in which the past repeats itself

so I
saw people posting
their favorite books
they had read last year
and I thought, “I should
do that” and “I think
I CAN do that
fairly easily”
and then I went on
the site that I use
to track my reading
and got the list and started
manipulating it in
spreadsheet form.

at first the list was
a bit overwhelming
as it was 600-odd titles
so I quickly filtered out
only those read in 2018
and arrived at a count of
418. more than one a day.
which seemed excessive
even for me.

chortling and chuffed,
feeling highly superior,
I quickly fired off a tweet
with this number, rather than
double check my work.
big mistake.

further investigation revealed
the true number was ONLY
177. this now seemed paltry
compared to my huge boast
and furthermore I felt a fraud.
since someone had already
responded (shocker!), I did not
delete my original, lying tweet
but merely buried a clarification
amid the replies. further filtering
gave me the 25 books that
were published in 2018, and of
those, the 10 I liked best.

anyway the second, secret
point of this exercise
in self-aggrandizement
was to set my reading goal
for this year. 200, I said to myself
and filled in the box.
then I thought to look
what my goal had been last year.
200, it said. I achieved a mere
88% of this goal.

I tried to feel good
about myself nonetheless.
other people (presumably
gainfully employed, parents, normal
to slow readers, or all three)
were listing goals of 10.
25. one ambitious soul
said 52. ok. I can beat
that. the site is stupidly
counting re-reads which
in my opinion is silly,
but it works in my favor,
so I’m not complaining.

surely I can read even faster.
surely I can prove
that I’m the best
at reading
if not so much
at math.

solipsism

the world doesn’t really
revolve around me,
and mostly I’m glad.
that way lies madness,
something out of a sci-fi
movie when you turn on
the TV and the anchorperson
is saying your name, but only you
can hear it, and tinfoil hats,
and on the other end of that is
Kanye West.

all jokes aside,
he’s quite obnoxious and
if I were to be as egotistical
it would really be quite boring.
the world is actually far more
interesting when it’s not
all about me, I tell myself.

yes, there is a certain appeal
to the idea
of getting everyone else
to sing my praises so I can look
modest and outwardly deny
while inwardly urging them on.
the problem with that is
there are only really two ways
to make it happen: pay them,
or just become so undeniably
fabulous that they are compelled
to acknowledge my genius.
both seem like a hard row to hoe
with no guarantee of success.
I guess I’ll just carry on
being a tiny speck
in a vast uncaring universe.

what’s that? it’s not
all or nothing? I’m neither
God Empress of Dune, nor
a sandworm’s leavings?
well that doesn’t sound
nearly dramatic enough.
I’ll be both. just try
and stop me.