Friday, April 27, 2007

Simulation (My First Ever Non-Humor Blog)

Imagine that you are given the opportunity to enter a simulation program that allowed you to seemingly go back in time. You would be transferred into your young body during your senior year in high school, or possibly another time in your life you enjoyed. You wouldn’t actually be going back in time; since it’s a simulation, you could do anything you wanted without worrying about how it affects your future. You would be allowed in the program for one week.

What would you do?

Of course, the answers are individual to everyone. Hang out with some friends you’ve lost touch with. Enjoy the Mexican pizza from the cafeteria you liked and haven’t eaten in years. Play your heart out in band practice, as it’s the first time you’ve touched a trombone since high school. Make sure to say “hi” and even hug that favorite teacher that actually passed away five years ago. Take in all the sights, sounds and smells of the Friday night football game. Drive around proudly in that piece of crap car you had that you now miss. Maybe even ask that guy or girl out that you never had the courage to way back when.

Now imagine that at the end of the week, the simulator made a mistake, and you were stuck in it another week, but in someone else’s life. The simulator made you a pastry chef in Paris, France circa 1950. You never had any desire to have such a vocation, but you have no choice: you have to remain there for a week and then the simulator would safely let you exit back to your normal life.

What would you do?

Again, the answers are individual, but certainly most people would make the best of it. Get up early, smell the Parisian air, make those delicious pastries, and serve the French customers. When you were finished with your workday, you’d go exploring old France! Walk the cobblestone streets, see the sites, drink at the pubs, and meet interesting French people. You’d take it all in before the week was over, possibly not wanting to leave. At the end, though, you would have to.

In both scenarios, you would make sure to enjoy every minute that you possibly could in the simulation. You know it is temporary, and there is no effect on the future, so you’d make sure to see every sight, hear every sound, and smell every scent.

Now ask yourself: do you put this much attention into enjoying the actual moments in your real life?

Why would you enjoy the high school simulation more than the moments when you were actually in high school? Did you take it for granted? Were you worried about achieving some future happiness instead? So many people put off being happy, or even paying attention to the moment they are in, for some perceived bliss in the future:

I can’t wait until we move to that new neighborhood!

It’s going to be so great when I finally graduate college!

My new plasma TV will be delivered on Wednesday!

When I get that promotion, we’ll be living on easy street!

I sure can’t wait to retire…that will be the life!

However, how many times do you reach a goal and find out it’s not all you thought it would be? Or perhaps it was, but you were too busy thinking about the next goal to pay attention? Are you actually living your life? Are you paying attention?

Every moment you have is precious. Even now, as you are reading this blog, amazing things are happening all around you. Maybe it is simply your young daughter learning a new word, or a bird laying eggs in its nest outside your window, or just light jazz playing on your stereo…but this moment is not ordinary. It is unique and will never ever happen again.

So what if you are not in high school anymore? So what if you can’t walk down cobblestone streets in Paris? When was the last time you took in the moments of your “right now”? When was the last time you took a walk down your own street?

In many ways, this life is like a simulation. We have no idea why we are here and why there are certain rules like gravity, respiration, fluid and thermal dynamics, and temporary existence. However, we have no choice but to live in this simulation, and therefore we should always make the absolute best of it. Stop stressing over some future plans for happiness. Start enjoying your life’s moments now!

Are you paying attention?

(This essay was in no small way inspired by the movie “Peaceful Warrior”, which I saw about a month ago. Many of the ideas have been rattling around in my head for years, but the movie helped me put it together. While the movie is not a masterpiece, it is still very good and, more importantly, delivers an excellent, possibly life-changing message. I highly recommend it. For those that came here expecting my normal humor-based fare, I promise I will return to immature bathroom jokes in my next writing effort.)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I Stayed Home This Morning and Watched Enthralling, Amazing, High-Quality Daytime TV


"—Are you overweight? Do you regularly get made fun of at parties? Was your nickname in college 'Hippo Harriet'? And your name wasn't even Harriet? Then we here at the Obesity Research Institute have great news—"


"—I'm Wilford Brimley, and I'd like to take a moment to talk to you about Medicare supplemental insurance. Do you realize Medicare hates you? Have you—"


"—and with us is Dow Jones market expert Fred Moneypits. Fred, where do you see the market headed today?"

"Well, the jump overnight in Japanese tech stocks has really given American investors a confidence boost. The market will undoubtedly go up today."

"That's fantastic news, Fred! Your forecast says it will go up?"

"Oh, definitely, Rick. Unless it goes down."


"—all I do is drop the tablet in the tank and you can see for yourself how the Mildew Fighting Polymers keep my toilet perfectly clean with no scrubbing!"

"You're RIGHT! And I love how it changes the color of the water to green!"

"Green? It's supposed to be bl—oh, wait a second." (Flush)


"—been injured on the job? Have you been injured on commercial property? Have you been injured while thinking about a Fortune 500 Company? Then we here at Wewill, Sueyer, Assoff, and Howe believe you have a case and should be compensated. Please call—"


"—you don't need to exercise! You don't need to change your diet! You can shovel entire buffet tables down your throat and sit motionless on your couch and you will STILL lose weight with this amazing pill!! And if you order now, we will—"


"If you are relying solely on Medicare, I have a message for you. Hi, I'm Dwight D. Eisenhower, and I'm here to tell you about a new Medicare supplement program that—"


"—oh yeah, the market is heading right to the crapper today. Wait, can I say 'crapper' on TV?"

"It's fine, Fred. But didn't you just say that the market was heading up?"

"Yes, it IS heading up, but in a downward direction. I know that may be hard to understand, but remember, I'm the Dow Jones market expert, not any of you chowderheads."


"—and with New Improved Klorox Bleach, I'll never have to worry about my husband noticing dirty spots on my kitchen floor again!"

"That's fantastic! Wait, what are you doing?"

"Putting the bleach in his soup. That bastard won't be bitching about the floor anymore, that's for sure."


"—Are you forced to buy two plane tickets due to your large ass? Do you have to grease your doorway just to get into your house? Have whales ever tried to push you back in the ocean? Do your high heels mysteriously become flats? Have you—"


"Do you realize Medicare is sending hitmen out for you at this very moment? Hi, I'm Edgar Allan Poe, here to talk to you about Medicare Supplements—"

(Click) "I really see the market going kind of sideways now, and doing some loop-de-loops around—" (Click) "—just spray on the window, wipe, and your windows will be clean enough to peek at your neighbors who actually do have a sex life—" (Click) "BUY IT! BUY THIS PILL NOW YOU FAT-ASS!! YOU TUB OF LARD!! BUY—" (Click) "—Medicare? I'm Christopher Columbus, here to—" (Click) "I believe our market has been having an affair with the German market—" (Click) (Click) (Click) (Click) (Click) (Click) (Click) (Click) (Click) (Click) (Click) (Click) (Click)