Trust in Fun

I see so much as subpar. You’ll think I’m being negative but I’m not. Well, not exactly. How can so much be below average? Where’s the average? Where’s the above average? What’s going on? Something must be wrong. And you know what they say, if everything smells like poop, better check your shoes.

I entered into this dream-world gasping for air, frightened by existence. Utterly confused, I hobbled together a broken theory of reality. I tried using my crude ideas as a means to traverse life, but of course they failed to adequately explain. Just a case of the blind leading the blind.

It’s as if I awoke on an amusement-park ride, immediately rattled by the sights and sounds. I jumped off the car and proceeded to make my own path through the ride’s building. Of course I was lost and got even more scared. Nothing looked right as I wasn’t in the correct position to see it. There’s no fun to be had walking behind the scenes in utter darkness.

I get it now. Please keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle and remain seated at all times. I have to trust the ride. Trust in fun. It’s silly to think I should craft my own path. I don’t know what I’m doing, how could it be best to strike out on my own? Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. Duh. It’s so simple.

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Donning Red

An excerpt from the fictional series Wokest Tales of Truth.

We all know Little Red Riding Hood as an old-timey European folk tale, but what if it took place in modern-day America? Now, sit back and enjoy our presentation of Little Red Riding Hood as told from a hyper-Americanized perspective. For the comfort of others, please no smoking.

Red hon, I just got off the phone with your grandma. She’s stuck in bed with gout because she refuses to go to the doctor. Can you deliver some food to her house?

Why doesn’t she just go to the doctor?

Well, honey, she refuses to participate in socialized medicine. She believes the last president was a secret Muslim hell-bent on destroying America. She rejects anything his administration implemented. She thinks the previous president hated her freedoms — and she’ll do anything to stand up for the America she so dearly loves.

Is that why she’s on Facebook complaining everyday?

Now, Red, can you please just deliver this basket of canned goods to your grandma?

Okay mom.

As she left the house, Red put on her red-white-and-blue hoodie. It was her favorite. Her dad gave it to her right before his deployment. He was a Navy Seal that served his country proudly.

Being a Millennial, Red always sought the easy path through life, so today she decided to take the shortcut through the woods despite what her mom told her about going the longer more secure route.

As Red walked through the woods, a wolf spotted her coming.

Hello dear, don’t you look every bit of delectable today?

Red just kept walking, she couldn’t hear him anyway because she had her wireless Apple AirPods in her ears while listening to a Spotify playlist.

Being of the wiser baby-boomer generation, the wolf knew he could easily take advantage of this clueless child that walked right by him. He guessed her destination because there was only one house at the end of the road and he jogged as fast as he could.

Upon arriving at the house, out of shape and out of breath, the wolf heard the sounds of FOX NEWS blaring through the windows. He banged on the door yelling “Open up! The liberals are coming to take your guns!”

Granny yelled back, “I never lock my front door! Come in and hide my guns!”

The wolf entered and gathered up all of Granny’s guns and threw them out the window, leaving the poor woman defenseless. Granny was too busy mailing out checks to Republican politicians and coal-mining CEOs to notice. She knew they’d use the money to create jobs and would manage her Social Security funds better than anyone.

The wolf sat by the front door waiting for Red while Granny remained distracted in the kitchen, yelling about liberals.

When Red finally arrived, she popped out her AirPods and knocked on the door. The wolf quickly answered and told her to come in. He had a college loan application ready and waiting, all Red had to do was sign it and she’d be on the hook for $50,000. When she wouldn’t sign, the wolf got angry and approached Red menacingly.

All she could think about was what her dad told her before he left, “the only thing that can stop rampaging evil is a good-guy with a gun.” After the initial pop, Red’s ringing ears heard nothing as she emptied a magazine of Black Talon hollow-points into the savage beast. When the body hit the floor she re-holstered her concealed-carry firearm.

Granny! It’s me, Red! Are you okay!?

As Granny emerged from the kitchen carrying an apple pie, she and Red turned to the American flag that flew majestically in the front-yard. With right hands over hearts, they recited the Pledge of Allegiance. America had become great again.

Staying Current

People are always referring to an ancient primitive past, yet it’s possible no such time ever existed. In my mind I tend to allow for the possibility of Last Thursdayism. Perhaps existence began only a few days ago. Who knows if memories haven’t been implanted and artifacts faked.

In dreams for instance, we regularly create scenes in which backstories are implied and objects are placed as if they’ve always been there. Maybe life is but a dream. Or perhaps it’s a computer simulation. Either way, we can easily see that manufactured history is readily relatable.

Consequently, I don’t worry about the past (or future). It might be fiction. Nor do I buy into the idea that I’m comprised of components handed down from a primeval era as if my current makeup is unsuited for modern ways. By whatever method I’ve been manufactured, I’m appropriate for the moment I’m in.

What this open-mindedness grants me is peace-of-mind. Truth resides in a maze that never ends, whereas simple satisfying answers keep the mind from spiraling out of control. It seems counter-intuitive anchoring myself to a nebulous idea, yet within this mist I’ve found a firmer foundation.

Stuck on Start

It’s odd that self-exploration is a thing. We literally explore every aspect of ourselves. What’s it like to be human? How does this feel? Why does it feel that way? How do I control this crazy contraption? Why am I thinking these thoughts? How do I better align with my circumstances?

