Thursday, 7 March 2013

It’s All Fun and Games

He wanted to be a pilot.

After being rejected as an airline pilot because of poor eyesight, a Los Angeles man cooked up an idea. He was going to fly, dammit! He came to this Darwin Award winning brainstorm in his backyard after having a few wobbly pops and allowing sense and reason to take a back seat. Tying a crap load of helium filled balloons to his aluminum lawn chair, he strapped himself into the chair with a six pack of beer and, already drunk and thinking clear as sludge, cut himself loose from his tethers and drifted off into the air... roving with the wind... free as a bird... over LAX International Airport... into the flight path of commercial jet liners.

We all do stupid stuff.

I’m no exception. Like the time I climbed a four hundred foot sheer rock face without ropes and proper boots and other safety shit. Of course, I was 12 at the time, but still... ya know? Or the times I drove my car one hundred miles per hour along a loosely gravelled country back road in the middle of nowhere that I didn’t know from Adam... cause it felt fun. Or the time I decided body surfing thirty foot swells at Kuda Beach in Bali might be a hoot until I snapped my neck back and lost all feeling on the right side for twenty minutes... and could barely lift myself enough to prevent drowning. Or the time I took a leisurely walk... alone... without telling anyone where I was... in the gang slums of Toronto... at night... just to prove I could. 

Or the period in my life when I sat by myself in my apartment feeling alone and sorry for myself drinking one or two or three bottles of wine every night until the pain of being disconnected went away.

Yeah... those were the days. The only difference between the actions listed above is the speed with which I was self-destructing.

We all do some pretty self-destructive shit from time to time. Mostly it's to add a little "juice" to our otherwise mundane lives (it's not really mundane if you look more closely) or to forget the reality we've created for ourselves. It’s not always physical dangers either. Sometimes we take emotional risks without thinking of consequences. In the case of guys like me loaded with far too much testosteroni (the San Francisco Treat), it’s a matter of "proving" I'm a man and having really stupid shit to share the next time I'm drinking with the boys. “You’ll never guess what I did...”

How many of those dumb things would I have done if someone had had been close enough and cared enough to be the voice of reason?

I have seen a lot of “I am who I am and if you don’t like it, Eff Off” on social media lately. It seems to have become a mantra of sorts, which is fine if your goal is to keep everyone away. I have come to understand over time (through bouts of blatant, potentially life threatening stupidity) that people who care about me will tell me when I’m about to do something idiotic. Those who don’t care will let me wander around in some sort of moronic, self-induced haze laughing at my expense waiting for the punch line because they weren’t dumb enough to follow along or they wanted to see just how truly stupid another human can be.

Did you see what that jackass did to himself? What a moron. I can’t believe he didn’t see it coming.

The problem with “I am who I am” is it is limiting. It limits me from becoming a better person because I refuse to consider another point of view. It limits the people who become close to me. What I am really saying when I repeat the mantra over and over is, “I’m afraid of change. I’m afraid of losing me. I’m afraid of trusting anyone because my trust has been betrayed so many times before.” Having close relationships is a protection for each of us from doing things that ultimately have the potential to make our lives miserable. The most destructive words in any relationship are, "I don't care what you think".

The chasm created becomes too wide to traverse.

While I can't expect everyone to like who I am, I am far more appreciative of folks close to me letting me know that my behaviour is harming me and, in some cases, them. Unless I let people in, I’m dooming myself to a life of being less than I can be. And I’m telling them, “I don’t care enough about you or your feelings toward me to take care of myself so piss off and leave me alone.”

When someone tells me I am harming myself by participating in certain actions, I have to realise they are speaking up because they care. Sometimes my actions are hurting them, though I might not see it until they say something. In the long run, although it may hurt my feelings, I would much rather have someone say what they are feeling than to just let it go and hope I might somehow blindly stumble upon the inspiration that I am not only harming myself but I am affecting others in the process.

