It just is. You just can.

A prose poem on the maybe obvious

Donald Guy
2 min readMay 17, 2014

It is a fact of distinct banality that as one graduates from college in the US, one is launched into uncertain waters of newly-lacking structure. The weirdest thing about it, though, is that, as your mother and kindergarden teacher told you, “you can do anything you set your mind to”.

Or perhaps more, the generalization of that:

any one
do any thing they set their mind to.

can. Not will, but can. It is possible, at least maybe. There are physics, there is history, there is probability, and that is about it as far as constraints go.

That is weird, right? Cause like, it’s maybe obvious, but that’s just, straight up, not what you or I (thought we) were taught. When your mother or kindergarden teacher or wrestling coach or violin instructor told you you could do anything, there was an implied
“so long as you follow these rules;
“so long as you meet the deadlines;
“so long as you engage in this artificial and regimented system around you
ad nauseum”. Right?

But those systems were never everlasting. What is today an institution was once an idea. What is today a nation was once a couple of dudes with an opinion and an attitude (or does it sometimes go back to speciation?)

Your school was only a school cause the administrators and the teachers (and students?) set the curriculum and moved it along;
Your neighborhood was only your neighborhood cause the surveyors were paid by the investors, the construction crews came, the zoning paperwork was filed and the cartographer scratched it in;
Your street was there to build a house on merely because the asphalt was poured there;
Perhaps most surprising to me, my textbooks say what they say cause that’s what someone wrote there, and that’s what the various editors signed off on, at the limits of their ability, apprehension, and attention.

That’s it’s written doesn’t mean its right.
That it’s right doesn’t mean its written.

It’s banal. It’s truly, clearly obvious. But these are the facts I am still learning each day.