasure with the new visitors. “Go back where you came from!” reads more than one sign.

Zk*tp7r Lurking Bear tries to engage some of them in conversation. “I’ll go back where I came from if you do, brother,” he says.

“I was born here, ya martian,” shouts his fellow interlocutor.

Lurking Bears eyes flash a dark green, as he performs a retinal DNA-residue scan on the protestor. “No you weren’t. You were formed in the back of internal-combustion powered vehicle some several thousand miles from here. I, however, was in vat of forming proteins until five days ago. I was “born” 200 hundred feet from this spot.”

“You know what I mean! Go back to your mother ship, asshole.”

Nearby, actual Native Americans are in conference, deciding how to approach these doppelgangers. Max Brandt, one-eight Sioux, explains: “On the one hand, it’s hilarious to see white people tell natives to ;go back home.’ On the other hand, these advanced beings are not us. They’ve appropriated our culture.”

Presented with this opinion, Twofeather shakes his head. “We have not appropriated their culture. We have appropriated the culture of their ancestors, and have adapted to modern expectations. Indeed, technically, it’s Mr. Brandt and his kind of who appropriated our culture. But we aren’t going to complain. Our understanding is that complaining about cultural appropriation is the purview of so-called Social Justice Workers, and we don’t want to steal their raison d’etre.”

Molly Waldring, a survivor of the Tumblr revolution who identifies as a bi-straight penguin kintype with homo-normative kanga (non-roo) tripolarity, has presented the New (Old) Natives with a manifesto, detailing grievances of the Uncis Nation. “And using phrases like ‘raison d’etre’ ranks right up there; stealing the linguistic heritage of French-born multikins, no matter what they’re self-designated geospatial centering coordinates are, is tantamount to brain-slavery,” s(h)e[it-they] explains while having bandages applied to stress fractures from rapid typing. “We won’t stand for it!”

Waldring’s colleauge, ex-Olympic bronze medalist sprinter Kart Mittering, who identifies as a quadraplegic snailkin with snake-formative sex-prey commercial-unbranding, scoffs. “Stand for it? Enabling shit-lord.”

Back in his intersteller neutron punch-drive wigwam, Twofeather goes over his people’s  seven-point plan for assimilating and thriving on planet Earth. “We’ve already contacted the heads of state around the world, and provided them with information as it pertains to cancer, infectious disease, super-bug suppression, improved forms of non-animal nutrition distribution, the ozone layer, global warming, the roles of women and minorities in the motion picture industry, reducing head trauma in contact sports, and inoculations against Boy Bands and Top 40 Radio. Of course, we sent them this information some 50 years ago, before we arrived, so we’re not sure why they’ve taken so long to implement our solutions.”

“Nevertheless, we’re hopeful,” he goes on to say. “We’ve encoded information on large squares of fabric by precision-cutting them to a ratio that, when measured to the appropriate decimal point, will contain information on all of the secrets of the universe. We’ve taken these “blanks” and sliced them into holographic portions, and distributed them around the world. And, we made sure each of this “blank-ettes” is appropriately coated with self-replicating copies of our original DNA. Kind of like your so-called earth ‘viruses’ but much more hearty.”

Twofeather smiles. “We’ve been reading up on your theories of Manifest Destiny. We think it’s a really great theory.”

The Baby Weighs a Ton Today.

The baby weighs a ton today.

I don’t mean literally, of course.

The heaviest person of all time,

Jon Minnoch, was 1400 pounds,

And 35 years old, not 6 months.

Still, if it would have been my job to

Pick up Jon Minnoch, console him,

Cool his feverish brow, pat his back,

Wipe away the drool, coo in his ear,

I probably would have had assistance.

Electric Cab Opener

fiction by Jason Edwards

I’ve never been the sort of person who just goes out and buys something if I can get my design team to make it for me, but I made a spelling error in the req and now I’ve got myself an electric cab opener.

