“Where there is desire there is gonna be a flame, where there is a flame someone’s bound to get burned. But just because it burns doesn’t mean you’re gonna die. You gotta get up and try.” – P!nk “Try”
For a long time after my broken engagement, I struggled with the idea of love. I dated, a little, but really wasn’t open to the idea of “love.” I was dating mostly for sex (and it wasn’t even good sex; way to aim high, JQ). I had loved, and it hadn’t worked out. I didn’t see what the point was. I really don’t like trying and failing. It’s a bummer. I tend to move on if I’m not immediately good at something. Follow my talents, ignore everything else.
Love isn’t really a talent, though. A lot of it is luck. A lot of it is work. But most of it is luck. It’s not only finding a good match, but also hoping that you and your good match remain good matches as you evolve into the people you’re going to be later on. And also hoping that one of you doesn’t die much sooner than the other one of you. It’s hoping that one of you doesn’t find a “Jolene” who seems much more interesting than the current person. It’s hoping that everything goes just right so that you don’t end up feeling really stupid over all the times you talked about the notion of forever.
It’s annoying. Almost as annoying as the fact that it took a pop song to snap me out of my little crisis. I don’t know why that line worked. I guess it came at the right time and was phrased in the sort of way that works on me: Bluntly.
When I was a kid learning to ride horses, an instructor told me to ride without stirrups while the horse was trotting. The trot is a bouncy gait, and I was afraid of falling. “I’ll fall!” I yelled, like a goddamned sissy.
“WHO CARES!” bellowed the instructor. Well then. She was kind of a bitch. I didn’t exactly ride at the prissiest stable. (Essentially, my parents paid for me to have the pleasure of being a farmhand who got to ride half an hour to an hour each time I went.) So I did it and I didn’t fall. Not that time, anyway. I rode horses for many years and fell many times. I lived all of those times (as far as I can tell). I tweaked my back, the joints in my left leg, and possibly got a concussion, but since I never saw a doctor for any of these things, they’re not real.
(And I look fine. “Been hit with a few shells, but I don’t walk with a limp.” – 50 Cent.)
Where there is life, there is risk. And just because you get hurt doesn’t mean you’re going to die. You will be damaged for life, but hey, all the cool people are. Fuck love, but also fuck fear. Thanks, P!nk!
“So what have you written? Are you published yet? Are you making money?”
Nothing you’ve heard of. Not really, no. No.
The life of a wannabe writer. Or possibly just the life of a writer. To say you’re not a writer unless it’s paying the bills makes the craft all about money, which feels in poor taste. On the other hand, money validates your efforts. If no one cares enough to pay you, are you an artist? Or just an ambitious nobody?
What if you die without finding success, and then someone takes a look at your work and you sell millions? Were you a legitimate writer all along?
There are a lot of potential Tom Bradys in the world. You may or may not be familiar with the story of Tom Brady. He was drafted in the sixth round (almost not drafted at all), and was a third-string quarterback when the starter got hurt. The second-string guy was also hurt, so Tom Brady got the start instead. He did well. So well that he took the other guy’s job, and went on to win three Super Bowls.
…But only because he got the shot.
There are so many other, more likely, ways that that story could have gone. Most people’s stories go those other ways. There are people who have all the potential in the world, but who don’t get the chance. Many don’t work hard enough or quit before their chances come, but for many others it’s probably just a lack of luck, as it easily could have been for Brady. And I don’t mean to take anything away from what Brady has accomplished. He works hard. He’s dedicated. But without luck, I wouldn’t know his name right now.
How many good writers are there out there, going unnoticed? By most trusted accounts, E.L. James (author of the 50 Shades books) is not a good writer. (I read a few paragraphs once, and I was surprised she’d sold so many copies.) What she is good at, is making money. She’s also 49-50. JK Rowling was around 32 when she started finding success, but she was living in poverty while she struggled to make it to that point. Success in writing can take awhile, when it comes at all.
It’s an infuriating process sometimes. Every aspect of it. Writing a book can be maddening, and editing is worse. This is why I’ve thought a couple different times that I was done editing, when actually I wasn’t. I’m still not. I need a new title and some added perspective now that I’ve put more distance between myself and that period of time in my life. I should probably be editing that rather than writing this. This is not as productive.
I have a short attention span. It’s a miracle I’ve written the vast majority of a book in addition to a novella-length thing. I can’t stop now though. Like I said, I’ve written the vast majority of a book. I have to finish editing it, for real this time, and fight for it.
