Any misspelled words or grammatical errors on this site are provided only for effect. Views expressed here are strictly those of the author, as opposed to being from his pet iguana. We reserve the right to add new letters to the alphabet or alter the time-space continuum as we see fit. Your presence at this site is a complicit agreement to these conditions.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

If Statements as Experiment

2 comments (add more here)
Well, now that you’ve started reading, I might as well humor you. Isn’t it funny that to humor someone has nothing to do with what’s funny, and to say it’s funny how something is has very little to do with humor. This language was really patched together like forming a castle out of a mudslinging contest. And this is what happens when you have a language by committee. So the fact that these ruminations come in English is a big strike against them. If only this were en Francais… If only.

The other day, I was trying to think of something. Talk about unlofty goals. A person can always think of something, unless your mind is a blank, in which case you’ve just filled your mind with the thought that it’s blank. Oh... the other day. That’s kind of a non-committal reference to a day that is specifically “the other day,” as if there were only one such day. No, not that other day, the other other day. Yeah, that one.

Also, in the interest of full disclosure so that you know where my devotions lie, I’m representing one side in a bitter discrimination suit. In Rodentia vs. Professional Sports Teams, I’m defending those sad little animals who never get used as mascots. Nobody ever calls their team the Rats, the Hamsters, the Varmints, or the Critters, etc. It has caused irreparable emotional harm to my clients. Their friends make fun of them, they can’t get high-profile jobs, and they’re discriminated all the way down to the very bottom of the food chain. If you thought getting picked last for kickball was bad, wait till you get picked last to eat. Slim pickins there at the end of the food chain line. You get morsels, and that’s about it. “But I don’t like morsels, Mommy.” “Tough! You eat your morsels and be grateful, Theodore. Those are delicious morsels.”

I wouldn’t bring this up, but enough people have asked about it to behoove me to comply. For the record, I would actually write on my blog more often, but opposable thumbs are nothing to be flaunting at the rest of the animal kingdom, so I want to be sensitive to that.

We take a lot of things for granted, simply assuming that things had to be a certain way, but not realizing that there could have been many various scenarios. Life doesn’t really have to be as simple and accommodating as it is. For instance, what if we had to relieve our bladder every five minutes? Think how inconvenient that would make living. Don McLean would’ve had to sing part of American Pie from the restroom. All sorts of logistical problems would arise. The next time you feel inconvenienced by something in life, just think how it could be worse. For one, our elbows could be attached to our knees. Think of all the great dance moves that would generate... And it would make it rather problematic to put on a sweater. Picture trying to dress a pretzel without upsetting its ecosystem. No fair pulling limbs off and then putting them back on.

Or what if gravity went away from the Earth instead of toward it? That would make things fun, wouldn’t it? If you dropped something, you’d be in a world of hurt without a paddle. With reverse gravity, things would be cleaner on average, but then if you lost something, it wouldn’t mysteriously pop up again later. I suppose unless you were looking in Aurora Borealis.

Type the word “hyphen” (without the quotes). (And don’t type in parentheses either) Wait a minute, they just used the quotes to tell us what we’re supposed to type, but we’re not allowed to? How exactly is that fair? In other words, do what I do, but just not literally. Only somewhat literally... That’s a direct translation, by the way. And you can quote me on those hyphens.

Or what if all the letters of the alphabet rhymed? Literacy rates in English-speaking countries would plummet. Become very suspicious if there’s a shift in pronunciation toward Farsi, I’m just sayin’. Do I need to wink to get the point across?

The funniest news story of last year was when the media kept pointing out that the people on a certain boat were pirates. They keyed on that word over and over as if it were aired up and being used in a volleyball match. Their fixation on the word was both telling and laughable. They had found a legitimate usage for a dramatic term from lore, and then they drilled it into the ground until it had become a fine dust. It underscores the apoplectic desperation of the media and their lack of shame in glorifying whatever they can find to plaster to the wall. They’re less interested in reporting the conditions than they are in packaging them to sound incredible, amazing, fantastic, wondrous, (insert superlative of choice here and deposit 25 cents).

People will say they’re having problems thinking straight, yet it’s much more interesting to have it meander. I figure why not take the scenic route? After all, the road less travelled has fewer potholes. Ponder that one at your next lemming convention.

Perspective can give you a lot to consider. Dr. Seuss taught us a lot of what-ifs, causing us to think what it might be like to have a stain that somehow transferred to everything throughout the house, and then out into the snow. Nothing could get that stain out. (This was before Tide came out with the new-improved whitening crystals) Frankly, I was a little stunned that Thing V and Thing W had difficulty with it, knowing their background in disaster recovery.

