Saturday, November 17, 2018

41 Things I LOVE About Modern Society

This is the best time in the history of humanity to be alive, and anybody who thinks to the contrary is full of dookie.


By: Jimbo X
JimboXAmerican@gmail.com
@JimboX
The Internet Is In America on Voat

One of the most perplexingly popular things I've ever written for The Internet Is In America is a piece titled "41 Things I Hate About Modern Society." At the time, I was simply looking for something contrarian to post around Thanksgiving and just started listing the teeny, tiny things in life that irritate me ... culminating with the greatest "twist ending" since The Sixth fuckin' Sense. Much to my surprise, however, that's one of the five most frequently visited articles on the site, and judging from the analytics, it's because there sure are a lot of people out there mashing "society sucks" and "I hate society" into the Google search bar with alarming regularity.

Yes, there are a lot of things about modernity that, to put it delicately, suck a big fat Sasquatch cock. But as bad as our modern world may be, it's still unquestionably the best time to be alive ever. 

Yeah, I know there's a lot of people out there who lament technology and fetishize the 1980s and 1990s as some sort of glory day of Millennial/Gen Z culture, but that's to discount all of the myriad ways technology has made our lives better, easier and more enjoyable, pretty much across the board. Indeed, I counted up 41 things about contemporary existence I absolutely LOVE ... and if you can't find reason to likewise laud at least half of the stuff on here, ya' might as well just put a bullet through your noggin now, 'cause there just ain't no pleasin' somebody like you ... asshole.

01. YouTube, DailyMotion, Vimeo and all the rest of the video streaming websites - I honestly don't think people realize just how amazing a technological advent streaming, user-generated video sites are. Just take a look at this commercial from 1999, featuring a woman telling some dude that her shitty little hotel has every piece of media ever created available any time the dude wanted it. Back then, such was considered utterly impossible, but here we are in the year 2017 and we can watch virtually any movie, TV show, cartoon, music video, newscast or home movie EVER RECORDED anytime we want, anywhere in the world for fucking free. Like everybody else, I've spent hour and hours just lost in the online web of time, revisiting old episodes of Monstervision, religious propaganda broadcasts, mid-1990s alt-rock music videos, VHS rips of 1980s exploitation movies, full length pro 'rasslin PPVS, 30-year-old Los Angeles Raiders games and the aberrant episode of Toxic Crusaders and Diff'rent Strokes - indeed, had it not been for the advent of such sites, this very website probably never would've come into existence. We literally have an unlimited archive of everything ever recorded or broadcast at our disposal, and we have the ability to watch whatever the hell we want, whenever the hell we want to, for fucking free, anywhere on the planet. That ALONE makes up for everything else going awry in modernity, and each and every morning I count my lucky stars (but not my lucky moons or clovers) that I was born in such an amazing consumer epoch.


02. In-Browser Video Game Emulators - If you would've told me in 1994 that, one day, I'd be able to play NES, SNES, Genesis, Atari Jaguar, Game Boy, Game Gear and Neo Geo games on the same machine, I'd think you were some Satanic priest trying to rob me of my soul. After all, nothing THAT awesome could ever possibly exist without there being some horrible downside, right? Well, unless you consider having to turn on Flash the video gamer equivalent of a pack with Old Scratch, there are hardly any negatives when it comes to websites like Play-Roms or Game-Oldies, which allow for in-browser, no-downloads-required emulation of thousands of old school video games, spanning the gamut from early, EARLY 1980s arcade games to PS1 and N64 classics from the early 2000s. With one click of a mouse I can play an arcade perfect version of Street Fighter Alpha 2, Silpheed, both the SNES and Genesis versions of Sparkster and Food Fight! on the Atari 7800 one after the other, without having to spend one measly cent. And after that I can squander the next hour playing NFL Blitz 2000, Syphon Filter and every iteration of Tecmo Bowl you can think of without once leaving my seat. And to think - in about ten years' time we'll be able to do the same thing with Dreamcast, Xbox and PS2 games; goddamn, how can you NOT consider our modern world anything less than a fucking utopia?

