“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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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.

Chickens and Volcanoes; The Donner Party Goes to Dinner; Baklava Re-Imagined and Staying Unfit: A Few Unrelated Thoughts

In the past I have posted about opening a horrible restaurant with dishes whose names are subtle puns. The dishes are guaranteed to inspire vomiting and a general hatred of me on the part of whoever falls victim to them. I’ve come up with a new dish; although it is more fit for outdoor eating than for faux fine dining. To make this new dish I’ll have to go to Hawaii. I’ll obtain hundreds of chickens and throw them into a volcano. Then I’ll invite hundreds of people over for baklava. When they show confusion at being served heavily charred chicken rather than a sweet and flaky dessert type item, I’ll explain the reason for the name. “When I throw the chickens into the lava”, I’ll explain, “they scream ‘Bok! Lava!'”

Now that that is out of the way, have you ever imagined the Donner Party going out to dinner in modern times? I imagine it this way. They arrive at an elegant restaurant with a long wait for a table. They sign in. Donner; Party of Eight. They sit on the benches provided and the hostess periodically checks on them. The wait is long and as the hostess prepares to call their name, she makes eye contact with the party members…”Donner; party of…seven?” She questions. The Donners follow her to their table and she dismisses any concern. It is not unusual for a member of a group to grow weary of waiting and walk away. The party is seated and menus are issued. Dear Daddy Donner subtly takes note of the disclaimer at the bottom of the menu: “6% gratuity will be added to parties of 6 or more.” By the time dessert is served, the Donners are a party of four. And so on until there is only one remaining Donner. I apologize that I can come up with no more reasons why a cannibal might eat a friend at a restaurant. Perhaps you can supply your own fates for the remaining 3.

Now on to the unfit portion of the post. A coworker got beeped at by a thing on her wrist the other day and began walking in place at her computer. She explained that it was a “fit-bit” and told her when she needed to move more and raise her heart rate. I don’t want that. I want a fat-bit. Or, if you prefer political correctness, an unfit-bit. I want something on my wrist to tell me I’m moving too much. I want something to tell me to sit down and watch tv because I’m burning too many calories. I want my unfitness to be justified by some doohickey on my wrist.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy the traditional version of baklava. It is delicious and no chickens are harmed in the making of it.

A don’t…go out to dinner with the Donner party. Unless that’s your thing. Do your thing.

A List Of Pet Peeves Whose Existence Will Likely End Up On The Pet Peeves Lists Of Others

Following are some of my most incredulous pet peeves. Though they sound silly, they irritate me greatly. Enjoy.

  • Cling wrap that doesn’t cling
  • Coffee that doesn’t cough
  • A banana that refuses to vociferously promote banning Ana
  • Hitting a knot in a piece of wood with screw
  • Wondering whether the plural of Bigfoot is Bigfoots or Bigfeet
  • Children that refuse to listen
  • The misuse of there, they’re, their or then, than
  • The phrase “I could care less.” to describe a situation about which one fails to care. If you could care less, it means you care and are not interested in lowering your level of caring. The proper phrase is “I couldn’t care less.” in these situations.
  • The process by which cheese is made; cheese itself is on my favorites list
  • The sticky feeling left in my mouth following the consumption of Skittles
  • Cat food that doesn’t taste like cats
  • The fable that walking under a ladder is bad luck. It isn’t bad luck. It’s simply unsafe.
  • Poor attempts to redesign the classic comedy sketch “Who’s On First” by Abbott and Costello
  • Wearing wet socks
  • The number 11

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…celebrate your pet peeves. Nurture your hatred of the ridiculous. It could keep you from hating other people by giving you a venue through which to vent.

A don’t…hate people.

 

Winter, Dogs and Writing: A Disjointed Rambling From a Man Who Felt the Urge to Write but Couldn’t Settle on a Topic

We all know the virtues of a good dog. Except for cat people, that is. They know the…whatever….that a good cat has.

