Tag Archives: life

A Sense of Belonging and the Miraculous

When I was washing my hair tonight, my mind wandered to what-if scenarios involving gunshots and holy texts.  Imagine, if you would, a group of friends (or strangers) traveling in one car on the way to an interfaith service.  With their destination just around the bend, they get caught in a crossfire at an intersection between a band of thieves and a few off-duty police officers.  Each of the five inhabitants of that car gets shot.  Legs, arms, torsos, and abdomens get punctured.

Or do they?

Customers at a nearby gas station hear the gunshots and call the paramedics.  After arriving at the emergency room and receiving treatment from the hospital staff, it becomes apparent that even though these individuals were each struck three times, none of the injuries were life-threatening.  Major arteries missed by centimeters, ball-and-sockets missed cleanly, and no reproductive parts were put in disarray.

Imagine the look of disbelief or curiosity on the nurses and doctors’ faces when they summarize the condition of the patients to the patients.  The Buddhist was saved by his Star Trek dvd box set that he clutched against his chest while driving.  The Muslim, sitting shotgun, was saved by the Qur’an leaning against his chest.  The non-denominational Christian was saved by the pocket NIV Bible he kept in his breast pocket.  The Wiccan was saved by an Oxford Dictionary, you guessed it, leaning against her bosom.  The football player was saved by his playbook and his 10,000 Youtube Subscriber award.

Would each person thank their god?  Would each person feel that their surviving is proof that there is a god and that there is only their god?  Or, would they be back to square one wondering that if they all lived, it’s impossible to know which god is “right” and if there really is a god at all? Which holy text is right?  Moreover, the football player puts a variable on things.  Either he made it because he was with deists or because it was a coincidence and his presence somehow negated the certainty that the rest of them had regarding the nature of the Divine.  The Buddhist would probably be the most chill, right?  He’d chalk everything up to the rhythm of life as would the Wiccan.

On the other hand, if this car were filled with atheists and one law-of-attraction practitioner and they were saved by various non-holy texts (a Bluray box set, a cookbook, an iPad, a giant stuffed bear), would they attribute their survival to coincidence? Dumb luck? Or look at the law-of-attractioner for an explanation?

AVStatueMD2016

On Synchronicity

I was reading about synchronicity the other night and The Enigma of the Search in liminal moments where I was getting ready to sleep or waiting for an hour to pass.  I have experienced synchronicity in my life and have seen that extra dose of ain’t-this-cool that such events can bring.  Earlier this week I had my mind set upon obtaining  Criterion DVD box set but didn’t follow through with my intention because the price wasn’t right.  I told a friend about it and minutes later, he told me that Criterion as having a 50% flash sale for twenty-four hours and the promo code was LOVE.

Fast-forward to today.  I recounted what happened on my bookface and am copying and pasting it here:

There’s an adage about man making plans and transcendent entities just laughing. I made plans today to go to the Funwoody Barnes & Noble to get my morning caffeine fix and Mary Roach’s book Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War* followed by an oil change (and more). Well, I got to Barnes & Noble at 8:52 am, not realizing that they didn’t open until 9 am. Because I didn’t want to wait nine minutes for the doors to open, I went to a nearby Starbux for a soy latte. As I was headed back to my car, I heard a man’s voice coming from my left.

“Excuse me, ma’am. Do you have a dollar?”

I’d noticed this man earlier but didn’t think more if it. He wore all black and was bundled up like any cold temperature morning. I walked closer to him and asked if he wanted an almond croissant (which I got from Starbux in addition to the latte). He thanked me but declined as his hunger was focused on grits. I gave him a dollar, remarked that it was a good and sunny day not windy like yesterday, and told him to have a good day. He responded with appreciation and noted that I was a beautiful woman…presumably for not ignoring him and not giving him the stink-eye.

Normally, I ignore questions people ask me when I’m going back to my car (unless they’re about directions or the time). I didn’t ignore this question, though. Had my morning gone as I’d “planned,” I wouldn’t have had this experience.