03. The Internet Archive - Simply housing the Open Library (which allows you to borrow all sorts of obscure, out-of-print copies of the most esoteric of literature) is enough to warrant The Internet Archive's inclusion on the list, but this website is also a veritable treasure trove of material that, otherwise, would've been lost to the Internet ether years ago. Thanks to the Wayback Machine, you can go back in time and look at all sorts of websites that have been dead for more than a decade, and in many circumstances, this is the ONLY way to view a ton of late '90s and early '00s media. Throw in the staggering collection of public domain movies, old comic books, videos yanked from YouTube and Tiger LCD emulators (seriously, where the hell else are you going to find THAT on the web?) and you have a bona fide argument for the Archive being the single best — or at least the most valuable — resource on the 'net.

04. Online Comic and Magazine Scans - Nowadays you can read just about every major comic book ever printed and best of all you don't even have to download them ... you can simply flip through them via your Internet browser FOR FREE. The same can be said of all sorts of old, discontinued publications, ranging from Electronic Gaming Monthly to Fangoria to The Weekly World News. As long as you can pick up a Wi-Fi signal, you can get you some fine and dandy quick-reading material — and even more and more printed relics from yesteryear keep getting contributed to the Internet bubble each and every day.

05. All those FREE PDFs - It absolutely amazes me just how many full-length books are available out there in Internet-Land TOTALLY free in easy-to-download-and-distribute PDF form. And it's even easier if you have a tablet, where all you have to do is click one button and voila, you've got an entire 592-page tome right there ready for you for both online and offline consumption. Granted, not everything you're looking for is out there in an easily obtainable portable document format, but I'd venture to guess a good 60 percent of all the books I've wanted to check out over the last three or four years I've been able to pull from the Web Collective for a grand total of free dollars and thrifty-free cents. And before you assholes start giving me a lecture about "muh piracy," just remember — information WANTS to be free, after all.

06. Being Able to Live Stream Sporting Events — Back in the day, if you were an Oakland Raiders fan who lived in, oh say, Atlanta, tough noogies every being afforded the opportunity to see your team play on TV. And if you were a fan of an even obscurer pro or college team — or heaven help you, the follower of an international sport — just plain forget it. Alas, thanks to the dual wonders of high-speed Internet and a whole buncha’ people not giving a fudge about violating INTERPOL laws against piracy, you can now safely screen just about every NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, NCAA, Premier League or international soccer game no matter where you are in the world, in real-time, in high-definition, and for freaking free. If you don’t think that constitutes the making of a major modern miracle, congratulations on starting the sixth grade next year.

07. Video Chat — This kind of stuff was thought of as science fiction hooey on par with teleportation machines and whatever you call that thing Urkel built on Family Matters that periodically turned him into Bruce Lee back in the 1990s. But today, with advents like Skype, Google Hangout, Periscope and even YouTube’s live broadcasting apparatus, video chat isn’t just a reality, it’s practically a ubiquitous component of modernity. If you would have told people in 1994 you would be able to have Internet video phone calls over a cell phone, they probably would’ve locked you in a mental institution, and possibly offered you up as a candidate for a lobotomy. Alas, today, such Jetsons-esque technology isn’t just taken for granted … it’s practically considered old hat by people who weren’t even born during the heyday of MySpace.

"I have a dream ... that one day, people of all colors will be allowed to jerk it to Asian tranny tentacle porn anytime they want."

08. Porn is Plentiful - First off, everybody wacks it, so don't come at me with that Puritanical "no fap" nonsense. Anybody who grew up in the 1990s — before the Internet, before softcore was essentially allowed on regular cable, and WAY before social media — finding 'batable material was like trying to unearth that Spice stuff from Dune. Hell, I remember being so deprived of worthy wackin' material that I attempted to get off to QVC. Well, such shameful, shameful faps are a thing of the past, thankfully, since nowadays all it takes to find whatever weird fetishy shit you're into is literally two or three clicks of a computer mouse. Tis truly a golden epoch for the self-pleasurer, and we should all be thankful to be afforded such a lascivious luxury.

