Monday, December 28, 2015

Mother Nature Is Kind of a Jerk, but Lemons are Delicious

If you could talk to mother nature, what would you say? 

My first instinct was a genuine, heartfelt apology. But when I got to thinking about it, I thought, you know what? You can be a real dick. Always could, even before we destroyed you. You're very capricious, and any parenting book will tell you that kind of extreme inconsistency is terribly damaging. You created us, not the other way around. In fact, many of the human innovations messing you up were created expressly to defend ourselves against how harsh you are. You lull us into submission with temperate, sunny days, and then, from out of nowhere, catastrophic earthquake! You're all dead! Ha ha!

As is so often the case, our coping mechanisms, which once served us so well, have become deeply engrained, self-destructive habits. Maybe it's time you sat down and thought about your own part in all this. As per usual, when it's all said and done, you'll be fine, and we'll be extinct.

Now you act like you're the victim here. It's the classic cycle of abuse. You're like a violent, manipulative, alcoholic parent or spouse. When your family band together and kill you, you get to look like a saint, because you're dead and they're murderers. I'm not saying we're right, but perhaps this is what Malcolm X might have called the chickens coming home to roost.

Finish this sentence: "When life gives you lemons..."

When life gives you lemons, understand they're a metaphor. You can't make lemonade, you can't start a lemonade stand and you can't harvest the seeds, plant a bunch of lemon trees, and become one of those lemon billionaires the money people can't stop talking about. Nor can you squeeze the citric acid in life's eyes and run, because the lemons aren't real, and life doesn't have eyes. I mean, think about it. Who exactly is this "life," why is it giving you lemons, and why would anyone take it badly if it did? When some unseen force gives you free lemons, what is there to say but, great! Free lemons! You would probably instinctively make lemonade, or do something equally appealing to you with them. A self-righteous saying masquerading itself as positivity isn't really necessary.

This cliche' is not actually referring to lemons. The lemons symbolize bad fortune, which is subjective and comes in infinite different forms. You may be able to up your game, as the saying implies you should. You may not. Maybe you need some time to process, recover, and integrate said lemons into the sour but refreshing person you're going to become. Maybe you're can't just get over it, and who am I to judge? I haven't been in your shoes.

In conclusion, my grandma's favorite poem. It's served me well all my life.

Pray don't find fault with the man who limps
or stumbles along the road, 
unless you have worn the shoes he wears
or struggled beneath his load.
There may be tacks in his shoes that hurt, 
though hidden away from view, 
or the burden he bears, placed on your back
might cause you to stumble too. 
Don't sneer at the man who's down today
unless you have felt the blow
that caused his fall or felt the shame
that only the fallen know.
You may be strong, but still the blows
that were his if dealt to you, 
in the selfsame way, at the selfsame time, 
might cause you to stagger too. 
Don't be too harsh with the man who sins
or pelt him with word or stone, 
unless you are sure, yea, doubly sure, 
that you have no sins of your own
for you know perhaps if the tempter's voice
should whisper as softly to you
as it did to him when he went astray, 
it might cause you to stumble too. 

Rama Muthukrishnan

Am I sure, yae, doubly sure, that I have no sins of my own? Heck no! Have your particular lemons been thrown at me? Absolutely not - I know, because you're you, and I'm me. So I can't very well tell you what you should do with them, can I?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Message in a Bottle

I'm wallowing in discouragement over abandoning yet another novel, and putting blogs where I rant about stuff I think on hold, because why do I think anyone cares what I think, and how 2008 is blogging? So, I'm not going to go running my mouth off until I decide, fuck it, I feel like writing another one, and people can either read it or not, it's up to them. I'm just going to shut up, until I lose interest in shutting up.

In the mean time, I'm doing writing prompts, and publishing them here because it generally provides me with at least a little bit of instant gratification, unlike novel writing, which provides the exact opposite.

While at the beach you decide to write a message in a bottle. What would it say? Who would you like to find it? 

Dear Bottle Finder,

Jealous! Like most people, I've always wanted to find a message in a bottle, but I never have. Probably never will, because while people love throwing garbage in the ocean, they don't want to actually put any effort into it. Effort stands in opposition to the whole point of throwing things in the ocean. So there are hardly any messages in bottles. It's a pretty inefficient means of communication, too. However, if I want more messages in bottles floating around in the ocean, it starts with me. Be the change you want to see.

You probably don't speak English, or know anyone who does. If you're a person at all, which you probably aren't. More than likely, this bottle full of now water-damaged paper will migrate toward one of those massive conglomerates of garbage that litter our oceans. I hear these are now starting to mix with natural materials and form a new kind of rock thingie. So, whether you don't speak English, or you're a pile of inanimate objects, I'm not going to give you any advice. What do I know of your life? Even my most fundamentally held beliefs might not be of any use to you.

Assuming you're a person and you speak English, you're probably me when I'm really old. That should merit a one page human interest story in People magazine. I've enclosed some pictures. That should be interesting, whether you don't speak English, or you're old me.

Other than that, I'd only put a message in a bottle if I were stranded on a desert island. Where I probably wouldn't have a bottle with a lid, but you never know. In that case, I'm not so much trying to communicate a profound message to humanity as I am trying to get off this island. So, help! I don't know where I am, but you're smart - I bet you can figure it out.

Either way, no doubt you're a lovely person with beautiful hair, and, I am sure, many stories to tell. Now you have another one. You once found a bottle with some foreign text in it! Just like I sometimes tell people I was once supposed to be on a plane that crashed and everyone died, or that my dad and brother have both been struck by lightening. I hope you're a kid, because this would be so much more exciting for a kid. Let your imagination run wild. Not being able to read this should help. I've also enclosed a fraudulent treasure map. I'm not being cruel, I just think it might be fun for you.

Maybe next time you find a message in a bottle, there will be some candy in it.

Sincerely,

Erin

It's funny that pirates were always going around searching for treasure, and they never realized that the real treasure was the fond memories they were creating. 
-Jack Handey