Thursday, October 15, 2015

Zoe vs. Apple Picking, Pumpkin Spice Everything, and Nietzsche

The leaves are changing. The days are getting shorter. I can wear clothes that hide my mid-section. It's the perfect time of year for apple picking, corn mazes, and nihilism.
Because if you need more proof God is dead, look no further than your local Shop Rite, where every product has a pumpkin spice version. Nietzsche* was ahead of the curve; he knew God was dead way before pumpkin spice Oreos, Pringles, and tampons appeared on the shelves of his local Lebensmittelgeschäfspeicher.**
Since I'm a sucker for fall, I cannot resist all the pumpkin-flavored things. No matter how disgusting they are, and even when I should know better, I keep coming back for more. Insert segue to Zoe.
That's not an edit I needed to fix. I'm just that lazy and I trust you know where I'm going with this. Besides, my lack of effort fits nicely with today's theme: nihilism.
And what's more nihilistic than a fun fall family outing? Nothing! According to Nietzsche!

Here are some of his most famous quotes, all of them related to the rituals of fall, coincidentally.***

You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.
Zoe subscribes to this view. At least whenever I'm trying to show her how to do something. If she's trying to show me how, then her way is clearly the only way.
The guide at the orchard showed us how to pick apples off the trees. We were to twist them gently at the stem then pull up. Zoe's way was different. She pulled and pulled until the apple came off.
It was expected that guests would eat an apple or two for free, but I don't think they expected all the free "sampling" Zoe did before discarding her once-bitten apples on the ground, and when I told her not to leave the apples there, she kicked them down the hill till they disappeared, presumably into an abyss. See? Nihilism. But with apples.

If you stare long enough into the abyss, the abyss will stare back at you.
Aside from the eventual destination of Zoe's discarded apples, there was the never-ending corn maze, a ground-level abyss. Zoe led us in. When we came out, we were all different people. I'm not going to say anything more.

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
Zoe was hungry. We had apples. And gum. She wanted gum. She was instructed to eat an apple first. Somehow she bore it, and when she got close enough to the core, I took pity on her and gave her some Trident.

I'm not upset that you lied to me. I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.
The pumpkin patch had a giant velociraptor standing in the middle of it. I told Zoe the raptor was there because it was the advent of the pumpkin that led to the dinosaurs' extinction. She looked at me, recognized my waiting-for-a-laugh face, then went right back to not eating her apple, a look of betrayal on her face.

There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.
Zoe's aunt and uncle bought her a motorized car that she can ride around their property. I think her brain exploded in joy when she saw it. I know this because she got upset that we were looking at her and tried to hide. One day, when she's a teenager, and asks why she can never have what she wants, I'm going to bring up this car.
We're calling it her "sweet ride." She can shift gears to drive backward or forward, and it even gets radio stations. She loves it. She rode it around and around until the battery ran out and needed recharging. And that's when she remembered her Nietzsche, specifically, the bit about how to live is to suffer. Not only did she have to wait till it recharged, she now had a creeping fear that would always crouch in the back of her mind whenever she rode it: How much time did she have until the power ran out? When Sweet Ride had recharged, her uncle told her she could ride it again. But she shook her head. She couldn't ride it anymore. If she did, the battery would die. Nothing we said could sway her from this madness. Until she ate some lunch and forgot.

All things are subject to interpretation; whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power not truth.
We also went to the mall, another American tradition observed in fall and at least three other seasons. Zoe needed sneakers. She's as hard on them as a German philosopher critiquing a Hallmark card. The shoe shopping itself was fine; the problem was the other aisles, some of which contained toys. When she saw the toys, she wanted them, and since we'd all been buying her the world that weekend she didn't get why she couldn't have a toy as well. "Do you have money?" we asked her. "No, but you do," she said. Clearly our refusal was an abuse of power. If she had her way, she'd spend her money on Legos and keep her holey sneakers.

In heaven, all the interesting people are missing.
That's cause they're stuck in the corn maze.

I'll leave you with Nietzsche's concept of the Ubërmensch, also known as the Overman, the ultimate personification of will to power. Often equated, falsely, with the DC Comics Superman. So often it's about to happen again.
Here's an exchange I had with Zoe on the way to the mall:
       Zoe: Grandma's stronger than Superman.
       Me: Connecticut Grandma or Queens Grandma?
       Zoe: Other Grandma.
       Me: There is no other Grandma.
       Zoe: Stop ruining my dreams!
Can't wait till she's a teenager.

Zoe: 113; Universe: 0
*Unusual for a humorous mommy blog, this is the second time I've referenced Nietzsche.
**German for grocery store. It just rolls off the tongue.
***By coincidentally I mean not at all.

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

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