09. Niche Interest Content Aggregators — My Internet guilty pleasure is 4Chan. In fact, that’s usually the last website I look at before calling it a night. But that all-encompassing wonderland of curated data on everything from comic books to paranormal hokum to historical literature by presumably racist autists isn’t the only content aggregator on the ‘net worth a hoot. You’ve got Voat, for one, and even Reddit — as Reddit as it may be — does have a few scant bright spots remaining, like ObscureMedia and, my personal favorite BgTiddyGothGF. These things are like the Dollar Trees of the World Wide Web; the quality might not be there, but the sheer quantity of intel is just mind-blowing.

10. PutLocker, SockShare, OpenLoad and their ilk — Well, here we are, a good five or six years after the official death of the video store, and each and every one of us has the ability to watch just about EVERY movie ever made, including those concurrently running in theaters, for free, any time we want, anywhere we want. Of course, the picture quality often leaves a lot to be desired, but even a shaky, grainy CAM rip is a much preferred alternative to giving Hollywood the $44.58 it costs for two tickets and a tub of popcorn. That, and a lot of times these “verboten” sites are the only way to screen obscurer and older features … I mean, how the hell else are you supposed to watch Leonard Part 6 in its entirety these days, anyway?

11. Taki's Magazine — Hands down, the best bullpen of writers ANYWHERE on the planet … online or not. Jim Goad, Joe Bob Briggs, Pat Buchanan and Gavin McInnes, producing essentially weekly content for free, on ONE platform? This is The National Lampoon of our day and age — or, from another perspective, the closest analogue we’ve got to a version of The National Review that DOESN’T suck.

12. The Far Right Web-O-Sphere - Even if I don't usually (if ever) agree with their brand of politics, I am absolutely obsessed with way-off-center right wing Internet culture. Every morning after checking my emails, the first two sites I go to are The_Donald on Reddit and /pol/ on 4Chan, and I really can't call it an evening well spent without at least taking a cursory glance at the madcap neo-nazi musings at The Daily Stormer, Amerika and The Social Matter. While their intrinsic worldview may be hopelessly racist and fascistic, you can't help but marvel at their complete and utter lack of giving a shit what contemporary good taste resembles. I may disagree (and vehemently, in most cases) with their antics, but I wholeheartedly support their basic right to be as offensive as they want to be ... if for absolutely nothing else, their seemingly never-ending deluge of gloriously politically incorrect (yet undeniably hilarious) memes.

13. GOOD Commentary Culture — There’s a lot of crappy pop culture commentary out there, but that shouldn’t be a slight against the fistful of pop culture commentators that actually ARE worth reading and watching. As “mainstream” as they’ve gotten, I remain a huge fan and follower of both X-E successor Dino Drac and James Rolfe’s many multimedia endeavors over at Cinemassacre, and even “off-day” Doug Walker isn’t that bad. There are a TON of great podcasts and YouTubers out there … and finding a new voice worth listening to is one of my favorite occurrences in this, the post-golden age of New Media.

14. Pro Wrestling is Awesome Again — It doesn’t matter how you like your steroid junkies pretending to fight one another, there’s so much great (and diverse) ‘rasslin out there that you’re sure to find something that’ll suit your palate for homoerotic scuffling. In the States you’ve got WWE, NXT, impact, ROH, MLW and a slew of other emerging indies, and south of the border you’ve got AAA and CMLL, and La Parka probably beating the shit out of something somewhere. And of course, over in Japan, you’ve got New Japan, NOAH, All-Pro, DDT, and a metric ton of pseudo-shootstyle, absurdist comedy and straight up garbage league bloodbath factories to sink your teeth into. And through the splendor and glory of the Internet, you can watch pretty much all of them without paying a dime to nobody, pending you know the right websites to go to and what key terms to put into Google. And hell, even if you DON’T like this new breed of pro wrestling, you’ve still got an absolute treasure trove of old WWF, WCW, ECW, NWA, Puro, SMW and Lucha content you can trudge through any time you get the inclination.

15. The Las Vegas Raiders — Who cares if Jon Gruden is tanking the team on purpose as part of some elaborate tax write-off scheme? With the Silver and Black playing in southern Nevada soon-ish, that means an East Coaster such as myself actually has the financial incentive to fly in for a game or two each season. I mean, shit, do you really expect me to convince my girlfriend to take a vacation in Oakland?

