Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful the other 364 days too!

As we stumble headlong into the holidays, I've decided any tolerance that my body had as a kid for the freezing cold is quickly vanishing and almost gone. "Old people moving to Florida" is no longer a punchline to me. Those lucky farts have reached the promised land. I see that now.

Sure, it is the time of year that the cold is getting more and more intolerable, but on the other hand, at least I am getting fatter than ever.

*cue elephant music from Dumbo cartoon*

I am starting to think all the fall and winter holidays were mostly invented by our barely post-caveman ancestors to allow us to unashamedly eat as much as possible and pack on the pounds and insulation needed to survive the cold.

My theory stands out more to me as I am getting older, since time starts to pass more and more quickly every year (no really, that is a thing). It is a losing battle every year:

  • How am I going to get rid of all this leftover Halloween candy?!
  • 12 side dishes isn't too much for Thanksgiving, right?
  • Eggnog!
  • Almost done with all this leftover turkey oh my god Christmas is already here?!
  • More eggnog! YAAburpAAY!
  • How many snacks should we buy for the New Year's Eve party? BUY AAAALL THE SNACKS!

We should just change "New Year's Resolutions" to "Spring Resolutions". We can make them on April 1st, when the sun starts to come out and we don't need this extra blubber to keep warm anymore.  Plus when we stop keeping the resolutions (like we always do), we can yell "April Fools!".

But think about how lucky we Americans are that one of our biggest winter problems (aside from this ass biting cold) is worrying about losing pounds from too MUCH food. Many in the world don't have that luxury.

I am grateful every day of the year, but I think this holiday, a set day every year to take inventory of how blessed we are is one of our best ideas.

Despite the pains and problems that piled up in 2014, I know I am so lucky and blessed. I know full well how safe and comfortable I am, compared to millions across the globe.  And despite having lost friends and family this last year, I am so thankful for those I still have with me.

I am so incredibly thankful for my wife and kids and my family and friends.

They say we are not truly grateful for what we have until we have lost it. I do not think that must always be true.  We can choose to take stock and be thankful.  And nothing breaks down our ingratitude and taking our blessings for granted more than speaking and acting out for them.

Unless we're convinced our warm homes and full bellies are complete chance or merely from all our own hard work, it would serve our hearts well to remember those so much less fortunate than us.

Let us be thankful for what we have, but more importantly for who we have.

Lest we become forced to realize what we had only after we've lost it... let us remember to take a minute to put down the forks so we can hug our loved ones, tell them we love them and are so thankful they are in our lives.

Tell them to squeeze a little harder than usual, so you can feel it through the extra layers.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I got into an argument with Facebook today

Me: Hey Facebook! What's up, friends!

Facebook: Obama!

Me: Wait... Obama... what? Obama is "up"? I don't understand what you're saying. I meant "what is up"... you know, "wassuuuuup!" As in, how are you? What are you doing?

Facebook: Jesus!

Me: You're... what the... you're doing Jesus? That doesn't make sense!! Can you even see me or hear my voice?!  I meant, what is going on with you and in your life right now?

Facebook: Democrats suck! Republicans suck! Congress sucks!

Me: ARGHHH!!! We already... stop it! Just stop! Everybody already knows that Congress sucks! Congress has literally always sucked and always will! You are not saying anything original or enlightening there.

Listen, I just want to know what is up with YOU. What have YOU been doing lately?  Where did you go this weekend? Are you happy? Are you sad? I'll even settle for a picture of your new haircut. What made you laugh today or be inspired?

Facebook: Can I post a picture that made me laugh or another one that kinda inspired me?

Me: Well... ok, now we're getting somewhere. Sure, I guess. I would rather hear you write something funny or inspirational from your own heart and head, but that is still cool.

Facebook: Can I repost 100 a day?

Me: NO!

Facebook: What about 50?

