Tag Archives: People

Naturally

20 Sep

A choose-your-own adventure book, for those of you deprived of such a pleasure, is a tale in which you are the main character. The story has several conditional sections, and at the end of each section, the story asks you to make a decision. If you choose (A) then go to page 14, and if you choose (B), go to page 17.

I adored these, as any control freak would.  I’ve suffered enough pain at the hands of enough fictional characters – it’s time I made a decision or two, right? But I wasn’t good at these as I should have been. That is, I knew how to use them, but I still persisted in abusing them.

Whenever I read a choose-your-own adventure story, I made very questionable decisions. Intentionally. There was one story where I was on an island with some group of people, and I had the choice to go exploring all on my own, or to follow the group like a good little boy scout.

What I saw was a way to be able to make thoughtless decisions without being punished.

So it never turned out well for me.

As far as “choosing my own adventure” went, I died, was sent home in disgrace, and was rushed to the emergency room more times than should have been necessary.

And I don’t think I was the only person who did this.

I mean, let’s be honest, I am part of the human species. Rules don’t agree with us very well. You may have heard of a young couple who lived long ago, and were given one rule? Something about not taking fruit from a forbidden tree? Remember that?

We’re related to these people.

Human nature has a few defining qualities. If you hang out with humans for too long, you’ll find a few patterns in our behavior.

One of those is that we cross lines. Have you ever noticed that as soon as you are told you can’t do something, you want to? If someone tells you to not look down, where do you look? If they tell you to not turn around, what do you? If they tell you not to go near that door, touch that door, or open that door, what do you do with that door?

Those of you who have seen M. Night Shamalayan’s The Village will recall a scene where a group of teenagers play a dangerous game. The teens go to the edge of the forbidden forest and one of them is dared to stand on the boundary between their village and the forest: the object is to see how long he can do it without getting too afraid and running off.

This game would be utter boredom if not for the “forbidden” factor. If it had been allowed, it wouldn’t have been fun. If you’ve been human for two or more years, than you have figured this out by yourself.

Another thing you’ve probably witnessed by now is that misery loves company (How do you think fandoms grow so fast?), even if the miserable person in question isn’t intentionally trying to get people to experience his feelings.

Half a second everyone – I’m going to embark on a rabbit trail that I promise applies to the topic at hand.

I don’t know if you’ve experienced this before, but dropping your iPod or mp3 player on a treadmill is utterly terrifying, comparable to having a poster fall off your wall in the middle of the night.

one second you’re relaxed, listening to The White Stripes, and all is well. The next second, your earbuds are torn mercilessly out of your head, the music is cut off with a sudden snap, and your fallen musical device threatens to trip you as it cartwheels off the treadmill, careening to its death.

By the time your brain processes the unfortunate situation, your adrenaline is pumping like you’ve been maliciously attacked, and, shaking, you look around to see who is watching you fail at life.

Everyone is.

This has happened to me more times than I would prefer, but yesterday it happened to someone else. I watched as his phone was brushed off of the tiny desk-like surface, and then proceeded to leap around under his feet until he had to jump off the moving belt to avoid it. He looked around to see who had seen him fail at life.

I averted my eyes until his gaze was far removed from my face.

Then I smiled like some sort of sadist.

I mean, come on, people, look me in the eye and tell me you’ve never been slightly comforted when someone else besides you struggles to push open a door marked “pull.”

That’s a thing, right? Tell me that’s a thing other people do.

Maybe I should move on.

Sometimes, as now, I wonder if my intense love for good fictional villains has driven me to villainy. But in this case, I think not. Misery does adore company. It’s in our nature, as are many things that are less than benevolent and/or humanitarian.

No one has to teach us how to take what’s not ours, to rebel, or break rules. We figure it out ourselves.

We’re human – we’re born broken and we live broken. This is not to say we’re hopeless or irredeemable; we have boundless capacity for good.

This just makes our good choices even better. So much of the time, they go against our nature. Under most circumstances, you will not make an offhand comment that makes someone’s day. You will not accidentally love someone. And when I say love, I don’t mean

I mean

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

I’m not saying this because I’m fabulous at it. I’m human too, despite what you may have heard.

Love may not be the easy choice, or even the first choice, but love is the best choice a human can make, and the people who consistently choose it are the best humans.

And hey guys, Jesus loves you.

Pass it forward and love on.

Disclaimer: I will probably still smile if I see you trying to pull open a “push” door. Let’s not move too fast. 

Advertisements

Socially Involved

15 Aug

Social media is brilliant. It can bring attention to a cause, traffic to a business, or friends to friends. Not to mention, it gives us a way to be “social” without leaving our safe little wifi fortresses.

