This thought flashed in my head during the most recent Mother’s Day Weekend as my Facebook feed was flooded with people proclaiming their love for their mother: How can SO many people have the “best mother in the world”? Clearly, they can’t. And I mean that in a purely simplistic and literal interpretation of the phrase. It is physically impossible for us ALL to have the “best” anything.
That’s easy to determine when you’re talking about mothers, or fathers, or lovers, or friends. Because one person’s “best” is the next person’s total stranger. It gets a little harder to quantify when you’re talking about things. Are the Yankees the “best” baseball team? Well, you could make a pretty damn good argument they are based on titles won, fan enthusiasm, ticket sales, ratings and a myriad of other tangible and quantifiable items. But try convincing a Red Sox fan the Yankees are the “best”.
What about food? In my experience I had the best taco in the world at a dumpy little place outside Charleston, SC – but I haven’t had a taco at every place in the world. And for every five people like me, who left this dumpy taco shop thoroughly satisfied, there’s probably one or two who were disappointed. The same goes for movies, wine, beer, bagels etc. One man’s ceiling truly is another man’s floor.
So maybe, the next time we post to Facebook that we all have the “best” something, we should add a simple qualifier: “to me”.
It’s easy to watch events like those that unfolded today and say “the world is crap”. It’s not only easy, it’s natural, and in some ways accurate. But I take a different view, and not because I am naïve, or oblivious, or blind. I think days like today show the true beauty of the human spirit.
Did you watch the video of the explosion? Did you see the way people reacted? Sure, some ran away, and I don’t blame them. But how about all the people who ran toward the explosion? And I’m not just talking about the cops; did you see the volunteers, the fellow runners, the spectators? They all ran as fast as they could to aid the wounded.
That is a truly beautiful thing. Imagine the courage, the love for fellow man it must take to be faced with a situation like that and choose to run toward the danger.
Earlier today I put this on Facebook, it’s received quite a response: Read more…
Like most of the nation, I’ve spent the past few days trying to make sense of the horrific events that transpired at Sandy Hook Elementary. And like all of you, I can’t. It’s impossible to figure out what motivates certain people to commit unspeakable acts of terror against those they don’t even know.
Whenever one of these shooting occurs, and they seem to happen far too frequently, I think about the people in my life. Do I know anyone capable of committing such a heinous act? Could I ever find myself in a mental state where I would choose to not only take my life, but the lives of innocents around me?
Whenever I start this process, I go back to one young man who I grew up with. For the sake of his family, I will only call him “Paul”.
Paul and I grew up together. We were never friends, barely acquaintances. But we went to school and daycare together and saw one another grow up.
This isn’t a post about self-pity, or even a “fishing” expedition. This is me, putting the truth to paper, or screen as it were.
Those of you who know me know that I have had a life-long struggle with my weight. I reached my peak weight my senior year in college. I have no idea what I weighed because I never set foot (or feet) on a scale. I assume it was around 220 lbs.
Immediately upon graduation I embarked on a weight-loss regimen. And boy was it successful. I was already noticeably thinner at my father’s marriage just a month later. I remember all the people coming up to me telling me how great I looked.
Today’s passing of Dick Clark sparked an interesting conversation on my Facebook page. Basically, I feel the passing of an 82-year-old stroke victim is not a tragic or sad event. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is something we should celebrate; but why be morose?
Here we have man who was arguably one of the ten most influential people in the history of television reduced to a bumbling, stumbling shell of his former self. It would be one thing if this occurred behind closed doors, but it didn’t. The deterioration of Mr. Clark happened right before our eyes and was played out year after year on New Year’s Eve. Now THAT was a tragedy.
Moving on from Mr. Clark, I am very concerned about how our society deals with death in general. Why are we so obsessed with the anniversary of our loved one’s passing? Why don’t we instead focus on the good times we had and remember them when we remember them?
I’m not trying to be callous, and I have experienced the death of loved ones first hand. In fact I was one of my grandmother’s caretakers during her final months. Wilma Hutchins died in 2005: I don’t know the exact date, because I don’t remember those things. My grandmother was a remarkable woman. Robbed of most of her eyesight at too young an age, she continued to play golf, read, and paint until her body no longer allowed her to.
The scene: The Spectrum Movie Theatre, Sunday night showing of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
The players: My wife, the obnoxious lady, the obnoxious lady’s brute of a husband, and myself
The background: For those of you not from the area, The Spectrum Movie Theatre is the swanky, artsy place in town. It’s where you go for real popcorn, arthouse flicks and (usually) well-behaved crowds. It is a beacon of light, an oasis, in a sea of otherwise horribly crowded chain theatres.
When going to the movies the choice is often—almost always—The Spectrum, or waiting for Red Box. Perhaps that is why the tale you are about to hear is so surprising.
The tale: My wife went into the theatre first and grabbed two seats on the aisle about half-way down. There was a couple in front of us (who were kind enough to sit in seats 3 and 4 so as to not obstruct our view) and a couple behind us (also in seats 3 and 4). There was a smattering of other folks seated throughout the theatre. I got in after my wife as I made a pit stop at the concession stand for some delightful popcorn and a soda to wash it down.
From the moment I sat down I knew we were trouble.
The internet is without a doubt the single greatest invention of my generation. It has changed the way we live, work, consume and communicate. It is both a wonderful tool and a dreaded curse.
The internet, and the ability to—often anonymously—weigh in on literally ANY subject, has given rise to a level of vitriol heretofore never seen in human existence. Unnamed trolls are able to spread their hate and misinformation with reckless abandon. There are no consequences. The internet has allowed the extremes on both sides to dominate every issue.