Or what if it took 14 months for the Earth to revolve around the Sun? Calendars would be heavier. That would surely alter everything. Not to mention the calendar industry would be more profitable. Cosmologists take note: there’s a great marketing opportunity here for a little fudging of the numbers after a surprise increase in sunspot activity. And we’d get older slower, so people would welcome the change. How would you like to be 48 instead of 56?

I wonder why is it exactly that people often dislike hypocrites more than those who are brazenly bad? (I ask you that in expectation that you’ll have the solution, even though it may have appeared to be an obvious rhetorical device. But now that I’ve had to explain my intent, it kind of ruins the mood. Next time, you’re on your own.) We don’t seem to like phonies, yet if someone doesn’t pretend to be good, then there’s some level of genuineness which receives acceptance. Hardened criminally defiant mobster? Well, at least you admit it. But claim to have done some magnanimous gesture like visited kids in hospitals, when it turns out you were glamorizing it for a photo op, you should be hanged at the stake and left for dead.

Or what if there was no green? For one thing, golfers would be in a quandary, with nothing to shoot for. But that would be the least of our worries. Vegetables would be an even tougher sell. Rainbows would have an empty spot on them. The flags of Nigeria and Saudi Arabia would be indistinguishable. There’d be little point to Green Tea, now wouldn’t there? All things we shouldn’t take for granted.

As such, I feel bad for the bird called the kite. They can’t be understood except within context. If I didn’t clarify the genus, you wouldn’t know to what I was referring. They have the complex of the bird formerly known as paper on a string. That’s good for two visits a week to a shrink. Although, it’s still probably not as bad as the swallow. Or the gulp. Now, those are birds in identity crisis. We think it’s bad being named Grenelda or Thaddeus, but it’s nothing compared to those inheriting fowl linguas.

Or what if Alex Trebek weren’t the host of Jeopardy! for 53 years running? I wonder what they’re gonna do if/when he retires. They better get somebody else named Alex, otherwise it’s going to sound very weird when a contestant says, “I’ll take Forensic Subterranean Albatross Migration Patterns for 500, Alex.”

Ultimately, as a child I was relieved that pink snow is only pretend, and later learned that green eggs only happen in college dorms, but it’s always fun to mull over how else it might be… with Thing Y and Thing Z.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Things What I Might Be Good at Or Not

2 comments (add more here)
Within the world of employment, there’s a wide array of available occupations to keep a person busy. The options can be dizzying, so narrowing it down seems to be the trick to finding one’s niche.

I’ve taken proficiency tests before, and the tests have strongly indicated that I’m very good at taking proficiency tests. In those, they say you would do well as a stamp collector, the host of Family Feud, lifting semi-heavy boxes without dropping them on your toes, a fedora expert, a welterweight boxing champion, a contestant on Family Feud, a ferris wheel operator, a coconut grower, the guy who waves the checkered flag in stock car races, and a situational ethics committee chairman. Afterward, you’re scratching your head wondering where you should focus your energies. You’re more confused than before you started.

Rather than fog up your mind with things that may or may not pertain to your special abilities, I prefer relying on my intuition to point me to areas I could consider. I’d probably test poorly on some of these things, but the test can’t see the intangibles of a person, or in other words know what rotten work habits and personality quirks you have. “Hey, it says I can be an effective plant manager for a distribution center despite the fact that all my communication is through whistling. Who knew?”

With that in mind, I’ve considered the types of things where I could at least potentially be proficient. If you have any connections in any of these areas, e-mail me with the specifics and I’ll take a look into it.

I actually like the idea that people would need to come to another person to consult about something, all because that person knows more about it than they do. They would ask this person, “Am I doing it right?” “How would YOU do it differently?” and “What is your undeniably expert opinion on the subject?” A consultant is in a good position. By the very nature of their situation, people are admitting that they are inferior and the consultant knows more than they do. If there are disagreements, the consultant can say, “Hey, remember you had to come to me to consult about this. That means I’m more important.” If I had to do that, I think I could manage.

Employment Agency
My job would be to help people get jobs. It would be justified if only for the condition that other people didn’t have jobs. If everybody were adept enough at finding their own jobs, then I wouldn’t have this job, and then I’d need to find another job, and possibly have to go to the employment agency. So I guess that means we’ll always need one, thus it’s good job security. But yet I feel like an employment agent is seen as flaunting what they’ve got, i.e. - “So… let’s see if we can find for you what I already have. I don’t need me like you do.”

