Downtown Owl - by Chuck Klosterman

Horace stopped believing in destiny, sometime during 1955. His wife had not believed in destiny either, but she had different, less creative reasons: She felt the concept of predestination was lazy. She thought destiny was a mental construction for people who did not want to take responsibility for their own actions; she thought destiny made life too simple. Horace felt destiny made life harder. In a predetermined world, people were like slaves unaware of their enslavement. If not for free will, every human action would be work; every human achievement would be devoid of meaning, or at least devoid of credit. And that would be acceptable—except that you’d still have to do all the shit that came along with it. I mean, let’s assume Marvin was correct. Let’s assume it was Christopher Columbus’s “destiny” to discover the New World, and let’s pretend he was consciously aware of that fact. What possible difference would that have made in his day-to-day life? He still had to build the boats. He still had to beg Queen Isabella for funding, and he still had to significantly underestimate the circumference of the earth. He still had to wait for someone else to invent the compass. He still had to wake up in the morning. As far as Horace could decipher, destiny was a concept that forced you to live a certain kind of life on purpose, even though you were already living that life by accident. And that seemed immoral, not to mention stupid. Why would existence be designed as a redundant system? Destiny made God seem like an unconfident engineer.

It is important to have questionable friends you can trust unconditionally.

John Laidlaw had regrets. He felt bad about his habit of never tipping any waitress he knew he’d never see again. He felt shame over the way he pretended to show concern whenever his wife got sick, fully aware that his only true anxiety was that her germs might infect him, too.

We are remembered for the totality of our accomplishments, but we are defined by the singularity of our greatest failure. It does not matter what you have been right about, and it does not matter how often that rightness is validated by others. We are what we cannot do.

Here are things you need to do when trapped inside a car during a blizzard: 1) Stay inside the vehicle. 2) Remain calm. 3) Periodically examine your exhaust pipe, making sure that it is not blocked by snow. 4) Roll down a window (that is not directly facing the wind) one to two inches.