Guaranteed brain cell-depleting, CTE-causing entertainment EVERY Saturday night? How 'bout "yeah!"

16. Pretty much every weekend, I'm guaranteed UFC and/or boxing events — There’s 52 Saturdays a year — sometimes 51, sometimes 53, stop being a pud with the technicalities — and on pretty much any given one of ‘em there’s usually some sort of live combat sport event worth watching. And if there’s one thing that goes well with Saturday night enchiladas, it’s high definition footage of people getting paid to punch each other’s brains out, ain’t it?

17. Football season - From the first week of August until the first week of February, football is everywhere and everything. Give or take a couple of days, the combined college and pro football season takes up a good six months, and those - unquestionably - are the six best months of the whole dang year. I've always been a fan of football, but in my old age, I can now truly appreciate it as a sport and art form. The subtleties and nuances of the game are more apparent and I realize and respect the great complexities that go into every drive and defensive stand. It doesn't matter if it's the Super Bowl, the NCAA Championship, a preseason Jaguars game against the Browns or a clash between McNeese State and Holy Cross — if football is on TV, I just feel like I'm at home and watching the only thing in the cosmos that, at that point in time and space, matters.

18. Physical media is dirt cheap - You can waltz on in to any big box chain in America and snatch up still-shrink-wrapped DVDs and CDs for less than $5. At second-hand stores like 5th and Charles, you can get them - as well as used books and videos games - for less than that. And for God's sake, there are so many thrift stores out there hawking tremendous, long-long-LONG out-of-print physical media for literal pennies on the dollar that I sometimes like to hit up Goodwill and pretend I'm shopping in a post-capitalist, inflation-resistant utopia. Even the really obscure stuff can easily be obtained on Amazon or eBay - and usually, at preposterously low prices, too.

19. Mobile technology has saved us all — I spent half of my life without even seeing a cell phone up-close, but today I can’t go five minutes without tapping the screen to make sure I’m still connected to the electronic consciousness via an Apple product. It’s amazing just how much easier all these mobile applications have made modern living. Take travel, for instance. Just 11 years ago, I had to look up driving directions on Google and then write them down on a piece of notebook paper. Nowadays, I can LITERALLY yell “Hey Siri, how the hell do I get to the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts?” and in five seconds, the Internet is guiding me to my next Dunkaccino, even if I have nary a clue which ZIP Code I’m actually in. Shit, I’ve used Google Maps to guide me through interstate travels without a hiccup; a quarter century ago, doing so would’ve required huge-ass physical maps and a lot of missed turns, and probably would've resulted in me punching at least one vital part of the car Street Fighter II-style out of sheer rage. On just ONE miraculous device, I can order a pizza, check my work emails, type grocery lists, read Mein Kampf, get real-time NHL scores, watch old episodes of Salute Your Shorts and play a touchscreen-enabled version of Pac-Man; and oh yeah, I can even use it to make phone calls, if for some reason I gotta’ do that, too.

20. You can pretty much buy whatever you want online — I’m convinced you can buy any legal thing you want via Amazon and eBay. Out of print books, calorie-free Alfredo sauce, old video game in-store display standees, Shasta Cola, Morton Downey, Jr.-themed board games, Criterion Collection DVDs, reprints of Jaws: The Revenge ads, Max Headroom-branded school supplies from 1987, a medium-sized Howie Long jersey … I know, because I literally HAVE bought all these otherwise unobtainable goods via the magic of Internet commerce over the past year or so.

American exceptionalism, epitomized in one image.

21. Taco Bell's Dollar Menu — It kept me from starving when I was in college and I still haven’t lost my passion for the Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito or the Spicy Potato Soft Taco (indeed, I can still polish off about eight of them in one sitting, pending I’m half starved and it’s 2 in the morning.) The TB Dollar Menu is pretty much my last social safeguard against malnutrition, that thing I know is there for me if all other economic options are exhausted. And if they ever make the Beefy Fritos Burrito a full time offering, I legitimately think we ought to declare it a federal holiday.

