Finding a Friend for the End of the World

In Politics on August 3, 2016 at 9:38 pm

Enough already. We get it. All the words have been used. All the listening is done. If there are thoughtful, reasonable people out there whose opinions can still be shifted, it will not be because they were first disparaged.

I once had the good fortune to hear a remarkable Rwandan speak on the subject of rebuilding his country, post genocide. A question was put to him about how the Hutus and Tutsis could coexist after that. The answer he gave was simple: He and his countrymen had but one choice left: apocalypse, or a future.

They chose a future.

Must we in the United States commit cultural genocide before choosing a future? I don’t believe we must. I know it’s grim out there. So many of us are so obviously in thrall with fatalism, mistrust, and a kind of prideful empathy deficit disorder that’s genuinely puzzling. My theory is that’s what’s behind the Donald Trump candidacy; he’s the grenade. Blow up Washington, so the reasoning goes, and the people will once again have representation, no matter that the representation is fundamentally nihilistic.

The truth is, Washington was only ever a reflection of ourselves. WE put the money into politics. WE venerated wealth. WE created cultural warfare. WE turned against our neighbors. WE are responsible for our disastrous foreign policy. How can we know this is true? It’s the age old axiom: If everyone hates the congress so much, how is its composition so unchanging?

Most Americans evidently think it’s the other party which is exclusively to blame. What an easy fiction that is! How much easier would democracy be if that’s how it worked. Just vote the party line, dummy. But that kind of thinking has run its course. It’s stopped being easy because all the partisan hatred is too exhausting.

So where does that leave us? The grenade…or a future?

I think if you could ask a Tutsi if living next door to a Hutu policeman who had macheted a loved one is a perfect solution, you’d probably hear, no, it isn’t perfect. But these neighbors survived their apocalypse, and from their experiences have gained wisdom that so far has eluded our “first world” problems, over here.  So how far do we need to go before deciding that a future, however imperfect that future may be, is preferable to opening up our own holocaust museum?

So I’ll ask again: Must we commit genocide before choosing a future?

There are those who will say it is better to tear down and rebuild. Perhaps. But isn’t it easier to simply be reasonable with each other? Isn’t it easier to sit down at a table and listen when the other person talks? To be respectful, and show empathy. Isn’t it easier to be even two percent less belligerent, to actively engage in building new habits than remain prisoners to the exhausting status quo, or seek out conflict? Remember: If Washington is a reflection of us, why not start by changing the parts of ourselves that we metaphorically send to Washington? It may be hard to change ourselves, but it’s certainly a helluva lot easier than changing someone else!

There’s reason to hope: We may have lost Bowie and Prince, but not all the good people have gone. Every day on my Facebook feed I see smiling children and happy families. I saw a person post about the outdoor glider chair he inherited from a parent, and another post about a huge cucumber she pulled up out of her garden. There was a guy who posted a really awesome sunset from his boat, and a girl whose daughter recently started the third grade. And what about T-Rex Tuesdays? How great is that?

Isn’t this the real America, the real news? And if we choose to follow the real stuff, the good stuff, isn’t that the antidote to the poison? The noise of our politics may be too loud to totally tune out, but every time we choose to stay in the light, we, as a community of Americans, choose a new habit. Admittedly, new habits can be hard to make—but consider the alternative, as I’ve just presented it. Choosing a future means living to fight another day. American endures, and we course correct from within.

The Kraken of Stupid and Hamster Funk; Boredom is Good

In Humor on July 4, 2016 at 8:53 pm

So, we’re all at least a little stupid, right? I mean, sure, there are a few people out there who’ve got it going on. People who at least don’t look like they’re suffering from the same affliction as the rest of us “a little bit stupid” people–but come on. Are they really so different?

Think about the least “a little bit stupid” people you’ve ever known, the kind who, astonishingly, seem to know something about virtually everything, but are smart enough to glean from their formidable knowledge that they really don’t know much about anything. It’s a paradox; the more you know, the more you realize just how much there is to know, and therefore how little you know of whatever it is we’re talking about.

What are we talking about? Oh right, being a little bit stupid.