I’m not quite sure exactly where this post is going. I think families and dogs go hand in hand. As I write this now, the snow is falling outside. The faucets are dripping. I’m sitting in bed as winter wears on outside my windows. My wife’s Schnauzer-Chihuahua mix is gnawing on his leg a scant few inches from my leg and my Mastiff is laying just outside the open bedroom door on a Disney princess carpet my daughters stained with so much mermaid slime they don’t want it anymore.

Mermaid slime is not a euphemism. Mermaid slime is pink glittery slime we got them for Christmas. In case anyone was confused.

Dogs and winter go together as much as dogs and families do, I think. There’s something comforting about a sleeping dog when winter rages mere inches away.

I think this post may be more about winter than anything else. It is a strange idea to me that a foot or two of sheet rock and insulation are all that separate us from frostbite. I like that idea. The wind howls and I can hear it. I can see the trees bend and sway. But I am warm. I can see the snow falling. I can watch it pile up in drifts in the corners of the yard. I can’t catch it on my tongue of touch it and loose feeling in my fingertips. I am in the midst of the storm, untouched by it. This feeling intrigues me. It reminds me of how I felt in a tent or fort when I was a kid. I was outdoors, yet separated from the outdoors. I like to picture in my mind a nearly blinding snowstorm in the midst of which we see a faint glow. As we sweep in closer and the glow grows brighter, warmer, we see that it is a single bulb in a single window of a small house. As we peek in the window we see perhaps a family playing a board game. Of course, in my fantasy, a large dog lays beside the couch, passively spending time with the family. Or perhaps we see someone at a typewriter. Sitting at it, tapping away on a novel, is a stereo-typical novelist. If it is a man, perhaps there is a glass of brandy on a coaster and a cigar fuming in an ashtray. If it is a woman, the brandy is wine and the cigar is, well, whatever the feminine version of that is. Chocolate, maybe. And in my fantasy, a dog is present. Perhaps he is sitting on his haunches, panting despite the blaring cold outside the window, thumping his tail lazily on the floor. Maybe she lays curled around her person’s feet, warming them, inspiring the writer to pen (or tap out, in these modern times) a story of charity, love and warmth.

I went skiing once and fell so many times that at the end, my eyelids were weighted down by little balls of ice on my lashes. I had to stumble into the lodge and let my lashes thaw so I could see. A fire roared and a large dog lay in front of it. The sight of the dog (once I could see again) comforted me more than the fire did.

To sum all this up, I’ll say this. The cold loneliness of winter can be offset by a good dog. The snoring of my English Mastiff lulls me to sleep when it is cold out. I cannot feel it, but I know it is there and her normally irritating attempts to breathe comfort me. When family is absent or bitter cold lays upon the land, inches away, trying its hardest to get to you despite your electric blankets, space heaters, or cherished significant other laying next to you, a dog is necessary.

A dog is family when no family can be found. A dog is warmth when the world seeks to place you into cryogenic storage.

A dog is necessary.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…consider befriending a dog. ‘Tis a wondrous thing.

A don’t…give up cats if they are your preference. Unconditional love is great wherever you find it.

 

Jerkology 101: An Introduction

I, being a reluctant people pleaser and fantasizing unsung hero, have thought a lot about jerks. My distaste with verbal confrontation has inspired me to think deeply about the nature of jerks. I have been writing a field guide to common jerks.

Among my many eccentricities is an obsession with field guides. I have a field guide to fish. A field guide to birds. I have field guides to edible plants, poisonous plants, varmints, pests and survival techniques. If  “field guide” is in the title, I’ll find the money to buy it.

As I live with this obsession, combined with my fear of being verbally harangued by negative entities, it is only logical that I should create a field guide of my own. This field guide is entitled thusly: “Field Guide to Common Jerks”. It used to be “Field Guide to Common North American Jerks” until I realized that the types of jerks are universal. Versions of each jerk can be naturally found on every continent and in every city, town, settlement and village the world ’round.