22. Cola is affordable and abundant — Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Jones, Shasta, RC, Faygo … there’s practically an endless spectrum of carbonated, non-alcoholic beverage options for everybody, no matter your diet or income level. We’re living in a timeline where you can buy Mountain Dew Pitch Black, Georgia Peach-flavored Coke, Kroger’s knockoff Code Red variation and Hansen’s translucent zero-calorie cherry cola that tastes suspiciously like Robitussin pretty much anywhere you live in these United States. And that’s to say nothing of the broad tapestry of exquisite store-brand ripoffs out there, nor the rich panoply of “Designer” sodas sold at specialty stores … some of which are flavored like vomit or dedicated to genocidal tyrants who killed twice as many people as Hitler.

23. Vegetarian options abound at grocery stores — No, I’m not a vegetarian anymore, but it’s certainly nice to know that, if the hankering hits me, there’s a pretty robust assortment of faux meat products out there, just waiting for me to sink my bicuspids into ‘em. From Tofurky to Field Roasts to, go help us, vegetarian TURDUCKEN, there’s no short supply of imitation beef, bacon and pepperoni dotting the aisles of America’s frozen food sections. And don’t knock it until you’ve tried it — some of those no-meat Bratwursts and Italian sausages are actually pretty goddamn delicious.

24. The rise of "build-your-own" pizza and burger places — Such a great concept, especially for ephemera-loving social media cretins such as myself, who never shows his face online but isn’t above uploading 30-plus photos of a custom lamb-meat, triple jalapeno, pretzel-bunned burger with boom-boom sauce I just spent $16.43 on. And get it in writing: it’s only a matter of time until I find a restaurant that’s willing to build my deep dish pineapple-pepperoni-bratwurst-pesto-hummus-goat-cheese-banana-pepper-ring-ranch-caramelized-onion-pizza for less than $50, and when I do, you better believe I’m breaking out the HD lenses for that motherfucker.

25. It's the golden age of good coffee - Since I'm a hopeless, helpless caff-addict and I've been drinking the stuff regularly since I was 12, of course I'm going to list coffee is one of my favorite aspects of modernity. Nowadays, there's a Starbucks on every corner and you can get solid, five-star brew at Kroger for less than $10. Even the low brow stuff like Folgers' Black Silk is insanely good, and with all those sugary, desert-themed gimmicks out there - i.e., coffees flavored like pumpkin-spice, vanilla, raspberry, etc. - you can pretty much do nothing but drink coffee morning, noon and night. And considering how much shit I have to write on a daily basis, being able to knock back a pot full of brownie-flavored java outta' my Mr. Coffee unit at 9 p.m. on a weekday is greatly appreciated.

26. L-T-O foods give all of us a de facto causa sui — It’s a really stupid and superficial and consumery thing to do, but I still get excited when chains like Burger King or McDonald’s announce new additions to their lineup, especially if it’s something REALLY out there you know they’re probably only going to trot out once. Of course, you can overkill the whole limited-time-only hook — even I got tired of reviewing Oreos variations — but as long as you keep it seasonal, you keep it simple and you keep it aesthetically intriguing, I don’t think I will ever not get a little hyped up about a new burger or pizza permutation. Oh, and if it actually tastes good, I guess that’s just a bonus.

27. CONDIMENTS - All you have to do is walk down the aisle of your local grocery store and your instantly transported to a wonderland of delectable dipping sauces and spreads. For whatever reason, I absolutely LOVE condiments and few things in life give me as much joy as dousing my meal in a flavorful viscous fluid, be it barbecue sauce, honey mustard or any and every permutation of chipotle ranch dressing you can think of.

Oh shit, it's the first week of May ... that means Halloween is right around the corner!

28. Halloween Culture — And yes, it is indeed a culture, one that more or less operates yearlong (although, from my perspective, “Halloween” is officially everything from Labor Day to Black Friday, give or take a week or two.) All of the horror movies, all of the seasonal snacks, all of the ephemeral bric a brac … it’s just such a fun time of the year, and something I look forward to as soon as Cinco de Mayo hits.

