avoiding the big bang

United States

writes abt: books, cats, and self-deprecation
anti -isms and -phobias

Message to Readers

would love, love, love a review! tell me how i can make this better. comments are also very much appreciated; if you're either going to like or comment, i'd rather get a comment every time.

Career Considerations

November 11, 2020

    As it turned out, Ruth hated most things.
    The first seven years of her life had revolved around food.  She wanted to cook, she wanted to be a master.  She wanted to make gourmet soups on desert islands out of muck and scorpion juice on like on TV.  In her earliest memories she crouched over a plastic pot trying to boil tufts of brownish grass and mayonnaise into potions to cure diabetes.  She would freeze gobs of ketchup in the popsicle maker, taste-test them later, give up, and leave the popsicles to melt back into reddish goo.  Her parents were humored by the experimentalism.  They let her cook anything she wanted, though she had to relate her recipe back in detail if she wanted to taste-test any of her creations.  Yes, it looked to all the world like Ruthie would live to be the greatest cook of her generation, to win reality TV competitions and live in palaces made of gingerbread; or maybe it looked like she would die of food poisoning or poison berry poisoning or death by boiling water at an early age––but she was destined for the kitchen one way or another.  Somehow this aspiration didn’t work out as planned.  As it turned out for Ruth, cooking was gross.  As she wrote in her fish sauce-stained journal at age nine, there were only so many mustard ice creams a girl could make before her stamina was drained.  Ruthie’s plastic mini-kitchen constantly stank of mud and perished meat.  Her clothes were tattered with ingredients from her potions––wild strawberries, jarred tahini, sour milk, dead cicadas whose blackish guts were crusted onto the fabric.  It was simply gross.  She grew to positively hate the idea of a kitchen.
    It was time for a career change.  Ruth was fairly bright child––one could tell because she read books for fun, an unusual activity for any human to partake in.  People praised her constantly for her old-fashionedness, and Ruthie was the pride and pet of every elementary school teacher.  She was thrilled by this status and sought to please even more, so she began to tell adults who asked that she wanted to write books when she grew up.  How lovely!  How wonderful!  Her parents seized the opportunity, telling her fiercely that if she really wanted to write books she should get into a college with a strong writing program, and that would require doing stupendously well in all of her classes.  So, at age eight, Ruthie began working towards being the best––the very best, the best in all the country.  She studied hard and read often, and the praise ensued.  In every parent-teacher conference, Ruthie’s teachers praised her intelligence and hard work to her beaming parents.  She was the intellectual joy of every classroom, the knowledge-crazed intelligence-hungry fiend for good grades.  As an afterthought, her teachers mentioned that Ruth did seem wound a bit too tightly; she acted a little unhinged, in fact, if they had to put it into to words.  But the report cards were outstanding.  It was true, as well, that Ruth didn’t have many friends––the poor child, her eyes were always purple from lack of sleep, she studied so hard, how would there be time for friends?  It wasn’t until junior high school that Ruth made a friend.  Some random girl asked her if she wanted to go to the movies.  So Ruth adjusted her studying schedule and went to the movies accompanied a gaggle of girls––many kinds of girls, girls with mascara dripping down their faces, girls with purses and iPhones and bright pimples.  Ruth was dumbfounded, overjoyed, she was the life and soul of the party.  Who knew the teacher’s pet could be so funny?
    “You should be a part of the group,” the girls said aloud, decisively.  “You should come with us places.”
    But Ruth didn’t have time; she related, upset, that her schedule was too full.  “Studying, you know.”
    “Studying?  No one studies, dumbass.”
    Ruth had never heard of “not studying.”  “How do you make it through school?  How will you have a future?”
    “We’re all going to be lawyers and doctors,” said a mascara-clad girl.  “They make the most money and you don’t have to study or do homework or anything; they’re easy jobs.  It’s much better than studying.”
    “Gee,” said Ruth.  “That does sound a lot easier.”  She wouldn’t mind being one of those lawyer or doctor things who didn’t do work and made a lot of money.
    She told her parents she wanted to be a lawyer or a doctor “or something”––and they were delighted.  Most surprisingly, thought Ruth, considering how little work those jobs required.
    So Ruth began to fail school.  She failed hard, and did so as a point of pride.  She was having the time of her life––doing such adventurous things as going to more movies with more friends, and visiting her friends’ houses, and exchanging words with boys.  She baffled everyone with her unwavering coolness.  The cool Ruth didn’t study or learn or do homework.  People began to worry she was too cool for her own good.  Before report cards were sent out a cautionary letter was mailed to Ruth’s parents, warning them that their child had, most unfortunately, traversed that unblockable boundary between intelligence and hinged-ness and was now a cool kid.  The principle had written the note, in fact, and tears and goops of snot stained the page, turning it crinkly and yellow.  The teachers held a small memorial service whenever a child traded diligence for sanity, and two black-frosted cupcakes from the funeral were contained in the package, a small condolence offering.

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9 Comments
  • Cosmogyral

    This is awesome, I really like it!


    4 months ago
  • avoiding the big bang

    @rozzie thank you so much! that means a lot.


    4 months ago
  • rozzie-f

    This is one of the best pieces I've ever read on this website. You write with a world view and sense of humor and wit likely far beyond your years. I adore the line "Yes, it looked to all the world like Ruthie would live to be the greatest cook of her generation, to win reality TV competitions and live in palaces made of gingerbread; or maybe it looked like she would die of food poisoning or poison berry poisoning or death by boiling water at an early age––but she was destined for the kitchen one way or another." I'm seriously impressed with this piece, and you should be proud of it. I also think this line kicks butt -- "She wouldn’t mind being one of those lawyer or doctor things who didn’t do work and made a lot of money." I think this piece provides awesome social commentary on society, tbh. Go, you.


    4 months ago
  • avoiding the big bang

    @mia no, she didn’t die. this is a more humor-based piece—read the rest of it and you’ll understand. thanks for the feedback!


    4 months ago
  • Mia2004

    She died??? Did I read that wrong, Bro, this is great but for some weird reason I cried. As a studying lawyer, I understand the work you need to put in, there are hours of work and then you write this poor little girl thinking she is going to make it :( you are a fabulous author.


    4 months ago
  • midnight.summerrose

    Wow, this is really good! :)


    4 months ago
  • Rachaelgrace (hiatus) :)

    This is so good! I’m calling this one as one of the winners :) I love your profile picture!!


    4 months ago
  • dead account

    This is so powerful, especially when we think about the consequences of popularity to all other aspects of our young lives. This is definitely gonna place in the competition, if not win.
    -MintyLeaf.


    4 months ago