You make me want to be a better writer.

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Quoting "Friends" is embarrassing but I still say "nobody likes change" and in my head it's always;

Ross : ... no, I-, no I wanna stay, I wanna talk about this.

Rachel : Okay! (slams the door shut) Alright. How was she?

Chandler : Uh-oh. (as Phoebe, Chandler, Joey and Monica listen with their ears to the door)

Ross : (exhales shortly) What?

Rachel : Was she good?

Joey : (as if coaching Ross) Don't answer *that*.

Rachel : C'mon, Ross, you said you wanted to talk about it, let's talk about it! How was she?

Ross : She was ...

Joey : (as if supplying him with possible answers) ... awful ...

Chandler : She was not good ...

Joey : ... horrible ...

Chandler : ... not good, not good!

Joey : ... nothing compared to you.

Ross : She (exhales, frustrated) ... she was different.

Joey : (like someone watching a game show) Ooooo.

Chandler : Uh-oh.

Rachel : (icy) "Good" different?

Ross : Nobody likes change ...

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This is great, and 100% the Duolingo Owl is just another Old Testament godboy — like, we get it, your juvenilia is great, but everyone is so over the guilt.

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Hi Helena, this too long!

"He only cares whether you can offer your attention to him. The Duolingo owl is a thesis about the ability of people to change, and what it might take for them to do so."

Just like a lot of apps in the social media age. 'In Soviet Union computer program uses YOU!'

"Emotional terrorism is the thing for which Duolingo is best known."

A couple years ago when I was trying out all the language apps, I kept thinking I should try Duolingo, but I had a bad feeling, so I didn't. And then there was the outbreak of the Tweetering Machine memes about the evil green owl and I said, 'Nevermind'.

"which is so brutal that the first time I received it I stood still in the middle of a busy street, blinking at my phone. It’s the exact cadence of the parent who is not mad, just disappointed, the soccer coach who knows you could do better if you really tried, the English teacher who just wants to see you succeed"

Long ago, in the days when dinosaurs roamed antique monitor screens, I came across programs trying to tell me what to do, and after a year of that, I said, hey, you are an idiot program written by an asshole programmer - you work for me, not the other way around.

If an app gets pissy it goes straight into the trash. Too many shitheads already in this world to be taking crap from a collection of bits.

"the friends who have to stop talking to you for your own good because they can’t enable this behavior."

I've had to do that once or twice, but it was always, 'I can't enable this because if it keeps up I'm going to be obligated to call the cops.' Takes a lot to make me feel like I have to rat someone out.

"All of these necessitate discomfort, some sort of trial by fire. Moving beyond ourselves, our well-worn default paths, is rarely possible in a way that is not excruciating. All the ways in which I have ever legitimately changed have been borne out of loss and discomfort, doing things I would never have chosen to do if the choice had been available."

Plenty of times I changed because I absolutely had to, but other times, I could see a problem and make the shift, never as quickly as a panic-induced shift, but something less painful, if slower. Maybe that's the result of getting old.

"A little bit of work every day, adding up eventually to great and mighty transformations."

C'est vrai! Alas, they do not tell you, 'a little bit of work every day' often means 4 hours a day for 10 years. ...wouldn't want you to get discouraged!

"Every sentence was stuttering and terrible, a total joke, and yet I felt proud of myself and this one humiliating dinner in a way that I have rarely felt about anything I have ever done with great fluency or ease."

Of course, you got over the hump there. You did good!

"Perhaps Duolingo is allowing me to experience walking home each day in a foreign country defeated and lonely, as though the house of cards of my identity were knocked down and I had to start over, building a self upwards from the ground floor."

French children start learning at home, and then they spend a decade in school getting better at it. Obviously then you have to spend a bunch of time trying to get better at it. My thought is, screw it, it doesn't matter so much, because it's going to take awhile one way or another.

"It moved with ruthless and unforgiving efficiency, silence and nothing and then majesty and death and awe and then silence again."

I've been next to a try at night listening to the hoot owl in the tree hooting (until I got close), and sat on an apartment back porch in the winter, and heard to a whole flock of them hooting away, got startled by one in an old barn once, never seen the pickoff mood. Have seen a hawk pick off a duckling though, and a cat pick off a bird. It always looks about the same.

"As this year has demonstrated loudly and as every year demonstrates quietly, far more often than it is anything any one of us can effect personally by our actions, change is something that happens to us, in all the horrorshow of luck and the inexorable tide of time passing"

Exactly, so why waste time on the idiot Duolingo owl? (I use Memrise... {rimshot} Save language learning from the rat bastard fucking owl!)

"if you enjoyed this, maybe consider subscribing? griefbacon is on sale this week, so it’s a great time to do so."

I enjoyed it (good post!), but I had already subbed earlier (as I had been intending to do since January), so that was groovy.


['Do I dare violate the internet norms and go back and respond to a Monday post (days! years! decades! EONS ago!) that I didn't finish responding to on Monday? It could happen! Quelle horreur!']

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