“Don’t Worry About What Other People Think” – People

I worry. I worry a lot. I worry that any statement I make will be found offensive and that those offended will seek me out and attempt to harm me. I have no doubt that I am sufficiently capable of self defense. I did the whole Army year in a combat zone thing and currently work in a capacity in which physical assault on my person  is a daily probability. I have been trained, I’d simply rather not deal with defending myself. I want to watch T.V. and listen to podcasts and paint the trim on the outside of my house a garish blue in relative peace. I want to reach in amongst the proliferation of weeds I haven’t gotten around to weeding to pick my tomatoes and, when I do this, I want the only red I see to be the skin of the tomatoes. I want to live in peace.

Throughout my life, my excessive worry has been addressed by many. People say, “Don’t worry about what other people think.” The problem is, the people who have said such things to me were, themselves, people. If I’m not to care what people think, does this also apply to the people who tell me not to care about the thoughts of other people? They never bother to specify. They never say, “Don’t worry about what people other than me think, and only worry about what I think when it applies to what I think about what you should think about what other people think.” So I’ve no idea what to think. What am I supposed to think when I don’t know what to think about the thoughts of people who think I should fail to think about the implications of what other people think?

I bid you adieu…and a don’t

Adieu…think about this.

A don’t…overthink it. If you do you’ll think that you’ve gone crazy.

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The Sadiator

My wife and I spent a wonderful day at the Renaissance Faire. We ate smoked turkey legs and watched people throw tomatoes at an insulting pirate. We toured the torture chamber and the catacombs. We watched medieval dances, enjoyed acrobatic shows and trained bird of prey demonstrations. We were hailed as My Lord and My Lady as we passed through the various shops and stations. Most significant, in a petty way, to me was the purchase of a Gladiator-esque helmet. When I put it on I felt invincible. It was hot and smelled of metal and hurt my head but I enjoyed every minute. Then I had an epiphany.

Gladiators were poorly so-called. They had nothing to be glad about, unless, I suppose, they survived to fight another day.

We composed the photo attached as a tribute to those who saluted Caesar as they were about to die. Please consider the following a caption to the photo:

They call me a Gladiator. I am a slave who must fight to the death for the entertainment of a petty populace. Those who fight against me are all the more brutal because only my death guarantees their survival. I have nothing for which to be glad. I am, at best, a Sadiator. If I were to be brutally (pun-in-poor-taste intended) honest, I am a Clinically-Depressediator.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…travel back in time whenever you can. No diversion I have yet found is as effective at dispelling the stresses of modern life as living, even if for a moment, in the medieval past. I bought soap that smells of fresh-baked bread, for crying out loud. Can I get a “Huzzah!”?

A don’t…buy a steel helmet within the first hour of your sojourn to ages past. You will still be sore even as you sit, hours later, in your bed to type of your experience.

Worn Out Glasses and Being Stuck In One Spot: A Few Ideas With Little, If Any, Philosophy Behind Them

Would it not be strange if the lenses of your glasses could be worn out simply by looking through them? It would be. But it makes some sort of sense. Clothes wear out, but they are admittedly more roughly used than glasses. A science teacher once told me that glass is actually a liquid and that the panes of old windows will be thicker at the bottom and thinner at the top because the glass has run down like very slowly melting ice. I have never bothered to verify this claim, but it is interesting. Suppose that after many years of looking through the same lenses, they develop small holes where your pupil focuses most of the time with thinner glass surrounding these and then glass of fairly normal thickness around the periphery. An interesting idea indeed.

Pray let us consider the fact that everything that is a particular person can only occupy one infinitesimal space within the universe and that everything that is that person is confined in a meat-bag. It is so commonly true that it may not occur as weird to many people. But it is weird. There is an absolutely enormous universe out there and we are confined to one itty bitty space. All the travel a person may do in a lifetime, including space travel, equals a fraction of a fraction of the totality of all there is. The number is so laughably minute that it boggles the mind to consider it. It boggles mine, anyway. Why are we trapped in a meat-bag?

