by Samuel Kemp
A look at what is considered normal.
|One Ticket to Normalcy Please
People say the phrase “another day” like it’s a carbon copy of the previous day, which was a previous carbon copy of someone else saying “another day” at another point in time, from the past, at some obscure point in space without calendars and clocks. I have always been amused by this and wondered what was it that made something new seem incredibly old and boring before it even happened. It is similar to the phrase “unforgivable” in the way that these two phrases are completely different from a snail’s perspective, especially when the snail has just been covered in salt by a child saying whatever it is that children say when they cover a snail in salt. As a side note, the most informative piece of information I ever received came, ironically, from the smartest person I know; that being “I don’t know”. Which seems strange at first but don’t worry, it only gets weirder as time continues to not exist. As another side note, I only said “as a side note” in the first place because I am typing this on a computer, and I don’t think it would be a good idea to write a note on the side of my screen since it would ruin the view, and I would only have one note running down the side of every imaginary page I type.
The ironic thing about writing is authors don’t write to an audience. They write to paper, or as in my case they write to a computer; which may or may not be theirs. For all inclusive purposes, as well as exclusive, we will assume that it is not their computer only that they just so happened to be in an area of space that just so happened to have a lonely computer sulking for reasons only known to the user once the computer doesn’t work. By the time you arrive at this situation you will have forgotten the whole reason you planned to start writing, and happily find closure in placing a large cinderblock in the interior of the computers’ monitor, gaining access through the glass screen that started this mess in the first place; not once wondering how the cinderblock got there in the first place. As soon as you do this, of course, you will remember why you decided to write in the first place, but now you have no computer and a cinderblock covered in glass and transistors. Now you are just as unhappy as the sulking computer was in the first place, and at this moment two words enter your mind: another day.
‘I don’t know’, as it turns out, is the runner up for the most useful thing in the known Cosmos; taking second place to ‘I don’t care.’ This whole situation left ‘I just don’t know’ and ‘I just don’t care’ with a very sour taste in their mouths that I do not know enough about to care; I’m still watching out for those wretched side notes.
People often amuse me with the degree of certainty they have about the most uncertain of acts. Take driving a car for example, you exit your home, open the door, put the key in the ignition, turn the key, put the car in drive, and drive off to some unknown location since I have no idea where you would be driving. This all seems very normal, if this is your idea of normal, until you realize that you do not own a car. Then, this very normal situation becomes a very uncomfortable situation; unless you find comfort in driving around to unknown locations in a stranger’s car that you stole after you left your house. But given the circumstances you might begin to doubt if it was your home that you left. I believe the answer to this question depends on one crucial bit of information, are you married? If you are then you did not leave your house, it was your wife’s house. This could play out good or bad depending on if you took your wife’s car. If it was her car, then it might not be as bad as first imagined, but if it was her car it might be worse than we can try to imagine. Since we’ve already established that you don’t own a car, we must ask why are we wasting our time trying to figure out if it belongs to your imaginary wife or not? In all fairness, it might have belonged to the sulking computer we met three paragraphs ago.
Here you are on the side of the road with flashing lights behind you. The whole time you were philosophically debating the ownership of the vehicle you inhabit, you failed to notice the red light signifying STOP! This is why philosophy should be left for squatters on some new age guru’s couch, sipping green tea and eating tofu while contemplating the meaning of the phrases another day and unforgivable when out of the sky falls shards of glass that, strangely enough, look like they came from an unhappy computer monitor.
It’s nice when you are able to tie a collection of random events together by creating another random event for them all to occupy. I think this might be how life works, but it probably isn’t. Remember, I don’t know. Now the perplexing thing about this statement is how it is paradoxical in nature. By stating that you don’t know, you have at the very least established the fact that you know that you don’t know; which should account for something, but probably won’t until it’s time for it to. And since time doesn’t exist we are back to square one, or it might be circle two, or even triangle three. We can establish that the third statement is incorrect given the fact that an even triangle cannot be three, since the number three is an odd number. They’re all odd numbers in my opinion, with the exception of numbers that I don’t find odd or even.
