Hey Ruth, I’m writing essays and stuff

by MW Cook

I find, though, that it’s hard to talk to others about the excitement I get from doing all this school stuff. Right now I’m writing an essay on the subject of change and relativism in Montaigne’s work. It’s very exciting. Until I tell others about it.

“Phaw, that’s dumb,” they say. “What a pointless topic. Why don’t they teach you something useful?

I feel like if the thing you’re doing doesn’t cure cancer or make money, people think there’s no point to it. Which is funny and sad. I sometimes wish I could turn it on its head. I can imagine someone telling me about their day at work.

“Phaw, that’s dumb,” I’d say. “What’s the point in going to work?”

“Money, duh,” they’d reply.

“What’s the point in money? Can’t eat it.”

“I can buy things with it. Food and rent and video games and stuff.”

“What’s the point in food and rent and video games?”

“They’re fun!” he’d say, justifiably annoyed with me.

And then I’d ask the most profound stupid question I can think of: “What’s the point in fun?”

But there is no point. Fun is awesome in itself. That’s why people work long hours–to get money that buys them fun. Too bad the money is put in such a focus that folks forget it’s just a means to an end. We feel so sad when we check out at the grocery store, as we hand over wads of paper in exchange for awesome edibles.

I like the essays. I enjoy examining Montaigne’s understanding of organic change and relativism in the light of Augustine’s progressive change rooted in absolutism. It’s fun. It makes my day. If I had the time, I would probably do it even if they didn’t promise me a grade and a degree at the end. Just like I’ll keep writing novels no matter how many rejection slips show up in my inbox. The reward for this labour is not coming later–I’m enjoying it now.

Like the Preacher said,

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil.

Enjoy the toil of your tenth day, Ruth. I’ll say Hey again tomorrow.