And why must we eat and defecate? If evolution is true, why would we not have evolved past the need to do these things. On the other hand, why did God place these burdens upon us? It is my understanding that he expects us to work and strive for sustenance, but why would this occur to him? I will freely admit that good food is one of life’s singular pleasures. I may oft be found dining upon the greasy gloriousness that is a cheeseburger or slowly ruminating over the flavor of a complex soup as I masticate the chunky bits. But the need to eat and eliminate still baffles me. What on earth is the point?

Lastly, let us extrapolate the profundities of everything. I garden. I garden hard and I garden often. I am known, to my wife’s chagrin, to stand in the midst of my vegetables, stock still and staring. It is fascinating to me, the process by which plants grow, mature and ripen. From a miniscule seed bursts forth abundant sustenance! How? I recently observed my tomato seedlings and wondered how this puny plant would be capable of ever producing a second set of leaves from its tiny stalk, much less a 1/2 lb. fruit in a couple of months. So many miniscule transactions take place in a single thing such as a tomato plant on a daily basis that if we lived in “The Matrix” it would require a computer bigger than the universe itself to keep track of it all. And these things happen on a massive scale every second of every day. Cells divide. Plants photosynthesize. Worms squirm. We digest our food at our own particular metabolic rates. Chicken eat bugs which, until they were eaten, ate poop and other such. It all happens whether we notice it or not! Mind blowing.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…consider these things which I have presented. It is sublimely insane.

A don’t…think me high or otherwise intoxicated. I think about these things completely sober and it makes me want to do drugs. I won’t. But I have to shove the thoughts out of my brain quite forcefully sometimes. I think the thoughts are my drugs. Also a don’t…think that I think these thoughts originate with me. Similar things have surely been said and written in the past. This is simply my take on them.

The Toynbee Idea: Mysterious Tiles and a Strange Realization Regarding the English Language

I think about strange things sometimes. No one who knows me is surprised about it anymore. During a weird idea acquisition binge I indulged in several years ago I became aware of the Max Headroom Intrusion, Toynbee tiles and other such social arcana.

The Toynbee tiles intrigued me the most and I think about them quite a lot. If you are unfamiliar with the phenomenon, I’ll explain briefly. Some unknown individual(s) have placed small tiles on roadways and sidewalks in the eastern part of the country. These tiles are handmade and most look somewhat like ransom notes with letters cut from magazines to evade identification by handwriting analysis. The main idea the tile maker(s) seem to be conveying is that the dead should or shall be resurrected on Mars. It is unclear to me if they (or he or she) want the dead already on Mars (Martians) to be resurrected or if the dead from Earth will be transported to Mars for resurrection. The reference something called the “Toynbee Idea” and the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

None of this makes any logical sense to me. Despite my confusion, the fact that someone finds the idea important enough to make and surreptitiously place these tiles (which it is believed are coated in some substance that gradually wears or melts away leaving the tile exposed only after the tile maker is long gone) is certainly intriguing. Couple this with the unknown identity of the tile maker(s) and it smacks of whacko conspiracy theory oddity, the study of which is a hobby of mine.

Anyway, this post is not about the tiles or the “Toynbee Idea”. It is about the way the English language works and how it seems that we somehow understand that writers of sentences and phrases do not mean exactly what they say in some instances. At least one tile calls upon others to make and lay tiles. The tile I reference states “You must make and lay tiles! YOU!”

Now, reading this we understand that sentence is designed to call the reader to action. However I am not “you” to me. I am I. Yet I still understand that the “you” the author refers to is me even though I never refer to myself this way. If I was unfamiliar with English idiosyncrasies, I would fail to understand that the request was directed at me because I am not “you”. If the author had written “I must make and lay tiles! I!” I may then understand if I was unfamiliar with the language. Knowing the language, however, I do not read in the first person so I understand the “you” refers to me even though I am not “you”; I am I. Understanding English, I am aware that the author would not refer to a stranger as I.  By crafting the sentence the way he, she, they or it have, they have caused me to understand that they are calling readers, rather than themselves, to action. The reader understands that the writer is writing from his/her/their/its own perspective. For some unknown reason, this fascinates me.