I remember, regrettably so, a seemingly normal situation at a grocery store turning out to be one of the most ridiculous experiences I can recall. I walked to the counter to purchase a case of beer. The clerk told me that she needed to see my I.D. and I quickly pulled out my wallet to show her; remember she needed to see it. When I showed her my identification she replied “no, I need to see it out of your wallet.” At this time I started looking around for a sign that read ‘WILL NEED TO SEE ID OUT OF WALLET” and I couldn’t find it. I responded with a question, “why?” And, lacking all of the emotion a surprise brings, she could not answer. It came down to the fact that someone told her she had to see ID’s out of the wallet. This is probably a very confusing situation for both parties when the customer doesn’t own a wallet. For some reason, people do things because someone else told them to. I haven’t figured it out yet, and that’s probably due to the fact that no one has told me to find the answer. If and when someone does tell me to find the answer, I probably won’t since I am not in the habit of doing things because people tell me to; I’m still trying to figure out how I got in the car with the flashing lights behind us. Needless to say, the grocery store situation came to a peaceful end when I cracked my license in half, and exploded in a fit of funny rage.
I found the entire situation to be rather amusing looking back on it, because bad situations have a habit of not being bad after all is said and done; unless enough people agree that it will always be bad. In that case it will remain bad until it isn’t bad any longer; which is anywhere in between whatever two words you would like to stick here to show how ridiculously absurd the whole idea of ‘bad is always bad’ appears.
Which brings me to the next unrelated topic, that being morality. When you start to touch on morality, you invite a character that no one wants at their party, God. That is, unless you run out of booze and it just so happens that you have giant vases full of water lying around. But, if you don’t drink wine then you still don’t want him at the party; unless you do want him at the party, in which case no one will want you or God at their party. According to some he’s everywhere, but I have trouble taking the word of someone who names the voices in their head. If you do decide to talk to the voices in your head always remember to be as polite as possible; after all, they are in your head. It might be a good idea to not offend the voices that resides in your skull cavity; you might wind up with unexpected results that are even more unexpected than the results people call expected. These results do not seem to be expected, because if they were actually expected we would have no reason to notice them in the first place. It appears I have digressed. Or, it could be that I was already digressing at the start of this paragraph which means I am exactly where I need to be, statistically speaking on average of course. Back to morality, or a little less further away than before. What is right besides the opposite of wrong, and what are these two things other than words? I suppose it depends on the thing you ask; I’m sure a tree will have a different opinion than a baboon, or maybe it won’t. I don’t know.
Despite all of the apparent contradictions in what I say, I’m sure there are just many that we haven’t noticed yet. Don’t worry; I know they’ll be pointed out to me. People seem to enjoy finding flaws in everyone around them, which seems odd to me considering these are the people that surround you. It makes me wonder if a person facing the death penalty would tell the executioner that the electric chair was unplugged just to point out that the executioner is an imbecile; begging the question: who was the imbecile in this situation? I suppose it depends on how you look at the state of affairs. If you are looking at the state of affairs be sure to take notice of the state of ridiculously infuriated wives.
I remember sitting at my girlfriend’s cousins’ home, and I bring this up for a reason. She handed me a magazine with items such as hats, t-shirts, and blankets; an odd combination in my opinion. She handed me the magazine to show me a picture of a blanket and said “look at how soft this feels.” I sat there contemplating what I should say, since, obviously, the girl had temporarily lost control of her mind. I responded with “well, I certainly wish that I could.” To which she said “you know what I mean.” Now, this one statement made me think about multiple things because math is funny that way. I’ve come to the conclusion that no one can know what anyone means; unless I’m wrong, and I usually don’t understand what I mean anyway. It really got me thinking about the strange things people say that the majority of people accept as a normal phrase. It seems our species has found a way to describe something by using words and terms that aren’t related to the thing they are trying to describe in any way whatsoever. This seems to make sense considering the fact that nothing makes sense to us to begin with.
