My many modes

Today, as an exercise in self-exploration, I am going to try to enumerate some of the modes in which I function.

I am going to treat them like they are separate and distinct for ease of communication, but please remember that these are but facets of my personality, and I am the gem.

Let’s see. Well, there’s Fun And Breezy Fru.  That’s my mode when I am relaxed and comfortable but not particularly agitated, inspired, or stimulated. In that mode, I respond to what is going on around me but I don’t necessarily engage with the flow of conversation. I just do what I can “social basking”, where I bask in the warm feeling of being around others like they are the sun and I am having a nice day on the beach.

It’s a rare mode, and generally comes from a confluence of factors creating a temporary zone of peace within me, like the eye of a storm.

And while it is a happy mode, it is also fairly dull. Hence its short shelf life. Before, my inherent restlessness will move me to find something more active to do.

Then there’s Professorial Fru, or Didactic Fru.  EVERYone who knows me knows this mode. It’s the mode I get into when I am holding forth on some theory of mine or sharing some knowledge I think is interesting.

In it, I express myself clearly and colorfully but in a mode that uses a more formal vocabulary, sentence structure, cadence, and tone.

It makes me sound a trifle pompous sometimes. I am sure, but it works for me.

And it truly comes naturally to me. Ask my siblings if you don’t believe me. It’s the mode they found so galling when I would use it as a child, and it’s not hard to see why.

After all, I was far younjger than them, and here I was lecturing them!

Sounds adorable to me, but I might be biased.

It’s also the mkode I tend to slip into when writing these blog entries. It is the form my intellectualization takes by default and while it gets the job done, more or less, in that it conveys someting I am trying to convey, it arguably is the primary thing that leads me to wander off on a tangest when I am trying to express something emotional.

I would probably be better off if I could stay out of that mode and stay focused on the emotional message, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

All I can do is drag myself back to the point when I catch myself at it.

And then there’s Silly Fluffball Fru.  Those who mostly know me as a certqain cute and fluffy fox have seen this side of me. The real world, alas. has not.

It is engaged when I am feeling silly and playfully and firmly disinclined to take anything seriously, and as a result, I tend to riff off what people say, clown around, and have fun.

My friends know a version of this mode because that is the mode I am in when I am with them and relaxed and having fun. Being limited by reality, it’s nowhere near the flamboyance and expressivity of the fluffy fox version, but it’s the same idea.

Then, alas, there’s Barely There Fru. That is the mode I am in when there is a lot of heavy weather going on inside me and it is taking up most of my attention and that leaves only the barest shadow of me left to deal with the external world.

I imagine that those who know me end up seeing this mode on occasion. Superficially, I am showing no signs of distress or discomfort. At most I seem dreamy and distracted,. like I am sleepy. But I smile and respond and say everything is just fine.

But anyone with any emotional perception can tell I am not fine and that there is something strange going on with me. My affect is flat and there is a haunted quality to my presence. I seem “weird” to people.

It’s not a good mode. Eighty percent of the time you see me in it, it means I am depressed. The other twenty percent of the time, I am merely preoccupied with deep thoughts on some topic or other.

Oh, and let’s not forget Prosecutor Fru, or Hyper Analytic Fru. This mode engages when I have caught the scent of the truth and I start pursuing it like I am a bloodhound dashing madly after a deer.

It takes the form of my asking questions, more often than not, and if that was all, it wouild not be a problem. But the questions I ask are probing and incisive and delivered too quickly after each reponse, and that tends to make people feel like they are under the microscope and on trial for something.

I don’t mean to offend, I just get carried away by my insatiable curiosity sometimes.

Finally, there is Ship’s Computer Fru, or Robot Fru.  This mode gets activated when I am so engaged in my analytical left-brain thought processes that I lose most of my emotional affect and become almost robotic in how I deal with the world.

Usually, these trips into my  inner machinations are brief and directed at answering a specific question. But there are times when that massive brutal truth machine of mine build up so much power that even when the question has been answered. it is still running at full speed and not willing to shut down and that is when I feel alienated by my own mind, like I am not really in control.

It can be pretty scary. The feeling of power and competence I get when my mind is really ticking over like that can be seductive, and that is what tempts me to try to stay there even though I am also terrified.

Well, that’s enough modes for today. I have dozens more, of course.

Perhaps this article will have a sequel. Perhaps not.

Either way, you know what comes next.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.




