I gotcher flow right here, buddy

each of us is unique, like a snowflake or grain of sand (though most of us aren't as cool as fat little beach dogs)

each of us is unique, like a snowflake or grain of sand (though most of us aren’t as cool as fat little beach dogs)

The recommendation came from someone I know or someone whose blog I read. I don’t remember. The book is called Finding Flow, The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life.  I had a bit of a buzz when I ordered it. You know, holding a glass of wine in one hand, scrolling around on the internet with the other, reading about what a great book this is for getting shit done. “Hey! I need to get shit done,” I thought. “Maybe this book is just what I need.”

Two things.

One, here’s an excerpt from the book. You’re gonna love it.

Leaving aside those still relatively few career women whose primary identification is with their jobs, most women who work at clerical, service and even managerial occupations tend to think of their outside job as something they want to do rather than something they have to do. Work is more voluntary for many women; it is more like play, something that they could take or leave. Many of them feel that whatever happens on the job is not that important–and thus, paradoxically, they can enjoy it more. Even if things go wrong and they are laid off it will not hurt their self esteem. As opposed to men, their self image depends more heavily on what happens to their families.

I know what you’re thinking, that this book was written shortly after WWII. Nope. Copyright is 1997. Dude teaches psychology and education at University of Chicago and, presumably, works with a few women who don’t spend all their time clutching their pearls hoping they set the crock pot at the right temperature before venturing out into the big, scary world in their sweater set and pumps.

That excerpt came more than a third of the way in, so I wasn’t suprised by it. There had been earlier warning signs that my brain tripped over (and not in a good way), but I rarely ever abandon a book. Even if it’s shitty, I keep reading. Because maybe the good part happens later. Sometimes you have to give a thing some time to develop. But I should have known this was wasted effort when, early on, Mr. Flow compares the uniqueness of human beings to snowflakes. It was the equivalent of a stale fart coming off the page. And the fart lingered, my friend. It lingered.

I finally stopped reading the book shortly after the passage above. Not because I’m angry or insulted. Just because this cat obviously isn’t talking to me.

Two, and most important, the book reminded me of something I already knew but evidently needed to be reminded of: if you’re reading books about creating or being artistic or getting shit done, you’re doing none of the above. Period. So maybe it was worth $11 to get a little knock upside the head.

Oh–just thought of a third thing: I shouldn’t order shit off the internet when I’ve been drinking.

6 thoughts on “I gotcher flow right here, buddy

  1. Yes, each of us is unique and special, just like everyone else. This reminds me of a book that was given to me 11 years ago by my then girlfriend, Amy. She came to the conclusion that I wasn’t happy enough (I know, I know, hard to believe), so she bought me a book called “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama, except it wasn’t actually by the Dalai Lama, it was actually written by Howard Cutler, an American psychiatrist who basically asked the Dalai Lama a bunch of questions and then filtered his answers through Western psychobabble. Buddhist philosophy when projected through a Western lens basically comes down to statements like, “When you are feeling bad about your situation, just think about all of the people that have it worse off than you.” That just made me extremely depressed. The book is laying around here, somewhere, with a bookmark still in it, somewhere just pass the halfway point.

    • Against many fibers of my being (though obviously not the arm-moving fibers), I threw that book away this weekend. Didn’t do the usual Half Price or donation. Just tossed the fucker. Liberating, in its way. Though I also feel a little like a word murderer.

  2. Oddly enough I was considering women just the other day. Also, don’t kick yourself too much about ordering shit online. Ya never know. Thirdly, I do some of my best thinking in blackout, the parts that I can remember. Also thirdly, uh, wait…OK.

    tj

    • Maybe I should put a breathalyzer on my keyboard. But then that would keep the occasional awkward blog post or comment from being born, and that would just be a drag.

  3. Ha! Ordering shit from the TV when a five beer buzz was working. A set of frypans showed up from the UPS guy with the green color and total no-stick guarantee. Not sure now if I fell in love with the no-stick schtick or the fact that I just had the munchies and loved the food they were cooking on the infomercial…..
    I have many women working in the company, I’ll have to ask them about the job and if they feel like it is all just “play”!!!
    The worst bullshit book I have read like that is “What Color Is Your Parachute”……..Jesus, maybe you should get off your ass and go get a job instead of reading about it.
    Jim

    • But how do the green pans work? Can you fry an egg with no butter? Actually, even if you can, why would anyone do that? Butter makes the world go ’round.

      A couple of jobs back, I had to read a book called “Who Moved My Cheese?” It was transformative in the sense that, hey, if you’re the manager of a department, you can make your staff read stupid bullshit on their time off and THEN make them discuss it.

      If I managed a department, I would recommend my staff read “Who Cut the Cheese?”–during work hours. That’s one of the many reasons I’m not a manager.

Comments are closed.