There is another situation that I would like to recall, I only hope that I can. I had a co-worker of mine tell me a very peculiar story about a man who came to her church. She told me that this gentleman came to her church as a guest speaker, which is much better than showing up unannounced and uninvited, to tell them a very important message. It must not have been important, because if it were important what reason would the gentleman have to say it was significant; he would have just given the information. He could have really meant what he said about the importance of this information, in which case I’m left wondering why he was wasting all of this time going over the magnitude of his message rather than just saying it. His message was that he had supposedly talked to god, I wonder what his voice looks like, and God told him something very important; I would like to think it was important considering that it must be an extremely expensive collect call from heaven to this particular person on a particular spot on this particular rock. The message was that something was going to happen the month after the one they were occupying at the time; months get very grumpy after a few weeks, and kick us out due to the fact that we never pay rent. I sat there trying to look as perplexed as I possibly couldn’t. My mind was racing in an attempt to catalogue the smooth grunting sounds we call words into some cohesive pattern that lacked all resemblance to the story from which they came. When I realized that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish this task, I started to think about the insanity involved in that statement, something is going to happen next month. The gentleman had no idea what was going to happen, or when it was going to happen other than in the one month window that God had so ambiguously referred to. The thing that really amazed me about the situation was that my co-worker happily accepted this as proof that this gentleman was not a madman. For all I know he might not be a madman, but since I don’t know anything other than nothing I can safely, and unsafely (thank you Schrödinger), assume that he is a madman. If he is a madman I’m left to ponder on why God would waste his time talking to a madman. What really astonished me about the situation, besides the amazement itself, was how willing a person was to believe something solely because another individual said the message came from an authoritative collect call from outside of outer space.
Another unrelated topic that I find peculiar is the way pro-life members handle abortion clinics. Not all pro-lifers of course, just the strangely interesting ones. The logic I see followed is as such: we don’t want women aborting their children because we feel that life should be cherished (I’m very happy to see that these people have such a good grasp on their own life that they have to worry about others). So, what do they do? They blow up abortion clinics. If there is any sense whatsoever in this action I haven’t noticed it or it could be that I haven’t noticed that I’ve already noticed in which case I don’t care. Trying to follow the logical thought process is the first mistake since the process of thinking is anything but logical. If you don’t believe me, then I suppose I’m wrong. But, going along with this as best I can, which is worst than most, I try to assess what is taking place. The idea is to stop the killing of unborn children by means of abortion, and to do this they blow up abortion clinics full of pregnant women; seems to make perfect sense in a no it absolutely doesn’t sort of way. Wouldn’t exploding the building containing the children you are trying to save be a little unproductive? It seems to be in my opinion which is no better than any other opinion unless it conflicts with a previous opinion that I held, in which case it’s only better than the opinion that no longer exists.
When people say “I’d lose my head if it weren’t attached” I become filled with giddiness. What would lead one to believe that they would know if their head was lost? If they are aware of this, then they haven’t lost it but misplaced it. Honestly, I don’t think it would be a problem if our heads could detach. All we would have to do to find it is open our eyes and look around. The real problem, in my opinion, would be trying to maneuver a headless body without stumbling into one of those exploding abortion clinics or one of the trees giving its opinion on morality. There would be that little problem of moving a body that doesn’t have a brain controlling the body. If we were able to detach our heads though, I don’t think that the same rules would apply. The same rules might apply, but no one follows any of the rules that apply now anyway.
I wonder why death is considered the final frontier. It might have to do with a fear of having your head fall off, or if you are a computer, it might be the fear that someone is going to throw a cinderblock through your monitor. Either one of these is just as valid as an option that wouldn’t be considered valid depending on who you asked for an opinion. If there is a point to be made from all that I have written I am sure it will make itself known; I only hope that I don’t have to step on it since pointy things do not feel good in the bottom of feet. Death is a very humorous subject in the sense that there is absolutely nothing funny about it if it happens to you; this might not be the case, it might be funny to you. I don’t know. My assumption is that we will not know what happens until after it has already happened. Some people might find that last sentence to be fairly, or unfairly, apparent. I would be inclined to believe this as well if it weren’t for the groups of people who tell me they know what’s going to happen to me when I die, but they can’t tell me when the next time I stub my toe will be. I think knowing when I will stub my toe trumps knowing what will happen when I die, but that is only my opinion which means absolutely nothing to someone else unless they agree; even if they say they agree, they probably won’t. To prove this point just asks twenty-five people the same question and you will get twenty-seven different answers, unless you get twenty-nine of the same answers; in which case I would look around to see who keeps increasing my number by two.
The most ironic thing about irony is the fact that the word iron is in it, which just so happens to be the most neutral element known. I don’t know if this gives irony a complex or not, but it certainly seems to be taking its aggression out on us.
