lunch, pain, and truth

i went out to lunch with some friends who work in the city yesterday. five boys and me. i like having lunch with boys. they talk about things like eating habaneros whole, chugging various pepper-sauces, stunning themselves with stun-guns, shocking themselves with open current, and seeing drunk people puke on other people’s heads.

i love these stories because i can just wince, gag, giggle, or cackle and it’s something we all recognize. the boys toss brags across the table and it’s an old set-up, a familiar routine. who can have the worst, the grossest, the most painful, the scariest, the closest to self-destruction. i love these stories because they’re funny and so is the absurdity of trying to outdo everyone else’s pain.

although to some people, that’s not so absurd at all. to some people, you win in this life if you have been through the most hardship, the most suffering. it’s as if those people have mental scorecards of what they have been through and what everyone else they know has been through … and the tallies are constantly compared.

but i digress. the boys at lunch had a different brand of comparison going on, and their kind was fun to watch. still absurd, but so is a lot of what i find worthwhile in this life.

speaking of worthwhile, here’s a magazine recommendation, something i rarely give. the library receives forbes, which doesn’t thrill me at all. but forbes sometimes produces a special supplement, asap. the 2 october 2000 issue of asap has the topic of “what is true?” several articles in this issue are marvelous, but i am particularly entranced by the dalai lama’s, entitled “infinite compassion”. i think “compassion” is turning out to be my very favorite concept, although like truth, it still seems to be fairly subjective. not as much as truth is, though.

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