On Spending Time

When I was a kid, sometimes I used to do this thing where I would repeat a word over and over, maybe fifty times or so, until, for some weird reason, my brain would completely dissociate the sound of the word itself from the meaning that the word normally had. I’m not sure why this is so awkward to explain, but it really seems like it is. Am I making sense?

Try it. Say the word “dog” over and over. Eventually, it will mean nothing to your brain, and you will just be forcing your mouth parts to make a sound. It’s really crazy. The best word to do this with, in the entire history of words and doing this, is the word mannequin. I mean, maybe it’s just me. Maybe there’s something wrong with my brain. I don’t think so, though, because I used to do this with other kids, too, and the same thing would happen for them. I remember sitting on the school bus on the way home at the end of the day, or whatever, and everyone sitting around being like “OH MAN, THAT’S SO CRAZY,” because it seriously is. It’s crazy.


I think that this whole entire repeating-the-word-until-it-means-absolutely-nothing thing might be sort of related to the way in which sometimes entire phrases that we use from day to day can lose a big part of their meaning because of how they become so common.

I was thinking about the phrase “spending time” the other day, and how it had, for me, up until only very recently become precisely such a meaningless string of phonetic sounds. We talk about spending time doing this or that, or we say that we would like to spend some time doing such and such a thing, but the idea that we are actually expending a type of metaphysical currency simply by existing had eluded me altogether right up until that wonderful, terrible moment when I realized all at once that I had, with remarkable consistency, wasted the vast majority of everything that had been entrusted to me by whoever it is that does the entrusting around here.

I mean, what is time if not the only asset one may truly claim to have in this world? What do we really have besides it? By spending time we can either create or destroy. No matter what we do to alter things in this physical world, the only thing that will matter a billion years from now was whether we used our time to do one or the other (because every action contributes in some way to either creation or destruction.)

I don’t know, man. I feel like I’m getting into double rainbow territory here. Time to hang up the blogging slippers for the night.


By Ben Wolf

It's a secret!

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