On Saturday and Sunday mornings, I rise and shine quite early, get myself dressed, usually donning shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, and drive over to a Barnes and Noble, the one located just off 410 and across from North Star Mall in San Antonio. I do this to meet a Venezuela woman who wants to develop her conversational skills in English. When we first started working together, she was pretty cryptic when I asked her what she was doing in Texas. She said things about visiting family and wanting to be a tourist. Slowly, she began to open up, and I’m now convinced—though she’s never openly said so—that she’s trying to leave her home country because of the chaos there. I guess she thinks the political and economic situation in the US is better.
Of course, I frequently remind her that America is being led by one Donald J. Trump, Russian agent and head of a crime syndicate, as a way of subtly reminding her that she might want to think things through before making any rash relocation plans.
As usual, it’s taking me forever to get to my main subject. I’m really hoping to blog about a book that I saw while working with my Venezuelan friend this morning. It was shelved directly in front of the table we were sitting at. Its title—one of the best I’ve seen adorning the cover of any book in recent memory—The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life— immediately grabbed my attention.
As soon as my English lesson ended and my student had taken off, I walked over to the shelf and got a closer look. I saw that it was written by Mark Manson. I picked it up, opened up to the first page, and saw a reference to Charles Bukowski. (The author immediately scored bonus points with me.) I then turned it over and saw that it was selling for $24.99. Because I am a cheapskate by nature, I decided I’d see if I could find it at any of the libraries I have access to. Free, in my way of thinking, is always preferable to $24.99.
This is certainly a book I very desperately need to read. For almost my entire life—I did have a brief “bad boy” phase that doesn’t count—I’ve given too much of a f*ck. From just about the moment I exited my mother’s womb, people have used words like “conscientious,” “responsible,” and “meticulous” when describing me. Of course, these aren’t necessarily bad things, but when taken to the extreme, such attributes can turn one into a neurotic perfectionist who obsesses about everything. Such a person wakes up at 3 a.m. in a cold sweat because the water bill is due in less than five hours and the possibility that the online payment might not be processed in time fills him with existential dread.
Such a person is me. That’s yours truly in a nutshell.