A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

23 March 2004

Ooh, look Martha, it's one of those philosophical blogs!

So it's five o'clock on a morning following not too far behind my (mumble-mumble)th birthday. Mum phoned from the other side of the globe at eleven two nights ago, accurately pointing out that as I was born in the southern hemisphere, I've been lying to my friends all my life--I'm one day older than I've been telling everyone.

I am so very sorry to have deceived everyone like this. Although not like this. And certainly not like this.

Did you ever wonder why anyone would name their kid "Oral"? Was it just that they didn't know how to spell "Earl", (I know, when you get to that page it says "Earl" not found) or is his brother Anal happily practising dentistry somewhere? Flowers by Anal?. . .nah--it's too easy.

As you can see, it's causing me insomnia.

But I also recently saw the film About Schmidt, with Jack Nicholson. It was a terrifically understated piece about the brevity of life and what meaning we, as ordinary mostly-mortals might do with it.

"When I am dead, and everyone who has ever known me is dead, then it will be as though I had never lived."
-Warren Schmidt

This may be the most important film to hit the big screen in years. A recognition that we are not immortal. That there are more important things to strive for than say, the enormous acquisition of, if you will pardon the term, $#!Ψ.

Although not all parties agree on what such things are. But that recognition's an important step that I feel people, especially North Americans need to take.

How's about this: You really don't need any more stuff. Have you a roof over your head? Food in your belly? Useful work to do?

Then why not stop wasting your money on $#!Ψ?

Try this: I bet that with proper maintenance you can make your car, your TV, and your toaster last at least ten years. On a visit to Oz I stayed with a family whose kettle and toaster dated from 1971. Do you know anyone with a 30-year-old toaster?

Why did you buy the last toaster you bought? Was it because
  • a) The old one burned up
  • b) Your ex got it in the settlement or
  • c) You bought new dishtowels and the old toaster didn't match them?

  • Maybe you just had a bad day and the toaster said the wrong thing?

    What's the benefit to living with thirty-year-old appliances? Well first off, you'll save a ton of money. Consider--you can buy a new $17 toaster every three years for the next 30. You'll spend $170. If you bought a reasonably good $85 dollar toaster right away and kept it for the same period, you'd spend half the money, right?

    Of course if you can make a $17 toaster last 30 years that's even better.

    Note: Some might argue that old appliances waste electricity. True, arguing that we all use our appliances for maximum efficiency at all times (how many items are you putting in the dryer with those new dishtowels?). But it wastes still more resources of far greater variety to continue printing cheap circuit boards so that you can get a high-tech toaster that looks like a sneaker.

    This all speaks to the need for us to look beyond ourselves. No, this isn't some sort of religious conversion on my part. Just a belief in a better destiny for the human race, provided we keep in mind that we are tiny.

    Our problems as individuals rarely have an impact beyond us, although occasionally we become problems for other folks as well. But for the most part we die forgotten by history.

    There are some immortals: Some are born to immortality (if that's not a contradiction), some aspire to immortality, and some have (albeit limited) immortality thrust upon them.

    You, and likely I, are not one of these people. Most unlikely.

    Therefore, by what should we be remembered--by the limited and fading memories of our few remaining friends? By our own petty efforts at biography? God help us--by our blogs?

    We can best be remembered only as a society. As the race of humanity which will one day inherit the stars. . .I know, I know--grandiose moment. Picture me framed against a backdrop of stars, one hand outflung, as the music rises.

    (I am forced to warn you that the link below connects to a Nazi organization's "kids" homepage.)

    But what's the alternative? That we as a species become little Kashmirs and West Banks? That the noblest thing we ever aspire to is squatting on the same piece of ground for a thousand years? That our children inherit our fondly-nurtured hatreds?


    We're bound for better things. Why not kick off your day with a visit to the Hunger Site?

    At best, we stand a chance of being remembered only in the aggregate. We will be remembered by the cumulative value of our deeds.

  • Wow--interesting site. Check out the galleries.
  • Hmm. Look at the little red toaster at this page's logo--remind you of anything?
  • Deep philosophy

  • Okay--that's all the philosophy for now. Next week--fnord!


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