The picture above was taken last May, and only now is the tan line from that burn almost gone. In just over a month, that line across my back will be a year old. Not only did the burn bring extra freckles that will obviously have to be tattooed over, but my skin hurt (a lot), and then peeled (a lot). And people wonder why I don’t want to hang out at the beach.
On May 11, 2012, I escaped the Army. It was a great day. I left South Carolina, flew to Philly, and upgraded my flight from Philly to Boston to first class. As I entered civilian life, I drank free first class drinks and listened to my iPod for the first time in six weeks. I missed that iPod.
About a week later, I sat outside at a cafe and read. It was so great to be reunited with coffee and my Kindle. The sun was shining, my hair was freshly cut, my nails were manicured and pedicured, and my gourmet coffee was absolutely delicious. I was in heaven. I wore a halter top for the first time in a long time. It was not hot outside. It was nice, and after weeks stuck in a hot uniform in hot South Carolina, I was pretty happy to feel the breeze on my bare skin. My hands had a very attractive hand-only tan, from the uniforms. Hot. (Note: Not hot.)
I left the one cafe and walked a block to the other cafe. The second cafe was a Starbucks. I walked into the washroom and my jaw dropped. Holy shit. What had I done? I had never seen my back so ridiculously burned. It didn’t hurt yet, but I could tell I had done serious damage. Goddamn, I hated the sun.
I start out every year with the best intentions. “I will not get tan,” I tell myself. “I will apply sunscreen religiously.” The problem is that it only takes one mistake and all that goes out the window. My skin is naturally what one might call “vampire white.” So white that when I have a bit of a tan I can wear Chanel’s lightest foundation. So white that I’ve baffled more than a couple makeup artists who had no matching foundations to offer me. I am almost an albino. The sun and I are not friends.
I would like to escape the sun, but it won’t happen this summer. I will need to do my best this summer. In the meantime, I will dream of cloudy, rainy, friendly skies. A look at the American cities (population 50,000+) with the least sunshine makes the setting of my dreams pretty clear:
1. Bellingham, WA (housing, pop. 75,150): 35.0%
2. Everett, WA (housing, pop. 98,514): 36.5%
3. Shoreline, WA (housing, pop. 52,315): 36.6%
4. Seattle, WA (housing, pop. 582,454): 37.3%
5. East Seattle, WA (housing, pop. 480,100): 38.3%
6. Bellevue, WA (housing, pop. 118,186): 38.4%
7. Renton, WA (housing, pop. 58,534): 39.1%
8. Issaquah Plateau, WA (housing, pop. 50,237): 39.6%
9. Kent, WA (housing, pop. 83,501): 39.8%
10. Federal Way, WA (housing, pop. 84,166): 39.9%
11. Tacoma, WA (housing, pop. 196,532): 40.1%
12. Lakewood, WA (housing, pop. 57,575): 40.7%
13. Tahoma-Maple Valley, WA (housing, pop. 52,781): 40.7%
14. Enumclaw Plateau, WA (housing, pop. 53,853): 42.7%
15. Graham-Thrift, WA (housing, pop. 56,970): 43.3% (Source.)
Well hello, Washington state. I think we could be good friends.
The baseball season has begun, and I have not yet addressed it. What the hell is wrong with me? The best parts of baseball are as follows:
10. The season is long, and there are many games. Football is my favorite of the major American professional sports, but it’s intense. Every game is crucial. Every loss is heartbreaking. There is only one game a week, and every single moment matters. Football is bad for the blood pressure. Baseball, on the other hand, has a very long season. There are many games. Even the very best teams will have many losses. Even awesome players get on base less often than they do. Baseball will break your heart, but not immediately. In that way, it’s a little more cruel than football. But when it’s good, it’s so good.
9. Community spirit, if you live near your team’s home. I remember sitting in an evening class in 2004 the night the Red Sox beat the Yankees to take the pennant, after having started the series 0-3. Everyone just wanted to get out of there. There was an excitement in the room. This was before every single person ever had a smartphone, so we were left wondering. How’s it going? Are they really going to pull it off? Or are they going to break everyone’s hearts again? This would have been an exciting evening with or without my fellow New Englanders, but it was better because we were anxious together. We did get out of class early, and the team did win that game. And then four more games to sweep the Cardinals. Nice!
8. Encountering a random fellow fan, if you do not live near your team’s home. Now, this doesn’t apply to people wearing Yankees hats. Those people suck. But when you live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, over 300 miles north of the Montana, USA border, and you see some random dude walking along in a Red Sox hat, you just about want to run up and hug him. (Except that that would be weird, and might send the wrong message. Or maybe the right message. Dude’s got a Red Sox hat in Edmonton!)
