The Breakfast Table

Toward a Physics of Missing Socks

Having in fact read through the redesigned Times Magazine front-of-the-book (except for Max Frankel) I was left strangely wanting for explanation as to how and why my milk does in fact go sour in the fridge. This is (should be?) where media striving to be “relevant” to your/my life/lives is heading: ever increasing amounts of brain sweat and research by underpaid editorial assistants devoted to ever more thinly diced bits of micro-information about my life. Missing socks! String theorists apply cutting-edge mathematical models to explain–and, by extension, solve–the errant stocking conundrum. Indigestion! Malcolm Gladwell on why Maalox is grossly misunderstood by mainstream scientists who are foolishly hung up on the argument that bloating and gas are in fact symptomatic of late-capitalist excess and moral decline. As should be clear, I’m much less interested in the way we live today than in the way I live today. The nap I’m about to take: How will that change (even microscopically) my life expectancy and self-esteem? (Or is that controlled by a gene?) The fiber content of the oatmeal I ate for breakfast: a clinical breakdown of its implications for cancer, heart disease, nail and tooth health, etc.

But, Mim, I fear we’ve wandered into a rhetorical cul-de-sac: ever more clustered adjectives and semi-successful witticisms in search of a topic. We need to go for the burn, Mim, go for the burn.