For Precisely the Same Reasons…

302 Days Until the Zombie Apocalypse...

So.  I said I’d check up on you and I meant it.  The month of January has come and gone.  Thirty-one days of your time left on Earth wasted and irretrievable.  And the end of February isn’t too far away either–I’ve been admittedly lax in my duties.  In any case, it’s a lot of time…jusr hopefully not a lot of wasted time.   So, what did you do with that time while you had it?  What have you done to prepare for the coming apocalypse?  Have you been practicing with zombie dummies?  Learning to use that beat up katana reproduction you bought for ten cents at your neighbor’s garage sale?  Stowing away lots of bottled water, flashlights, and MRE’s?  (Don’t forget the extra batteries retard!!) I doubt you’ve managed to accomplish any of this yet…you’re probably too lazy to have even started. 

I get it.  I’m a procrastinator too.  But please tell me that you are at least working on improving your mile time?!  Those suckers have evolved in recent years.  They don’t just amble along anymore like your boozer Uncle Ed, stumbling over their own puddles of drool while you have time to skip away just in time.  No.  Those suckers are fast.  (And no, I’m not going to argue with you about whether or not they count as real zombies anymore.  I know zombies were a lot more terrifying before they could run–take it up with Hollywood.)  The point is that you really don’t want them to be catching you and munching on your brain next!  That would totally suck.  The constant itch of gray matter oozing out of your fractured skull and congealing on your scalp would be way worse than that time you had that rash there.  (Hey, we did warn you not to see her…)  Plus, imagine all of the clotted blood dripping into your eyes.  Way nasty way to go blind!  Trust me, it’d be infinitely more appealing to have them just barely miss you–you know, that whole “I almost died, but didn’t” brand of exhilaration.  So yeah, you better be plugging away at that mile time.  Every second counts.  Heck, every tenth of a second counts when we’re talking about being eaten alive people!!  (Are you even listening to me?  Why are you still reading this?  Go outside and run a couple laps around your neighborhood.  The computer will still be there when you get back.  Besides, you have to get used to living without electricity too–zombies won’t be smart enough to run the power plants post-apocalypse!  Idiots…)

Admittedly, I’m probably not really one to talk.  After all, even zombies can use their limited intelligence to understand that fat people are juicier and more tender.  I did join a gym though–The Tupelo Wellness Center.  It’s pretty awesome–for a place designed to bring out your inner masochist anyway.  I’ve even been using the Machine of Death, aka the elliptical.  I despise it.  It’s horrible.  Go use it too!  Right away.  Yes, I do in fact know that makes no sense whatsoever.  Just listen to me already!  It’ll be beyond sucky.  But it will also help improve your endurance and your cardiac health.  When the zombies come, you don’t want to be the one huffing and puffing wishing you had forced yourself to go five minutes a day on the elliptical so that you could beat out at least one person on the race away from death!  If I can do it, so can you!  Go sign up at that cheap gym down the corner…no excuses!!

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to the more important challenge for our last year on Earth.  How did you make your life count?  Jump out of any planes?  Climb any mountains?  Or have you even taken the time to sit and watch the clouds float by?  I know it sounds complicated–I had that problem too.  I went through all of January moping and obsessing about what I could possibly do that would be new and exciting.  And I never could come up with anything.  Pathetic.  Granted, I psyched myself into thinking that I had “tried something new” by eating Fried Green Tomatoes for the first time.  They were seriously awesome.  Like one-of-the-greatest-foods-ever-awesome.  But.  Still.  Tomatoes?  Really?! 

It doesn’t count–not really.  I mean, it totally could.  If you tried some new, exciting food and it made you deliriously happy, then yeah.  That would count.  However, I was only using it as an excuse–a way to get out of finding anything truly meaningful to do with my life.  So it really, really didn’t count.  I spent each day afterwards sulking about how much it didn’t count–to the extent that I probably missed the opportunity to do all kinds of meaningful and insightful things.  (It’s kind of weird how we do that–sulk and miss out on all of the opportunities we think we never get…)

Anyway, I was resigned to not accomplish anything in January–and I almost didn’t.  Then we decided to go out to Tishimingo State Park the last weekend of January.  I went along even though I fully expected it to be an absolutely miserable trip complete with muddy trails and the sort of bitter cold humidity that doesn’t exist outside of the South. 

Then it wasn’t any of those things.  It was incredible.  There wasn’t anything overly special about it mind you.  It’s not Yosemite.  It’s not the Redwoods.  This isn’t California…

Buuuuttttt….

