Contemplation & Coconut

Karim Anani’s recipe for self-inflicted anxiety:

  1. Find the perfect job. Something that fits so well you realise you’ve just fallen in love with a job description.
  2. Write a covering letter. Work it until it meets the highest quality standard you know: your own.
  3. After waiting a day, comb through the covering letter, editing as necessary.
  4. Discover that they want you to copy-paste the content into a text form. Send in the letter after fixing the formatting (butchered by the form).
  5. Realise you forgot to add a double-spaced paragraph at one point when fixing.
  6. Try not to worry about it.
  7. Look at the rest of the jobs section on their website.
  8. Realise that the covering letter you wrote, while good, objectively, isn’t nearly as funny as the website is.
  9. But you needed to be professional. Your second-to-last paragraph was a bit jokey, too…
  10. God, you are so right for this job. If only they’d notice.
  11. This is like your first crush all over again.
  12. It’s fine. Probably.
  13. Continue working, compartmentalising your oversight. Maybe they’ll still be interested.
  14. Hit the gym afterwards; enjoy the post-workout shower by affirming that your choice of coconut shampoo at the shop earlier was, in fact, the right one.
  15. Go to bed, a little anxious and really rather hopeful.
  16. At least you smell like coconut.


Unlike recent posts, this actually happened: the job listing was professional, but warm and humorous, and the more I read on my potential employer, the more eager I’ve been to work with them, which is why I’ve been checking the state of my application twice a day since I submitted it Saturday. There’s a serious Harry Potter-level hype vibe going around here.

The surrealism of being so excited—again, because of a job descriptionmade me think of a passage from Skippy Dies, Paul Murray’s excellent tragicomedy about misplaced faith in authority, in which Ruprecht, possible genius, contemplates his love of m-theory. I thought I’d share it with you before signing-out:

The more arguments he hears against it, the deeper his adoration grows for this esoteric, unreadable scripture that the crude unthinking world will not take time to understand—the longer he spends in his basement lost in topologies, mapping out the imaginary surfaces that undulate beneath its hyperspatial penumbra, shunning human company except for other faceless devotees in sleepless Internet chatrooms, reciting back and forth those golden shibboleths, string, multiverse, supersymmetry, gravitino, the theory’s hundred names…

In fact, maybe it is love after all. Why can’t we fall in love with a theory? Is it a person we fall in love with, or the idea of a person? So yes, Ruprecht has fallen in love. It was love at first sight, occurring the moment he saw Professor Tamashi present that initial diagram, and it has unfolded exponentially ever since. The question of reason, then, the question of evidence, these are wasted on him. Since when has love ever looked for reasons, or evidence? Why would love bow to the reality of things, when it creates a reality of its own, so much more vivid, wherein everything resonates to the key of the heart?


Domestic Failures #02: Cereal

Procure a rare craving for cereal. Walk to the supermarket clutching wallet in hand—smiling sheepishly at Mrs. Turner’s glance towards what she considers to be your inappropriate attire (shorts), a probable indicator you’ve fallen in her estimate—and spot a brand you especially like (Honey Nut Cheerios? Kellogg’s Fitness?). Walk home triumphantly (Mrs. Turner’s glance now disapproving the state of your legs), drop the change in a tidy column, remove a clean bowl from the cabinet, cleanly open the pack of cereal (no tears), pour in just the right amount, fetch a banana, slice the banana, drop in the slices with a flourish, open the fridge to pour in the milk, and the fridge—the fridge mocks you with its lack of milk. We had milk, you say. I checked before leaving the house. What happened to it? There was half a carton and the neighbours dropped in wanting some, they say. We just gave them the carton when you went to the shop. Scan the change; you’re 5p short to buy a new carton, and the teller’s stubbornly stringent. You’re unwilling to cash-in a solid 20. Fork up the banana slices and reluctantly spoon the cereal dry into your mouth instead. Should’ve had eggs.

Domestic Failures #01: Temptation



A man, KARIM, sits at a computer, looking thoughtful. He erases and rewrites paragraphs, clearly unhappy with his work. Behind him is his BED, looking soft and inviting—almost maliciously so.

Hey. You look tired.

I am. The words won’t come-out right.

You know what I do when I’m tired? I sleep on it.


Come on. You’re yawning and it’s the afternoon. Psst. Hey!

I have to write.

Just a ten minute nap.


Just relax. Ten minutes. I won’t be comfortable enough to let you doze off. (beat) I promise.

I’m not going to fall for this again. You took all afternoon last time.

You’re not even writing anything. All this time, wasted! What have you got, 1000 words? It’s been three hours. Come on. It’s a great way to get solutions to your problems. Think about efficiency.

KARIM (uncertainly)
I want to get this done early so I can see a film tomorrow.

You can! By sleeping! Just look at Winston Churchill. He slept in the afternoon during World War II. World War II! The bigger budget one. The one with the clear-cut villain. He slept through that.

I am pretty tired.

Or da Vinci. He had the strangest sleeping patterns. I’ll just lie here. Ten minutes, Karim. Come to me.

Ten minutes, only.

Foolishly, KARIM walks towards the bed, and places his head on the pillow. Ten minutes, he thinks. Just ten minutes. Then a cup of tea and an evening’s worth of writing. Yes, a nice…cup of…cup of tea…



KARIM wakes-up a full 90 minutes later, exhausted.

What time is it? No. No no nooo.


You promised!

I did just lie! Heheheh!

You bastard.


Oh hey, you guys. Is it nighttime?

Go away.

Why are you so groggy? Did you try reenacting the drinking contest from Monkey Island again?

I need coffee.

No no. Go back to sleep. You might as well continue and get an early start tomorrow.

The bastard actually snickers.

BRAIN (snickering along with BED)
I’m just going to stay here with bad if catchy songs. Let’s see if you can sleep with, oh, what about—Nicki Minaj? Yeah, Nicki Minaj!—stuck in your head…