I leave you with a joke of my own crafting (as far as I know. If you’ve also thought of this joke or heard it elsewhere, understand that I am unaware of it and am not attempting to plagiarize.). What is the first thing two individuals who have just been released from prison experience upon getting married? Con-fusion. A ha ha ha. Confusion, con-fusion. Two cons now one. I apologize for that joke.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…look into the Toynbee Tiles if you are interested or literally have nothing else to do.

A don’t…make and lay tiles! Don’t! I’m sure it’s considered a form of vandalism.

Nerd Rant: Wolverine; Forget The Geneva Convention, Let’s Talk About The Health Code

To paraphrase Julie Andrews, let’s start at the very beginning; a very good place to start. When you count you begin with 1, 2, 3; when some unknown individual violates the health code you begin with Wol-ver-ine.

If you are unfamiliar with Wolverine, the basic premise is that he has the ability to heal very quickly. This ability allowed him to survive a surgery that coated his skeleton with super-strong metal. My first point has nothing to do with the health code, but why on earth would you need a metal coated skeleton if your bones can immediately knit back together? Anyway, Wolverine has massive claws that somehow reside within his hands, if the movies are to be believed. These claws may or may not have been present before the skeleton augmentation surgery. They come out when he needs them, somehow, and are the source of his many health concerns.

Wolverine can be seen clawing through many substances you wouldn’t want in your body. Metal doors, asphalt, helicopters and their requisite fluids and fuels, and various beasts, creatures and common-folk. Wolverine cannot be seen scrubbing or even wiping down his claws before retracting them. This is concerning and there are a few options here. First is the idea that perhaps his skin makes such a tight seal around the claws that offending matter is wiped off as the claws retract. Ideally his skin would then heal closed before particulate could invade the skin leaving glops of gook or grit, depending upon what he has clawed, between the knuckles. If this is so, he is never shown wiping between his knuckles. The other option is that the stuff makes it into his system on the claws and if this is the case, it indicates that Wolverine has antiseptic blood. Unless they simply don’t bother to address it, Wolverine never suffers from infection after retracting his claws. He must have terrible hand-acne if this option is correct. If all that grit and particulate make it under his skin, his body must be constantly working to push bits of doors, poles and people back up through the surface of his flesh.

The most egregious violation that Wolverine commits is the disrespect he shows for the people and creatures he claws and the teammates fighting beside him. Even if he has antiseptic blood, it doesn’t mean that victims of his clawings know this. And let’s say it is a huge battle with many, many clawings. Does he pause between attacks to sanitize his claws so that he isn’t spreading potentially infected blood from victim to victim? And let’s also say that he is clawing to kill and isn’t concerned with infecting those he’s fighting. Does he just assume that everyone else has antiseptic blood? As he’s viciously slashing un-friendly folk, is he paying attention to the blood-borne pathogens he’s potentially flinging about in a manner that is much more intense than conventional war-time mayhem?

It has been said by some, and refuted by others, that Wolverine had bone claws before his skeleton surgery. Perhaps when he allegedly fought in the Civil War, this wasn’t an issue. Bone is porous to an extent. Perhaps the claws used to absorb the very blood they shed for neutralization by his internal organs. If this is the case my previous point is moot. He doesn’t realize the danger he is placing others in. HIV and tetanus may mean nothing to him, and he may not even realize he’s flinging these things about. Still, I’m sure those of us who actively avoid infections hope and pray that, one day soon, OSHA, EPA and maybe even PETA get together and educate Wolverine on modern health and safety concerns. Maybe even some sensitivity training is in order. He needs to consider that not everyone is a giant walking Germ-X factory and the true wolverines from which he derives his name may not wish to be besmirched by an inconsiderate maniac.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy the superheroes of your choice despite their downfalls. After all, they’re just as super-human as the next individual.