It was still really, really pleasant.  I haven’t gone hiking in over a year and I had forgotten how it makes you feel.  There’s just something about being out in the woods that lets you think about things and comprehend your life in a way that you never could in any other situation.  It lets you do all of those sappy little things–you know, like getting in touch with Mother Nature, God, and yourself.  No matter how often you walk through the same woods there is always something new to discover about those three “people” that account for the three most important relationships we are supposed to form in our lives. 

Anyway, this is what I learned…

Mind the thorns

1) Beauty really is all around us if you take the time to look.  Yeah, that’s totally clichéd, but it also happens to be true so suck it.  Take these thorns for instance.  I absolutely despised them.  They were seriously all kinds of evil and cut gouges into all of us.  Plus, they ripped my favorite thermal.  But damn if they aren’t pretty!  There is just something very elegant about them.  I think it might be because they can cause so much damage to us while living peacefully with the rest of the plants in the woods.  It’s almost like Mother Nature’s way of telling us to keep out.  It’s like the woods are self-aware and know exactly how much damage we can–and usually do–inflict upon them.  In return, they’re bound and determined to strike back.  Except that Mother Nature makes it look a whole lot more pleasant.  And we still like to think that we’re the more evolved species!  Does our own vanity know no bounds?  Fascinating…

And, speaking of boundaries…

Crossing streams required intense concentration =)

2) No matter what barriers we encounter, there is always a way across.  Again, clichéd.  Again, the truth.  To cross a river, you may have to pick your away over slippery, loose rocks.  To follow a path, you might have to climb over fallen trees and boulders.  Life has impediments.  But there are always ways to move forward if you are willing to make the effort to search for them.  At work, we strive to operate by the TB Way.  One of the key principles is a dedication to always “meet challenges with courage and creativity to realize our dreams.”  There is always a way.  Nothing is ever impossible. 

Granted, that doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily like the only path across that river…

There's nothing in the world quite like wet jeans...

3) Sometimes, in order to get across, you have to fall in first.  I know, I know, this too is a cliché.  Are you sensing a pattern here yet?  Anyway, God gives us opportunities and chances to make things better.  But that doesn’t mean that He will always make them easy.  In fact, it will almost always be the opposite.  To cross that river, you might have to get wet.  That’s all part of the learning process though, right?  We face challenges because that’s the only way to better ourselves.  They give us insight into ourselves that we definitely couldn’t get otherwise.  You have to know yourself at your worst in order to ever truly understand what makes you you when you’re at your best.  It’s that whole yin-yang thing.  Besides, most of the time those little slips and falls aren’t even a very big deal.  They always seem awful when they happen.  However, once you’ve made it across, your perception changes completely.  It doesn’t seem like a big deal at all anymore.  Wet jeans are definitely sucky, but they dry out pretty quickly in the sunshine.

The Secret Life of Trees

4) Clichés shouldn’t be considered clichés.  It’s funny how we like to make fun of things that are simple just because they’re simple.  It makes it pretty darn obvious that we are completely missing the point. 

Douglas Adams said it best:

“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much – the wheel, New York, wars and so on – whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man – for precisely the same reasons.”–The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Things are supposed to be simple.  We obsessively and needlessly complicate our lives.  And to what end?  It doesn’t make our lives any better.  In fact, it makes those wet jeans almost impossible to shimmy out of.  It’d be so much nicer to live like the trees where our greatest concern would be how best to twist our branches into reaching that perfect patch of sunlight… 

Sincerely Yours,

The Butcher of the Bard

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5 Responses to For Precisely the Same Reasons…

  1. *THIS IS A SIDE THOUGHT TANGENT DISCLAIMER!* 😀

    You know, reading this makes me think of what is and what is not important within my own subjective definitions that correspond to the life I have shaped around me. My thought process may be a loose tangent, but it’s what I thought of after reading this twice. We live in a vastly multi-faceted world and seem to be paradoxical in nature. We enjoy growing technologies that not only provide us with the latest video games but the latest surgical lasers or circuitry for our defense grids, however in the production of these items humanity is deepening our so-called carbon footprint upon a damaged earth. Responses to this can range from ‘oh well’ to eco-terrorism. The round-about reasoning for that example is that we are complicated creatures that have created amazing things, but we do not stop to think or analyze beyond the initial thought. We want new technologies that can save our lives, aid in poverty, and/or add comfort; which is awesome, but we do not think about the plastics that are saturating our oceans at vast ppm’s or silicon and mercury making drinking waters toxic as an opportunity cost. So it is really how we look at things that define our own worlds when many think ‘ooooh shiny,’ instead of ‘ooooh, shiny. Wait, this company is notorious for not recycling their wastes or old machinery. I know another company that is far more eco-friendly, I will purchase a comparable product from them….even if the accessories don’t glow in the dark and speak Klingon.’ You in effect have controlled an aspect of your world because you thought beyond the initial desire.