7. Pretending last year didn’t happen, unless your team won the World Series. The Red Sox were awful last year. Atrocious. But all I care about is that they beat the Yankees in two out of three games in the Yankees opening home series. And that they’re currently leading the division with a record of 4-2. These things mean absolutely nothing, and I don’t care.
6. Having a team that is better than your significant other’s team, if you have a significant other, and if you have different teams. My ex was a Dodgers fan. We were together before the Dodgers were purchased by competent owners. The Dodgers weren’t great most of the time, but the Red Sox won a World Series. I enjoyed this.
5. You have something to do while drinking. Drinking while watching scripted programming? Sad. Drinking while watching baseball? Expected! For Spring, Summer, and Fall, if you want to spend three hours in front of your television drinking a couple beers in the middle of the week, all you have to do is put on a game and no one cool will judge you for it. Note: This does not apply to hard liquor.
4. The names. Baseball has a lot of southern good ol’ boy types among its ranks, so you get names like Ty Cobb and Trot Nixon. Is Trot Nixon not the best name there ever was? I think it is. If I ever get a dog, I’m naming it Trot Nixon. Note: Don’t ever name anything Ty Cobb. It will be mean. (Though it will invest early in Coca Cola. So maybe you should name something Ty Cobb.)
3. Brawls. Sometimes when two teams hate each other, the tension brews and then suddenly the benches clear and both teams are fighting it out on the field. My favorite is still when Bronson Arroyo hit A-Rod with a pitch in 2004. I loved Arroyo (and am still sad that the Red Sox fucked him over), and I hate A-Rod. Arroyo looked so pleased with himself after he hit him. It was brilliant. A very close second is when Pedro Martinez grabbed a charging 72-year-old Don Zimmer by the head and tossed him aside. These moments are amazing.
2. Hating the Yankees. Sometimes, this is even more fun than liking your own team. If your team is out of the running but the Yankees are still going? Hey, you still have a reason to watch: Hate. Root for anyone else to win. Root for the Yankees to crash and burn, as they did against the Red Sox (2004), Marlins (2003), and Diamondbacks (2001). The Yankees are probably flattered that so many people hate them, and they should be. It is an unintentional compliment. Still, fuck them. They suck in three very specific ways: So hard, so bad, and wicked bad.
1. Going to games. Baseball is not always my favorite sport to watch on television, but it is 100% amazing to actually attend a game on a nice day. I don’t even care if my team is playing. Anyone could be playing. It doesn’t matter. I’ll pick a side, grab some ridiculously overpriced food, and watch. And I will love it. It is the perfect sport to watch with people. There’s enough downtime that you can converse without missing stuff, but there’s still enough going on that it’s not boring. It’s a perfect balance, and a perfect game, really.
Here’s how great baseball is: In the immediate aftermath of my broken engagement, and I mean within thirty minutes (possibly within ten), my thoughts were: I need to move somewhere far away, but I want to go see the Red Sox play at Fenway before I do. A few days later I entered Fenway by myself to sit and watch them defeat the Brewers. And that first time I walked into Fenway Park, I was in awe. The place felt fucking magical. I felt the history of the place in the atmosphere. I was surrounded by my fellow fans, all of them happy and cheering. Multiple Red Sox players homered. Suddenly I wasn’t desperate to leave the region anymore. These were my people. I still moved, but not until the following year. That’s the power of baseball therapy.
These early weeks of hope are so nice. If the season takes a turn for the worse you may see a “Top 10 Worst Things About Baseball” post, but until then: Baseball is great and everyone should watch it.
I mentioned previously that I love a well-crafted line. A quote with a ring to it or a paragraph that reads with an easy rhythm. Language in the hands of the right person can be fucking magical.
So you might think that I would hate puns and bad lines.
And you would be incorrect. I love puns and bad lines. Terrible lines. Lines that are so bad that they have worked their ways back around to being good.
Not all puns and bad lines are equal, but when there’s an intelligence behind an awful line, there’s an awareness that goes with it. A craftsmanship of its own kind. That awareness says, “I know what I’m saying is an abomination and does not make me cool, smart, or funny.” And yet because they know that, it reveals that they may, in fact, be all of those things.
Intentional lameness can often make a person less lame, while intentional coolness almost always makes a person less cool. That’s just the way it goes.
