May. 11th, 2017

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Feeling really, really awful for poor RTT – who failed his chemistry final, which means he failed his chemistry class, which means once again his graduation is in doubt.

The kid really tried. Studied hard, took practice tests, did study groups with his friends.

Probably why he got so depressed: He knew without knowing.

There’s a big knot in my stomach and that awful adrenalin lurch in my shoulders.

Because there’s absolutely nothing I can do to make it better for him. Nada.

He’s gonna have to get up, dust himself off, go in to see his academic advisor, see if they will let him substitute a summer school class – Tompkins Community College teaches an equivalent class – and just generally deal with it.

Chemistry was virtually impossible for me, too, back in the Jurassic when I took it at UCB.

Well. Not all chemistry – I actually got As in Organic Chemistry from a notoriously difficult teacher, William Calvin, Nobel Laureate. But that’s because Organic Chemistry is mostly an exercise in applied acrostics. I still remember the final: You are on an island with access to every catalyst and reagent known to man, and EtOH. Synthesize [name of your complex polysaccharide goes here.]

But Physical Chemistry. I would have flunked Physical Chemistry. Except that Berkeley had a student strike that quarter, and the professor was sympathetic. So I got a very, very low C-.

I mean, the Ideal Gas Law. UGH.

Robin suffers from what I suffer from: This notion that if you’re innately talented at something, then that something can’t be worth pursuing.

Neither of us is innately talented at chemistry. So hey! We gotta take chemistry classes. So we can flunk 'em.

The very definition of low self-esteem.

I understand why I have low self-esteem.

But I don’t understand why Robin has low self-esteem.

How did I fail him?


Between feeling horrible for Robin and feeling beaten down in the whole political arena, yesterday was not a very good day. I toiled at the Scut Factory. I went out in the afternoon, tried to exercise, but got tired and winded after a mile and a half.

What’s the point of being alive? I wondered.

Which is a ridiculous question.

There is no point.

You just are.

You deal with it.

You try to strike the right balance between distraction and mindfulness.

The rest is just brain chemicals.


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