However, as with many beneficial things, there is a flip side.

According to the mainly speculative and/or imaginary studies conducted by myself, social media’s main endeavor seems to be to make “friends” want to slap each other in the mouth.

Why is this? That’s what the researchers researcher at Mainly Speculative Studies has been trying to figure out.

When I was just a tater tot (thirteen years old), I was eager, to say the least, to get a facebook. My two older sisters had had theirs for quite a while, and every time I saw them updating a status, I gave an inward sigh and longed for the day when I, too, would grace the internet with witty, yet insightful, updates about my life. The day finally arrived when I got one. I set up an account with an eighteen-character password (which is way more trouble than my privacy is worth), and wrote my first post about my elk hunting trip.

(And then about seventeen seconds later, I accepted a friend request from the only vegan I know. Oops.)

Anyway, when we all got facebooks and other various social media accounts, it was a brave new world.

And it wasn’t long before we all became disillusioned.

Grammar errors. That’s just a given. Every English nerd out there is disappointed with the internet. But then there were vague “Don’t even ask about how crummy I’m feeling right now” and the “You know who you are” posts.

There was that one person who puts seven ellipses in every status.

There was that one relative who think he’s building everyone up with his twice-a-day inspirational quotes.

And then, oh yes, hashtags were finally enabled for people who wanted to know how many of their facebook friends had a #sunburn. (No one. No one wants to know that.)

And social media uneasiness: Making sure that post is perfect, looking to see if your pin got as many repins as you think it deserved, finding that someone has tagged you in a photo that is less than adorable – these worries don’t make for impeccable mental health.

I once had a fifteen-minute conversation with an acquaintance about how annoying it was when you were friend-requested by someone you barely knew. I found them on facebook a week later and, due to our conversation, I ended up debating with myself for way too long about whether or not I should send them a friend request. Hurrah anxiety!

(For those of you keeping score at home, this person friend-requested me the next day, and I almost resented their decisiveness.)

I’m not even going to go into the almost irresistible urge to cyber-stalk people. We’ve all been there. And then ran out of there as fast as we could, deleted our internet history, and denied that we’d been there in the first place.

It’s an occupational hazard.

But all these things can affect how you see people, whether their twitter convinces you of their cleverness, or their instagram informs you that a couple of your friends have an unhealthy obsession with photographic documentation of food.

Social media is a necessary tool for businesses of the modern age, and a very advantageous one for everyday, individual use. But I would be lying through my deceptive little teeth if I claimed that it wasn’t to blame for a lot of lost respect.

What do you guys think? Mainly Speculative Studies wants your opinion.

[UPDATE: at least a couple of you are lying about being Loki]

Lest we forget, polls are most definitely one of the ups of social media. I would love to see what other its other users think, as it is a possibility that other people aren’t quite so easily annoyed as I seem to be.

Now get out there and be social.

(And yes, you can go ahead and take that however you want)

Self Day

29 Mar

People are amazing. Think about it: Souls with bodies with minds, and each one is special and unique.

Wow.

But let’s get real for a moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You don’t always want them around.

Sometimes you just want to have no one else within shouting distance. This post is to prepare you for those days, in case you receive one but aren’t sure what to do with it. I have some suggestions.

What to do when you have the house/apartment/shed in a stranger’s backyard to yourself:

  • Sing. Forget talent. Sing as loudly as you can. I prefer showtunes, myself, but suit your own desires.
  • Talk to yourself. All that thinking that you do inside your head when other humans are around? Say it out loud. You’ll never know how awesome your mind is until you speak it out loud in an accent that doesn’t belong to you.
  • Dance. Goes well with the first option. Use a stuffed animal or a throw pillow as a partner if you feel so inclined.
  • Bake. When baking with people around, you have to deal with pesky inquiries about what you’re making, whether they can eat half, and why you won’t buy ingredients yourself – but baking alone? Guess who’s eating an entire batch of cookie dough.
  • Read out loud. More fun than it sounds, especially if you’re into doing different voices for each character (I’m a babysitter. Humor me.).
  • Homework.
  • Actually, yeah, you should probably do something productive too. It can be anything; you will feel immensely successful if you accomplish something while the others are away. But here’s the trick: you must make sure you are doing that thing when your roommate/family member gets home. Fill up the first few hours with the above activities, but within ten minutes of when your people said they’d be home, get busy. Then, no matter how much you’ve been blasting the Les Miserables soundtrack or reading Shakespeare in the strangest voices possible, it looks like you’ve been a good little boy scout all day.

Congratulations! Your day has been a success.

Now run along and play well with the others.