Oh, and no oil change today because I have to get a timing cover oil leak fixed and there’s no sense and getting two oil changes in less than a week.  

It occurred to me that there was an amount of “pre-production” that had to happen in order for me to have had that experience. The book I wanted was supposed to be available at the Buckhead B&N, which it wasn’t when I went there on Thursday. They told me the Perimeter and the Forum locations had it. Thus, my trip to the Perimeter this morning. And, I typically get Saturday soy lattes from a specific Starbux and I didn’t do it this morning because I figured, “going to B&N, might as well get it there.” I ended up getting the book at the Forum.

I also picked up Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016) on DVD.   I’ve thought about my actions from this morning and have only come up with this “reason” for why I didn’t ignore the man.  It would have been rude not to acknowledge him — practically, I was the only other person around at that moment.  It would have been so obvious to him that I was choosing to pretend he wasn’t there.  It would have made me feel bad and ashamed.  I wasn’t “thinking” any of this stuff, but a part of me knew it.

Hearing that question, “Do you have a dollar?” was like being on a stage with a spotlight shining straight into my face.  I’ve lived my entire life doing everything I can to be backstage or in the audience — never on the stage.  I won’t shy away from other audience members or crew members off-stage, but I have tried to hide myself in other capacities.  In that moment, the universe had seen me and I couldn’t make myself blend in with my surroundings or distract it with tales of absurdity or morbidness.

Instead of wondering if I’d passed the test, I’d like to know, well, what next?

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*I saw the book mentioned on this Reddit thread.

Insult Like You Mean It

A few years ago I posted about a book called Insults & Comebacks, a collection of witticisms that bite and punch.  They are hilarious and depending on one’s delivery, the lines could come off as just the right amount of dry humor:

“I’ve had a lot to drink, and you still don’t look good.”

“Just because you can’t smell it doesn’t mean the rest of us aren’t suffering.”

“We’ve taken a vote: you’re trying too hard.”

“You still think you can be anything you want–and get paid for it.”

“Your lack of experience is matched only be your surplus of ego.”

“Ignorance can be cured. Stupid is forever.”

“It’s not the technology–it’s you.”

 photo Insults.jpg

 

Today, I came across this thread on Reddit about insults and found even more awesome ways of saying some unkind things that are funnier than they are plain mean.

Why are you playing so hard to get when you’re already hard to want?

You’re the dollar menu version of your father.

The only way for you to get laid is to crawl up a chicken’s ass and wait.

If you were any more inbred you’d be a sandwich.

You’re so ugly, your portraits hang themselves.

May you inherit a house with a thousand rooms and be found dead in every one of them.
Your teeth look like they’re throwing gang-signs.
I would ask you what your problem is, but you probably can’t pronounce it.
Does your ass get jealous of the shit that comes out of your mouth?
You’ll never be the man your mother is!
You’re as useful as a screen door on a submarine
If I wanted to kill myself, I would climb to your ego and jump down to your IQ.
I’ve had worse things said about me by better people.
I’d call you a cunt but you lack warmth and depth.

 

Football and MMA aren’t forms of art?

The Golden Globe Awards were last night and if you’ve launched any social media or culture outlet today you probably know about Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award.  She spoke on the geographically diverse talent pool in Hollywood and that if they were kicked out, “…we’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

Sure, athletic competition is certainly not a fine (high) art form (painting, pottery, sculpting, architecture, music, opera, theatre, poetry).  The activity itself, though, is a performing art as much as dance.  Moreover, as televised football and mixed martial arts are very much part of the visual arts (photography, film, video, digital media), I argue that the representation of these athletic experiences, especially with an audience, is artful in their own voyeuristic physics-at-work ways.  Sanctioned body trauma and sometimes in slow motion. Sweat ricochets, inertia observed, crash-test dummy whooshes, and it is a wonder why some of us like to watch adults inflict physical pain onto each other for entertainment.*

~!~

And now for some other performing arts that is just as athletic but without all the violence.

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*Of course, NFL Films changed profoundly how we think about football game play vis-a-vis how we see it.