Archive for February, 2013

Partisans Party On

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

God brought up the subject of politics today. It’s not a subject that he or I like to dwell on too much, but we do have our opinions. Or at least I do; God says he mostly got out of politics when his son got into it. I can see his point, I mean look at how well politics worked out for his son, everyone thinks the boy is on their side but most of the people who do actually act like he’s told them to pretty much stay out of politics. Oh, well.

So the thing that God brought to my attention is that the election has come and gone, and it’s well gone at this point, but the political posts, jibes, and muckraking, have mostly continued. At least on Facebook.

It’s great to see an engaged electorate. And it’s also great to see that many of them are actually making cogent arguments, not just finger pointing and name calling. So at this point you might be expecting me to say something snide, to put down all these people who are keeping the battles going, but I’m not. To all you partisan fighters I just want to say, “you rock. Now keep up the good fight and may the best ideas win.”

Another Holiday?

Friday, February 15th, 2013

It’s a big week for second-string holidays. From last Sunday through to next Monday there’s Chinese (also known as Lunar) New Year, Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, St. Valentine’s Day, Susan B. Anthony Day (celebrated in two states), and President’s Day. Even the most prominent of them, President’s Day, the one that most Americans get off from work, is still not an A-list holiday.

To me, an A-lister is one that has a clearly associated activity. That’s things like Christmas, we give presents; New Year’s, we get drunk; and Halloween, we give/get free candy. I mean even Memorial Day is known for barbecues. President’s Day? Well all the auto dealer’s seem to have sales, but that’s about it. Where are the fireworks, the turkey dinners, or even the flying of flags?

So our two most famous President’s were born a little over a week apart. They both famously wielded axes, though there’s a big difference between upkeep on a log cabin and chopping down a cherry tree. And they were both famous for headwear, George for his wigs and Abe for his Stovepipe hat. So what should we all do this weekend? I mean we can’t all buy new cars. I asked God if she had any ideas, but she just shrugged. Maybe I’ll just sleep in. But not somewhere where Washington might have slept.

Be Mine

Friday, February 8th, 2013

So next week is St. Valentine’s Day, a day for the celebrating, and the marketing, of romantic love.

I’d ask God to be my valentine this year, but that whole “romance” aspect kind of gets in the way. I was thinking maybe we should have a day like Valentine’s but only for non-sexual love, sort of a “bromance” day but not limited to just guy-guy. I mean we already have a sort of “bromance orgy” day, we call it “Superbowl Sunday,” so we don’t need a bromance day, but we could use something more inclusive and more diverse. We could call it “Just Friends Day” and we could give that little speech about how we like each other but we don’t “like like” each other and have it not be a bad thing.

I asked God what he thought of the idea and he pointed out some dangers and pitfalls. If it really took off, would we be expected to give “Just Friends” cards to everyone? Well probably not, but then how good a friend does someone need to be to be “just friends?” And if someone thinks they’re a good enough friend to be “just friends” but you don’t “just friend” them, will they think that maybe you do “like like” them? And what do you do with someone who really did give you the “just friends” speech, but you’re not yet ready to be only “just friends” but you’re afraid that if you don’t then you’ll never have any chance for them to change their mind?

Yeah, relationships really are a complicated part of the human condition. Ultimately God and I agreed, we really don’t need any more holidays putting pressure on the ways we interact. Maybe a national “put bacon on your sandwich” day, though?

Morning Sickness

Friday, February 1st, 2013

I pretend to be a morning person.

One of the musical artists that God and I really admire is Ben Folds. Back in 1995 Ben wrote a song called “Best Imitation of Myself.” It’s a song about putting on a facade, but a facade that none-the-less strives to show a version of the real you. Your public persona, as it were. That’s not the kind of pretending I’m talking about.

There are lies that people tell themselves until they begin to believe them. And even lies they tell other people until both they and those other people begin to believe them. That’s closer to the sort of pretending I’m talking about.

But in a good way.

God says it’s like telling myself “little white lies,” until I believe them.

The human mind has an enormous capacity to ignore reality and substitute its own. That’s really the basis of hypnotism, we use trance states and mental gimmickry to program a new reality into our brains. We can tap into that ability to ignore the tremendous hurt, pain, and devastation that our selfish actions thrust upon the world, as so many Wall Street execs have amply demonstrated; or we can use this quirk of human nature to make ourselves into better people than is our natural inclination, to encourage ourselves to every day make some small contribution to the betterment of all mankind.

I’m doing none of that. I’m just pretending. And I’m doing it to make my own life a little better but not at the expense of everyone else. In fact, by making my own life a little better, I’m actually making other people’s lives a little better too, but that’s a completely accidental side effect.

See, like so many people I’m really fond of electric light. It allows me to do things when the sun isn’t bothersomely out visible in the sky. Ever since I read Tolkien’s most famous works back when I was in Junior High, I’ve called the sun by its rightful name, “the evil yellow-face.” This has a lot to do with having what George Carlin refers to as “phosphorescent Irish skin.” I don’t tan, I freckle. And as a lot of people can tell you, the road to freckles is paved with second degree sunburns. So like I was saying, I like to do things at night, which leads to staying up late, which leads to sleeping in late, which leads to not being a “morning person.”

But then I moved to Arizona, to the Sonoran Desert. As much as I dislike the morning sun, that’s got nothing on the sun that’s out in the afternoons in Phoenix. So I learned to do things like go to the zoo from seven in the morning until no later than nine or ten. I did my grocery shopping when the store first opened in the morning. Anything I could do before noon, I did. And I discovered that even in Phoenix, when it came to not being a morning person, I was a pauper. I could pretend to be a morning person and go out and get stuff done. Other people, didn’t seem to be able to do this.

So I not only got to do things in the cool of the day, I got to do them relatively alone. And I may have mentioned before, I’m rather fond of being alone. So I’m not in Phoenix anymore but I still look for ways to do things when other people aren’t, I still pretend to be a morning person, it’s just that now I do it to save my sanity, not to save my skin.