So here’s the thing, people: If the least “a little bit stupid” person out there is so knowledgable to know s/he doesn’t know much–does that mean that s/he is a lot stupid?And if s/he is “a lot stupid,” doesn’t that mean that the rest of us “a little bit stupid” people are actually gobs smarter, since we don’t know enough to know how little we know? (Stroke your chin right now and go, “hmmm.” Do it!)

Stupidity is the humorist’s wellspring of inspiration. It’s arguably why Donald Trump has become so incredibly popular–and I don’t say that to knock Donald Trump. I say that because his formula for success is to open that mouth hole of his up to release the Kraken of Stupid on a pretty much every day basis, and that’s worked well for him. Maybe because he knows knowing more makes you know less, and so he chooses to know as little as is humanly possible. You know, to stay smart. Besides, ignorance isn’t ignorance if it’s a choice. Right, Republicans?

Which brings me to my latest epiphany: It is good to be bored.

Now you might say, no, David, it is good to be a gangsta. And for the most part, that conventional wisdom still holds. It is good to be a gangsta. But we’re not talking about thug life, we’re talking about good old fashioned, doo-dah boredom. (Which, incidentally, would be good for the gangstas to try at home too.)

If you’re reading this, you have a pulse (good job!) but you may also have noticed that we live in a society where boredom is a straight up four letter word. We’ve always gotsta be doin’ stuff. Checkin’ your phones, checkin’ your phones. Social media, email, apps, games, calendar alerts–ooh–it’s ProsperingLunatic666’s birthday! Imma send him an emoji. Done.

Where were we? Right, our brains.

We’re in a kind of constant low-grade fight-or-flight state. Sitting out back and listening to the birds or feeling the fresh air on our skin can be a bit like putting a vampire into direct sunlight.

First world problems. I’m thinking young person nightlife in dark places. Sometimes there are pool tables, other times there are laser shows, sonic boom-inducing subwoofers, and hot bod contests that cannot be decently nor directly observed. There is always alcohol. Experiences are dialed to the max, and, for the most part, this carries into the next morning’s hangover when the sound of a pin dropping is both brain and earsplitting.

First world problems follow us as we age. Room is made in the budget for gadget joy. We’re constantly craving the next dopamine fix, whether it’s from computers, laptops, tablets, phones, video games, block buster movies, favorite TV shows, or else just a really nice pair of slacks.

Tablets–who the #$^% needed a tablet before tablets were invented? If we could go back in time and try to explain any of this to our younger selves, we’d’ve been all like, “Tablet!? Tablet?! What the @#$@$ flying cow fart is a tablet?”

But you know, all of this stimuli is just kind of putting our brains on hamster wheels. We spin and spin. Which brings me back to my thesis: Now more than ever, what we all need is simple, doo-dah boredom.

Boredom doesn’t come from the hamster wheel. Only hamster funk comes from the hamster wheel. You know that smell? It’s a little like poop mixed with wood chips or whatever it is they stick in those cages. Our electronic-addeled minds are like hamster funk, spinning and spinning. And sure, I know, right now you’re thinking, “Oh, this is just another ‘we should all unplug for a while blog,'” and, okay, sure, we should all unplug for a while. But how often do we talk about what happens after we unplug. Which is: get bored.

Are you ready to try it? Good!

Now, when you’re bored, your first thought might be to get up and do something.

This, on no account should you do.

No. First, you should just sit there doing absolutely nothing. Don’t make plans, don’t do budgets, don’t cheat and start on some kind of freaking clandestine grocery list. Just sit. Relax. Feel the detox. After five or ten minutes, once you’re good and truly bored, you’ll find your creative instinct, whether that’s applicable to your job, daily routine, parenting, spousing, or that really great pair of slacks–whatever–it’s that creative instinct that matters. It’s primal, and it’s the fuel of life.

For instance, creativity fuels empathy. It’s hard to be empathetic to others if there’s no imagination, and it’s hard to have imagination if you reek of hamster funk.

The creative instinct has a strong correlation with the arts. (In other news, water is wet.)

The creative instinct also generates stuff. Stuff is good for the economy.