    So to avoid a vast amount of figures and numbers, let’s take this down about a thousand notches. Right now I’m looking out my window and can see a cherry blossom tree. My initial response is that it’s quite beautiful, I love Japanese art and these are a prominent subject, my secondary response is that of a memory of cherry blossom trees that surrounded my school as a child and how myself and schoolmates would enjoy being showered in them (regardless of the tree’s likely desire to hold on to the blossoms), thirdly, and upon thinking further, I wondered if I could still remember the Kreb’s cycle…hold on, I’m checking google….yes I do (woot!), and finally I decided I wanted strawberry jam instead of cherry jam when I go the grocery store. . So I would imagine that my initial superficial response is based on the color schematic, aesthetically it’s striking, second is based off some emotion stored up, third is based on intellectual inquiry, and fourthly I think of something mundane but practical within my life, such as going to the grocery story. The analysis of the tree may seem over-kill, but it’s what came naturally within about 10 seconds of staring at the tree inspired by your post, I could also note I was sipping coffee and decided to change into clean pajama pants instead of jeans this morning, so I now may have created new associations. Point being, I shaped those 10 seconds in my own image within my own microcosm, and I rather enjoyed it. So I suppose that is what is important to me,upon seeing or experiencing something, whether I enjoy it (i.e. cherry blossoms) or despise it (i.e. current political forums), my reactions, subsequent reactions, and analysis allow me control the dependent variables, and that is one of many things that make me happy.

    Thank you for my mini-obscure thought pattern today, i enjoyed it very much. ❤ you

    • Exactly! You are so completely right that it’s not even funny!! I think that all of us are naturally ADD in our heads. I love it when I think of something that’s so completely random that I have to sit down and try to retrace the mental steps that got me there in the first place. It’s always entirely random–and you know how much I adore randomness!

      Anyway, today we were listening to a presentation about hiking at the gym. A lot of the places that the speakers had gone too were on the West Coast==which naturally has all sorts of associations for me. This was the mental conversation that I had with myself over a period of maybe five minutes:

      That 74 year old man climbed Half Dome?! That’s insane. I remember how my Shakespeare teacher at UOP climbed Half Dome and she had to train for it for like a whole year. That was a really great class. I loved going to Ashland to watch The Tempest–even if they did make Prospero a woman. That was the weirdest thing ever and it totally didn’t come off well but that one chick thought it was awesome. Hey! She was the same girl who took that Nature Writer’s class with me. She drove us to the Big Trees and her car totally died while we were there. I spent practically the whole afternoon thinking about Jason since we had taken him there before he died. That picture of him sitting on the rocks is probably the most honest picture of humanity that I’ve ever seen. It’s been one of my favorite places in the world ever since. That spot doesn’t have any markers but it’s engraved in my head and I know that I could find it again because of how vividly I can still see him sitting there. Cancer is stupid. I was so glad that 50/50 movie didn’t end with the main character dying. It was such a weird role for Seth Rogen though. He wasn’t nearly as lovably nasty as he usually is. Is that even possible? Can something nasty be loveable? Probably not. Spiders are nasty. I hate spiders. Arachnaphobia scared me to death when I was little. I should probably call Vicki and see how the nieces are doing. I still haven’t mailed their birthday gifts…from last year. God! That’s terrible!! I should probably go and do that. I need to buy stamps anyway so that I can pay my school loan from UOP. I wish I didn’t have to–I don’t think I really learned anything there…except maybe in that Shakespeare class. And Dr. Raleigh at MJC was a way better teacher than her anyway. I wonder if he’s still in Australia. One of these days I’m totally taking my mom to see Thunder from Down Under. Because she’s awesome…
      Yeah. Not at all intellectual. It’s a little scary how mundane my thoughts really are sometimes! 😉

