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In an essay of reasonable length, answer the following questions. Each question may be addressed both literally and figuratively.

Where can one find you? Where do you find yourself?

"Where can one find you?" the question asked. Well, this is me; you have just found me, captured on paper. Here I am, a collection of statistics, a distillation of test scores, number 00748 in a continuing series; a variation on a theme. I have been a part of x, y, z, and nearly 23 other letters besides. Sometimes it seems as though that is all one might ever need to know about me, as long as I appear to subscribe to the standard modes of reasonably intelligent thought. Appearance is all, as some would say. Thus, you find me here, in the rank and file of numbers and percentiles.

"Wait!" cried another question, just as I appeared to be getting ready to leave. I could not help but grimace with irritation at being stopped, and the question meekly addressed me. "Miss," said the question, "that cannot be all. Where do you find yourself?" I would not even deign to answer such a question that day, but my mind kept returning to it in idle moments. It taunted me with its complex simplicity.

A simple answer to such a question cannot exist. Where I find myself—I am in so many places. Usually, I find myself in the wee hours or in stolen moments on weekends. I find myself strolling between raindrops and between the lines of the 70+ novels I read in the last year; I see myself in every folded-over page corner, where I have partially destroyed a book in my haste to mark the presence of an irresistible idea between its covers. Often I find myself on the judo mat just after being thrown, adrenaline and endorphins flowing despite the fact that my face has just been crunched into the canvas. I leave a little bit of myself in the wrinkled mat; a bit of the tension and excitement of my judo match gets caught in its fibers, waits there for the next two participants.

I see a reflection of myself in the serifs that adorn the letters on this page. I could not help but smile when my own voice came through in my scientific research paper on mutant lab rats that I wrote at Saint Louis University; I revel in the sense of self that comes from such recognition. I have been trying to find myself a new philosophy; in my research this past summer I learned to solder tiny screws to use as electrodes, but now I must learn to solder gossamer ideas together with tiny filaments of silver thought. I would like to continue to collect such silver filaments at the university. My interests mainly lie in philosophy and psychology; thus, I find the idea of the university's interdisciplinary major, Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology, almost irresistible. I would one day like to complete original research in the area of cognitive psychology—as of yet, no one has completely demystified the mystery of consciousness, with many of the brain's quirks relatively unknown. I am confident that I will never completely find myself, nor the causes that underlie consciousness, leaving many filaments unconnected; but the interest lies in the search, not the consummation. In this way, I will forever be occupied, forever searching.

12:00 pm, January 01, 2002 :: erstwhile

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