Friday, June 24, 2005

BLISSFUL THINKING

Survival isn’t easy. Look all around you. People in pain, distress, and discomfort. Everyone’s got something to complain about. Financial hardship. Health concerns. Anxiety. Depression. Stress. Some people can’t find work. Others work too much and it’s killing them. How did we end up such a mess?

You don’t realize it when you’re a kid, but life is suffering. And as you get older, you start to realize how much life sucks. Look at kids – wide-eyed and optimistic. Happy. Laughing. Smiling. They’re simply content to be. Then look at old people. Their faces show a lifetime of broken dreams, failed relationships, lost loved ones, and debilitating maladies. That’s not to say they haven’t lived fulfilling lives - but they’ve definitely lived. They understand life’s limitations. They know they’ll never golf on the moon. A child doesn’t know this.

When you’re a child, anything is possible. Everything is possible. You can be anything. You can do anything. You can go anywhere. Hell, I was still holding onto these hopes as late as college. Then you start a career, put a mortgage on your back, and start losing your hair. Suddenly your life starts to take shape and all of those childhood dreams fade like chalk marks in the rain. All of those na├»ve beliefs about the world being your oyster sink to the bottom of the sea of reality. You're stuck here - better make the best of it.

I suppose that’s part of the beauty of having children. You get to live again through them – filling their hopeful hearts with the stuff dreams are made of. You can feel their enthusiasm for the simplest of life’s surprises, like how the buttons light up on the elevator. Or how dogs run around jamming their snouts into the rectums of other dogs. (I actually still get a kick out of that, but that says more about me I think)

I think back to when I was young. Every day had potential back then. And everything was fun – except maybe the first day of school and trips to the dentist. I didn’t know what “needs” were, or that all of mine were being met by someone who loved me more than anything. I just woke up every day and did whatever was planned for me that day. School again? Day camp? Grandma’s house? Okay!

I really didn’t have much of a choice back then, but part of being a kid is making the very best out of every situation because there’s no tomorrow. There’s only right now. We forget this as we get older. We start living more in the past and the future, at the expense of living right now. We dwell on yesterday and worry about tomorrow. Meanwhile, we forget to appreciate that there is peace and joy in every breath if we just take a second to notice. Kids notice because they’re not consumed by tomorrow and yesterday as we are. Ah yes, to be young again.

These days I have more choices than I know what to do with, but perhaps ironically feel less free. I recognize the costs associated with doing things. How long is that going to take? How much dough will that set me back? Will they be mad at me if I do this? Everything we do has a price – every action a consequence. Little kids don’t worry about time, money, or consequences. They just do what comes naturally. And they’re excused because they don’t know any better. As adults, we’re expected to know better. But knowing better sucks - Ignorance truly is bliss.

Survival isn’t easy. Everyone’s got something to complain about. Financial hardship. Health concerns. Anxiety. Depression. Stress. I say forget all that. You’re here. You made it to the big show. So just sit back and enjoy the performance of a lifetime - yours.

DID YOU KNOW?

This new format enables me to link the title of each passage to anything I want. For example, click on DID YOU KNOW? It's active. It will shoot you to a link.

When I post links on here, the link itself won't be live. I agree - that sucks. Nobody wants to cut and paste links into a new browser window. So when there is a link in one of my posts, just click on the header and it should open a new window instantly. Give it a whirl.

One final note: if you're just looking for links, you can tell if a title is "live" or not because it has a different color and a little lighthouse icon next to it.

Enjoy!

GRAMMAR SUCKS

Why does “i” come before “e” EXCEPT after “c”? What the hell is that all about? They couldn’t just make a rule…they had to have an exception to fuck everybody up. Why can’t we spell “receipt” as “reciept”? Sure, it looks funny now – but only because that’s the way you learned it. At first I thought it was because the letters "c" and "i" just didn't get along. But they get along just great in Cinder, Reciprocate, and Rescind. The "e" is the troublemaker, always causing problems. The "e" is privileged - it gets special consideration. Well, I'm against it. I'm going to start boycotting th l*tt*r "*" right now b*caus* I don't think I n**d it anymor*.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

SOMETHING TO BLINK ABOUT

I highly recommend the book “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell. A well-crafted, informational breeze that will have you wondering if perhaps you think too much. I think I probably think too much, but there I go thinking too much again.

TRUNKMONKEY BUSINESS

Watch the commercial clips here. Laugh. Share with friends.

Some of the little details are priceless – like the book he’s reading in spot 5. Great shit.

www.trunkmonkey.com

SOCIAL INSECURITY

With all of this talk about privatizing social security, I found this link interesting.

http://www.bushin30years.org/view/?n=5&session_id=d1e57916c97f099468de1ef3fb7894cc

I’ve got a great way to save social security, incidentally: Stop fucking spending it on other shit.