29. Productivity Apps — From my laptop, I can run a veritable multimedia monolith without paying a dime to anybody or anything. I can download a first-rate video editor like ShotCut for free, a top-notch audio program like Audacity for free, use the Xbox Windows app as a free screen recording tool and use free websites like AudioSauna to create new music. Even something as simple as Google Docs completely negates the need to spend $200 on a suite of software; as long as the Wi-Fi holds steady, each and every one of us can play bargain-basement Ted Turner to our heart’s content.

30. Lawn care - I don't know why, but as I've gotten older, I've really gotten into landscaping. You know how some people hate doing yard work? Fuck that, I'll do it for perfect strangers for free if their equipment is cool enough. There's just something so oddly relaxing about the mechanical joys of sweeping a mower down a tuft of much-too-tall grass, and watching a yard go from overgrown and ratty to clean shaven and neatly cropped really does make me feel like I'm giving God himself a haircut. Some people use riding mowers, but we all know real men stick to the tried-and-true push mower and break out the weed whacker for those really hard to get nooks and crannies. Some days I'll just drive by random people's houses and my first thought is "holy shit, I want to mow that." Maybe it's just something that happens to dudes when they get older, or maybe it's me turning into a Republican. Either way, I fucking love getting an opportunity to cut grass and chop down weeds, and if you don't enjoy it as much as I do you're a fucking pussy excuse for a man. Well, that, or a woman, I guess.

31. My Girlfriend — I very rarely talk about my other of significance (believe it or not, but we’ve been together for almost a decade now), but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank my lucky stars that she’s in my life — and also has poor vision, because she could definitely do WAY better than me. I don’t mean to rankle my broad base on incel readers, but she really has made my life worth truly living. More than just someone I periodically bonk privates with, she truly is the best friend I’ve ever had, and for that, I’ll always be appreciative.

32. My Girlfriend's Puppy — I was never really a “dog person” until we picked up her pup … this little white ball of four-legged autism literally does back flips every time he sees me pulling into the driveway. I can’t tell you how much fun I’ve had walking him at three in the morning and feeding him entire supreme pizzas and having him fall asleep in my lap while watching Raiders’ games. Plus, it’s a damn riot watching him seethe whenever the UPS guy shows up —I don’t think Adolf disliked Der Jude as much as he dislikes people in brown uniforms.

33. Being Able to Read — An obvious one, because there’s a lot of people on the planet who are illiterate and more still who have really shitty eyesight and can’t read things. I’ve always enjoyed reading, but nowadays it’s probably my favorite recreational activity, whether it’s me scanning the works of Aristotle, Thomas Sowell or 1970s era Spider-Man comics in PDF form. Shit, I kinda’ want to read stuff right now, now that I think about it.


34. Physically Writing — As in, actually sitting down with a spiral bound notebook and a .05 Pilot G-2 and getting some goddamn ink on some goddamn paper. It’s not something I get to do as much as I would like in these hectic days, but by golly, when I do is it ever a pleasure.

...there's no real context here. It's just that I've had this image on my hard drive for about two years and have been wanting to use it for any reason whatsoever.

35. There's Always SOMETHING to Do — Up until I was, oh, 28 or so, I felt like I was intrinsically inhibited. Maybe I didn’t have enough money, or enough time, or a reliable form of transportation, but many times, I felt like I was just plain stuck without anything to do. Well, those days are LONG GONE, and it seems like every waking second of my life is a desperate attempt to squeeze as much productivity out of the ether as I can. I’ve had long bouts of my life where there was nothing on my plate — literally and figuratively — and I’ve had bouts where it seems like there was an impossible amount of work on my to-do-list. Needless to say … I’d much rather have the latter problem than the former.

36. Not Having a Shitty Car — You really can’t appreciate the value of a “new car” unless you’ve had to drive one that was old and crappier beyond words. Yes, it’s cool having a new ride with USB ports and Wi-Fi and all of that, but it’s a totally different level of gratitude when the ride you had before lacked a goddamn heater … or a functioning radio … or a “Check Engine” light that wouldn’t go off, no matter what the hell you did. Just being able to drive a car that CAN make it up to 80 on a freeway is a pleasure in and of itself; as is owning a vehicle that uses more gasoline than oil, for a change.

