“Your mind is like a noodle.” Those were Sebastian’s first words to me a couple weeks ago. “If you don’t keep your mind moist, it will eventually become rigid and break, thus ending your miserable life in unnecessary suffering.”
At this point, I had been dancing to Abba in my underwear for the last hour, and I gather that Sebastian took my fevered moves as a cry for help. Of course, we had chatted in the past, but it was unlike Sebastian to give me advice or in any way direct my life’s path. He had always been a laissez-faire cat, although he would never say so himself since he hates French.
Given the firmness of his tone and the striking simplicity of his statement, I decided to take out my earphones and sit down to listen what he had to say.
“I’ve never wanted to be a teacher, but the way you live has forced me into the position in which I find myself. All of this go-with-the-flow garbage is going to make you and everyone around you very unhappy. You need to start acting like you have agency, and you need to start making your own value distinctions in order to begin down that path. Now, I know you’re a yellow-bellied son-of-a-gun who will find doing that all at once difficult, so you’ll adopt my opinions first and then tweak them when you finally become a real individual. Understood?”
I nodded, slack-jawed, jelly-donut guts dripping down my bare chest. I am accustomed to eating donuts while I dance in the semi-nude.
“Now, in time, you’ll want to write down everything I have to say, but when I’m speaking, you must resist this temptation. Learn to listen. Learn to be a noodle that gradually absorbs water, absorbs it willingly and without conflict. Listen and become flexible. Later, when you dry out and become all stale and stiff again, you can write down my words of wisdom.
“Today’s lesson is this. Your mind is like a noodle. You must keep it wet to avoid perishing because of inflexibility. Moisten yourself thusly. A noodle does not become wet for a specific end. It becomes wet as a way of being. Because the struggle of wetness brings eventual contentment, You must do the same in your life. Learn new skills. Push past new boundaries. Go to new frontiers. Do not do so for superficial gains in the short term. Do so so you can actualize across whatever span of time is granted you in your short and insignificant life. Do so in order to live with yourself and others. Understand?”
I thought for a few seconds too long as I am generally slow-witted in philosophical matters such as Sebastian’s wet-noodle analogy thingamagig.
“Do you mean like, to take new courses or to, like, learn an instrument or language or something?”
Sebastian sighed. It was obvious he knew I was an idiot but also obvious that he would take pity on me and continue his explanation.
“Yes, those are examples of ways you may wet your noodle,” Sebastian continued. “Another way would be to practice speaking with intentionality. The sentences you utter are attrocious. I would give most of them a C- or lower. Focus on a few areas of improvement and do so for the sake of improvement itself. Not ego, Not material gain. Do you understand?”
I thought for a moment. “So I could, like, take a philosophy class at the local city college?”
“As long as it is within your budget, in terms of time, money, and personal obligations, yes.” Sebastian looked at me blankly. “You should also eat fewer donuts. Yes, I said fewer and not less because that’s a grammatical rule about which I feel quite strongly.”
I didn’t know what grammatical rule he was talking about. But it didn’t matter.
“All right” I said.
Sebastian kept looking at me with his bottomless black eyes. “Feed me.”
Not wanting to displease Sebastian, I got to work. So, it seemed as though I would be taking some gradual steps toward self-improvement in the immediate future.