Social Security was created because people in government decided that some people can't be trusted to save enough money to provide for themselves after retirement. You and I both know people for whom social security is probably a good idea. And like me, you may even be one of them.

Anyhow, to avoid having to somehow provide food, housing, and health care for millions of penniless seniors, some well-meaning politicians set up a mandatory government program that would help hard-working Americans (as well as people like you and me) save a few bucks for retirement.

But instead of hanging onto that money, our well-intended government spent it. Then they went and spent social security money they hadn't even collected yet! And they continue to spend it today…faster than it will ever come in. Is this a problem? You bet.

I once imagined a private bank account somewhere in D.C. with all of my Social Security contributions safely accumulating interest for my golden years. (Of course, I also once imagined Cheetos could cure cancer, so do what you want with that) But now I know the truth. It’s all Monopoly money…funny numbers shuffled about on paper.

Note to government: If you’re taking money out of MY paycheck every two weeks for retirement, make for damn sure I get that money back WITH INTEREST when I retire.

Every news story on social security for the past two decades has reported that we will not be getting our social security money back. But they're still fucking taking it, aren't they? This is what makes privatization so attractive to some people - the idea that you can keep track of your money as they take it...and have a little control over where it goes. Unfortunately, the problem in the end is the same: collecting it. They're still going to spend your money when it comes in. On paper it's growing, sure...but in reality that money is funding something you would have no part of if you had any say at all. But you don't. You need money to have any say at all in Washington. And that's a fact, Jack.

Honestly, the concept of social security is a good one…and I’ve got no qualms about the government taking a few dollars and putting them aside for me because, frankly, I don’t trust myself to do it. But I’m beginning to trust myself to do it better than the bandits in the Capitol building. If you’re going to take my money from me for when I retire, hang onto it already. If it’s going to get spent, then let me spend it. I could use a new pair of pants.

Plenty fun food for thought here:

http://www.bushin30years.org/finalists.html?id=5357-4559967-m7kZZJYj9QgZmfM9f1aS3Q&t=1

URINE BIG TROUBLE!

I know you love these true news stories. Imagine you're driving along a mountain road in the middle of winter when an avalanche of snow suddenly sloughs free of the hillside and buries your car. It’s dark and silent. Your sense of gravity kicks in as you try to figure out which way is up. You’re more than a little bit scared, and you can’t help but start to feel claustrophobic. In a word, you’re feeling fucked. Things are looking bad. Real bad. Hopeless even.

Not if you’ve got beer! A man trapped in his car under an avalanche freed himself by drinking 60 bottles of beer and urinating on the snow to melt it. Yes, this is a true story. Rescue teams found Richard Kral staggering along a mountain path four days after his Audi car was buried in the Slovak Tatra mountains. Lucky for him, he was cold-filtered and fully kreusened. Rich described how, after the avalanche buried his car, he opened his window and tried to dig his way out. But as he dug with his hands, he realized the snow was going to fill his car before he would be able to dig all the way out. Richard was discouraged in that moment, so he cracked one of the 60 bottles of beer he had in the car with him (because you never know, I guess). He says that's when it dawned on him. He would urinate on the snow to melt it!

“I was scooping the snow from above me and packing it down below the window, and then I peed on it to melt it. It was hard and now my kidneys and liver hurt. But I'm glad the beer I took on holiday turned out to be useful and I managed to get out of there.”

Moral: Sometimes heavy drinking WILL solve all your problems.

THE MERCURY SPOON

Is it just me, or are too many people fascinated with what Paris Hilton does…which, as near as I can tell, is nothing. To me, her glorified persona seems to be emblematic of what, in large part, is wrong with modern America. Parents are too often concerned with making sure their children have MONEY instead of things that really matter, like values and an education. Money is good (and necessary) for things like food, shelter, and health care. But values and an education are what ensure our children, as adults, can provide food, shelter, and health care for themselves. If you give your child enough fish to last for a lifetime, they will overeat, get fat and grow lazy. If you TEACH your child to fish, they will eat fresh for the rest of their life. No, I'm not talking about Subway.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

NEW SHIT

They installed a brand new toilet at work this week. I was really excited about it because I've always wanted to be the lucky ass to christen a sparkling new throne. But my dreams were splattered when I approached the bathroom and heard the bowl booming within. Someone had beaten me to the flush! Yeah - I was pretty bummed about it (if you'll pardon the pun). I ended up being number two for number two, but later revisited to deftly execute the daily double. And it was a two-flusher, to boot. AYNtK has really gone to shit, hasn't it?

I SEE YOU!