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I have a random-access brain. I'm not apologising, just warning you.
They say a tinfoil hat helps.
Random Thoughts (Again)
- When you're beginning to think you can't please anybody at all, it's time to take a step backwards. Ask, 'Why am I not pleasing myself?' and go from there.
- The best moments in life are the ones that weren't planned and don't cost anything. Let things happen. The best thoughts you have might be ones that just happen, too, when everybody else is thinking about something different.
- Life isn't about winning. [If you disagree, that's fine, go read the sports pages.] It's not even about scoring points. The other day, I read an anecdote by the late (and much-loved) Fred McFeely Rogers, so I looked up the commencement address he gave in 2002 at his alma mater, Dartmouth College. In addition to telling the anecdote about the children at the Special Olympics – the ones who all stopped running when a fellow participant fell, and walked to the finish line together – Mr Rogers quoted Boethius, 'O happy race of mortals, if your hearts are ruled as is the universe by love.' Then, of course, he sang to his audience, because after all, he was Mr Rogers, and that's what he did. He also asked them to remember the people who made them what they were. So I stopped and remembered Mr Rogers, because he was a good man and gave me the gift of knowing that I wasn't alone in thinking the things I thought.
- Sometimes, clichés make you want to scream. 'When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.' Urrgh. What if the water's polluted? What if you're allergic to citrus? How about, 'when life hands your neighbour lemons, remember that you've got a cup of sugar in the cupboard'?
- Everything I have ever learned of value is about process. The 'facts' are always in dispute, but a good process is repeatable and stands the test of time. Maybe that's why the most popular Guide Entries are recipes and 'how-to's'. [I've checked.] Stopping now with a mental 'thank-you' to all those teachers who took us places and showed us things, like how to make buttermilk. Or how to milk a cow – thanks, Grandaddy. No bit of process is ever lost in a universe that is ruled by love. 'When life hands you lemons, etc.' is not process. It's what I call 'skipping the process'. The person who's saying that – if they're saying it to you, not to themselves – is asking for credit where no credit is due.
- I've been reading a lot of reviews of a film called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, a film I haven't seen yet. People seem not to like it. Fair enough, perhaps it is badly made. But the reviews made me dislike the people who wrote them. I don't usually dislike people for criticising movies, even ones I enjoyed. In fact, a devastating put-down of a film I particularly enjoyed often makes me laugh in delight1. See how different everybody's taste is. Oh, I can see why he thought that. What a funny joke. But these reviews sound mean. What do they mean by 'cloying'? It sounds as if they resent the sympathy the film is trying to make them feel. Do people with Asperger's Syndrome not deserve sympathy? Yes, they're obnoxious. Nobody who doesn't have Asperger's Syndrome is ever obnoxious, of course….or patronising, or thoughtless.
- One of the things I learned when reading up about Fred Rogers was that he went into television production because the first time he saw the new technology in action, a 'comic' was throwing a pie in someone's face. It made him angry – that sort of thing makes me angry, too – and he decided to do something about it. He took the medium on, almost 1000 episodes of Mr Rogers' Neighborhood's worth. [Spelling intentional, we're talking about Pittsburgh here.] I suspect Mr Rogers knew quite well the answer to 'What Do You Do with the Mad That You Feel?' To me, that explains – at least partially – the utility of our honest reactions of anger, annoyance, outrage, etc. We need to do something with the 'mad that we feel'. Something useful. But first, we've got to articulate it.
- Articulating things takes two – one to speak, and one to listen. [You can take turns, you know. I'll bet Mr Rogers would have pointed that out.] But what do you do when you haven't got anybody to talk to? What if the person you might want to talk to about something doesn't want to, or is a stranger, or is too far away, like a government? What if there isn't enough trust left in the world, so that you don't feel that it is safe to talk about those things? You can think those things to yourself. You can write them on a page. Maybe that's a way to 'punch a bag'…or maybe it's a way to 'see how fast you go'? From what Fred Rogers said, I'm pretty sure he would have told his 'mad' to God. I do that, too.
- I miss my dad. He would always say, 'You just do the best you can.' He was right, of course. You just do the best you can. But maybe, if you write it down, the best you can, and stick it up on the bulletin board somewhere, somebody else might happen along and read it. Kind of a message in a bottle. That person might shrug and say, 'Cloying.' Or maybe that person would say, 'Hey, yeah. I feel like that, too.'
Those are a few random thoughts. If they don't speak to your condition, in the words of the song, 'deal me out, thank you kindly, pass me by'. But you might enjoy some of the links.