And let’s be frank, this things is completely useless. Nevertheless, I’m not about to let all that R&D go to waste. So I went downtown to do some shopping. I put on my three-piece suit, the sharkskin one with a hint of salmon, a black silk shirt, a tie the board gave me as a thank you for 2012. 2012 was a great year!

I looked good for a guy in his late fifties, shaped like a butterball, going bald. I love it when people underestimate me. That’s how I get ’em. No one was going to underestimate me in my sharkskin and silk, though. I had my driver drop me at West and 144th, and walked a block to Jazeray’s. Think Bed Bath & Beyond but everything costs about as much as a decent family-sized home in the mid west.

I mean, can you imagine. Standing there, trying to decide between a blender and a split-level ranch in Nicoma Park, Oklahoma? And don’t tell me none of the houses in Nicoma Park are split-level ranches, or I’ll go there, build one just to make this illustration work, and then jack the price up to a queen bed-sheet set or even one of them “art prints” they got hanging in droves at the front of the store. Talk about overpriced. Tell me shag carpeting and popcorn stucco ceilings are worth 5 year’s salary and I’ll call the loony bin on ya myself.

Where was I. Oh yeah, West and 145th, since I walked a block from 144th. That was fun, walking on the street like a regular person. I went into Jazeray’s, bought about a dozen ice cream scoops, some refills for my Soda Stream, a throw blanket with a sport team logo on it– I forget which one. I was into sports in 2011, when me and the boys from the club where buying and selling shares in each other’s franchises. It was like a game- pun intended- to see who could own the most shares of the most winning teams. Kind of like fantasy football, but all that money shuffling put a couple thousand people out of work. Don’t worry, we got ’em all dream jobs scattered around the country. One guys piloting a desk and getting paid to answer the phone once an hour. I’ve called himself a few times. Nice fella. Knows a lot of movie trivia.

Went outside with my purchases, hailed a hack. You look like I do, you don’t wait long for a taxi. Tried out the electric cab opener– had it on the wrong setting. All four doors, hood, trunk, glove compartment, poor guy’s lunchbox. Woops. He started apologizing all over the place. I guess he didn’t know it was my doing. I didn’t set him straight. Apologetic’s less stress than anger on the ticker, and he looked about as old as me but without the room full of doctors sitting around playing Canasta in case I get a papercut or throw a clot.

He asked me where to and for a second there I forget my three assistants hadn’t faxed him my whole day’s itinerary that same morning while he was having his daily monkey-butt coffee. You know, that coffee where they give the beans to a monkey and his gastric juices break it down so when he craps it out it’s ready for roasting. My driver has expensive tastes. He used to be a Fortune 500 CEO with his own island in the Caymans. But I talked him into the job after a heart-to-heart about what corporate life was doing to his kidneys. Pour guy was on his fifth and sixth ones, respectively, and the AKF was flush and didn’t need any more charity.

Oh, and those rumors? That I started the American Kidney Foundation, the first non-profit to earn the equivalent of the GDP of half the countries in Scandinavia, just to put this guy in a position to need us and then need me? Not true. I mean, I’m on the board, but that’s coincidence. I don’t get off on having billionaires drive for me. Not at all. He’s just a fantastic driver.

Finally came to my senses and told the cabbie to drive me home. On the way I handed him an improved meter. It was way better than the one he had. He was reluctant at first, but I told him to keep it and I’d pay both meters. He wised up when he realized that while his meter said seventy-six bucks, mine said Tuition for All Your Kids.

And I paid both, too, even tipped him on the seventy-six. But not on the Tuition. I’m not an asshole.