    • Also, because I love you and now I’m inspired…

      I adore cherry blossom trees. They make me think of Japan. Someday I’m totally going to go there to see them bloom. Vicki Blanchard always told me it was her favorite thing about living in Japan. I wonder if they’ve restored the old motorcycle yet? Richard still needs to take me riding on his someday. It’s definitely a Bucket List requirement. i’m going to have to do that sometime this year–just in case the zombies come. I wish they’d let the dumb blonde chick get eaten on Walking Dead this week. She is such a complete psycho! Wow…another association that reminds me of TV/ movies. I so have no life. I’d probably have more of one if work didn’t suck all of the creativity and motivation out of me. I need to get published and rich–preferably overnight–so that I don’t have to work there anymore. Brianna thinks I shouldn’t complain but I can’t help it. I’m so proud of her and how much weight she’s lost. We are totally jumping out of a plane in June! Regardless of how much jet fuel has gone up in price. Someone needs to invent hybrid jet planes so we can all save a little bit of cash. I need it so I can buy a new car. I wonder if Sadie would enjoy an FJ Cruiser or a Corrolla more. I’m glad I don’t have to work tonight. Hey–it’s past lunch time at work. No wonder I’m hungry. Think I’ll eat a lean pocket…bliss.

  2. It’s an interesting process how our synapses work. One moment we are thinking of Yosemite the next we are thinking about spiders, however instead of ADD in many cases, I would argue one has an active brain. ADD is over diagnosed and honestly a crutch for those who want Adderol for their kids,in the meanwhile damaging the studies for those who truly have ADD….oops tangent. Back to topic: we like to pretend we are a superior species, which we are in many aspects through our cognizance, but why is it such a bad thing to accept that we are still animals and incorporate that into our still (hopefully) evolving brains? We understand we need to eat for survival and though many cannot enjoy the luxury, we enjoy good food. We LEARN to cook with combinations of dairy, proteins, spices, and carbohydrates to create dishes that can sustain us and are pleasing to the palate. Arguably our pets have their ‘favorite food,’ my cats prefer wet food over dry food for example, but they hardly understand that the combination of tuna and bass is exquisite for their taste buds. Same goes with our sexuality, religious, moral, and honestly emotional aspects of our upbringing have turned this into a controversy, but the biology speaks for itself. WE ARE SEXUAL BEINGS. The clitoris (WOOT!!!!) has absolutely no function BUT sexual pleasure so to say women are not meant to be sexual beings is asinine. It’s unfortunate that we are attacked in that realm as well. So many women are raped and have that aspect of our lives tainted for an indeterminate amount of time, we have religious figures telling us that it’s ‘dirty’ and only meant for procreation, we have piss poor education systems that do not adequately warn us about the dangers of not using protection and the STD’s that follow. So to live in a sexual free-for-all is equally asinine with the ensuing dangers. However, sexuality would be a lot less ‘dirty’ if people would quit equating it with miscreant behavior, if the prohibition has taught us anything, it’s that Americans LOVE to do the exact OPPOSITE of what they are being told in the realm of ‘naughty’ behaviors. I have no clue why sexuality is attacked over say watching women wear half a million dollar shoes on the red carpet at the oscars when children are starving in our own country. I may not understand it, but I care more about children at a shelter than what my two gay neighbors are doing. So overall, we can be complex, we are emotional creatures that while can comprehend mathematical laws (which I find to be a true spirituality) that govern our universe we still are capable of murdering our spouses love affairs in a fit of blind rage. And part of the point of all this coffee infused rant is that we still have animalistic tendencies that may or may not be beyond our control, but our thought patterns are still governed by emotions just as much as rational thought.

  3. You’re right, ADD is vastly over diagnosed…and I’m no fan of Adderol or any of the other drug therapies we hand out like candy to our kids in this country. This part of it is the worst region for that too. I had a coworker who once told me that her five kids were all on it and that nearly two-thirds of her son’s kindergarten class were too. The teacher had recommended it in the name of improving focus. I call it lazy teacher-itis. But that’s a whole other rant… 😉

    I think we just get used to it all. We grow up with the idea that drugs cure everything. We grow up with societal norms as to the roles girls and boys should play. We grow up with black and white issues about things like morality that are SUPPOSED to be fluid and adaptable. It’s kind of sad too because there isn’t much we can do about it. Society NEEDS to have those foundations in order to survive. Sometimes it’s just hard for people to remember that those foundations should be built on sandy ground. That way, when the tides bring in change, we are able to shift our views to accommodate those changes instead of being swept away…

    …or. We could just endorse anarchy 😉

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