Friday, October 16, 2009

Should stop / Unlikely to stop

I recall a tattoo on the thighs of an NCVC rider (Chris C., I believe) saying something like: "Can Stop" on the right thigh and "Won't Stop!" on the left. Or maybe it was "Unlikely to stop! / This train don't stop!" although that's a lot to put on one's thighs.

Wait, now that I think of it, his thighs read "Should stop" and "Won't stop" (confirmation at Mr. Garcia's blog). It is, indeed, "Should stop / Won't stop," implying that, verily, I am aware that, normatively and by all conceivable measures of human endurance, I should no longer be able to keep going, but I am nonetheless still going.

A tattoo is a lifelong sentiment and a tattoo must be concise. The problem is, as every lawyer will tell you, that the shorter a statement is, the longer its possible interpretations.

That's why I don't have a tattoo. Mine would have to read something like:

"In the event that you think these thighs, and not excluding the other parts of my bicycling "engine," so to speak, should desist due to fatigue or injury or any other cause, as determined by me, please be advised that this will not be the case, and that these thighs, including the other necessary parts, including but not limited to, my feet, calves, buttocks and parts of my lower back and abdomen which may be engaged in locomotive action, will not stop!"

I can't get around the nature of the binding future tense "won't stop." But what if I do stop? I mean, I do get tired.

If it came down to it, and I had to be as concise as possible, I might agree to this: "If and only if it is absolutely necessary to stop, as determined by me, I will stop. But in all other cases / Won't stop!"

I mean, how can I be so bold as to predict what the future holds?

Futhermore, I'm not so sure the non-stop sentiment is always a good thing. For example, my brake on my commuter won't stop when it gets wet, and I hate that. Yesterday, the damn thing nearly killed me. Stop! Damnit! Should stop / won't stop, you piece of shit!

I guess this highights the relevance of context. For example, here, it makes perfect sense:

In this case the tat isn't only a prediction but also a seal of approval. Obviously, this fellow has lived the "should stop / won't stop" credo. But the problem at this point is accuracy: "should stop / won't stop" is no longer something to be done in the future, but something that has been done.

The modal past perfect would have been more appropriate ("should have stopped / did not stop"). Such a tatto would be redundant, since, clearly, there was no stopping this man at the buffet.

If human nature is consistent, and it is, this guy probably is not finished not stopping. Thus, he both has been and will continue to ignore all medical research on obesity.

Character, said Sophocles, is fate. We get the life we deserve because of who we are. Thus if we know ourselves and our character, we can predict the future to some extent. In the case of Oedipus, this meant unwittingly killing his father and marrying his mother. Oedipus should have stopped but he did not stop. Eventually, all hell breaks loose, and Oedipus puts out his eyes (again, true to his "should stop / won't stop" character). Oedipus loses everything, but he, in turn, gains self-knowledge. He uncovers his true nature. That, too, is a product of his unrelenting search for truth: the suffering, and the truth that comes with it, is his reward.

I'm not sure I'm brave enough to want the truth, if it comes to that. No ink for me.


Tim Rugg said...


c said...

my mind is absolutely blown.

Calvini said...

You're a brave man, Chris, and I wish you years of not stopping.

Rugg...I'm guess you've got this tattooed on your heart or some bi-podal part on your body which I won't specify, due to this being a family blog.

Sam said...

No real comment except that the verification I was presented with was "palpha".

Ryan Simpson said...

I don't know what the hell you guys are smokin at the bike rack but its some top shelf crap.

qualia said...

more like this one. do it!