37. Being in Good Health AND American — Apologies in advance to readers who are dying and/or not American. It’s a pretty obvious thing to say, but being 30-something without any chronic illnesses, deformities or disabilities is one of those small miracles I can’t help but appreciate, and the more I read about the absurdly stringent anti-speech laws going on in the rest of the “modern” world, the more I realize just how great I have it as an American. Yeah, most of our women are pretty fat and we haven’t produced any good musical acts in a while, but still — unlike you saps in the U.K., I don’t have to worry about LITERALLY being arrested by the Twitter Police for saying the “wrong” things … well, yet.

38. BUFFETS — Tocqueville once said America’s exceptionalism could be found in its churches. Well, if he were alive today, he’d certainly say that what makes the U.S. truly great is exhibited by its many all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants. Millions of people across the world starve to death each year, but here in the States I can plop down $8.99 and LITERALLY eat nine days’ worth of calories in 30 minutes any time I want. And if that doesn’t sound like a reason to celebrate modernity in its totality, try explaining why it isn’t to any Sudanese or North Korean refugee.

39. Going for Walks — If I don’t get at least 10,000 steps in a day, I feel like I’ve been cheated. Yeah, it has merit as exercise, but there’s something so mentally rewarding about going for a long stroll, too. It gives you time to slow down and let idea just roll around in your noggin … for some reason, there just appears to be some ideas that can ONLY get jarred loose if you’re not sitting down … and I’ll usually go out of my way to sneak in just a couple hundred more footsteps, if such an opportunity is afforded to me. And let’s face it, if you CAN walk, you ought to be grateful as a motherfucker … there’s a lot of crippled folks out there who I’m sure would LOVE the inconvenience of having legs that’ll allow them to take a puppy out for a midnight pisser.

40. Bloggin' and Vloggin' — Well, I’ve been doing this nonsense for seven years and counting, so I must be getting some sort of amusement and personal fulfillment out of it, ain’t I? I sit down, write a couple of funny words or say some dumb stuff in front of a camera, I push a couple of buttons and then next thing you know, people halfway across the world are reading and watching it … and some of them even like it, to boot. Such interactive publishing has pretty much killed my desire to be JUST a passive media consumer; and once I figure out how online monetization works, I’ll probably be making some halfway decent supplemental moolah off it, too.

41. Knowing no matter what, at least I've got another day tomorrow — I was doing an interview once and the guy asked me what gave me hope for the future. Without really thinking about it, I said “Well, I guess it’s the fact that no matter what, I’ve got another day tomorrow.” I don’t think he really grasped what I was getting in — hell, I’m not quite sure I got what I was trying to really say, to be honest with you — but in my old age, I realize just how meaningful that reply was. Even at my absolute most depressed periods, after I got up and started walking around and thinking about stuff, I could feel a little more optimistic about things. I mean, the day just started, after all, and I’ve got at least 12 or 14 hours to try and make something out of it. Whereas in the past my problem was a surfeit of free time, nowadays I’m dealin’ with the opposite issue — that being, being a mofo so stretched for time that I’ve literally fallen asleep waiting for a midnight dinner to warm up in the microwave (by the way, the clock was set for just one minute.) Simply put, there is just SO MUCH STUFF I want to do with my life — stuff I want to read, watch, write about — that I FINALLY grasp the core value of time as the priceless commodity it truly is. And no matter how much stuff I did or didn’t get done today, tomorrow morning the scoreboard rolls back zero-to-zero, and I’ve at least got an opportunity to put a couple more points on the board than I did the day before. I’m not going to leave you with some highfalutin Carpe Diem message because, let’s face it, that’s pretty fruity, but I will leave you with this analogy. If life is a football game, no matter the score, at least I KNOW that I’m getting the ball back, and I’ve got the chance to gain a couple more yards than last time … and if I play my cards right, I might even whiff the opposing end zone. Win, loss, score, turnover, it doesn’t matter, really — what’s important is that the possibility of a better day tomorrow is always there.

And if I were you, I’d appreciate the shit out of it.

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