Monthly Archives: June 2013

Bear Rant

“This man is smarter than the average bear.”

Humans are funny.  We take a non-verbal creature, judge it based on its ability to retain human information, then reign ourselves supreme for being the more human of the two.

Besides the fact that the concept of intelligence is based entirely on human characteristics and actions, we have no proof (that I am aware of) that bears have a lesser degree of human intelligence than we do.  Maybe we have inferior communication skills to bears, rendering us incapable of carrying on conversations.  Is not “communication” a point of intelligence?  Dogs and dolphins and animals of all sorts can understand human words, yet we have not yet figured out how to unlock any of nature’s languages.

And while I’m at it, where exactly did we acquire these statistics averaging the millions of bears’ intelligence??  Some arctophiliac scientist with too much time on his hands, I suppose.  Or perhaps the bears’ themselves submitted these statistics in an effort to keep the knowledge of their intelligence to a minimum.

That’s true intelligence right there.

 

 

Dreaming Realities

Maybe when we close our eyes and drift off to sleep, sometimes our dreams aren’t dreams at all.  Maybe our mind is cast off into another reality and we occupy another being’s thoughts and actions, sometimes only observing, other times living their story.

Maybe we live an entire life behind our closed eyes each night, nourishing the blooming worlds of our thoughts and dying a thousand times during the space of one moon.  Perhaps our brain is a universe in itself, each dream enveloping an entire reality for mere seconds, then leaving and ceasing to exist.

Perhaps not.

Occasionally my brain will sprout blazingly vivid dreams and I will sleep for hours, devastatingly unaware of my waking world’s surroundings.  This is abnormal because usually my sleep stays light and the hours slept few.  One would be to think that if you slept for longer periods of time, you would wake up feeling refreshed and energized.  However, the opposite is true when it comes to these vivid dreams.  I wake up exhausted and drained, as if I hadn’t slept at all.

As if I were actually awake the entire time.

This has led my more irrational side to believe that occasionally I live the lives of a different realm.  I am a water-bender, a sailor, a victim and a monk.  A tree.  The wind.  A human.  We all are.

Its not an idea the waking mind accepts, but its a nagging sense nonetheless.  The same sense that fuels the desire to be more, for there to be more.  More to all this, an “all this” without boundaries.  We believe we know it all, or that we will soon know it all.  We believe there is a finite amount of knowledge to obtain, and nothing past that.  We believe in reality.

But maybe everything is reality.

Half-Marathons are 97% Bueno

The time was 6:30 AM.  The temperature was somewhere between 30 degrees and Absolute Zero.  Though the conditions were less-than-optimal, the eager spirit of those wandering wayfarers pacing atop the mountainside alit the atmosphere with energy and anticipation.

My first half-marathon.

With a whole two weeks of training and a pocket full of running ambrosia (AKA Gu), I laced up my super high-tech $20 K-Mart running shoes and headed out the door, my soul filled with oblivious confidence and my mind ready to get it over with.  What started as a last-minute promise to my dad would now become the 6th greatest endeavor of my life, not counting the time I had consumed an entire watermelon.  I was vastly unprepared and overconfident as usual, and I was ready.

With the 30-minute busride to the top of the mountain came the realization as to just how impossibly LONG 13.1 miles is.  To put it into perspective: I was able to eat a second breakfast, take a nap, and defeat an evil chinese warlord before the bus was able to reach the start line.  Sheathing my sword, I stepped off the bus and into a crowd of people chaotically searching for bathrooms and emergency bananas.  Then suddenly a shot went off, and the pandemonium coalesced into a single body of people.

It had begun.

The young and fit, the saggy and old, the reborn middle-agers; we all gathered at the start line, a sense of hushed anticipation buzzing through the crowd.  600+ people from all walks of life readying themselves for one single goal: 13.1 miles.  The reasons and seasons for these people were all different…to get fit, to become sexy, to fight off depression, to find onesself, to lose onesself…but every single one of us was focused on that finish line.  For the next few hours we would be teammates, family, life support, One.  A sense of camaraderie I had yet to experience linked us together and pushed us to lengths we’d only dared dream of.  Synergy.  Determination. Success.

These were the grand emotions I experienced before I began my descent into Hell.