Even though I may not take heed of the input, I would rather have someone care enough to say something. Ah well... live and learn, right? Or die and become famous on the Darwin Awards for being such a daft prat. After all, “I am who I am and no-one has the right to suggest anything different... no matter how much it might affect them.

On the other hand, I may be wrong about the whole thing, become a distant, callous uncaring loner and should stop caring what other people do.


Saturday, 2 March 2013

Skipping Off to Grammar’s House

Click to see the video

My name is Ed and I’m a crappy speller.

There are far too many people being axed.

For some reason, there seems to be a pronunciation issue with the word “ask”. It’s coming out as “axe”. I’m not quite sure where this particular articulation came from and it’s quite annoying and sounds violent. The “s” comes before the “k”. Really... it does... honest... I’m not fibbin’.

  • “Than” and “then” are not interchangeable.
  • “Your” and “you’re” mean different things and it is confusing when the wrong one is used.
  • “Loose” means it don’t fit right and “lose” means you ain’t got it no more.
  • “Could of” instead of “could have” proves the writer is lazy.
  • “You’s” isn’t a word. The plural of you is “you”. (Just like "moose" and "moose".)
  • “Irregardless” will never be a word... regardless of how adamant you become about it.

Why am I resolute about spelling and grammar? Perhaps it comes from my own spelling imperfections and a desire to improve myself. If I were required to spell “hasenpfeffer” to save my life, I would quickly become a figment of my own imagination. Of course, I could simply spell “r-a-b-b-i-t s-t-e-w” and escape the sodden paper sac by trickery. My desire to read apposite spelling and grammar derives from working hard to be accurate and I find it refreshing to see language splashed across my computer screen I can read without extraneous, disruptive thinking. 

1) I used a bunch of words you might not have seen before. That’s why we invented dictionaries. 
2) Yes, hasenpfeffer is a delicate way of saying you’re cooking the Easter Bunny. I wonder if it’s chocolate flavoured. Hmm... 
3) It’s impossible to keep track of the point of what someone is saying if my brain spins off on a tangent trying to decipher words and meaning. 
4) For the record, I spelt hasenpfeffer wrong four times while writing this. 
5) I know we’re all smart enough to get this. We’ve simply become lazy with spelling, grammar and acronyms. (If you don’t know what an “acronym” is, you might want to stop using them. Just sayin’. LOL )

Where am I going with all of this?

I’ve read, recently, a theory by Michio Kaku of how Earthbound society (that’s us) may move from Type Zero to Type One civilisation based on the Kardashev scale. We are currently a Type Zero society, in case you’re wondering, ‘cause we burn dead animals and plants for energy. 

During his talk, Dr. Kaku claims to see two paths which we may travel along based on the crossroads we find ourselves at now. The first path is toward destruction and, on that path, society focuses on differences. The second path leads to a Type One society where the focus is on similarities and working together and our energy usage comes from the entire planet (wind, solar, ambient ground warmth, etcetera).

As an aside, the fork in the road will be chosen in the next 100 years or so. The right choice will affect your kids and grandkids.

The point being, most ills in society which cause turmoil and strife are a direct result of lacking understanding and empathy which can be alleviated by speaking the same language and ensuring understanding between cultures.

Dr. Kaku claims we require four things to become a globalized society; a global communication system (internet and cell towers), a common language (English seems to be predominant at the moment), renewable and non-invasive energy sources and, understanding and acceptance of our differences while focussing on our similarities. Except for that last point, we have the makings of a Type One civilization. 

Personally, I would prefer to follow the path of understanding and acceptance. It sure sounds a lot less painful. If I can understand what you write or say, you and I might avoid many of the conflicts that arise from misinterpretation. We need to speak the same language without misunderstood meaning before we have a chance to live together peacefully. That’s why I’m adamant about grammar and spelling.

All we really need do is stop aks-ing other people.

I wonder if I can get chocolate flavoured hasenpfeffer this Easter.