As I drove back from Maine today, Justin Timberlake’s “Carry Out” began to play on my iPod. It includes lines like, “Do you like it well done? ‘Cause I do it well. ‘Cause I’m well seasoned if you couldn’t tell.” …So of course I love this song way more than I should. That line is awful. It is so awful that I love it. I love the line, and I momentarily love Justin Timberlake when he sings it, even though I do not really care about Justin Timberlake.
A pun or a bad line is a brief release. Lame silliness is as noble a use for language as any, and I endorse it. I endorse it now because as I crossed the Merrimack River this afternoon I said, “Mary Mack, Mack, Mack” as in the little girls’ clapping game. I then wondered if the two words/word combos were connected. (Wikipedia says: Possibly.) No one was in the car with me. It was just me, with the vehicle I love, enjoying the scenery and being lame. It was a nice day.
Sometimes I react to things without getting offended. Most of the time, I react to things without getting offended. (I can be difficult to offend unless you know which buttons to push.) This sounds great, and in general, I find that it is. Being offended isn’t really pleasant. Some people seem to enjoy it, but I’m not sure why. Why be offended when you can just not care? Not caring is so much more fun. (Note: Only when you really don’t care. Pretending not to care is a different thing that is significantly less fun.)
But sometimes a weird thing occurs: Other people come along and get offended by the same thing that just a moment ago didn’t offend me. Depending on the situation, I start doubting myself. Should I have been offended? Why didn’t I have the appropriate emotional reaction to this apparently offensive thing? I start wanting to distance myself from the conversation entirely. Delete a comment, if it was written. Erase whatever words of non-offense I may have uttered from my memory. Forget the incident. It wasn’t really even an incident, but now in my mind it was, and I would like to forget it. I shouldn’t have said anything. When I say nothing, everyone thinks I agree with them. Therefore, I am assumed to have reacted appropriately. People will assume that I am aloof, which is fine. I’m from New England. We can be an aloof people.
Here’s the thing, though: Being laid-back is not a character flaw.
(Unlike being insecure, which totally is.)
It doesn’t seem right to second-guess not being offended.
If offense is taken and not given, I don’t want any. Which is not to say that there are never harmful sentiments that are worth actively opposing. Changing the culture can be a worthy goal. If someone is slinging hatred around, telling that person to knock it off is totally appropriate, but it’s not the same thing as taking offense. Taking offense is letting something get under your skin, and that doesn’t do anyone any good. Emotions weaken you. They weaken your ability to argue effectively. They weaken your ability to see valid points in response. They weaken your chances of having a conversation worth having. If you’re going to have feelings, have positive ones. They’ll still cloud your view of reality, but at least you’ll be having more fun.
It should be the easily offended second-guessing their feelings. It just never seems to work out that way. Fuck taking offense. No one offered it to you. Put it back and chill out. Or don’t. Just know that I’m not joining you. I need what angry energy I have for hating TMobile. Yes, I still hate TMobile. I will always hate TMobile.
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin
You can probably tell from that quote which way I lean in the gun debate, but if you can’t: I’m pro-gun rights. I am not for any of the new proposed laws. Not for limits on magazines. Not for assault weapons bans. Not for background checks.
Ben has been ignored quite a bit over the years. His whole sentiment was completely thrown out the window with 9/11 (Patriot Act, anyone?), and every single time something bad happens, poor old Ben is more and more forgotten. Not that this is a new problem. People are cowards and always will be. But now is now, so it’s obviously of the most concern.
Because what happened in Newtown was so awful, the debate has become a minefield when trying to advocate for gun rights without sounding like a heartless bastard who cares nothing for dead little kids. So let me be clear: What happened in Newtown was awful. I am not pro-dead kids. I am firmly anti-dead kids. I do not want to see “another Newtown” happen. If there was a way to prevent all bad things from happening ever, I would vote for that. I would have significantly less to write about, but I would still be for it.
Unfortunately, there is not a way to prevent all bad things from ever happening. In an attempt to feel like they’re doing something, people tend to react to unfortunate events with new laws. It’s a thing in this culture. I don’t know if it is the same in other cultures. People can never just accept that this is an imperfect world where bad things happen sometimes. There are crazy people. Bad people. Nature creates them. There’s nothing you can do about it.
But that’s not good enough. There has to be something we can do to fix it, right? Let’s make some laws. Background checks. Background checks will work! Wait, but Adam Lanza took the weapons from his law-abiding mother (and killed her). So how would background checks have prevented Newtown? They wouldn’t, but let’s put them in anyway. We need new laws. We have to be doing something.