A don’t…follow in their footsteps. Unless you have money and are a Batman fan

 

The 13th of Friday, 1st Part: Hilarious Tales of Unluckiness That Probably Didn’t Happen on a Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th is a day to celebrate, fear, or at least obsess over one’s favorite or most frightening superstitions. I am not personally superstitious, however I always enjoyed pretending to be. My brothers and I, not understanding fully the Friday the 13th mythology, would gather in one another’s bedrooms on such nights and read scary stories. We didn’t wander through the day fearing cosmic reprisal of some sort. In order to make up for this oversight, I present a few of my families misfortunes.

Disclaimer of Implied Accuracy:

Few, if any, of the following unlucky accounts occurred upon a Friday the 13th.

My brother had a horrible temper. It didn’t take much to set him off and he would set off after my other brother and I with bb guns or knives at the slightest provocation. On one such occasion, we fled the house to evade him. We were tiring quickly and our angry brother was showing no signs of slowing as his nearly super-human rage kept a steady supply of whatever it was that motivated him flowing through his veins. He was gaining ground and I suddenly remembered that one of dad’s junk cars had power windows and keys in the ignition. I grabbed my non-angry brother and we used the last of our stamina in a mad dash to the vehicle. We had just locked the doors when The Angry One skidded to a stop by the driver’s side door and began banging on the windows. He suddenly froze and we could see in his eyes a wicked idea forming. He jumped up on the hood, dropped his pants and underwear, smashed his “manhood” on the windshield and began to smear mashed scrotum across our field of view. I turned on the windshield wipers. They smacked him and his scrotum skin became trapped beneath the blade. You would’ve thought this would’ve made him angrier, however, he jumped down laughing and high fived me when I exited the car.

The same brother got us kicked out of a trailer park because he climbed up on top of our trailer and mooned all the trailer park kids.

The same brother made the mistake of listening to me when I told him to jump onto the couch. He did a sort of running belly flop and smeared a cat turd all down his chest. As mom was flipping the cloth couch cushions over, she berated me for telling my brother to do something dumb. “You know he always does what you tell him!” Am I to blame for his idiocy? Apparently so.

My dad caught his pants leg on fire once, but he was wearing combat boots and didn’t notice until the flames got up above his mid-calf. Many weeks later he caught the other leg of the same pair of pants on fire and again didn’t notice until the flames were rather high upon his leg. He kept the pants as fire pants since all the frayed ends had already been burned off and they wouldn’t catch fire again. As far as I know, they didn’t.

I entered the kitchen for a snack and tossed the pack of firecrackers I’d had in my back pocket onto a loaf of bread. As I searched the kitchen for sustenance, the firecrackers began to explode, ripping the bread to pieces and catching the packaging on fire. I don’t know if this is lucky in that it wasn’t my butt that got exploded or unlucky in that the universe was trying to burn our house down.

I once leaned shirtless over a lit shadeless teddy bear lamp as a child and burned my armpit on the bulb. A thin layer of skin pulled off and stuck to the bulb. I had to go to the emergency room and, I suppose in order to offset the bill, dad refused to throw the bulb away and it lasted a long time. My skin continued to blacken and was still present on the bulb when it finally burned out. Ironically, I had won the teddy bear lamp as the only contestant in a cute kid contest.

While living in an R.V. park in Tucson, dad took us to the shower room and let us shower without shower shoes. We all came down with horrible athletes foot.

In the same R.V. park, my non-angry brother rode his bike with his eyes closed right into a saguaro cactus. He came home walking a bike with a flat front tire and had hundreds of cactus needles embedded in his face and chest. Mom and dad gave him a couple of Tylenol, waited 30 minutes, then got out the pliers and prayed the neighbors wouldn’t call the cops because of all the screaming.

Our R.V. caught fire whenever we tried to cook in it.