We’re not immersed in the game of life, we’re still stuck staring at the piece we’re playing as. Why is it this color? Why this shape? What moves can I make? What effect do other players’ pieces have? Is it my turn? Can I go yet? It’s strange to feel like you’re still on start, waiting for the opportunity to begin.

But we don’t want to mess up, do we? We have to find our groove though. Just move forward and let the chips fall where they may. Yet we’ve no idea what to do with ourself, no direction in which to head. Although, a game is a simple affair, just rolling dice and proceeding on a preset path. Just take your turn, move forward one space at a time.

I suppose that’s all we can do, move ahead one step at a time. But it’s not enough to mechanically move, we must lose ourself in the game’s narrative, pretending we’ve got a vested interest in our progress. It’s just a lighthearted investment though, like any game of pretend, we simply perform as our character.

P.S. Yet who’s to say humanness isn’t a path in and of itself? Traveling the far reaches of the globe or traveling the far reaches of the mind, it’s all exploration, an activity to occupy our attention. All this time you’ve imagined yourself stuck on start, but you’ve been playing all along, the inner mystery is just part of the fun.

Satisfying Dream

At first I believed the world a random place, my life ruled by chance. But such a scary philosophy, I could not maintain. Then a passive existence I believed, a pathway predetermined, unalterable. But such submissiveness I could not bear. Then I began to see life as a lucid dream, my mind’s designs manifesting in every moment. This was satisfying.

The mind must find a resting place, a foundation upon which to build. If it sits in shifting sand, nothing lasting can be built. This bedrock comes from a firm idea in which to place one’s faith. I had faith in randomness, but its nature was unstable. I had faith in predestination, but it did not suit. So now I invest in dreams, a nebulous source that’s surprisingly solid.

A hazy nature provides strength as it conforms to each situation. Anything unpleasant simply serves as reminder to mind my thoughts. Whatever happens is my own fault, but in a funny way. I work at shaping rumination lest I get what I don’t desire. What I wish should come to be, but if not, I’ve merely more minding to do.

Whether true it matters not, it simply serves as satisfying base from which to run. A mind must have easy answers to complex questions else it go round and round in constant quandary. What ease it is to explain every scene as mere mirage. And with haunting angst now exorcised, the joys of life reveal themselves. Nightmares become delightmares.

Labor Day

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Haphazard Historian.

Imagine that there are some people willing to enslave other people for their own gain. Well in fact no imagination is necessary, as we can browse the pages of history (or even current events) to know this to be the case. So we know people can, and will, exploit their fellow man for mere economic advantage.

We know there are some that would do all they can to get as close to slave-like conditions as possible, just to get a bit more. This being the case, what protects workers from such unrepentant greed? What protects those with little-power from hungry wolves waiting to feast?

Answer: the power of the herd, an unshakable union of fellow workers. Without this solidarity, workers are picked off one-by-one as each individual stays silent, threatened by the knowledge that he’ll be next should he utter complaint. Only as a solid whole, a single voice, can these workers hope to overcome the power of greed.

And so, this is the day we set aside as reminder of that ongoing struggle against greed. A greed so nefarious that man would kidnap his fellow man and force his labor, that man would employ children in perilous industry, that man would continuously shave as much as mathematically possible from wages — ever attempting to reach zero.

But it is not this selfishness we must focus on today, it is the unity that opposes it. Throughout history, the bulk of mankind has only ever shown a desire to pitch in, to contribute to community. He wants to work and do right by his neighbor. It is with this spirit, that mankind often bands together whenever foxes attempt to divvy him up.

As a collection of individuals, mankind can be divided. And, it often requires a bit of prodding before the sleeping giant of solidarity awakens to the threat of dismemberment. But in due time, and after much strain, he does wake, and those that dared divide him meet their end.

As workers ourselves, it is our duty to keep an open ear for this call to solidarity — for it is in our best interest, and the interest of industry itself. Fruitful commerce requires a fruitful workforce who in turn become prosperous customers. Industry itself is not the enemy, there’s simply some greed that needs weeding out. And we must all be on the lookout.

Prior Art

Sometimes I’ll be standing there and the realization will hit me: this isn’t real. In that moment I accept the falseness of my situation — not in a bad way, I simply see myself as an actor on a stage performing my part. From there I usually continue with whatever I was doing, losing myself back into the scene.

It does feel strange to consider the artificial nature of existence. It’s off-putting in a way, but thankfully that odd feeling doesn’t last for long. It’s much better than the alternative of anxiety. Better to live in a manufactured environment than a randomly occurring wilderness where chance determines fate.

No thanks. I tried living that way, I really did. I suppose it was thrilling to think everything was out of my control, that anything could happen to me at any time, that I was a fallen leaf lost in a rushing stream, floating as long as I could maintain my balance. Too thrilling though, so I abandoned the idea.

Now I’m in on the joke. Shh! Don’t spoil it for those that want to maintain it till the end. I’m kidding of course — it’s difficult to maintain awareness of the mirage as we’re bombarded by the flashing lights before us. Bursts of insight do nothing, it takes an all-out effort. But that’s not the point anyway.

The point is to redefine reality. Remap its origin. We want to be here, in this game of pretend, playing along and having our fun. Just don’t take the game too seriously — it’s a lighthearted frolic. In costume playing a role, we need only watch as the story unfolds, or perhaps we throw in some improv. Enjoy.