New laws always work. There are no more drugs on the streets because of all the laws we created. Wait, well, actually there are. There are lots of drugs. Drugs galore. But forget that. We probably just don’t have enough laws. We need more laws. More prisoners. More prisons. More paperwork. More tracking people. More records. More limitations. More, more, more. This is the only approach we know. It has to work.
The thing is that it doesn’t work. The bad things still get through. The bad people still get through. Bad people, and crazy people, are not all stupid. A lot of them can figure out how to keep clean records until it’s time to act. They also don’t tend to care about laws. If you’re going to commit murder, following gun laws probably isn’t high on your list of priorities. It might be a little more difficult if your weapon of choice is illegal, but probably not much more difficult than finding drugs. (Which is, I hear, not difficult.)
Well, then, let’s at least keep better tabs on the mentally ill. Can we create a database with all their records? So that their mental health histories will follow them wherever they go? Sure. Let’s make it so that any mentally ill person who is even remotely intelligent (and a lot of them are highly intelligent) won’t get anywhere near a mental health professional’s office. Let’s increase the stigma, and make sure more people keep their problems as hidden as possible until they explode. Good plan.
Okay, fine. But no one needs assault weapons, right? We can at least ban those. No one needs an assault weapon for hunting. Let’s at least do that much. The Founding Fathers wanted everyone to be able to hunt, so fine, you can hunt. But no assault weapons. Oh, wait. They had just defeated the British? The Second Amendment wasn’t about hunting? It was about being able to defend yourself against the government? Because a government that is a little bit afraid of its populace is a government that is a little less likely to infringe of the rights and freedoms of its populace? Well, damn.
Still, the government has fighter jets and tanks. We don’t have those. We might as well just throw in the towel and not have anything. That’s the American spirit. The spirit of sitting down and shutting up. Is there any pie we can have? We need more calories. Let’s sit down, shut up, and eat. No guns needed.
For anyone not acquainted with my politics: Pro-guns, pro-choice, pro-legalization of ALL drugs, anti-seat belt laws, anti-low speed limits, pro-gay marriage, pro-designated hitter (because dude, the purpose is entertainment, and a higher BA is more entertaining).
“Why wouldn’t God create a utopia, where everyone could live in peace and harmony? Why would he allow disease, war, and starvation?”
Because he’s a dick, that’s why!
Just kidding. Sort of. The answer to this question (which is largely rendered irrelevant by the fact that “God” is not real, but I enjoy hypotheticals) seems obvious: Because that would be boring.
How many movies have you watched with no conflict in them? Television shows? How many books do you read where no one suffers and everyone is happy the entire time? None, you say? Because that wouldn’t be very exciting? Exactly.
From ancient gladiators to boxing, to the NFL, to desert children watching scorpion vs. tarantula fights, everyone seems to recognize that conflict is what’s interesting. Then people turn around and wonder why a “God” (who is supposedly quite like us, as we were made in his image) doesn’t want to watch a world where nothing happens. Why would he? How incredibly boring would that be? I wouldn’t watch that shit, and neither would you.
If there’s a God giving people cancer and inspiring wars, putting lots of food in some places and not enough food in other places, making serial killers and pedophiles, and allowing the development of deformed babies and sinkholes, it’s because he’s bored and we don’t matter. He’s obviously got a weird sense of humor. The world is a ridiculous place, full of ridiculous things. All the world’s a stage, and God is the audience, laughing his fucking ass off.
Of course this mostly concerns the father figure god of the current big three monotheistic religions. Ancient Greeks and Romans knew their gods were a bunch of assholes who wanted to be entertained.
“Your beauty is beyond compare with flaming locks of auburn hair, with ivory skin and eyes of emerald green. Your smile is like a breath of spring, your skin is soft like summer rain and I cannot compete with you, Jolene. And I could easily understand how you could easily take my man, but you don’t know what he means to me, Jolene.”
Someone I follow on Tumblr recently reblogged this video of Miley Cyrus covering the Dolly Parton song, “Jolene.” I played the YouTube video repeatedly until I put the MP3 on my computer and iPod, and it’s a great goddamn song. But it’s also a pathetic song.
If you listen to the words, “Jolene” is the heartfelt plea of a woman who wants to stop a female named Jolene from taking her man. The thing is, Jolene holds all the power. We know nothing of Jolene’s personality (other than the fact that she pursues non-single men) but we hear that she is stunning. So stunning that she can have any man she wants. The singer recognizes that she (or he, when Jack White does it) cannot compare to Jolene’s beauty, and asks for her mercy.