Spoon shortage baffles authorities

Spoon Shortage Baffles Authorities

Well that didn’t work. It was supposed to be able to insert it inline!

Well let’s try it like this  then :


Local authorities are baffled by
the sudden disappearance of over
five thousand spoons from the local
area last night. We caught up to a
clearly distraught Mayor Tommy
Dougie Daniels to get his reaction
to this shocking crime wave.


The camera is following a portly man in a Sears business
suit, who is lightly jogging down the hallway.

Mister Mayor! What can you tell us
about this shocking violation of
the public’s trust?

The MAYOR pauses, confused.

You’ll have to be more specific.

A few moments of pregnant silence.

Oh! You mean the spoons thing!

Of course! Why, what did you…

The mayor resumes jogging

(rattling it off rapidly)
I just want to go on record as
saying that we are doing everything
possible to find the perpetrators
of this heinous crime and, most
importantly. get back our spoons!

I see. Tell me, Mister Mayor…
does the spoon shortage mean we
will have to cancel next weekend’s
International Soup Festival?

The Mayor once more stops, and this time, he looks directly
into the camera with a very serious look on his face.

Listen. I want to make this
perfectly clear. This weekend’s
Festival is on no matter what.

But when reached for comment, the
festival’s organizers said :


I’m sorry, Mayor. But we just don’t
have the spoons for that.


Hmmm. Still not right, but it will do. Click the PDF if you want the properly formatted version, if not, then… don’t.

Anyhow. obviously spoon theory has been on my mind ever since I brought it up in last night’s blog entry. It’s something I have known about for a long long time, but for some reason, it wasn’t until mentioning it last night then letting ti sit in my consciousness over night that it suddenly dawned on me that it’s the solution I have been looking for all my life without knowing it.

For my whole life, and especially adult life, I have been trying to find a way to express what I can’t do things which seem easy and obvious and totally helpful. I have felt very vulnerable and helpless because of this total inability to justify or explain myself.

SImply saying “because depression” isn’t enough, and not just because it’s bad grammar. [1] I needed a more specific way to explain to people why someone like me, who doesn’t necessarily come across as having issues, can’t do things.

Those who know me know I am somewhat of a hot mess, but people who are not that familiar with me see a very intelligent, well-spoken, self -possessed, confident (ha!)  individual who seems to have, if anything, fewer problems than most.

This contrasts wildly with the truth of my interior life, where I have trouble getting together the spoons to do damn near anything that does not consist of my usual regimen of video games and meals and blogging.

Even the social times I enjoy with my friends on a regular basis require a significant act of will to overcome the voice in my head that views the oncoming socialization as a violent attack by people who want to tear me away from my nice safe hole and make me go out there where I will be exposed.

Let’s call that goddamned voice the Rock Crab, who wants to stay under his rock and doesn’t listen to or care about anything else.

I see I have veered off topic. Back to spoons.

Spoon theory, and specifically the ability to say “I can’t do that because I am all out of spoons” or, like the organizer, “I don’t have the spoons for that”, is the key I have been looking forsince I was a kid

And not just for that specific languageeither, but for the whole world of expressing one’s lack of interior resources it opens up.

It even lets me explain why I can’t do sudden things. Why if someone showed up and said “You want to hang out right now?” I would have no choice but to say no, even if I know I would enjoy it and really wish I could say yes.

But I don’t have the spoons for it. In order to be able to leave my teeny tiny comfort zone, I need lots of time in which to save up the requisite number of spoons. I also need that time in order to go through the many attacks of Rock Crab emotions I will go through before I actually do the thing.

It takes many spoons to defeat the Rock Crab. And if I don’t have those spoons, there is nothing I can do. The Rock Crab wins, and I stay in my hole, hating myself.

Now, looking at my psyche as a system (how INTJ of me), it’s clear that the real problem is that spoon generation is far too slow to meet demand. Both total spoon capacity and spoon production need to be increased until a satisfactory level of social capabilities are available to me.

But I do not know how that is done. Presumably some of my very deep social injuries need to heal properly before I can regain the confidence necessary for the needed boost in spoon manufacture.

It’s really fun for me to talk about spoons this way. Just so you know.

I deeply wish that I could be the person I sometimes seem to be. Smart, confident, funny, charming, and a heck of a nice guy to boot.

But until this black hole inside my soul disappears, I will continue to need to use most of my spoons as fuel just to keep from being annihilated.

And that has to come before absolutely everything else.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.



Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Funny bad grammar, but still, bad grammar