When you read Sartre or Beckett or Derrida or Barthes, or watch Six Feet Under, or talk to your therapist, or maybe just listen to The Head and the Heart, and you stare at the chasmic rift between your need for care and human love and beauty, and the voice booming from the other side that all these are illusions—there is no such thing as truth or transcendence or self-sacrifice, only a series of transactions between autonomous modals. There’s no such thing as love, there’s no such thing as god, there’s no such thing as you, there’s no such thing as us. And you want to talk to your wife about this but you figure she’ll either worry for you or ask you to get over it, and you want to call your mother but you’ll just end up judging her for telling you to put your life back in the hands of the god you’ve long outgrown, and you know you can’t tell your daughters the horrors of the world that they’ll discover on their own in due time. But then you talk to your wife, and she listens. And you talk to your mother, not about god but about upcoming plans to see each other. And you look at photos of kitties on your iPhone with your youngest daughter and exult in the names she comes up with for the white ones (Snow, Marshmallow, Powder Puff, Whitey) and the black ones (Midnight, Black, Blackie, Really Cooked Marshmallow). And you think of all the people you call your friends, and you know this isn’t an illusion or a lie, that you depend on every one of them to allow you to read the existentialists and absurdists and nihilists and realize that their truth is your truth, but it’s not your only truth.

What are the Sneaky Feels?

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AuthorJohn Proctor