Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When I Was a Young Boy

Judging by most of my Facebook "friends'" statuses, there really isn't much going on other than the fact that the Ravens lost to the Steelers in OT and that the new Facebook is probably the worst travesty to happen since "new" Coke. Perhaps the biggest (and possibly most overblown) news is that the stock market has the stability of a dinghy in a stormy harbor. I'd probably feel more comfortable at a blackjack table at Atlantic City than putting my money in the market at some points.

I've always had an interest in the stock market. Every time I saw it on the television when I was younger, it looked real exciting. The floor looked like a giant crowded playground, except they were dressed much funnier and no one yelled at them for littering. They were always energetic and yelling all the time and using words that weren't broadcast over the 5:00 PM evening news. It seriously looked like great fun and I thought it'd be nice to play dress up and yell when I was younger. (Wonder what that says about me as a child...)

I remember way back in the day when it was a real possibility to make a decently easy buck during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s. It was rather alluring to me as a kid. When your life consists of having to endure the crap from your peers as a weird middle school kid, the fact that people who were just as weird as you were being able to make large amounts of money and seem cool was rather alluring. That dream always stuck with me throughout the years, even though the meteoric rise only meant a even more meteoric fall. As such, I've always watched the markets...just in case.

What If

In general, people like action. Sitting on your ass agonizing isn't usually the most amazing thing in the world, unless your name is Hamlet and your job (given to you by a ghost) is to kill your father. Other than that, it's nothing to write home about.

As such, it is often said that it's better to take a chance than to not know at all. Whenever people are tepid about making some slightly risky decision, others are all about taking the chance. "Come on," they say. "If you don't do [action x], you'll never know. And do you want to go through life not knowing what it would've been like?"

Now this only really works if you're not a fucking moron. Anyone who's played chess semi-seriously realizes that just because you can do something doesn't mean it's the brightest idea in the world. But again, that intuition pops up if you are not a freaking moron and can reasonably predict the maelstrom that picks up when you want to move your queen to f7.

Life is a bit more fickle. The number of variables is fucking mind-boggling. As such, people are either moved to inaction or acting blindly/at the wrong time. Next thing you know, you're left holding the pieces as you wonder what the hell went wrong.

So perhaps you should do this: Instead of asking yourself "What if I don't do this?" ask yourself, very seriously and with great import, "What if I do do this and it hits the fan?" It's really not worth messing up your current life for the prospect of something that can utterly and ragingly fail and leave you in the dust.

That is, of course, unless your life is totally horrid enough that it doesn't really matter. That case, just go bonkers.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Miss Misery

Schadenfreude. Depending on who you ask, it's probably one of the more twisted things you could feel. It is the joy that one derives from someone's misery.

For the most part, I really think it's more or less really messed up to derive some sort of joy from someone's misfortune. As someone who's been misdealt a few hands, it sucks. I really can't see how anyone can see someone's misfortune and find glee in it. It goes beyond lack of empathy; instead of feeling nothing from someone's troubles, you feel joy. It's mind-boggling.

There is an exception. I'm starting to find out that if someone did me wrong, I'll find the greatest glee in their misery. And I've found some joy in some really sick stuff. While it's almost alarming, I feel like it's some sort of karmic justice. Don't do other people wrong and you won't get wronged.

It does make wonder what sort of a dick I was sometimes though...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Say What?

Weird occurrence: giving up a vice simply because it does not give you joy anymore. It's weird/slightly amazing. New direction in life which is more positive and promising? Don't hold you breath.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Old Photograph

There is a song that I've been getting into recently written by Eric Bogle called "No Man's Land (Green Fields of France)." The story behind it is that a passerby at a World War I graveyard takes some time to rest next to the grave of a young soldier named Willie McBride. The passerby then wonders about Willie and how he died in combat and how he is remembered.

One of the more personal poignant stanzas of the song is the second verse. It is as follows:

"And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined?
And, though you died back in 1916,
To that loyal heart are you forever 19?
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Forever enshrined behind some glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained,
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?"

I've always been touched by this part for some reason. It makes me wonder what sort of impact I have on people and how will I be remembered. Will there be people who actually remember who I am? Or am I some passing stranger that can easily be forgotten?

That thought is quite troubling at times, when you realize that you can be a non-entity to someone just as quickly as you can become something to someone. All sort of interpersonal relationships are nothing but air and thoughts. There's no tangibility or anything physically connecting you to anyone else. One day, something may change and it'll all be gone and nothing will have changed except in your mind, where the connection lived the entire time.

It's this that admittedly makes me tread the line as carefully as best I can in what I say or do, despite my best efforts to sabotage myself. But you can only do so much. Beyond that, it's up to the other people involved to dictate whether the bonds will hold and whether you'll be a memory or a photograph.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mediocrity as Superiority

For most of your childhood life, you realize that sticking your head above the crowd puts a target on you. Life sucks if you show some modicum of brilliance or talent outside of athletics or playing shitty ass screamo music/Dave Matthews covers.

It doesn't improve much when you get out, despite those adults that try to sell you that malarkey to make you feel better 'cause some meathead in an Incubus t-shirt decided to clock you against a locker. What those adults sell you is not true. If you aren't the typical whatever fucking categories are out there, you might as well brace yourself for the whirlwind with a handle of whiskey and a bottle of pills, 'cause you're going to need it.

Being an average person has such a great appeal for me. With the exception of having athletic talent or the ability to churn out crappy records that 15 year old guys who stay out till 11 PM hanging out in front of the 7-11 wearing tight jeans will buy, the large majority of people don't have pertinent talents. And having that talent that seven people will care about in your immediate area -- is that worth the scars of a rough life as a rogue wandering from place to place never fitting in? It's a question that I've wrestled with often, and the answer is often times no.

There is nothing I would give more than to live normally like everyone else. I hate having to scuffle through some of the crap I have to do to try to somehow acquire skills that should've already been there or that I should've learned 10 years prior. Sure, I have some "gift" or whatever, but who the hell is really going to care other than people who have gifts that other people don't care about either? And if that's the case, then why should I have to deal with other baggage that comes with it?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Selective Memory

It's weird how memory works. For example, I can forget that I have to do my accounting homework or I already purchased a macroeconomics textbook -- both things I should be remembering. But the things I should forget don't seem to leave my memory.

Which is really damn irritating. It's hard to function in society as a competent human being when you can't stop thinking about inane ass garbage going through every other thought. When you realize that you spent the entirety of your accounting lecture thinking about random stupid things instead of taking notes on what makes a liability, it's probably high time that you start forgetting those random things (or to drop the accounting class).

I mean, I've tried to forget. I've tried to forget and numb myself (something that this guy can vouch for). But it's only a temporary reprieve before the mental naysayers and demons start creeping back in and whisper in your mind. And that just leads to another temporary reprieve.

It'd be great to actually just snap your fingers and just erase a few things from your memory. Of course, that could be easily abused. But it'd be nice, just this once.