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The four-year-old sees a commercial: “That’s the show we’re gonna watch.”

Me: “No,that’s just a commercial. The show’s on later.”

Four-year-old: “Later takes a long time.”

I’m thinking about later right now. (Oooohhhh. Meta. I’m using that right, aren’t I?) More specifically, I’m pondering the stuff that exists between NOW and LATER.

Meal time, playing with the kids, phone calls, looking at Tumblr, writing the blog, feeding the cat, washing the dishes, washing the cat (messy eater), trying to have a conversation with another adult, probably failing because the kids needs something or work intrudes, sleeping…on and on and on and on.

Every day pretty much like the other. Not a rut. Not exactly. But there’s sure a hell of a lot of sameness. That sameness consists of a whole string of events and actions that make up a life.

Dictionary.com defines “nominal” as…(Don’t you hate it when people use the dictionary definition in a speech or an essay? Me too, but deal with it anyway)…

“(of a price, consideration, etc.) named as a mere matter of form, being trifling in comparison with the actual value; minimal.”

I give you a dollar, you give me a houseboat. The dollar is a nominal price for the houseboat. Probably. Especially if it was MacGyver’s houseboat. That was pretty cool. Remember when Murdoc used a blow torch to carve “R.I.P. MacGyver” in the wall? Freaky.

Anyway, what was I talking about?

Right, for most houseboats, a dollar is trifling price.  A pittance. The boat is really worth a lot more, but for whatever reason (probably involving lewd photos) we’ve just agreed on this nominal amount to complete the transaction.

Life is kind of like that.


Wait. No. I meant the nominal transaction part. All the little, day-to-day crap is trifling, busy work. Will the Earth stop revolving around the sun if I don’t look at photos from the set of the new season of Doctor Who filming right now? Probably not (but I don’t know that for sure). BUT, while looking at those photos is little more than time-killing while waiting for the kid to get ready for story time, doing so makes me happy. The nominal activity of scrolling through pictures on the Internet for a few minutes enriches my personal life, which is a huge, not-nominal thing.

Sometimes you have to make time to do BIG NOT-NOMINAL THINGS. File your taxes. Get married. Get buried. Decide whether to go with gin or bourbon (Kidding about that one. Kind of.) Send the kid to college or blow the fund on a European vacation. These are all tent-pole events that, in the end, give a life its overall structure.

But all that nominal stuff in between? The Internet photos and Twitter and debating with your kid if Hulk or Superman is stronger and eating Cocoa Puffs not because they’re good for you but just because they’re GOOD…all that stuff is what actually makes the day-to-day life you have to live. Don’t feel bad for taking time for the nominal. It’s called living.

We all gotta do it, so might as well enjoy it.

So what are your not-nominal-nominals?


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