The Three Fates Advice Column

My girlfriend doesn’t want to hang out in the car all day talking about bears in basements, but instead wants to go inside to the function. Waddado?? From, Sleepy South of Seattle

Your girlfriend doesn’t want to hang out in the car all day talking about bears because bears are a pretty abstract concept in North Portland. She wants to taste the marrow of life. On that note, what if your bear story was better? More personal? What if it was a tale of a basement bear encounter that caused you to face your own mortality, to stop treating your work as a cosplay and really take a hard reset. 

Alternatively, you would not have this problem if your girlfriend was a bear. It’s not a straightforward answer, and your current girlfriend might not always understand, but it might be easier in the long run. Bears naturally have more sympathy with stories of their own kind-it’s like how humans always assume the character in a story is a human (we’re so human-centric!). She’ll probably want to chill with you in a basement and not want to go out to the functions or whatever. She might also be better at pool. You could get a pool table in the basement. You could tell stories, to a bear in a basement, about a bear in a basement, while you play pool. It’s really the best of both worlds. 

At the end of the day, what is really important is that personal touch – that extra bit of effort. You must come face-to-face with your own story here, one way or another.

It might help to be mauled by a bear. 

Dearest Fates, I can’t seem to do any of my work. I have many final assignments that I simply don’t want to do. What’s your advice for getting back on track?

You’re struggling with your work because it feels distant and abstract from you. It’s not part of your story and you’re not part of its story. There’s an “I” hovering above what you’re doing that’s getting in the way. In some way, it might be the “I”, and not the work, holding you back. It’s not personal. In the end, if school is going to be meaningful, you’re going to have to hold it very close to you, the way you might hold a 300 lb honey-breathed female black bear. Now this embrace might be loving at times, tender, even passionate and other times it might be suffocating, heavy to move under, even dangerous, a heaving thing armed with three-inch claws and two thousand pounds of biting strength. And it might bite you, and you might need this to happen, even if it’s just to know that you can survive it. But no matter what, you must hold it close. You’re somewhere in a basement, huddled in fear under a pool table as you watch a bear pace circles around you. In times like these, what you need is a “hard reset.” These can come in many different forms, like mindblowing sex, or a trip to the ER, or a hot marrow soup, a sleepless night followed by a good hard sleep, crying into the night, immanentizing the eschaton, getting caught in torrential rain, becoming martyred, seeing a psychic → texting your ex → crashing your car, caring for a child, skiing for your life, sticking your hand in a candle, and “Careless Whisper” by George Michael. As long as the process causes you to transcend your own subjectivity. You need to come face-to-face with your work, and with yourself. You need to take it personally. 

It might help to be mauled by a bear.

Written by The Three Fates.

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