We were kicked out of a trailer park 30 miles from Mexico, by illegal immigrant neighbors who were so disgusted with the piles of junk surrounding our trailer that they would rather face the possibility of deportation than be our neighbors anymore.

Dad left junk out and some of it got stolen. He left a sign spray painted on a chunk of plywood that said “Dear thief, how would you like it if I stole from you?” Then he laid it on the ground. He didn’t even put it on a post.

My angry brother got bit on the big toe. By a rat. In a bed we all three shared. As our non-angry brother slept naked because he didn’t have any clean pajamas.

My dad let 8 year old me drive our car onto ramps so he could crawl under and work on it. I didn’t do well. I got up the ramps. I got over the ramps. I jumped from the driver’s side door as the car sped toward the woods on our property. The first time I ever crashed a car, I wasn’t even driving when it crashed. Dad had a lot more work to do after letting me help him work on the car.

Dad built his own septic tank and when he put dirt over it, it collapsed.

I was born into my family.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…consider yourself lucky if you aren’t related to me.

A don’t…judge me. I learned from all my family’s mistakes. My children are safe and are not even given the option of underage precision driving. Or any driving. They don’t even have those electric little kid cars. Also, we have no cactuses and I don’t build my own infrastructure.

The Flawed Wisdom of a Moldy, Over-ripe Alien Olive

The strange creature I refer to in the title is Yoda. If you are unfamiliar with the character, he resembles a moldy, over-ripe green olive. And he is from a planet other than Earth. He spouts sayings that, on the surface, seem wise. At the risk of incurring the wrath of other fans of the Star Wars universe, I intend to debunk a couple of these.

Some may wonder why I would bother to do this. Surely, my debunks can themselves be debunked. But don’t bother to ask why. There is no why. Let that suffice.

In one of Luke’s many mind-bending conversations with Yoda, the past-its-prime-piece-of-fruit explains that “there is no try.” He counsels Luke to “do or do not.” This is pointless advice. It is blindingly obvious that you either do or do not. A try is intangible because at the end of every try there is either a did or a did not. I suppose the crinkled up critter could be saying something about your mindset. If you go into something thinking that you will rather than that you’ll try, perhaps your chances of success will be greater. But his statements are unclear and open to interpretation. Where is the wisdom in that? If you are trying to teach a concept that will aid someone in saving the very universe is it not wise to avoid cloaking your lessons in ambiguity? Plain English, please! Perhaps I’m being silly. Perhaps English is his second language. Perhaps he is capable of plainer speech when he waggles his pimento and speaks whatever language it is that alien olives speak. I’m sure it sounds something like the squeaky sound slippery, rubbery Mediterranean fruits make as they’re ground by human teeth.

One of the very first lessons Yoda teaches Luke is that “wars not make one great.” We can ignore the very obvious grammatical errors since we’ve established that English is not Yoda’s native language. What  I’d like to focus on is the fact this is a response to Luke’s statement that he is looking for “a great Jedi warrior.” Luke never implied, inferred or otherwise construed that he thought war had made Yoda great. He plainly stated that Yoda was great at making war. He was a great warrior. Not “he was made great by war.” Granted, in order to be great at war, one must participate in war and much participation could make one great at waging war thereby implying that war made him great. However, if it is Yoda’s intent to convey this, he once again states it extremely vaguely. If Yoda’s intent is instead to engage in learned discourse with his student, who is obviously quite distressed and impatient, it might do him well to respond to the actual statement that was made and go into such confusing detail that thinking of the implications of what was said slows the students thought processes thereby calming the prospective Padawan.

At any rate, what can one honestly expect from a moldy old alien olive anyway?

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…peruse the Star Wars universe for more tidbits to be analyzed. Even if Yoda is one of your favorites it can be fun to philosophize about his philosophy.

A don’t…hack my wordpress account, find my address, hunt me down and force-choke me to death should you have taken some offense to this post. I may not be able to wield the force, but I had one day of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu training and, though I don’t remember much of it, I’m really good at hiding.