It started of course with Claudia Schiffer. 1996 calendar. I decided to keep track every day that year. The scale went from VB for Very Bad to Gr for Great. I think I had about five Great days that years. I was very stingy with the Great days. There was one week all year where I had a Great day and no Bad or Very Bad days. That was a good week. That was not my birthday week. I believe I had a day worthy of Very Good on my birthday, but it was a bit of a pity vote. I knew it was a pity vote. Really it was a Good day, spiced up with a few additional birthday-related perks, but I knew it was only a Good day. In my heart. I couldn’t value the system anymore after that. I don’t remember if I finished out the year.

It’s a matter of correctness. You can do things right or you do them wrong. It applies to any action, every action. Take a deep breath. Did you do it right? Did you breathe deeply enough? Did it serve its desired purpose? Clear your head, calm you down? This is not obsessive behavior, assigning value like this, because I don’t give myself second chances, and most of the time I don’t realize the assessment is even happening, but it is, in the background. Right now I’m doing typing wrong. Too many mistakes, too many deletes, so a small portion of my brain is making plans to improve my typing, maybe slowing myself down, typing more deliberately and slowly for a while so that when I pick up the pace again I’m hitting the correct keys with a higher success rate. I’m not dwelling on it. But it’s happening.

The end result being cumulative, and emotional. Self-evaluative. Was I worth the price of my oxygen today. Or was I more mistake than miracle. I don’t pretend I can assign worth to an entire day, not would I find value in such an assignation. But I do need to sleep. Certain key behaviors, I suspect, have an effect on my psyche, whether positive or negative. Also coffee. I keep track of if I’ve had coffee. That’s on the checklist, which I put into my phone before I lay it down next to me and let it assess my sleep quality and duration. The coffee thing, though, since I have coffee everyday I only check the box if I’ve been to a coffee shop to write or had coffee later in the day. Morning coffee doesn’t count.

Everything else counts. Did I write, and how much. Did I read. Did I draw. That’s more of a recent one. Was the day overly stressful. Beer, how much. Liquor, any. Wine, any. Did I work out. Something funny, though: my phone thinks if I’m having severe heartburn I sleep the best, but that’s only because I don’t move, at all, for fear of exacerbating the pain. That stat should level off now that I’m using the microphone instead of the vibration, though. I’m not quiet, those nights.

These are on the list because they’re easily quantifiable and more or less permanent. But there are hundreds of behaviors that come and go. Some only happen once. Some, like the toothbrushes, are around for a finite duration. It so happened that with all the traveling this summer, I misplaced my toothbrush. I’d bought a pack of two, so I had another one. Then I found the original. It joined its brother in the toothbrush holder hanging from our mirror. But you don’t want to use one more than the other, if you’re going to have two toothbrushes. You need a system. For me it’s green in the morning, because there’s yellow in green, like the sunshine, and this is a pretty light green. The purple is for nighttime brushing, because there’s blue in it, although it’s a fairly pastel purple itself and I’m aware there is also blue in green, but whatever, the decision was made.

All you have to do to win this game is use the correct toothbrush at the correct time.

That’s all.

Just, pick up the right one.

…I am not undefeated at this game.

Also, why step on cracks? Like ever? That’s like rule number one of walking. And use your turn signals. Not for walking, obviously, but how can you live with yourself, just swaying to and fro between lanes, or worse, making an actual turn, from which the turn signal derives its name.

Do not be late. Do not fart in small rooms with other people in them whom you do not live with. Always take the stairs for flights of four or fewer, and when you take the stairs, skip steps, because like the rubber bands you wear on your left wrist it reminds you of your best friend Casey growing up who seemed to realize these sorts of things are the essence of life. From a very early age. He really knew what was what.

Do not drink too often. Or too much. Always turn the shower diverter back to the faucet when you’re done. Do not lose things. Everything important should have a safe place to reside until it is needed. Cap the toothpaste. Charge the batteries. Be prepared.

Do not say fuck it. Fuck it is bad. If you say fuck it to the toothbrushes. If you stop caring about the cracks. What are you here for, then. What value do you have.


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