Hammers are trained to hit nails, and when they see them on a finger or a thumb, they say, “Cool!” If I were a carpenter, I’d have a plethora of bruises on my thumbnails. It’s not that my aim isn’t good with tools, but if I try to talk and think at the same time, for some odd reason my attention gets shifted about 5 degrees one direction or the other, and that’s all it takes. But take note that I don’t cuss when that happens. I go right past cussing and into existential wanderings about the necessity of my existence. After all, as we know, the truly great emotions have no sufficient words to accompany them.

I wouldn’t mind being a UPS or FedEx driver. They take people’s autographs all day, engage in smalltalk about the same thing 62 times until they’ve perfected the obligatory snicker, and get to see people react like it’s Christmas again. I wonder how many consecutive times I could stomach “Oh, my package is here!”, but that just comes with the territory. The main reason I’d want to be a delivery driver is that they get to park right in the middle of the street. I wish I could do that whenever I felt like it. “No parking spaces available… No worries, I’ll just stop my truck right where I am. All you people behind me… adapt, okay? We’ve got packages to deliver here.” That is the true definition of power.

Window Washing
Are you kidding me? If all the windows were on the first floor, then fine. But when those guys get out there dangling from a skyscraper like a cheap wind chime, that’s a little post-apocalyptic for me. My heart just wouldn’t be in it to the degree it would need to. Besides, is it really that important to have clean windows anyway, that we need to have people doing high-wire acts with a squeegee to achieve this? I don’t think historians will look back on this period and conclude, “The post-modern homo sapien really kept its buildings looking shiny, a sign of a highly advanced civilization.” I’m just not on board with that. I would certainly be one of those undedicated window washers. I could see me up there, bringing along with me every possible suction cup I could find, and my whole body would resemble the lower left quartile tentacle of an octopus. They’d have to pry me off of that building with a crowbar. But I’d rather be stuck to it than hanging from a line that’s nothing more than a cadre of measly little wires rolled up together.

In my prime, I had the qualifications for a top-notch dunker in pools. If not for the knee injury, I could’ve gone pro. It’s probably not something you can teach, because either you’ve got the technique or you don’t. I remember one time we were at a big pool at a youth conference in Monterey, and two of my cousins (who shall remain Ryan and Keith) were trying to dunk me two-on-one, and even together despite all their efforts, they couldn’t get me under. I even dunked them a few times for good measure. You know, it can get a little tedious just standing there loitering in a pool. Then they got the idea to go find a bigger, older teenager to come do it for them, and so they get this guy and he comes over and wrangles me, but he couldn’t get me under, so I dunked him too. They got a big kick out of that.

But my crowning achievement at the discipline was going toe-to-toe with Henry High. (Henry, if you’re still around, I’ll put you on my Christmas list) One day in the pool at P.E., Henry and I somehow got into the pre-dunk grip. Henry was a pretty big kid. It was said he weighed around 300 pounds. Myself, I was tipping the scales at 145 if I had brought enough quarters for lunch money that day, so tipping is a relative term. I could feel Henry’s strength as if it were a solid brick wall. Henry could sense that he had me where he wanted me. But as Henry tried to dunk me, I held my ground, and in one of the most spectacular displays of athleticism and grit, by some stroke of fate I ended up playing Henry to a draw. For weeks to come, I heard kids saying, “He’s the guy that Henry High couldn’t dunk.” And then they’d ‘ooo’ and ‘ahh’ as I sauntered past them in what must’ve seemed like slow motion. That was the period when I grew three inches taller within just a month. So now I’m anticipating eventual induction into the Dunkers Hall of Fame once my steroid scandal clears, but it’s really too bad I never made a career of it.

I believe it would be enthralling to keep bees. To be the keeper of the bees. Keepers carry with them a lot of authority. Eventually I could work my way up to the keeper of a gate, though in the meantime I could possibly start with a stationary fence until I got more comfortable. Keepers of the fence don’t get a whole lot of credit, but it’s a noble line of work. If it weren’t for keepers of the fence, the gate wouldn’t serve much purpose. At any rate, history is likely going to show that a great deal of the influential people were catapulted to immortality through the prism of beekeeping, so I’m leaving this option open.

