Monday, June 24, 2024

Microstory 2176: And Young

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The thing about the way that I’ve developed my website is that I can sometimes get trapped in my own format. When I started out, I wanted to do really short stories on weekdays, and my permanent story on one day of the weekend. I didn’t know what I was going to do with the other day of the weekend, and I didn’t know how canonical I was going to get with the whole thing. It’s the numbers that make the decisions for me. The numbers dictate all. Once I started doing continuous microfiction stories, I decided that I liked to block them out in batches of 100, but there are roughly 260 weekdays every year, and I don’t like to cross the December 31 border, so I can’t always do the 100 installment thing. I end up with remainders, and the value of each remainder often determines what that shorter series is all about. The reason I wrote exactly fourteen sonnets in 2022 is because I had a remainder of fifteen, and could use one of them for an intro. If the remainder had instead been, say, nineteen, I doubt I would have ever thought to do them. I actually decided to change everything up this year by shifting to a regular blog format, hoping that I would have an interesting enough life for that to make sense. As 2024 approached, and I realized that it wasn’t the right call, I had to alter the plan into a fake blog format. That’s what we’ve been doing every weekday since January 1. And like all series here, I don’t get much of a chance to do something different when the situation arises. But it does sometimes arise, and I occasionally have to briefly put my ideas on hold in order to detour to something else. Something important.

I was running a series in 2020 set in another universe. Each installment was told from the perspective of a different fictional character. But then my grandfather died in real life, and I wanted to say something about him. I wanted to get real with my site, so I hit pause on Reactions, and shared my true thoughts. I’m spending a lot of time explaining myself, but I think it’s important for you to understand what a big deal it is for me to deviate from the structure that I’ve limited myself to. The last time I did it was when I lost a dear loved one. Yeah, I do it during introductions too, but those are strongly dependent upon the forthcoming series. These are true shifts, and come from the real me, rather than the fictional version of me. Though, it was fitting back then, since Reactions was about death, and fitting now for other reasons. Last month, my alternate self was pressured into eating meat, even though he was a vegetarian. I was the one who gave him that diet in the first place, even though I hadn’t mentioned it before when he was first introduced, and that’s because I had become a vegetarian myself since then. I’ve struggled with the idea of harming the environment, and killing animals since I was a child. I just didn’t think that I could get all of my nutrition if I cut out meat, and as it turned out, I was spot on. I’ve struggled with my health and weight since college. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted, and still be quite thin, because I was unwittingly super active. And young. As I’ve aged, it’s become harder and harder to match my calorie intake with activity, and if anyone told me that that would happen, I didn’t listen to them. One thing I didn’t think that much about was that most junk food is vegetarian. Sure, I can have an entire pizza, just don’t put pepperoni or sausage on it. Ice cream? Of course! Pastries, chocolate, all the cheese in the world? No problem. Just don’t give me any meat, because animals died to make it, and I don’t like that. In addition to how much you can eat as a vegetarian before you feel full, you have to eat so much to get the comparable protein. So it was really easy to justify the binging regardless of what the food actually was. I have come to the profoundly difficult decision to press pause on my vegetarian diet recently. I’m going to focus on lowering my caloric intake, and erasing my reliance on comfort food that doesn’t do anything for me except make me feel full, and add fat to my belly. It won’t be forever. I just have to get down to my goal, then I know I can start maintaining. I was so close before, I’m certain that I can get there and stay as long as I stop resorting to garbage. Then I’ll go back to where I want to be, for the environment, and for the animals. I just hope this months-long detour doesn’t end up giving me some terminal disease, or something. That would be ironic, wouldn’t it? Oh wait, careful...spoilers. That’s it for me. Nick Fisherman IV will be back tomorrow.

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