Bogus Lies (and) Ordinary Greatness
I started, what I call, articlulate writing years and years ago. Some of it was free associate writing, automatic writing, or what ever you chose to call it. It was, and still is, a fun outlet for me. Some of it, no one has ever read before. A lot of it .... maybe nobody should...
Friday, March 30, 2012
Extremists and Other Extremities
By Tim Uhr
Follow your body… lose your mind. To lift weights -- or to read a book, my choice was as easy as the choice between a dumbbell and a scholar. My choices were clear, but my answers were opaque. As I wrestled the choice over in my mind, I grew weary and fell asleep.
Was my body seeking sleep as a form of rest, or was my mind searching to find new universes in the realms of sleep?
While I slept I dreamt of chocolate covered army ants. They were still alive. Helplessly struggling in waves of chocolate. They were almost cute, with their little blindfolds. You had to shoot them before eating. I didn’t have the heart, or a small enough riffle…
So much to do, and so much time. I only lack the energy to succeed at everything.
From networking to needlecraft, each stated phrase speaks to the coming phase that leads to a craze, which can only bring me more grays.
Which train do I board?
Any nice tunnels ahead?
With so many openly going on the wagon, while multitudes of others coming out of the closet, and still more standing for this, or sitting for that, it all makes me kind of dizzy. And with my head spinning will I miss my turn?
Right of Left? Sure we should all vote, but when I finally make my mind up—the light turns red. Leaving me faced, with red. And I’m not bluffing, just blushing.
But I try to fit in. I bought an exercise bike, a self hypnosis tape, a computer, went to karate class, bought a crystal, a fax machine, a gun, a pair of one hundred and fifty dollar tennis shoes, a cell phone, a case of Dove bars, three jazz records, a flower, and meditated in my spare time. That was last week.
Needless to sat I never actually got around to meditating, and my list wasn’t quite as long as I wanted because my sixteen charge cards were all over the limit.
I soon found out that you can’t have it all. I was getting close but I was robbed and left with nothing but the bills. When they say “You can’t take it with you” I hope there talking about the debts.
Life is full of little choices: You can exercise the biceps or the brain cells. There is no middle ground. One side detracts from the other. It’s like a balance scale where one side is physical and the other is mental. On this roller coaster we call life – hills abound and the scale is never balanced.
Physical fitness seems to be winning the war—every where you go there are muscle men and women. On the beach the muscles have become more important than the tans. I call it the “parade of chests.”
But is this fitness thing just a fad? Will it go the way of hula-hoops, pet rocks, and mood rings? One can never tell. Who would have ever thought that rock n’ roll would still be around after more than a quarter of a century? The Who indeed.
Staying in shape is an important goal, but anything taken to extremes scares me. Just as Hitler went to extremes in trying to rebuild Germany (rebuild it into the whole world????), as did Diane Witt of Worcester, Mass., by letting her hair grow for eighteen years. Her hair was measured at ten feet, nine inches in 1989.
I guess I never did believe in being an extremist. I have never allowed myself to get wrapped up in anything. I like to spread my interests around, this keeps me from succeeding at anything and thus I don’t have to focus my attention on any one area for too long, keeping me from ever growing bored. People well-rounded are like balls that bounce from one thing to another, never coming to rest in any one place long enough to be at the top.
Specialization is the modern way. If one puts their concentration in any one area, chances are they will become very good at it. It can be very gratifying to be able to say that at least you were good at one thing.
It used to be called “having a one-track mind,” but that was before it became “in.” Perhaps that’s why there are very few athletes who play more than one sport. It goes against the grain of specialization. Sometimes it amazes me that so many people are baffled when someone tries their hand at two different sports. You think that there aren’t a lot of baseball players that can’t play football, and visa-versa? But I like it. I think it’s healthy. I wish we could bring back a little of that “jack-of-all-trades” philosophy. There are exceptions. But most likely it will never become common. Try finding a handy man these days.
Nothing is permanent. Nothing lasts forever. Muscles turn to fat, which eventually turns to dust. Even taxes, which grow, eventually get so large they explode into the controlling government’s face. This isn’t what the government.
Health and fitness is slowly replacing the couch potato mentality. Don’t believe for a minute though that TV will suffer, because soon it will be that instead of eating potato chips and drinking beer in front of the tube, it will be lifting weights and exercising while watching your favorite TV show. TV is the base of all modern human life.
I once succumbed to the fitness frenzy. I bought weights. They were heavy. Hard to lift. Lifting them made me tired.
After lifting the dumbbells a few times, I actually felt weaker! So I immediately ran to a mirror and I swear I could see no difference in me. I didn’t think I looked at all like one of those body builders I see on the beach. When I’m with a girl and I come across a muscle man I always try to point out that I’m probably smarter than they are. Maybe.
So, if after lifting a weight, I don’t see any improvement in my physical stature, what is the sense?