Auto Sales
Were I a car salesman, I’d most likely talk people out of buying cars instead of getting them to buy them. I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to talking up something I didn’t really believe in, and cars aren’t something I believe in. It’s just this thing I have about having a conscience. I’d say to the customer, “What do you want a new car for? They depreciate like cement blocks. What’s wrong with your other car anyway?” And on top of that, I’d be bringing seller’s remorse into the psychological spectrum, opening up a whole new field, causing chaos everywhere.

I wouldn’t be comfortable in general being associated with the whole auto salesman shtick. The car dealership hires someone to sell their cars for them. Fine. But then they don’t give them any authority to make the deal. “Let me go ask my mommy. She’ll tell us if it’s OK.” Then they come back and say, “After I told the oracle your offer and he inquired as to what level of gullibility you are, he said we can only go down this far. Remember, I’m only the messenger, and my boss had half his face burned and can’t talk to you face to face. They pay me $70,000 a year (i.e.-you pay me) to tell you which cars you want, and to convey hallowed information coming from on high. It’s a very complex set of skills I went to Harvard Auto School for. But be assured that we value your business, and we thank you for playing our game with us.” Sure, I could say those words, but I wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face, and that would kind of ruin the whole mood thing.

I like to go into car dealerships as the prospective buyer, and when they come back from their little powwow with the powwows that be and present their counter-offer, I tell them that I now need to go consult with my special mentor behind the curtain, who they’re not allowed to see. Then I get out my puppet stage, and have a few conversations between my hands, which are covered with different colored socks. When I’m done, I reveal to them what the other sock advised me to say. “Sock doesn’t like offer. No, no… He says you trying to bamboozle us. We can offer $14,500, but sock go no higher.” After we go back and forth with the whole process, eventually I hand them the sock and say, “Here… can you let my people talk to your people, and get this settled once and for all? Let your boss and the sock work it out. Besides, I’m missing Desperate Housewives as we speak, and it’s really cramping my style.”

Being a teacher in grade school would surely be interesting. For a day or so. After that, how do teachers stay motivated? I’d be waiting for the field trips more eagerly than the students. I’d even base 95% of their grade on the field trip.

One thing I’d do to correct a hundred years of improper teaching is to not have a part of the grade based on attendance. As a student, if you know the material, you know the material. Showing up doesn’t really take any special skill related to the subject. Now you have to know it with style? Sure, you aced all the tests, but did you keep your seat warm in the process? That’s what we want to know.

Now, they could have a class just called Attendance 101. And they would see how well each of the students could show up. They’d have class every day, and the object would be to be there. Once they were all there, they would chant the mantra from Horton Hears a Who: “We’re here, we’re here!” As such, 100% of the grade would be based on attendance. They would actually celebrate as each child walked into the classroom, giving each other high fives. “You made it today! You didn’t get lost or abducted by aliens! You’re going places, I tell you.” They would have a big final at the end of the semester, where they would hold the class in some obscure undisclosed location, and the students would have to find it. For the student well-versed in attendance, it would be a piece of cake.

I wouldn’t mind being a commercial airline pilot as long as they let me get off the plane before it took off. Other than the flying part, I really do like planes. I especially enjoy the whole integrated instrument panel layout, which is quite impressive. There’s nowhere to even hang an air freshener, because they don’t have rear-view mirrors, plus the cockpit is lined with wall-to-wall gadgets anyway. I wish I had a car that took ten minutes to turn on all the levers needed to start it up. It seems so much more important to commence driving than to simply put it in gear and go. While riding with me, if you hear me say “flaps down,” don’t be alarmed as I monkey a little with the visors. They’re precision instruments that must be accurately calibrated. Rear-view mirror checked, side mirrors checked, defrost on (always start on defrost so as not to upset the cabin pressure), flaps down, brake off, radio set to the proper station for the occasion (94.5 for driving over the Alps, for example), windows up, seatbelts securely buckled (there’s nothing worse than a partially-buckled seatbelt), doors locked, ashtrays in their upright position, and finally ready to leave the driveway. As a side note, I’m late for appointments quite a bit.

A little too intimidating for me. If they instead called it something like Danger Guard, or Mishap Guard, I think I could handle that. But otherwise, that’s putting a tad too much pressure on someone sitting in his boxers with a whistle getting a tan. Oh, and you are the Saver of Lives, if you don’t mind. Try not to let that get to you. Want some lotion?

Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan
I would serve the people of Kyrgyzstan well. Following on the policies outlined in my campaign, I’d be able to maintain the aristocracy inherent within the system. I would become beloved throughout the land, and go down in the history books as the impetus for restoring civility to that region. If only I could get the proper financing. Won’t you consider donating $5, $10, even $11,000 to my campaign? Send in unmarked bills to the address at the bottom of the screen. (No, don’t look under your monitor, you dunderhead)

Law Enforcement
I think I could be a police officer. I went on a ride-along a few years back, and you get to zoom 80 miles an hour through the middle of town. I’ve driven through the city of Salem on my own, and normally it takes about 15 minutes from one side to another if you catch the lights right, but on this night we traversed most of it in under 3 minutes. Of course, we had to slow down to 40 at the major intersections. As the police, you can make cars pull over for you just by flashing a light and siren. Still, the biggest draw, of course, is that policemen can park their car in the middle of the street if they want. They’ll even block both lanes if they feel like it. Few things are cooler than that.

Radio Disc Jockey
“Hey there, kids! Welcome to another hour of non-stop music, where you guess the song, and we don’t tell you what it is.” I could do that. Say into the microphone that here comes a song. And then play the song. And then when it’s over, say that was a song. A disc jockey is another way of saying narrator, but narrator doesn’t sound as enticing. I don’t know what the utility of having a narrator for music is, but I guess it can serve like a pep talk, and it’s fun to think that someone else is listening to the music along with you. Although if they would say what the name of the song was, then I might be a little more convinced they were paying attention to it. Here’s what I think happens: They start a string of six uninterrupted songs (besides, I hate those interrupted ones like Lady GaGa’s pre-eminent “Wax On, Wax Off” which comes with a built-in commercial and separate jingle* from the sponsor) (*-isn’t it just a little odd to have a jingle inside of another song? Yeah, I thought so.), and then they take a catnap, setting their alarm for 20 minutes, and then they wake up just in time to say, “Some great stuff there from The Who.” That’s how The Who got their name, incidentally. The DJ’s didn’t know whose songs they were playing, so when a band came along that played right into that, they were an instant hit. They even called their album at the time “Who’s Next,” thus relieving DJ’s everywhere of any responsibility whatsoever, and that’s how Pete Townshend became a legend.

Bus Driver
Even a school bus driver would be quite a good gig. Primarily because of that stop sign on the side of the bus, which you can invoke on a moment’s notice and halt all the traffic in the world behind you. Not only do you block their right of way, but you can command them to stay where they are. That’s something even a FedEx driver can’t do. As a matter of fact, as a school bus driver I would be able to tell those FedEx drivers that they had to stop behind me! Oh, man… That would be several levels beyond awesome. Where do I sign up?

It’s the classic case of, “I know he can get the job, but can he do the job? I’m not arguing that with you… I’m not arguing that with you… If I said that, I would be wrong. I know he can get the job, but can he do the job?” But yes, I can pose. I can be robotronic like a mannequin. It’s one of my fortes, in fact. I was born to not move. What’s the big deal?

Spies are so good as staying under the radar that you never hear about them. How many spies do you know or have you heard of in the news? It’s like they’re invisible. You could have three of them living in your house with you right now and you wouldn’t know it. They’re very careful to clean up their crumbs after meals, and they use hand signals to talk, so you typically wouldn’t notice them. And they’re cool with whatever it is you’re watching on TV too, so they’re adaptable. I think I could do that.

Take out the ‘ex’ part, and I’m there. It’s so close to being the ultimate job title. Or they could also call it “Warlords of the Termite” and get more response. Wouldn’t that be a hip business to have? You get to use flamethrowers, magic potions, hazardous chemicals… What’s not to like? It’s like you’re going to battle every day, to defend humanity against the evil kingdom of critters. You against the smarmy vermin. They may have the advantage of being a stealth operation, but you have all the secret weapons. They can retreat into the walls and under the house, while you have the ability to infiltrate their communities with toxic substances and render them powerless. It’s a very prestigious position, and one that is probably the main target of the insect world. When ants go to take over the world, they’re not going to flood the general theater as we might suspect, but they’re going to go after the exterminators and break down our power base first. When those guys start falling, we know we’re in trouble.

In Conclusion
People ought to put these kinds of things on their resumes. “I possess the necessary skills to be a great engineer, coal miner, stock broker, anthropologist, bartender, marketing representative, shoeshine boy, argyle sock repairman, car parking attendant, or cockroach trainer. This shows how versatile as well as desperate I am.”

Dance Like Nobody's Watching

Philosophy Soccer