Sorry, Lacey

Daily Writing Exercise,

“Fiction” (?) by Jason Edwards

I as much as I am sitting here trying to write my daily words, I’m afraid that by saying exactly that I am sending myself down a rabbit hole where that’s all I can talk about, and there will be nothing inventive or creative. This self-analysis stuff is boring, Boring for me, boring for the reader. Look at her, poor girl, sitting there, reading this. She’s just come from the car wash. Her little Prius. Nice day outside for a change, so she grabbed a stack of quarters that had been gathering dust since the days she bought the washer/dryer combo and no longer needed to go to the laundromat. Old creepers there anyway. What had she been thinking? She’d been thinking about college, Duds n Suds, and all the cute guys. She’s better than that, she doesn’t need men to define her, but what’s wrong with a little eye candy? The only candy at the laundromat had been the kind leftover in a bowl at your aunt’s house, all stuck together and is that an actual mouse turd there on the side?

But it had been colder outside than what shined through the window promised, so instead of going to the wash-it-yourself she went to the automatic one, where you pull up and ask for the basic and the kid tries to hard-sell you the Premium. How many takers does he get? Does he get some kind of commission? Does he get up in the morning and log onto the internet and go to Amazon and gaze lovingly at some piece of just-out-of-reach desiderata, and think to himself “just five more premiums and I can finally get Call of Duty 16” or whatever one they’re on now.

Like she has any room to talk, the way she pined for that Prius. “Tell me about yourself” a guy she met through J-Date said to her. “I’m going to get me a purple Prius,” she’d replied, and before “I’m” was even out of her mouth his eyes were glazed. Not that she was ugly or anything. Maybe not stunning, but stunning’s never permanent, is it. Still, he’d obviously picked up from somewhere to ask girls questions, he just hadn’t bothered thinking beyond that part of it.

At the end of the date, which had been, well, a way to spend an hour, she insisted on splitting the check, which he took as a sign, which she didn’t intend but was glad it happened that way, and as they left, he’d said “Good luck with that Prius.” The way he said Prius.

Yes, most Prius drivers are assholes, it’s true. Either because they think, because they’re driving a Prius, they’ve contributed somehow and are now entitled. Or, because there’s, like, almost no visibility out the back, or on the sides, and they figure, if I can’t see them, they’d better do the seeing. She, on the other hand, is a very conscientious Prius driver. She’d taken a class. Read a book. Her brother wrote a paper on “Geo-Spatial Awareness in Top Athletes” which she had helped him research. He’d gotten a B but that wasn’t the point.

The point was that she knew that there’s an ability to see where everything is, see how it’s moving, and be able to keep track of all of it for a few seconds or even longer. She paid attention when she drived, damn it, and for hell’s sake she’s driving one of the few purple cars on the road, so how is it you didn’t notice me and then decided to honk your horn you BMW driving jerk?

Which is what had happened, coming back from the car wash. Like, the car is clean and shiny any bright, and it’s a nice day, no matter what the temperature is, she’s not going to take the long way home, on the highway? That new Carly Rae Jepsen on the radio, singing along, you don’t have to know the words, and then HONK!

Out of nowhere. He must have come on from the last entrance ramp and swerved over, like, five lanes, sat in her blind spot. Who cares if it’s the biggest blind spot on the highway, it’s still a blind spot, and he should know that. But BMW drivers are all jerks.

Which is what’s she’s searching for, now, to make herself feel better about what happened. She’s used Google and found my blog for some reason and wants to know why BMW drivers are such assholes. Instead she gets me just talking about how I need to write something. Sorry, Lacey.

Louis Louis, Oh Baby

1786. France was going through a rough patch, financially, so someone got the idea to tax the aristocrats. The aristocrats didn’t like this at all, and figured now was as good a time as any to kick the king to the side and take over themselves. To put them off, the king called everyone together for a pow-wow, which hadn’t happened for a long time. This included a bunch of people who had no titles, but when they got together, they realized that had numbers. So they raised a big stink, and demanded more of a say on how things were run. What could the king do but agree? But it was more or less too late. The non-aristocrats went bonkers, and started chopping off heads. Eventually, they started chopping of their own heads. When the dust settled, France was kind of back where it started, with Napoleon in charge.