The observant will notice that the man in question is essentially a non-entity. He is under Jolene’s spell and is a non-player in this situation. The singer is negotiating with Jolene for his custody. Jolene may or may not take possession of him. He may be left with the less attractive singer. It’s not up to him. It’s only up to Jolene. That bitch, Jolene.
I love the song, but hate the sentiments of the singer. I want to sing along, but then I think, “What the fuck?” If he wants to go, let him go. Go have adventures. Go do things with your life now that you have the freedom of being single. Do the things that you couldn’t do when you had another person to consider. Join the Army, get out of the Army, road trip, date a douchebag and think “I’ll never do that again!”, road trip more, get into tattoos. (Not that you couldn’t have gotten into tattoos when you weren’t single, but you didn’t. Now’s the time!)
Or do totally different shit. Jolene will have won a man and you will have won a life. If he’s that close to leaving, a mere Jolene decision away, your relationship is already dead. Life in a dead relationship is not life. It’s a very weird emotional prison.
Then again, if it was more of a girl power “I’m better off, have a nice life” kind of a song, it wouldn’t be as powerful or as good. It needs to be pathetic. I hate this song. I love this song. I hate this song.
“And you could have your choice of men, but I could never love again, ’cause he’s the only one for me, Jolene.”
No! You can love again. It’s just a feeling. There are many people in this world who could cause that feeling. Each time you have it, you will think that you have found the only possible cause. And each of those times you will be wrong. (Source: All the divorced people who got remarried. And then divorced again. And then remarried again.)
I have “fuck love” tattooed in the general vicinity of my heart in part to remind myself to stay away from the kind of thinking “Jolene” and many other sad love songs represent. If you do catch me singing “Jolene,” it is only because I can’t help it. Don’t blame me. Jack White can’t help it either, and he’s a heterosexual man.
I’ve had a Tumblr for more than a year now. I’ve only recently started to gain a few followers, and that is primarily because I’ve only recently started to use tags.
For a long time, the purpose of my Tumblr was solely to have an online place to keep all my favorite quotes. I adore quotes. I love hearing a sentence that has a ring to it, especially if it happens to ring true. But to be honest, I sometimes love quotes that do not seem entirely true. I admire the artful use of words to craft a sentence that seems like it should be true, even if it isn’t.
I started tagging my quotes for fun. I get very little out of having followers, or “notes” on my posts. I’m not promoting myself. Lately, I’ve mostly been promoting Chuck Klosterman. (You are welcome, Mr. Klosterman.) As I read books on my Kindle, I highlight my favorite passages, and then I post those passages to the Internet. Sometimes I hear a line in an interview on television that I like, and then I’ll post that. It’s the form of social media where I’m most consistent. There are always new quotes, and I always want to save them.
But as much as notes don’t matter in any significant way, I do kind of enjoy tracking them and seeing what people like most. So far: Love and Atheism.
The love for love is to be expected. Tumblr seems to be a bit emo, and love is emo. People moping about why relationships don’t work and why the opposite sex is confusing. People wondering why no one loves them unconditionally. (Because that’s rarely how it works. You wear people down if you try to make them prove that they love you unconditionally, and it gets old fast. If you want someone who loves you unconditionally, even if you’re a drag all the time, get a dog.)
Then there’s atheism, which is not at all like love. It’s not confusing. There isn’t much to be said about it because all efforts to prove it’s correct are wasted. You can’t prove it to someone of faith because the response is always, “I just KNOW. I just have faith. I FEEL IT. God loves me. And God loves you too, even though you’re an evil heathen who’s probably going to Hell.” (Okay, maybe they don’t usually say the last part.) And you can’t argue with that.
Whereas relationship quotes tend to be either reassuring or expressing confusion, atheism quotes tend to be a bit smug. The subtext of every atheism quote is, “This is obvious, how do you not get it?” Atheists (myself included) probably like these quotes because we have to hear about “God” all the time (and get looked at like we kill babies when we confess our absence of faith… I live in a very Catholic part of the country) so it feels nice sometimes to be smug with our atheist buddies. There’s no god and we’re the elite few who realize it. Go us!
But they’re both really about validation. There are few enough atheists that it’s nice to encounter our comrades in disbelief. And it’s fitting that these would be the most popular topics of the topics I post. Half the Internet is about validation. (The other half is about porn. I did think the sex-related quotes would do better, but people searching for sex are probably not searching for mere words. A picture is worth a thousand words, and it’s much faster to absorb.)