The Art of Determining the Animal by the Smell of its Shit

As it turns out, “Life, Death, Neutrality, Dogs” was just part one of a series based on making fermented cider from rotten apples. This part is about decisive intent being ever so rare! Fun!

Decisions are easy to make, yes they are. (No, they’re not.) They are for a number of reasons. (No, they aren’t.)

These reasons explained over the years and have become ingrained in us as a result of exposure in our collective childhoods. We are implicitly taught that life is black and white, that decisions are easy to make because the best choice is always obvious and surrounded by a bright halo and, in fact, the best choice is obvious for no other reason than only two choices ever existed in the first place. The wrong choice smells like manure on the type of summer day that turns breathable air into stifling-hot magma-gas and that’s never the best option.

I’ll leave aside personal feelings about the disgustingly corporate nature of American meat production, the unsustainable nature of raising livestock, and the fact that cow-flesh in particular is too greasy to make up for the uninspiring flavor and therefore is an unacceptably expensive meat to dislike but tolerate anyway (Or I won’t). Regardless, where halos remind me of the clinical phenomenon of organized religion, the smell of cow shit makes me nostalgic. I smell this and I’m riding the bus to school, getting secretly drunk with high school friends in an open field and eating freshly picked peas in a tree with my sister. Shit is deep.

The black-and-white posterization of life is a sometimes useful tool as art and analysis, but even then is inherently false. Cow shit smells like gray to me, even though it may just smell like shit to someone else. Most things do, although gray is sometimes green, chartreuse and bright blood-red.

That any decision at all has been easy for me to make is almost mind-boggling given the devastating amount of options to choose from, and scary too as this indicates a lack of analysis on my part. Were decisions easy because the choice was clear? Or were they easy because I wasn’t paying attention?

I wasn’t paying attention. Neither were you. The intellectual gravity of gray (and green and chartreuse and bright blood-red) is a force of nature: awesomely dark and wretchedly bright. The gray makes life worth living. Gray is the wrong choice, the best choice, and no choice at all. That shit is deep. And confusing.


One Response to “The Art of Determining the Animal by the Smell of its Shit”

  1. […] of vacillation, I decided to move and I’m still unsure if the decision borders on correct (read this if you care for even more elaboration on the subject of decision-making), but it’s […]

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