The creative instinct is good for finding solutions when they’ve been otherwise elusive. (Someone tell Israel and Palestine, quick!)

So yeah, none of that can happen without first wiping the mental slate. And the best way to do that is to go get good and bored. Boredom is good. Pass it on.


I’m swearing off the news. (Message me if it’s the end of the world.)

In Humor, Politics on May 14, 2016 at 2:22 pm

America loves measuring itself against Adolf Hitler. Maybe it’s the mustache. Maybe it’s the stylish red and black arm bands. Maybe it’s because everyone loves to measure their equipment against a micro-penis. We may never know exactly why it’s so awesome to call people Hitler—but we know in our bones that it is indeed friggin’ awesome.

We know this because we read the news.

Democrats and Republicans are equally Nazi-esque, says the news, and once you accept this stone cold fact, then you have to conclude that Americans themselves are basically Nazis also.

(I mean—you voted, right? Gosh, maybe you didn’t vote. Maybe you got out-districted, or didn’t have i.d. Crap! That means the poor, teet-sucking, cardboard-bed-surfing, jobless parasites aren’t to blame!)

So yeah. I’m totally swearing off the news. I know, I know. It’s terrible. How ever will I keep abreast of the important issues qualifying a person to become President of the United States of America? (And by “abreast” I mean Kim Kardashian’s NSFW Instagram pics. And by “presidential qualifications,” I mean the size of Donald Trump’s hands.)

But, no. I feel I just don’t need the news anymore. I’ve watched enough and am confident that I’m self-sufficient at this point. They’re not going to report on anything that’ll change my mind, and they’re not going to change yours either and you know it. Besides, you can do what they do just as well as them. Cut out the middle man.

Here’s how it works:

You take a news story, carefully analyze it for historical comparison to Nazi Germany, and then enter the variables into your Sliding Hitler Scale. Next, and this is the important part, you break the little plastic doohickey that allows the sliding part of the scale to actually slide. That way, everything’s like Hitler!


(And totally easier than reading a bunch of boring history books yourself so you can actually know what you’re talking about.)

Here’s an example: Banning 1.6 billion people from entering the country (until we figure out what’s going on) is equally Hitler-like as the passage of the Affordable Care Act. You know how I know? Because I just said it.

Here’s another: Suggesting the passage of responsible gun legislation is equal on the Hitler Scale to hunting down and killing the families of suspected terrorists.

And another: Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, (emails) Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, ($14 million). Hitler.

Oh yeah. Bernie Sanders is basically a Jewish Nazi. Because Jewish Nazi.

If we could all become self-sufficient in our hatred, this country would be a much more American America. Think about it. We should be asking ourselves WWHD? (What would Hitler do?) Would Hitler hate himself for being so Hitler-like? No! He’d just shrug it off, and then go and build a few more gas chambers. Invade another country! We should all be so industrious!

We are all so industrious.

We may not be building gas chambers, but we’re pretty damn good at building straw men. (And women! And transgender bathrooms!) The point is, you can’t hate people for supporting Donald Trump. Think about it. Your Hitler may be Donald Trump, but their Hitler is Hillary Clinton. So what are we even arguing about? I mean, everybody’s got their Hitler, right? And isn’t that the most important thing?

(Any by “everybody,” I mean everyone but John Boehner. That guy’s got a Satan. Because when Hitler isn’t hyperbolic enough to describe Ted Cruz, Boehner reached down deep, manned up, went the distance, and revealed to a nation that, yes we can stoop further. Such an inspiration.)

But Hitler is the new American Pie. And I’m not just talking about sticking the nation’s metaphorical micro-penis into an actual cherry pie, like Jason Biggs in that movie. No, I’m talking about needing someone to hate. I’m talking about greeting each other on the street with the phrase, “What’s up, my Hitler?” I’m talking about waking up and taking your first bracing inhalation of those aromatic Americana molecules and saying to yourself, “Goddammit! I love the smell of napalm in the morning!”

Because, at the end of the day, Obama’s a Kenyan, Trump’s daddy was a Klansman, and Ted Cruz is literally Lee Harvey Oswald.

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