After a week of depression from my failed foray into musclebound mania I came up with a solution. A plan. A blueprint of success. Thinking power to solve the mystery of the physical:
Instead of lifting these artificial weights, I decided the smart thing was to go natural. I found the environmentally sound solution. It starts with drinking beer and eating potato chips and ice cream. With this strict regiment I figure I could gain an extra twenty pounds around my mid-section within a month. Then, by lugging this extra twenty pounds around all day, instead of just a few minutes with those artificial weights I would get fitter more quickly. Naturally. (Isn’t he the shortstop?)
Life is what you make it. Adversity is how you take it. And to get to the top you sometimes have to fake it.
I have a problem with faking anything. The only one I can ever fool is myself. What fun is that? Probably rates right up there with exercising. And with this thought I finally hit upon my ultimate solution—I will fake exercising. Therefore killing two birds with one stoned. And everyone must get stone. Or is that rock?
Remember: A beer in the hand is worth two bushes… Or is it buds?
No. No. No! “A dead bird in the bush is worth two hands.” Or is it, “A rolling bird gets stuck in the moss, and thus can’t fly.”
Anyway, you get the point. I hope.
I think it’s time to run (I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to run around the block a few times to clear my head) before I start mixing metaphors or something equally as revolting. Because it is important to remember that when you mix a metaphor improperly the cake batter turns out lumpy.
Friday, March 9, 2012
A FRIENDLY DRIVE
I was driving down the road the other day, when I flipped out. It wasn't a new song on the radio. It was the curb that caused it. Before I knew it I was doing summersaults.
My car landed right side up and I staggered out. I, literally, spit glass out of my mouth as I gazed disbelievingly at my car. People stopped and were asking me questions, but I just alternated nodding and shaking my head without listening to them.
My car ... me?
Not a bruise. Not a cut. The glass didn't even cut the inside of my mouth. Not one thing was wrong with me… No, I wasn't wearing my seat belt.
As my brain finally started excepting messages my eyes were sending it, I noticed my windshield lying a few feet from the car, shattered, but nearly whole. My newly bought side mirrors were, naturally, broken off. There was mud allover my car as luckily I had rolled on grass instead of pavement. The passenger side of the roof was smashed in a bit, my door was bent in, and the right rear fender was smashed.
Someone said I must have been listening to the radio to hit a rock and roll.
Somehow I got the idea of trying to start my car. Since no damage was done to the hood or anything under it, I got the car started without any trouble.
I ended up driving the car home, with no windshield in below freezing temperatures. I shook all the way home, partially from the cold and partially from shock.
One the way home I thought of something that Winston Churchill once said, one of my favorite quotes—
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened."
I made it home without getting pulled over, even though it's illegal to drive without a windshield.
I can still remember (in flashes) that sensation of turning upside down and rolling. Things flashed by so fast. I saw parts of my life in quick, unrelated glimpses. Then, in mid roll, I thought to myself, "This is a dream."
Microseconds later I realized it wasn't a dream, that my car was rolling over and I was in it, and that I would be late for work. I wondered why it rolled. Was I rolling up a hill? Through lanes of traffic? Was I dying? Had I ever lived? Was my car paid off? Did I have clean underwear?
A feeling soon to be forgot, but a time long remembered. If the feelings that one has during an uncontrollable moment in one's life could be totally recalled, I doubt if many mistakes would be repeated. But the only thing that is truly remembered are the after affects, and they never seem to be quite as bad.
Yes, how easily feelings are forgot.
Trying times can test us and show what we're made of. I'm not sure what I'm made of, but I know that I don't like tests.
It sounds unusual, but I think Cicero made a lot of sense when he said,
"There is something pleasurable in calm remembrance of a past sorrow."
Maybe it's just the fact that the adversity has been survived, and it makes present adversities seem conquerable. Something Friedrich Nietzsche said helps shed light into Cicero's statement:
"What does not destroy me makes me strong."
You are stronger from living through past sorrows. Also past troubles seen through memory's eye always are less sharp and out of focus then is the pain of present problems.
Remember the lesson of the day — Brakes, steering and even good friends can fail. To remain strong without becoming bitter is the trick. Friends don't care about your failures, and they care only to beat your successes. The best one can ask of a friend is to tell the truth when you need it, also to lie when you need it, and to listen nearly as often as they talk. Many times I find myself praying like Marshall de Villars. — "God save me from my friends
I can protect myself from my enemies."
I expect distress from my enemies but when it comes by way of friends it is unbearable. I guess I just have to learn something that Agnes Macphail put well by saying,
“Do not rely completely on any other human being, however dear. We meet all life's greatest tests alone."
I guess when you have news that makes your life miserable the best thing a friend can do, from his point of view, is to exclude you from his life so you don't make him share in your misery.
"Heaven for climate, hell for company." — James M. Barrie.
Half my friends are in heaven, and the rest just have their heads in the clouds.
P.S. It's funny the way
one thinks of friends
in times of sorrow. I
can usually think of
them, but I can't talk