Long note from Dan: J.M. White, who posts under his own name, put a comment Friday night that struck a nerve in many of this blog’s regulars and in me. It was an answer to a question by Sandi Saunders but also much more. It particularly hit me on Saturday, when Zach and I went out for a bike ride, through Southwest Roanoke’s alleys, on our mountain bikes. Bike riding is one of the chief non-felonious ways I’ve gotten my kicks since I was about 15. And largely I’ve gotten away from that since the advent of this blog (which is bad on me). If I ride (or swim) two hours a day, every day, I’ll be fine both physically and psychologically, and I haven’t been doing that enough lately. So, but I’m going back to that and it will come at the expense of moderating posts here. I’d say “sorry!” but after moderating 185,000 comments I don’t feel that way. Anyway, at one point Saturday Zach and I rode past a car that had a bumper sticker, DON’T POSTPONE JOY, and that’s when the post below clicked. Thank you for that, J.M. White. I’ve edited what follows very lightly, to correct a typo here and a missing word or letter there — and to slightly change the name of the bookstore your bestseller will one day be sold in. (Yours was clever; mine is sexy).
Age is irrelevant, IMO, even when used as a sheath for one’s stiletto of cynicism.
The answer isn’t so simple, of course. I’ve died twice and been resuscitated; that certainly shapes my perspective somewhat. It’s only a matter of time before my third strike. I’ve accepted and even embraced the fact that one day I’ll stop breathing and cease to function in this mortal coil. When I truly understood that fact, a huge burden was released from me.
Life is meant for joy, Sandi. Every day, I find joy and wonder in simple things – the way the water in the puddle outside my doorstep prisms sunlight at dawn onto the ceiling of the living room – the smell of a waffle on the iron – the nearly electric feeling of the skin of the one with whom you’re in love. We live on a technicolor dreamland of a planet, so why dwell on the darkness when there’s so much to see in the light?
Every single day I’m thankful for how fortunate I have it. I’m still a dirt-poor tradesman, but less than three years ago I was living in a tent. I know what it’s like to go hungry and be cold. I’ve found that very few people do and we take it for granted.
People are going to be idiotic, annoying, appalling and even horrifying. That’s just the way it is. Before they change, they have to want to. I’ve given up on changing the world socially. I’m focusing on changing the world technologically. The point is that whether we like it or not, people are morons and we shouldn’t get angry at morons, we should pity them… and point and laugh a lot… and poke them with sticks… okay, maybe not the stick thing.
In the meantime, focus on having fun with the finite time we have left. In person, I’m likely to spout off some crackpot theory or nonsensical verbiage with a deadpan expression just to see your reaction and if you take me seriously or not. How bad do you think I can be when it’s just a bunch of data sent over the internet?
When it all gets too tough, turn the phone/TV/radio off, walk/drive wherever the winds/whims take you and just take a day to… be. No politics, no bills-are-due worrying, no firearms debates – just be. Look, touch, hear, smell and taste your world. I’ve gone to a lumber store solely to smell and touch the different woods. At the time, I worked in a food store at the mall, so I really had zero use for lumber of any sort. Just go and exist for a day. You might find that there’s a lot more happiness to be had than suffering and sorrow.
My method is not apathy, it’s more acceptance of inevitability and I’d never claim it’ll work for everyone. I’m working seven a days a week through Christmas this year and I’m suffering a bout of insomnia. I should be wrecked (and aggravated about it) right now. Nope. I’ll go to work in a few hours and crack jokes all day long and come home and pollute Dan’s blog with my mindless inane blather.
This ridiculously rambling comment was brought to you by: “Will He Ever STFU? Epic I – Volume I”, the thrilling premier novel in the completely unanticipated series by J.M. White – available on scamazon.com and at your local Born and Nubile booksellers.