Drawing an analogy with present state America isn’t exact, but for the most part: Our country needs money, and liberals want to tax the rich. The rich don’t like this, so they’ve been telling conservative citizens that liberals hate America. As a result, conservative Americans are riled up, and are now getting ready to chop off establishment-republican heads.  To equate Donald Drumpf with Robespierre is almost farcical, but in the end, they’ll just chop off his head too. I don’t know who Napoleon is in this analogy. Maybe John McCain.

Staying Sexy Takes Imagination

daily writing exercise,

People often say to me, “Jason, how is that you are able to maintain such a fit physique? You hardly ever exercise, you eat like crap, and your genetic background is not exactly conducive to having such a smokin’ hot body, at least not at your age– or, if we’re being frank, any age, really.” Well, I have two secrets, actually, and I’ll tell them both to you right now.

The first secret is how I take off my shirt, if I’m going for a shower, or perhaps a quick change because the baby spit-up all down the back of what I was wearing. You see, most slobs will grab the collar of the shirt, and yank up, pulling it over the back of their head like some kind of Neanderthal. “But Jason, correct us, if we’re wrong, but Neanderthals didn’t wear shirts.” You are right. However, give the right collection of anthropologists the right mix of cocktails, and the truth emerges: if Neanderthals had worn shirts, this is how they would have taken them off. Like pigs. “But Jason, pigs don’t-” oh shut up.

My method, the extra-sexy method, is to cross my arms in front of me, and grab the bottom of the shirt. I then pull up, uncrossing my arms as I go. You’ll realize this is the way male models, attractive actors, and strippers “do the deed” as it were. And in that moment, when the belly is exposed, I am, indeed, a male model, an attractive actor, a sort-of stripper. There’s some kind of magic there, having to do with confidence. For example, even though my head goes through the neck-hole, somehow my face is never obscured during this process. How is this so? Magic, as I said.

It really is that simple, and as a result of this magic I don’t really have to exercise, eat right, or be incarnated as the offspring of air-brushed, photo-shopped parents. I can sit in front of my computer all day, playing video games and surfing the internet, and so long as I’m wearing a shirt that I can later take off, the sexiness remains.

An open robe works too, but that’s more of an advanced technique- one I wouldn’t suggest you try just yet. Stick with the shirt thing for now. Give it a couple of tries. Practice slow, try it fast a few times, and think about the post-off shirt-throw that can, in the right moment, add a real touch of fire.

That’s basically it. My other secret is that I make up people in my head who ask me questions about how I stay so sexy. I then answer those questions in a rather convincing manner, and most of the time, the people believe me. And what’s wonderful about this method is that, since I made those people up, that they believe me means only that I told them the truth. For them, taking off my shirt from the bottom up really does make me a sexy person.

Now, if that’s all of the questions for the time being, I do, in fact, need to go take a shower. I’ve been on the computer all day, playing video games and surfing the internet, and I’m exhausted. “But Jason,” and there is a pause. “Go ahead,” I say. “Um… we didn’t really have a question this time. Unless you want to make one up for us? Since you made us up anyway?” Very well then. The shower can wait.

Why don’t you ask me how I’m able to somehow defy the rules of sexiness by taking off my pants before my socks, and somehow not suffer the consequences of such a violation. “Yes, that,” you say. Go ahead then. “You want us to say what you just said?” Yes I do. I may have made you up, and I may have made up the question, but I’m doing my daily writing exercise, and I need the word count.

“Sigh. Okay. How is that you’re able to somehow defy the rules of sexiness by taking off your pants before your socks, and somehow not suffer the consequences of such a violation?” I’m glad you asked. “Will this have something to do with ancient races of human beings?” No. I mean, not directly.

Because the answer this time is genetics. I have enormous calves. Socks on me look like graffiti on a mighty pillar holding up a gigantic, sexy building. In fact, some, and yes I do mean people I’ve made up, would even say that such calves are at risk of distracting any erstwhile observers from the sexiness thing when I take off my shirt the way I do.

“Really?” Yes, really. And we’ve hit our word-count, so that’s all for this exercise.