What Lies Beneath the Foamy Head of the ‘Stout?
Posted by PintofStout on January 17, 2007
The imagery and metaphor of the foamy head was originally supposed to simply be a play on my handle, but I think I can expound upon the nature of the liquid stout as well as the jiggly stout. I’m not trying to say that my head is foamy or airy or anything like that. In comparison to some other beers, though, stout can have a full, dense, smooth head that can stay together on top of whatever beer is left, regardless of how low it gets, where other beers either don’t get a significant head or the head completely disappears after just a few moments of just sitting. This could easily be a metaphor for having my head together. – homogeneous – without variation; even when the situation changes drastically and it looks like you might be out of beer, my head is still together (unless I’m literally out of beer). Incidentally, when I get to the bottom of my pints I can be seen – frozen – with my head in the air and my mouth open waiting for the foamy head to finally give in and slide down into my mouth; this isn’t really all that different from the posture I sometimes leave people with after having spoken my mind.
Enough of the beer metaphor, it’s making me thirsty. Last week in a rush, I quickly jotted down ideas I had while driving home from work for blog entries in the few minutes between getting home and leaving again. One of them was a self examination of what I was made up of. What I have written down is kind of poetic, so I’ll copy it in here verbatim and then maybe elaborate afterward.
Who am I?
I am the outward vision of mediocrity,
the material reflection of mental flotsam.
I have as my main moral pillar Voluntaryism.
Under this vast umbrella the means of “doing life” are infinite.
I thirst for knowledge and diversity of knowledge.
I’m a bit of a romantic, yet dully dispassionate.
I live mostly in my own head.
The above is rather disjointed due to the limited time for jotting and the two other ideas that required jotting before they were lost like so many ideas before them. I started by commenting on my unremarkableness in part and also my lack of focus and specialized skill. I have so far managed to become a jack-of-a few-trades and master of none. While I don’t have a strong opinion on specialization beyond too much focus means neglecting other important things, I still think it would be nice to be good at something. The drive for various and voluminous knowledge is partly to blame for my lack of focus; thus mental flotsam.
The next bit was the main focus of my thoughts while commuting. I was thinking of the various labels I often try to pin to myself – as if I needed a label to function – and how they seem to layer themselves upon each other. When most people label themselves, it is the label of a particular system (or lack thereof). Those systems are usually particular to economics or government and are based upon one or more philosophies. As I thought of it more, it seemed the very base philosophy that lied beneath all else – economics, philosophy, government systems – in my head was Voluntaryism. What happens after Voluntaryism can be a vast array of economic systems, “governments,” or specialty philosophies. Voluntaryism is the means.
I’ve thought since that any philosophy is a personal choice and therefore subjective, rendering no particular method or belief to be right or wrong absolutely. Just as Christians choose to live by that philosophy and Muslims choose their own philosophy for good or ill, I have chosen to live by the idea of Volantaryism. Everything else comes in accordance with that.
The next two lines are sort of repeating the theme of my wide interests which tend to dilute passion for any one particular thing. I studied, as my bio states, Physics and Astronomy in college and really enjoyed it, but it could hardly hold my interest for any time beyond those four years before I slipped into an interest in geology. Geology led to an employable interest in surveying, maps, and eventually Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The interest in these fields is maintained at a lesser level than previously after 8 years of the work, but still higher than most out of necessity. While on cruise control in the geospatial, I slipped again, this time into politics, philosophy, economics, and writing.
Unfortunately, when I describe myself as dispassionate I also meant in terms of outward feelings and actions. My wife often complains about my lack of emotion or elation or general reaction to a gift or special dinner or consideration. It isn’t that I’m not happy or loving or committed, but when it comes to outward expressions of emotion or conviction I am sorely lacking by most people’s standards. Whether it is political or social activism or the expression of passionate love, chances are all reactions and responses are barely noticeable to those without access to my thoughts.
That, of course, leads to the last line which could sum up the whole entirety of me. My outward appearance and behavior is rather tame, mild-mannered, and widely scattered. Like an iceberg, though, the real danger and substance lies beneath. It may not be the perfect balance for some, but it managed to make the perfect…me.