This is on the site, but you’ll need to enter this password to view it: $RsL]j’}u72&8R3RBo
I’m sorry it’s been so long since you last heard from me - a lot has been changing in my life, very quickly, but I’ve been finding most of it difficult to explain.
Hawthorn and I are getting married in 10 days - she’s coming to Columbia for two weeks. I know this is going to require A Butte Load of explanation…probably for the rest of my fucking life…but - if you trust my authority in myself, you should know that this is a very, very good thing. Odds are, it’ll be the best thing that ever happens to me. And I know you’re sighing, eyes wide - I love you for that - but… you’ll see. Just Gimme a Sec, please.
A few things conspired yesterday, specifically, that have led to a promising possible departure from my Addie-Addled Germanic Web Hell. In front of Starbucks, no less, I met the man with Columbia’s highest IQ - no doubt. We talked for nearly two hours, and it was by the most challenging conversation I’ve had in months - if not years - out of sheer expressed informational volume, yes, but mostly because of how relentlessly he’d reach (not the sort synonymous with bullshit, necessarily.) I couldn’t keep up with more than 10% of his details, at first, but he came off as immediately flailing - all the fuck through the subjects of digital marketing, philanthropy, nutrition, climatology, geology, anthropology, metaphysics, and science fiction just in the first few minutes.
Obviously, he’d caught me off guard - I’d just finally finished August’s Ed’s Letter, which closes with a commitment to a purely analog honeymoon. I am going to stop logging in - I will give my new wife my undivided, hopelessly-enamored attention, and I hope that the public vow will maneuver the muscle of my vanity against the web. Long enough for the necessary reflection of - and dwelling in - this wonderful happening, anyway. Regardless of matrimony, it is time to migrate as much of the attention I’ve been burning up in BILGE back to my words as I possibly can.
Not only that, but I had just a few hours before been provided with information so disturbing, it’d turned me quaky and nauseous for a Warm Moment. Basically, I’d somehow missed that Tump’s controversial Secretary of Education was the same Betsy DeVos of pyramid loyalty who I ‘investigated’ as part of an ‘infiltration’ of AMWAY in Summer 2015. I realized that it is perhaps my first real duty to dig out every single traumatic morsel of memory from that horrifying experience and hammer out the design of this thing as swiftly as fucking possible. I cannot wait any longer.
I was sitting outside with a very troubled expression on my face, I’m sure, when my Luckies prompted a comment from him as he sat one table ahead. He introduced himself as Doug Sarbaugh - a [gargantuan string of platitudinal jargon] marketer - so I was Edgy As Hell when it was time to talk about my work, though he responded with the exempting curiosity of an academic. You’ve often heard me talk about Listening as my new-ish discipline, but it hadn’t occurred to me until yesterday’s encounter how unusually adept I am when it comes to facing ultra-intelligent people in conversation. It reminded me how thankful I am that I’m not the savant everyone assumed I was in childhood - folks like Doug operate in such remote spheres from the rest of us that we formed entire professions to mediate.
In order to keep up, I had to spend the time desperately searching for glimpses of context I was at all familiar with. In describing his current business project, he went from talking about obesity to Search Engine Optimization and compared the force of gravity mathematically with the valuation of human gratitude? I hadn’t been able to respond at all until I could just pick out and visualize one of the global consequences of consumption he was listing. Apparently, California’s Central Valley has experienced an overall three foot drop in ground level due to highly-excessive extraction of its groundwater. I exclaimed holy shit and sat up in my chair - dropping a mile-marker, if you will - which is why I was able to retain anything at all from that bit.
There’s no need to drag through it all, but our talk was a desperately overdue challenge for me, and I have no intention at all of letting Doug’s correspondence go. Before he went back to whatever the fuck it is that he’s going to spend the next two weeks launching, I asked if he’d be willing to sit down with me at scheduled intervals in front of nothing but a microphone under a predetermined time limit, and he seemed graciously open to the idea. The next month is a definite gap, but I’ll share some ideas with you in the near future if things look good.
From what little I could gather, Doug is quite well-versed in AMWAY, itself, (along with marketing, religion, psychology, Keith Jarrett? and literally everything else I was able to throw at him,) and his degrees are “in Physics and Psychology,” making him “The Ultimate Abstraction,” and qualifying/intriguing him enough to help me revisit my traumatic account with the organization’s cult-level delirium and its consequences on the most vulnerable people in American society. If I can wipe the rust from my eyelids and crank out the story clean - without losing viscerality or authenticity - I’ll have done more to help people than I’ve probably done, cumulatively, in my lifetime.
I have decided to name the project WHITE SAPPHIRE and begin by covering Betsy DeVos as if for a news publication. If for some reason you’d like to witness or contribute to my research/attention, you are the only folks privy to this invite to a dedicated Telegram channel for research. Normally, I’m not at all concerned about my own privacy or safety, but Doug made sure to emphasize that I could very well put myself in real danger, which, in all honesty, is pretty cool. My Karma debt is fucking gargantuan - so extra hours are more than welcome - but I’d ask that you keep this Quite Quiet outside of this circle at least until I’ve already been clacking a way for a significant time.
Unfortunately, I do not have the time or words to describe to you the most important news by a long shot, but I can tell you that it’s fucking essential to have gut feelings back.
I think you’ll find me living much healthier, down the road.