Here’s a game you can play right now from the comfort of your home. No moving required. No sweating, no damp clothes, no additional laundry.
Ready? The game is called Punk Rock, Camping, Internet Café. The objective? Fit everything into one of those three slots.
That photograph of you and your parents at an A&P’s in 1999? Punk Rock. Nostalgia is totally punk rock.
Tape measure? Camping. You literally can’t go camping without measuring something. Whether it’s tent height or number of logs, you’re constantly measuring.
802.11ac router? Internet Café. It’s difficult to imagine any number to the hundredths place that isn’t Internet Café.
Do you have a solid grasp of this game now? Three more examples:
Gas bill is Camping because natural gas occurs in nature. However, if you’ve enabled AutoPay and eBanking with the gas company, then it’s probably Internet Café.
Love is punk rock. So is kissing.
OK that’s the first half of the game. The second half of the game is simpler, which is to go and tell your roommate about this game. If you don’t have a roommate, get one on Craigslist. Tell your friends too. Tell your family members. Tell the other people in the car on a long road trip.
When played with other people, you’re allowed and even encouraged to disagree. The only guiding principle is that you marshal examples and theorems and logos and pathos in support of your categorization.
You will have some of the best conversations you’ve ever had in your entire life. You will learn more about the people around you, and they you. You will over time become a being of incredible energy and light, self-sustaining and self-consuming. You will walk four to six inches above the sidewalk. You will be just as happy as you are now, but more solid, as if someone glued three playing cards to the balloon inside your chest. You will expand.
(Oh, and caution: you will be tempted at some point to categorize something [for me it usually happens with “gold” or “fascism”] as either all three or none of the three. I encourage you to think of more labels – as long as you do it very reluctantly.)