Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Learn Shoe Repair at Home

Yeah, when anybody wins some $100M lottery prize, it spawns some wishful thinking and downright envy in the population at large.

Now why so many of us are even at large, I have no idea. Probably has to do with that whole 'deinstitutionalization' movement back in the late 1970's. Deinstitutionalization is a VERY fun word to type though...

When non-lottery winners are daydreaming about owning castles and such? There's one aspect of material wealth they probably fail to consider. $100M means you never again have to do anything you find uncomfortable.

You'll never again have to speak with someone you don't like. You'll never have to go anywhere you don't want to go. You don't even have to floss your own teeth.

Well congratulations! Because in that aspect of obscene material wealth, you've arrived, in spirit at least. We're all of us already avoiding things we find uncomfortable, every chance we get.

Some things that make us uncomfortable, there's a darned good reason they should. I'm not talking about that kind of thing. I'm talking about learning shoe repair at home!!!

Has oft been said, You never understand a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes. Let's attribute that to Abe Lincoln. What the heck, he always gets the folksy platitudes laid to his legacy, right?

Well, I think shoe swapping is questionable from a hygeine perspective, unless you know the person really well. If you already know him well, no point in the whole mile walking experiment anyway. Why not walk a mile in YOUR shoes instead?

What makes you uncomfortable, and why? Naw, it's not a trick question! I realize that many things where a sense of unease attends, these things happen real quick in dynamic situations.

You know it darned well when you're experiencing it, but it's not the sort of situation lends itself to your calmly taking notes.

But there are some recurring themes, if you'll think about it. These are your shoes you're wearing, so why don't you go nuts and walk a mile in them and really understand you?

Maybe your shoes are just dandy, but mine are rundown at the heels and the laces keep coming untied. So here's some of what makes me uncomfortable. You make your own list, send it to me if you wish.

I'm uncomfortable around retarded people. Nope, that's not lead in for a lame self-deprecating joke. I really am intensely uncomfortable around retarded people.
Reason for that is likely cause my identity is so wrapped up with my alleged intellectual powers.

I'm uncomfortable when I walk up to any soldier or veteran and say 'Thank you for my freedom.' Used to say 'Thank you for your service' which didn't bother me. But at length I came to decide? The tepid sterility of 21st century English won't be applied by me to those who've protected me. 'Thank you for your service' sounds like something you tell a waitress at Applebee's.

Most recent time I said 'Thank you for my freedom' was to a guy doddering around the grocery store wearing a "WW2 Veteran" ball cap. It made me uncomfortable. Reason for that I think? 'Thanks for your service' is impersonal. Served this great nation, Mom's Apple Pie, etc. while 'Thank you for my freedom' expresses MY need, MY dependence on another.

But after you know, after you come to realize mealy-mouthed platitudes don't pass the Sullivan Ballou test for expressing gratitude to our soldiers, it makes you LESS comfortable to mumble 'Thanks for your service.'

And I guess that's what I'm getting at. Sure did take me a lot of words, huh? If you'll think, really think about some recurring things that make you uncomfortable, maybe you'll decide you don't want to be the sort of person who avoids that brand of discomfort. And by doing that, some metaphysical transmutation occurs where your shoes are repaired; it's lots more comfortable walking around in them. You might try it? Crazier plans have succeeded.

Deinstitutionalization, Deinstitutionalization, Deinstitutionalization, Deinstitutionalization... I LOVE typing that word!!!

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