Metaphor the Heck of It

22 11 2010

One of the more common human complaints is unrewarded hard work.  I’ve experienced this myself — primarily in cases involving extraordinarily strong candy wrappers, but also in less important ways.  I guess it’s a way of feeling like we’re being recognized (and so, rewarded with at least attention) for our hard work, and thereby consoling ourselves with the impression of others’ sympathy. (Of course, there’s also that phrase about hard work being its own reward.  I believe this phrase originated during the transcontinental railroad’s construction, because according to Cory and my brain memories many people were not paid for their work on the railroad and also died.  I’m not sure that they died because they weren’t paid, but I have to believe it was a significant medical factor.

My job sometimes makes me feel like one of those people, specifically on the 13 days out of each pay period on which I am not paid.  (I prefer to see this as my work being worth a lot of money to my employer every other Friday, and utterly worthless every other day.  This is why I try to work harder on that Friday* than any other of those fourteen days: I get paid no matter how many times I pretend to accidentally sneeze on my boss.

Really though, everyone works hard without recognition at times.  This is good.  Places where people work hard and are constantly watched are called “prison camps in Russia, 1938” and are notorious for their lack of OSHA-standardized urinals.  Also everyone dies there.

But there is one arena where you can work hard and be absolutely lauded for it each time, every time:  Building Cookie Forts.  Yes, that is correct.  Building forts composed entirely of cookies will always get you plenty of glory and peer recognition, which you of course have no use for by this point because you are too busy EATING FORTY ACRES OF COOKIES.  This really demonstrates, in its own way, how we can all get past our individual feelings of inadequacy: destroying castles.  I’m not rock-solid on the dates, but I believe twelve of the famous military  “crusades” were launched by psychiatric patients fresh out of therapy, which is one of the main reasons for their profound and lasting success.  And it’s been well-documented in history (I have heard) that these “crusades” not only drastically improved people’s self esteem circa AD 1280, but also led to the invention of a term called “self-esteem.”  And of course, all you history buffs know right where that led:  America.  Yep, one day Christopher Columbus was all depressed and staring out the window while Enzo Ferrari invented the airplane, and then he saw a book fortuitously lying on his hands: “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, by famous author/time traveler Leonardo Di Caprio.  One speed-read through that book and he suddenly realized two things:  1) He could suddenly read English, and 2) He was way smarter than Leonardo Di Caprio.  The next minute he was putting on his Friday best (they only had five days back then) and hypnotizing the king’s dancing bear into giving him some ships so he could discover America.  And the rest, as you certainly know, is history.




*This Friday is also referred to as “Turbo Nap Day” by my department, but for different reasons**

**We take naps


5 07 2010

How could it not have been a great weekend?  I got off work at 1, and after putting all thoughts of the accumulated tasks I’d get to face on Tuesday out of my mind, Juel dropped me off at LAX and I was free to go.  Flying is something I do enjoy, even in coach – “economy” to United.  It started well, as the flight attendant asked me almost as soon as I had sat down if I would mind switching seats with a passenger in the forward “economy plus” section of the cabin who had a fear of flying.  I got to move up and gain a few inches of legroom simply because this man preferred the rear “safer” portion of the plane.  Hey, the way I see it, we’re crashing into the ground from the sky regardless in a worst-case scenario, so I’ll take the extra legroom on the way down regardless.

The lady next to me on that flight had experienced a couple of delays and missed flights getting out of Palm Springs (where a certain couple is enjoying their honeymoon), so we struck up a good conversation about the perils of traveling for work and the lame in-flight movie (How to Train your Dragon) before getting our food and drinks (not free, of course) and catching some sleep.  I got into Dulles around 12:30 local time, and while it should have been 9:30 to me (having lost three hours on the flight), flights always wipe me out, sleep or no.  John picked me up (after sneaking up on me in the baggage-claim area just to prove that he could have been a ninja if he had really wanted to) and we made the trek back to his place and collapsed in the apartment, awaiting the unbounded enjoyment of a holiday weekend.

Here are a few bullet points I want to expand upon when I’m not exhausted:

I caught four fish (in an admittedly stocked pond)

Experiencing the National Mall on July 4th

Trying to leave the National Mall on the evening of July 4th

-Waiting in line for the Metro

-Traveling on the Metro

-Realizing that we might have been better off walking the thirty miles from Dumfries, VA to D.C.

Timelessness of real friendships

Good and Ugly parts of American attitudes (see “waiting in line for the Metro”)

I’m already nodding off, probably because I got two segments of fitful three-hour sleep today, and a bit of jet lag is messing with my mind.

The fireworks were incredible, though.

The Thing About Things

23 04 2010

I’m finding the old “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone” aphorism (is that the aphorism?) to be less and less applicable to my mindset.  As I lose things, I tend to forget about them.  When I stopped having as much free time, I stopped worrying about keeping up with TV shows.  When my old computer broke, I stopped caring about playing games on it.  When I lost an old book I had been reading some years ago, I never again bothered to get another copy and finish it.

Really, I guess it just takes concentrated deprivation for me to admit how little some things mean to me.  I wonder if that’s a dangerous trait, since we tend to get more attached to dross and straw throughout our lives — thus, I run the risk of losing things upon which I’m more and more dependent before I’m able to see how little they matter.

Wow, I better start praying more.

*  * *  *

Apparently, I’ve authorized all 5 of my alloted 5 computers on my itunes account.  I’ve only ever owned 3 computers, so I’m sort of at a loss as to how this happened.  Either some rogue authorizer is out there, using up my allotment, or I’ve been far too quick to give away my precious music privileges.  Hey speaking of dross…

* * * *

As I was leaving work today, I was called into the office to discuss something five minutes after clocking out.  I’m still working on a tactful way to bring this up.  Something like:  “So, you know how I had to stay 15 minutes later than I got paid for last Friday?  I’m gonna need that time…back…in my life…please.”  (Always say “please.”  It makes it sound like you are polite, even if you are, in fact, a bozo.  Unless you mispronounce it, in which case you’ll just look like the bozo that you are. Really, though, bozos are best enjoyed without pretentions of obfuscations (cringe), so it’s for the best.

* * * *

Hey, I just remembered how cool I am today.  Don’t you love those moments?  I suppose it’s partially a sad irony that I would ever consider myself to be below a comfortable temperature, but to pick up on Randall’s reference to ocean hip hop as quickly as I did (only about 10 seconds, give or take)…well, it speaks to my something or other, you know?  Oh, you don’t know?  I didn’t think so.

* * * *

(I have got to stop writing after midnight…)

Swing and a Miss

19 03 2010

Wear your heart upon your sleeve for everyone

and everything

Keep your noble brow aloft to honor fallen kings

and things

Entrap yourself within the place you hide when you hide nothing

For the time being

With all of it draped down upon your cacophonous


Now scatter those ashes and pull out the diamond for

your wedding ring