Me: NO! You were not inspired 50 times by 50 different things in one day! Stop it! That is just distraction and you having the attention span of a goldfish! Listen, just focus on one thing that really inspired you today and post that. And remember, an original, funny or inspirational thought that actually came out of your own head is even more funny or inspirational for the rest of us.

Facebook: But I really love Obama and Jesus.

Me: Good! But try to fit that into the conversation a little better. How many people have emailed you to thank you and tell you they converted to your faith or politics because of the 100 pictures a day you reposted? How many?

Facebook: ......

Me: Facebooooook... I asked you a question. How many?

Facebook: I dunno.

Me: Facebook, I can't hear you.

Facebook: I said... I said, I don't know. Maybe... none, I guess.

Me: Maybe? You think? So, nobody who believed differently than you has been converted and let you know that you changed their religious or political beliefs by you reposting 100 unoriginal pictures a day? What does that tell you?

Facebook: Post 200?

Me: NOOOOO!!!!

Facebook: But... but the same 12 friends who already believe exactly like me click Like on all 100 of my picture reposts every day! I am really getting through to the ones who believe exactly like me!

Me: *sigh* Look, Facebook... I like you. I really do. And talking about your faith and about politics is totally natural and fine and even welcome, just as long as you are talking WITH someone and not just pointing it loudly at their ear holes or eyeballs.

But if people walk up to you in real life and in person, ask you what is up and how are you doing and the first thing you scream is "Obama is awesome!" or "Obama sucks!", everybody will learn to avoid you at parties.

You see that guy in the corner, fidgeting and smirking to himself by the snack table while everyone avoids contact? That's you. Is that what you want? Try to work your faith and politics into the conversation once in a while AFTER you ask people what they are up to and how they are doing! Just don't be a one note pony.

Are you an atheist? Great. Are you a born again christian? Great. Are you going to fill every sentence with hints that I am an idiot if I am not one or the other? Not so great, Facebook. Not cool, man. Again... if you do that in real life, you're going to be hanging out by the hors d'oeuvres by yourself a lot.

The old saying "never talk about politics or religion" is not completely true. But maybe start up a conversation directly with someone about it. Maybe even in a private email or just on their page to see if they are engaged and interested, instead of jumping up on the snack table and screaming at the room.

At the very least, write something original yourself. Don't repost 100 religious or political pictures a day. That genuinely is not making you look original or thoughtful or helping your cause. It is just white noise that people tune out more and more and scroll as fast as possible to get to the next real updates. You know, the ones with just words.

We know that those updates with just words in them are something that someone actually thought up in their brain and typed with their fingers. That is literally THEM talking and it is so much more engaging and entertaining than a screen shot of FOX News.

Sure, when they type their own thoughts, they look and sound stupid sometimes, but that is fine! At least it showed more creativity and initiative than someone just clicking the Share link on a page that only they love and follow and everyone else does not give a shit about.

We know where those religious and political pages and pictures are on the Internet and we can go looking for them if we want them, thank you. Am I getting through to you at all, Facebook?

Facebook: .......

Me: Look! If you're really most passionate about your faith or politics, then start a blog! They are literally free and there is no character limit! That way, you can really take the time to write out in depth essays about your passion for those things and it will be YOUR thoughts.

I promise you, it will be so much more effective than yelling "Obama!" or "Jesus!" at me or showing me 100 pictures someone else made of them.

Even if it is a politics or religion blog, we will listen. But write something that is what YOU think about them and what you care about, from your heart, and not just some picture someone else pasted text over. Long winded is something we can endure, as long as it is YOU talking from your heart and not just someone else you are quoting, over and over and over.

We are more interested in YOU.  Heck, we'd rather even just see an endless stream of random pictures of YOU and your family and your friends or even your interests.  All pictures we take of ourselves are a little narcissistic, not just the selfie pics.  But that is fine! You are in my friend list because I want to keep in touch with YOU... see updates in words and pictures about YOU and what is really on your mind and important to YOU.

Facebook: Can I post 50 pictures in a row of cookies and brownies?

Me: Dammit... that's it, I'm logging off.