The first three miles were a breeze.  They always are.  Keeping a good 2 hour pace and only occasionally being passed up, I finally reached the Mile 4 marker which I now realize was the Gateway to Hades in disguise.  My lungs began to burn (from the sulfur of demons barbecuing innocence) as did my legs (its difficult to run atop the souls of the damned).  With every passing mile another one of my organs would shut down.  Arms?  Who needs them.  Liver?  More like DEADer (bad pun) (really bad pun) (I apologize).  Still trying to run more than walk, I pathetically kept pace with an ultra-fit octogenarian who had probably accomplished more in one day than I had in my entire lifetime.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned from running, its that anyone could be a runner. ANYONE.  They walk among us, unseen and undetected, but always present.  ALWAYS.

Anywho, if Mile 4 was the Gateway to Hell, than Mile 12 was the stairway out.  And it was anything but pleasant.  As I jogged/limped/walked toward the finish line, I could feel blood pooling in my shoes and every muscle in my entire body spontaneously combusting.  The burning in my legs I had experienced earlier had decided to kindly transform into a simpler but more effective form of pain, known as pure pain.  My legs were the very definition of pain.  With volunteers cheering/bullying me to finish, I sauntered across the finish line like a pimp who had lost all use of his kneecaps.

2 hours, 12 minutes.  A full 30 minutes faster than my anticipated finish time.  Am I a total boss? Yes, yes I am.  Am I an idiot?  Indeed.  Though I finished at a speed I had only dared dream of, my body experienced severe repercussions for the next week.  My stiff legs caused me to walk like someone who didn’t make it to the bathroom in time.  Soreness consumed my mind, body, and soul.  The processes of my brain shut down entirely.  I was one large bruise from head to toe.  And I do not regret a second of it.

Though there are consequences to running that would leave the un-runned man in a state of pure agony, the benefits outweigh the setbacks.  Firstly and foremost, running makes you sexy.  Your muscles get all sculpted and fit and you become a total beast.  You also get really high from all those natural drugs that hide in your body.  You get to join a very supportive (albeit mostly insane) community of runners.  There are medals.  And super stylish sweatsuits.  And a lot of milk for some reason.  And most importantly, food tastes A BAJILLION times better after running.  Like, over 9000.

And I would do anything for food.

Thou Shalt Eat Hotdogs

I got a job.

That’s right; I am officially a certified Normal Person.  I wake up at reasonable times, go to bed at reasonable times, eat at reasonable times, reasonably time reasonable times, time thyme seasoning reasonably, etc.  No more serenading the fridge and karate chopping inanimate objects, no no.  My days of awkward and bizarre are now OVER.  That’s what happens when you get a job, right?

Despite my anarchist persona punching my face for following the common man’s path and working for a corporation (the supposed root of all evil), I quite enjoy working.  The coworkers are nice, the hours aren’t too shabby, the pay is fantastic, and the work itself is supposed to be easy.  For the common man.  Which I am not.  The fact that I am almost literally a fish out of water (This is a good metaphor for me because I am 97.1% sure I was a mermaid in my past life) in public does little to aid me in my quest to bequeath customers with delightful confectioneries.

If you guessed that I am a food-wielding prostitute, you’d be wrong.  But close.  Rather, I am (drum roll) a FOOD DEMO PERSON.  I’m pretty sure that’s my official title.  Anyway, the mechanics of the job are simple.  Take food out of container.  Place food on plate.  Customer takes food.  It’s the whole “interact with other members of the human species” bit that is a little difficult for me at times.  Sometimes my brain’s all “#NormalSwag, #PimpinCheesePuffs” but mostly its just me acting like I’m too busy wiping up non-existent spills to grant my fellow human beings with the holy knowledge of All Things Hotdogs.  ITS THEIR GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO KNOW ABOUT HOTDOGS, DAMMIT.  But alas, the irrational fear that the customer is going to reach over the table and bite my nose never leaves me.

I’ll get better.  That’s what they tell me, anyway.  I just have to keep the self-expectation to a minimum and the sunshine-filled smiles to a maximum.  If I’m completely failing in public, I might as well do it cheerfully.

How Not to Save a Bird

One time I rescued a baby bird.  And it was nothing like those feel-good movies make it out to be.