I have written the field guide almost in its entirety. I had planned to publish it, but I decided that the stories of Sir Donkey Legs would be more marketable due to the originality of the characters (most of the credit is due to my children on that front). I still plan to publish the field guide, as soon I finish publishing my Sir Donkey Legs stories. So far there are two more ready to go, I’m  just waiting on funding.  The field guide will be given to the world. Until then, I offer it, for better or for worse, to my fellow bloggers.

I’ll begin by introducing you to Jerk philosophy. I have found that there are two basic types of Jerks. All of the Sub-Jerks fall under one of the following two categories: Active Jerk and Passive Jerk.

Active Jerks are those who actively try to physically hurt you. In this category you’ll find murderers, Satan himself and rapists. The Passive Jerk category includes such Jerks as those who insult you out of jealousy; cheaters and thieves.(Speaking of thieves, I used to work in a jail with a gentleman who would sing his own version of the classic hymn “Bringing In The Sheaves” which he called “Bringing In The Thieves” any time a new inmate arrived in our facility. If you’ve ever heard the original, you can imagine how humorous his version is in an incarceratory setting.)

This post is simply to introduce you to the idea of the philosophy of Jerkology. When you’re too afraid to confront others, you spend a lot of time thinking horribly of those who’ve insulted or mistreated you. The field guide is my way of passively dealing with that issue. I guess I myself am a form of passive jerk. Future posts will introduce you to the multiple different jerks contained within the guide. Be on the lookout for a book version, complete with illustrations, within the next few years.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…keep up to date on my Jerkology posts to determine whether or not you yourself are some sort of jerk.

A don’t…be a jerk if you can help it. At least not in public. Everyone deserves not to have been a jerk to. If that makes any sense at all.

Indicting Squirrel Boy: Evidence That My Son is A Woodland Creature

I mentioned in a recent post that my son is basically a hairless squirrel. I’d like to present some evidence to support this.

A couple of weeks ago we were outside playing in what was left of a recent snow. It was bitterly cold and I told my son to come inside before his fingers fell off.

Exhibit A: My son acted as if he doesn’t speak English.

He began to dance in the snow and chitter. I stated more loudly, “Time to go inside!” My son ran to the other side of the yard and disappeared between some evergreen shrubs that grow along our fence.

Exhibit B: My son startles at loud noises and disappears into foliage.

I began walking toward my son stealthily. As I approached I heard him scream “What!?” He burst out of the trees and ran to us screaming, “There’s a Christmas tree in there!” I said, “Those have been growing there since we moved in. They aren’t Christmas trees. Go inside!” My son again ran into the shrubs.

Exhibit C: My son has no grasp of logic. Specifically, he doesn’t seem to recognize me as an authority figure concerned with his safety.

When my son again emerged, he was indeed dragging an artificial Christmas tree behind him, stand and all. He placed it in the middle of the flower bed and stated, “This is MY Christmas tree. Finders keepers, losers leapers.” I explained to him that it is actually finders keepers, losers weepers, and despite his now knowing the proper phrase he should never use it because it seems to be a mean-spirited phrase designed to deny losers the right to reclaim their lost property.

Exhibit D: My son was extremely excited to own a tree. When his mom arrived to pick him up he implored her to let him take it to her house. When she said it wouldn’t fit in the car, he pulled off the top portion of the tree and begged to take that. He would be happy to own just half a tree.

We brought the tree inside and placed it in his room. When he came home from his mom’s he decorated it with underwear and scraps of paper.

Exhibit E: My son has a tree as a permanent fixture in his living space. It holds his clothes and creations. It could be called his home.

The prosecution rests.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…allow your children their eccentricities. So long as they aren’t dangerous of course.

A don’t…let them carry it too far. They are still human children despite their feral tendencies.