There’s nothing quite like elevating a classic.
Some days, the inspiration does not come. Some days, none of the things you have been thinking about feel worthy of becoming essays, whether because they seem too obvious, have been written too many times already, are too incomplete to distribute safely, or cross the threshold from shareable musing to private contemplation. After spending a large chunk of today banging my head against that particular brick wall, I have accepted defeat.
So here are some funny captions on pictures of crabs.
Content Note: Discussion of pornography, conversion therapy. NSFW.
More than a few trans people enjoy transformation-themed fiction, often as part of how we find ourselves. I have spent more time than I care to admit on specific websites that cater to this fascination, including those that do so for erotic purposes. I’ve written before about how awkward this can become for a trans lesbian, aligned with the subject matter but not with its intended audience. What registers to them as a neat little storytelling twist rapidly becomes dystopian and horrifying to people like me. “Life Warp Opportunity,” a 186-page erotic graphic novella available on tgcomics.com, is emblematic enough of this pattern that I have not been able to clear it from my mind in the two years since it was published. So, let’s have a look.
As a child, I had a book that described the differences between numerous common animal categories. It provided two-page spreads, lavishly illustrated, narrating the differences between frogs and toads, salamanders and newts, snakes and lizards, turtles and tortoises, whales and dolphins, whales and fish, and more. Each was authoritative, each was simple, and each, I would later learn, was either only superficially correct or outright wrong. Deeper exploration of these animal groups shows how these basic dualities offer little explanatory power or understanding and reveal more about us than they do about the world. Biology does not deal in dualities, and classification in particular finds them quaint and obsolete.
So, let’s dive into a few of them.
He did not have time to repent of his crime, or even remember what it was. The curse was as swift as it was thoughtful, and his substance transmuted to meet its grim syllables:
I’ve been hoping to make this happen for years and I finally did it.
Fish swim. But they also walk.
Few animals in urban settings garner less sympathy than the pigeon. Christened “rats with wings” by their detractors and dismissed as ambulatory pollution by most city-dwellers, they do not bring the sparkle of joy that cardinals provide or even the nonchalant charm of equally European-derived house sparrows. Much ink is spilled and homeowner frustration vented on the subject of how to get them to stay away from a place or outright stop existing. Our cities are littered with plastic spikes to deter their passage and false nesting sites set up for easy egg-culling. The appearance of peregrine falcons in urban environments is celebrated not only because these birds are magnificent in their own right, but because they prey on pigeons. Those who would defend these creatures receive accusations of naïveté, as though no one who actually interacted with pigeons could find them anything less than offensive.
Watching them live, one has trouble understanding this antipathy. Pigeons’ coloration is striking, with most feral individuals having a band of purple iridescence around their necks that catches the sun. Pigeons retain more of their domestic color variation than most feral animals, making their flocks a riot of diversity. Their calls range from soothing coos to purr-like rumbles, and their mating displays are charmingly gawky. They are unusual among birds in how easily they can drink, directly sucking from water sources rather than filling their bills and pouring it down their throats like most birds. They can use sight, smell, and the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate home from thousands of kilometers away. They are devoted parents, with father and mother alike caring for their young until they are fully fledged and even producing “crop milk” in their digestive tracts to feed their squabs. This ability allows pigeons to breed throughout the year, another superpower they have over other birds. Their bodies are loveably rotund, their behavior surprisingly affectionate. Pigeons are, if anything, most of the things we like about cats, only far more sociable. So why the hate?
I had facial feminization surgery and breast augmentation on 28 January this year. Recovery from these procedures is a long process, even if the worst of it is over in the first few weeks. I already reported on the immediate aftermath and on two months later, so, how are two additional months treating me?
I’m a tidy autistic. Compared to most of my friends, my home is uncannily organized; my routines are rigid and often inflexible. When I last moved house, my new home was 90% unpacked within the first week and firmly lived-in by the end of the first month, thanks to packing my previous home with destination rooms in mind and having a new floor plan for my furniture worked out in PowerPoint a month before moving day. With tape measures, notes, and detailed pro/con analyses, I worked out the best places for my sofa, television, display cases, desk, aquaria, and each individual houseplant, along with which new items to order and where those would go. Waste is sorted immediately and removed on a schedule, and cups never accumulate away from the drying rack. Mess makes me anxious and staying on top of these things is both a gift for and the result of my executive function, not done for others but to keep my home liveable for me. I pride myself on that level of masterful order and accept the neuroticism that comes with it as the price of success.