A horse walks into a bar

“I thought you were dead,” I murmured.
“Very funny,” he snarled.
“Thanks,” I sneered.
“Listen, you should know about this. I just can’t stop thinking about perseveration lately,” I verbalized.
“Hah!” he ejaculated.
The bartender threw us a rag. “You guys are cleaning that up yourselves.” It was Susan Sontag.
“I thought you were dead,” I mumbled.
I pushed the rag across the table to the horse.
“And another thing,” Susan Sontag said. “From now on, just say, ‘he said’.”
“Okay,” we said, nodding like bobblehead dolls cause, you know: Susan Sontag.
“Perseveration as opposed to perseverance,” I said.
The horse nodded sagely. “Tell me about it,” he said.
“I’ve just been wondering about the positive and negative aspects of sticking to something. There is the don’t give up and there is the know when to quit, you know?” I said.
“There is being insistent and there is taking No for an answer. There is romantic pursuit and there is stalking. There is the 1% inspiration and the 99% perspiration, and there is the 100% perspiration,” he said. “There is the sound of one hand clapping, and there is the sound of a head against a wall.”
“Huh?” I said.
“Forget the last one,” he said. “There is the definition of insanity as doing the same thing and expecting different results, and there is keeping your nose to the grindstone.”
“What I’ve been thinking about, specifically,” I said, “and yet in general terms, is the experience of analyzing a situation in which one finds oneself, concluding that it is suboptimal and then what?”
“You mean, you are in this situation and it’s, this is bad. Either it’s not working for me, in which case I must try something new, or it IS working for me, in which case, why do I want something bad?”
“Exactly,” I said.
“But there’s no point in beating up on yourself for fearing change. In fact, the beating up is a substitute for trying a different approach.”
“What I think is, if one’s trapped in a cycle of stasis or procrastination, one might be able to trick oneself out of it with small changes in method. Attacking smaller tasks one at a time, regularly, instead of looking at the gigantic ball of dung one is hoping to roll back up the hill.”
“Kate Bush, right?” Susan Sontag said. “You guys going to order anything?”
“We’ll have the usual,” I said.
The horse nodded.

4 responses to “A horse walks into a bar

  1. That’s close enough to the conversation I was having in my own head that I can only conclude we were picking up the same radio signals. Mine was using scrabble as a metaphor but it comes to the same thing.

  2. jill

    ah dude, comment spam sucks.
    there’s for sure a tricky balancing act between taking peeks as the big-picture, so you stay inspired, but being able to chip away at the micro level, which is more manageable. And sometimes it’s about understanding your internal Big Obstacles, and sometimes it’s more just finding practical strategies that keep you moving. But don’t let Susan bully you. She had her own neuroses.

  3. mig

    Dang spam has been deleted. What would susan say about spam.

  4. k.

    i needed this. good work.