It was one of those drowsy summer days, the type that leave impressions of infinite warmth and blossoms.  My mother and I were on a walk in artificial suburbia when we came upon a fuzzy baby bird screaming for food upon the sidewalk.  TO SAVE OR NOT TO SAVE?  My selfish desire to be a superhero kicked in and I brashly decided to conquer my previously unknown fear of natural animals.  Swallowing the panic that was slowly creeping into my throat, I tried to figure out how to pick up the fragile creature without damaging the bird or my sense of well-being.  With my mother making the “you’re a total wimp” face at my failed attempts to pick up a harmless baby, I gritted my teeth and finally got the ugly infant to hop into my palm.  Man did that freak me out.  When the bird stretched its wings, it became evident that it was not the innocent baby bird I had first thought it to be, but rather a skeleton decorated with tufts of fur.  Not to mention the fact that it viewed my fingers as food.  Fear gripped my entire being as the ugly creature clung to my hand.

However, the thing that scared me above all else was the thought of the baby dying in my hands.  No matter how much I feared the beast, the need to nurture this tiny life and ensure its survival cancelled out all other emotions.  I WAS GOING TO BE A SUPER HERO ONE DAY, DAMMIT.  The weight of responsibility pounded through my veins as I tried to walk with a combination of speed and grace (a motion that rather made me look like I had just pooped my pants) so I could get home and save the helpless creature from its imminent doom.

Fantasies of dancing around my backyard with my lifelong bird friend (who I would name Chastàin because that’s an EFFIN CLASSY name) and a montage of my little friend growing from a helpless baby into something like a noble Pidgeot with a scarf waltzed through my head as I slowly made my way back to homebase.  I was going to be Jean Craighead George!  I was totally one with nature!

Oh how little did I know.

I couldn’t figure out if excessive chirping was a good or bad sign, so I tried to keep the baby at what I thought was a moderate noise level by occasionally shaking the bucket I had made as its temporary emergency vehicle.  Once I finally arrived home, I booted up the laptop and iPad simultaneously to devour as much knowledge on baby birds as quickly as possible.  TIME WAS OF THE ESSENCE AND THE LIFEFORCE OF MY PRECIOUS BABY BIRD WAS DIMINISHING WITH EVERY PASSING SECOND.  I not-so-gently transferred my captive into a makeshift nest and got to studying.  The bird soon quieted down, but this silence was not golden.  This silence was what I believed to be an omen of DEATH.  My studying quickened.

Following the directions from the all-knowing internet, I softened dog kibble in hot sugar water and attempted to feed the bird with this mystical life-saving ambrosia whilst my mother rolled her eyes and watched to make sure I didn’t let the “germ-infested” creature loose.  Fantasies of my gentlemanly pidgeot and dances with birds were then slowly crushed by a truth I had sensed all along: I am not fit to care for and save little lives.  The infinite knowledge on birds I had gathered during my 20-minute search on Google was not enough.  My inadequacy was further confirmed by the baby’s complete unwillingness to partake in the soggy dog food fated to save its life.  A sense of dread filled my entire being as I realized what I must now do: I had to take the fledgling back and undo the ignorant mistake I had viewed as a potentially heroic story.

Thanks, ego.  Good intentions + overstatement of ability – actual ability = FAILURE.

During the car ride back, the baby decided to stop playing dead and instead HOP OUT OF ITS FREAKING BASKET WHILE I WAS FREAKING DRIVING.  Between trying to keep the baby from killing itself and trying to make sure it didn’t peck out my eyes, our lives were put into jeopardy by oncoming traffic and curbside trash cans.  I arrived at my destination in a state of panic and jumped out of  the car, terror striking my face white.  Mustering up the remainder of my courage, I opened the car door and began my hunt for the minuscule bird, using my sonar location skills to pinpoint the origin of the deadly tweets.  Eventually the baby hopped out from under the driver’s seat, looking annoyed and pissed off.  I used my worm-like fingers to coax the baby back into the basket and flung the nest and its inhabitant into the grass before quickly driving off to freedom.

As I glanced into my rearview mirror, I saw the bird immediately hop from its makeshift nest and begin prowling in search of its next victim.  I realized then what an idiot I had been.  Rescuing a “helpless” baby bird based off of feel-good movies, Pokemon, and the irrational desire to be a super hero?  Good intentions, but not well thought out.  The baby was definitely safer in the hands of nature than in my sweaty worm-like ones.

If there’s anything to be learned from this post, it is this: baby birds are not as helpless as you think and Pidgeot will never exist in this reality.  The End.

Final note: with this post I wish you the best of luck in all areas of life, Chastàin.  May your creepy wings take you to heights unsoared and your gangling legs walk you to the nearest worm-buffet.  And also I hope you get trapped in a tub of soggy dog kibble because you are a freakishly annoying creature and you deserve it.  But only for a little bit.