The human experience is filled with such an overwhelming variety of challenges that many of us will spend our entire adult existences lost in a turbulent sea of cumbersome thoughts, barely keeping afloat, and choking down far more salt-water than we bargained for.
From the moment we recognize that certain sounds being uttered in our direction have specific meaning and intention behind them, we begin a lifelong process of documenting all the instructions, rules, and crazy ideas constantly thrown our way.
Our mental filing cabinets fill rapidly, but we don’t always take the proper time to categorize or organize the information as effectively as we should. We all have the same bright red metal box labelled DANGER, beautifully alphabetized for a quick reference to any of the less than positive experiences we’ve had over the years, like the time you poured gasoline into a sewer and subsequently lit it, to see what was down there. The eyebrows grew back, but future rapid access to the “N” files provide the extremely helpful “Never do that again, stupid!” documentation that helps to prolong Earth existence.
It pisses me off when I’ve re-read a piece a hundred times over, sent it out to the masses, then re-read it again later to find at least one word not in the place it should have been. A word that wasn’t necessarily spelled incorrectly, but made me look like an ignorant ass all the same. And I’m not even sure if re-read should actually be spelled reread.
Imperfection can make me a little nuts sometimes. I find it a tough pill to swallow, much like cod-liver-oil gel caps, which seem to have been designed with the notion they were to be downed by hippos.
It’s easy enough to make excuses, of course – I don’t have a proofreader, I was tired, the LSD kicked in, whatever. But I have no tolerance for bullshit excuses. I missed something I shouldn’t have missed, and it really get under my skin.
I mean gets.
Although I just posted a rant on lightening up and dealing with fuck-ups, the lesson seems to have revisited me, so humour me as I get a little more practice in…
Sometimes I fuck up. We all do. We can beat ourselves to death over it, or suck it up and move on. Fuck-ups happen, and it ain’t the end of the world. As I sit here and obsess my shortcomings, I realize that I’m not really sure if fuck-ups should have a dash in it.
I’m doing my best to let it all go. Perhaps the point in engaging something you’ve developed love for is in accepting the reality that you won’t be perfect at it, but the more you practice, the better you’ll get. I’m reminded of a Vince Lombardi quote I painted on a mural wall many moons ago:
Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.
Not too shabby. Chasing a little tail isn’t such a bad idea either every once in a while.
I won’t beat this mule anymore. Just a reminder, mostly to myself, that we should never stop putting the best of our time and energies into the things we actually care about the most.
And that last sentence makes me realize how many times I’ve been pointlessly overusing the adverb “actually” lately. And I’m not even sure what the hell an adverb is anymore.
So I looked it up…
Adverb: a word or phrase that modifies or qualifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb or a word group
This means nothing! Globs of dried jizz have more clarity than that definition.
Okay, okay, let it go. Some of the best songwriters on the planet don’t know how to read music. They still kick ass. I can get by without understanding adverbs.
Wait a second, I’m justifying my ignorance again.
Okay, enough. I can improve and I will. I can hone my craft to greatness. I can become the greatest grammar-talkin-guy who ever lived!
Considering I spend a lot of time berating words and crying out their woeful inadequacy in expressing our true intentions and feelings, I’m not entirely sure what it is about writing that seems to captivate my attention. I mock labels and definitions to no end, but these are the very devices that facilitate something I’ve grown to love. Perhaps the fun is simply in playing around with them, and the endless opportunity to create either brilliance or stupidity. I dunno.
I began thinking about this earlier in the day when considering what exactly brings any degree of happiness into my life. Reflecting on what eventually became a successful mural painting business that I maintained for 15 plus years, I wondered why I hadn’t actually even bothered to complete at least one new painting in the last 2 years. And it dawned on me that because I turned something I was passionate about into a business, always focusing on getting a job finished as efficiently as possible in order to move on to the next gig, somewhere along the way I lost my joy for being immersed in the process.
Let’s try out a premise. Say you have the ability to manifest whatever adventure tickles your fancy. Say you can choose to experience whatever fantasy pops into your mind, and have it become reality the very next second. Say you’re all-powerful, and the entire universe you create on any whim will be your playland.
But what if you play this game for a hundred years, or a thousand, or a billion? What if you play so long that when an immediate thought is received by immediate gratification you start to feel bored or disappointed? What if the security of feeling immortal or unchallenged has lost its lustre in all the freaky shit you’ve experimented with?
I’m a person who puts a lot of pride in whatever I might be doing. This is not so much an egotistical, “look at how wonderful I am” kind of thing, it’s more a matter of deciding to do a kick-ass job when committing to something.
Pride might be the wrong word. The game is about self-improvement. When you push yourself to be better despite being surrounded by people who don’t give a shit, you’ll always end up a winner, even if no one else recognizes or acknowledges your awesomeness.
Issues arise when you spend too much time with people who have no desire to challenge themselves or push towards any degree of excellence. Frustration and anger begin rearing their ugly heads. Stress and grief follow closely behind. It’s easy to slide into a nasty funk when you’re plugging away at a job to make a couple bucks to pay for a crummy apartment and something to fill your belly, but not a single co-worker seems genuinely pleased or inspired to engage their toil.
I’m not a big fan of weapons, but I’m considering purchasing a shotgun the next time the opportunity arises, because if one more person walks up to me to discuss the subtle nuances of the weather, the urge to splatter my brains all over the backseat of the nearest available automobile will become unbearable.
The only thing worse than the actual weather conversation is just how confidently authoritative everyone has become on the subject, all because of the fancy applications downloaded to their portable computer-phones. Amateur meteorologists reading radar forecasts have become more loathsome to me than people who tell me the bullshit they believe in has now become “scientifically proven.”
I remember a time when the weather was something that just happened, and you dealt with it. When it was cold, you put on a sweater. When it was hot, you played at the beach. When it rained, you brought a fucking umbrella. You laughed in passing at the weatherman jerk-off on TV because he was never right, and you moved on with your life, accepting of whatever the day brought.