Thursday, November 25, 2010

Talent: The Eighth Deadly Sin

I was at work the other day and had a sudden moment of zen. My eyeballs stopped focusing and the work in front of me disappeared.

I knew it wasn't blindness, because moments of clarity are kind of the opposite of that.

Anyway, the thought I had was this:

To everyone else, our talents are excuses.

People are show-offs. We have to be. From the time we're kids, we want others to notice what we can do. And even though it's supposed to demonstrate strength and character, the motive is always a selfish one because it requires attention from another person to work.

But if the observer doesn't care, then it comes across as a cry for attention, unless you're really good, in which case it is passed off either as talent or luck and puts that observer in a jealous mood that he was not in before you showed up.

And if he does care, he's probably wondering how he can exploit you.

So, regardless of what you originally wanted to prove, a jealous person now cares more about the talent you have than who you are, and is plotting to exploit your gift to his own end and prove to another person that he can beat you at your own game before you even finished it.

Then my vision returned and I saw a sentence that needed a comma.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Electing to Vote

Voting is important. Do you know how I know? Because I have been told by other people. I have also been told why it's important, by other people. But no one has ever asked me why I think it's important.

And if they do, they will be really disappointed.

Because it's just as important to recognize your right to vote as it is to recognize your right not to vote.

I'm not being unpatriotic, that's simply the freedom of choice. And if you try to put more value on your pro-voting viewpoint, that's fine.

But if you spin it into why it's right for me, that's unpatriotic. For now, let's call it ballotism.

I talked to someone today who was planning not to vote. Instead of lecturing her, I said, "Okay." Because for her, it's the right choice.

Then I talked to someone else, who grilled me on who I would vote for. Just for the insinuation, I replied, "Whoever's the Democrat."

I hate when Republicans do that, but for a different reason.

Anyway, that answer was not correct. "Okay, who's the democratic candidate for governor?" "The Democrat." "But who is it?" "It doesn't matter, it will tell me on the ballot." "But it's important to know who it is!"


Will he do a better job tucking in my child at night?

Will he do a better job watching Firefly with my wife?

Can he sauté asparagus better than me?

The answer to these questions, of course, is "Get out of my house."

Soldiers who gave their lives for our right to choose did not do it so we could act like children on the political playground, singling out others in their name just because they do not want to vote. That's a choice too. Let them be.

"But their vote counts!"

That's because they're in a free country. Let them be.

The easiest mistake to make is assuming that, if it's important to you, then it should be important to everyone. By that logic, it should be important for you to wash your whites in warm water because I do. No. It's important for me to wash my whites at all. You can do whatever the hell you want. That's freedom. And I'm not going to get up in your face on Laundry Day because you don't want to do yours. That's your choice. Plus you might smell bad.

I survived through all eight of the Reagan years and sixteen years under two Bushes. If I learned anything, it's that you can live on less and get really jaded, so I understand the importance of voting. But in this politically polarized country, I also learned the fine art of self-preservation that comes with choosing whether or not to participate. It restores reason, calms the nerves, and hands the choice back over to you. That's the power of free thinking, and that's where your vote should come from.

So why do I think voting is important? Because it makes me a better man in my small, ample world, not a tally mark among the millions on the winning or losing side. (Either way, it definitely doesn't make me more intelligent.)

Politics is an endless losing battle fought by the richest one percent of this country's most stubborn, sunshine-blowing morons, which makes it a matter of philosophy I can't possibly condone.

I vote for peace of mind.

Besides, if the other guy gets elected, then I get to exercise my freedom to bitch.

Which is really what voting is all about.