I have always found humor when dealing with holidays, or any date with a recognized event tied to it. Take Christmas for example, Christians love to boast about how this is their holiday. We will not go into the Pagan origins of the holiday, because frankly I’m not a pagan time-traveler. I do not know if the pagans actually started this tradition or if it was another group of individuals; whatever the case, none of these people own the day. How can a day be property? The intellectual ramifications of trying to figure out something as ridiculous as this, hits the brain like an air-conditioning unit in the middle of the winter when it’s twelve degrees Fahrenheit outside. Unless of course you walk around looking up in the sky for just this sort of thing, in which case you will probably miss the bus that isn’t stopping. If you are clever enough to look out for both the air-conditioning unit and bus that isn’t stopping, then congratulations; you just read two more sentence than the person who didn’t see the bus, and three more sentences than the person who didn’t see the air-conditioning unit.
Even though there seems to be no correlation between anything I write, I promise it will all tie together by the end; unless I’m lying in which case, thanks for trying anyway. What else is there to say about this and that? I suppose that depends on the reaction received before, during, and after this event; measured out, statistically averaged, and solved with the uncertainty in measurement equation.
Moving on, to what I have no idea. I shall try to navigate through the spectrum of which I can only visually observe a mere fraction. How someone can believe that they are capable of understanding this place is in the same category as trying to swim while wearing lead slippers. These two events, it just so happens, have around the same odds of occurring as does escaping death by a falling air-conditioner and a moving bus.
Which brings me on the next thought, ignorance; which is not related to any of the other thoughts I’ve discussed in this rambling, unless you find a connection, in which case good for you. I’ve often wondered about the striking parallels between ignorance and stupidity. Going further with this I wonder if ignorance is the same thing as stupidity, if it is we have a lot of deceptive dictionaries to deal with. The funny thing about ignorance and stupidity is that no stupid or ignorant person knows that they are stupid or ignorant; it would certainly help if they did, or maybe it wouldn’t. I don’t know. If it did help, it would only help in the sense that it helped in no way whatsoever, since stupid and ignorant people never realize they’re ignorance or stupidity. It seems things have a way of ending where they started, and I’ve never been able to understand this. This could be due to the fact that I’m ignorant or, possibly, even stupid. Unfortunately, I would never know if I were (refer to the start of this paragraph if you missed why.) The way I see it smart people are ignorant of the things apparent to what they consider stupid people, and stupid people are ignorant of things apparent to the people they consider smart. It’s a rather miserable situation if you think about it. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that one individual cannot say a phrase to render every observer ignorant at the same time; unless they do in which case I’m wrong, proving either my ignorance or stupidity.
Now, if you have been able to follow all of this I congratulate you; you’re certainly doing better than me. Don’t forget that I’m still in the stolen car with a man who has an imaginary wife, with flashing lights behind us, and a group of squatter philosophers on the way to get some green tea and tofu. This has certainly been a very interesting day so far, definitely anything but just another day.
Which brings us to the next topic, that being time travel. According to mathematics it is possible to travel through time. Until someone can refer me to a situation of math taking place without us having to take notice of it happening, I have no choice but to question the validity of the process. I recall a situation, while working at a hotel, which relates to this topic. I had a gentleman call me from Belgium at three o’clock in the morning (my relative time that is.) He told me that it was the next day in Belgium, and I asked if the Sun was still shining in the future. He told me it was indeed shining in the sky. I found that to be a good sign for something, and thought it was rather important to know things like if the Sun was shining in the future. It was interesting to talk to a person from the future, and I wouldn’t mind doing it again sometime soon. The problem with dealing with time travelers is that you can never believe a person who says they are a time traveler. The situation might work our differently if a squid said it was a time traveler, and I’m left to wonder why a squid would be more believable than a person when dealing with traveling through time. The reason you can never believe a time traveler is that they usually wear tinfoil hats; not a very fashionable thing to do. Tinfoil hats have a habit of making the wearer look completely insane, due to no fault of their own. One of the good things about wearing a tinfoil hat is that you probably won’t have to worry about being hit by an out of control bus. Unfortunately, we are not dealing with buses, but time travelers. The logic is that no time traveler should wear something as ridiculous as a tinfoil hat, since a time traveler obviously comes from an advanced civilization. The time traveler then asks the question “who are you to determine what an advanced civilization considers fashionable enough to wear on your head?” I can see the time travelers point in this situation when you consider the fact that I created the entire situation to begin with. Until I travel through time I can only assume that I haven’t done it already.
Infinity, I think, plays an important role in time travel; as it does with anything, since infinity has infinite possibilities. I have a friend with whom I was discussing this topic. The only thing that remains from that conversation to prove its existence lies on my dry-erase board. It reads: Infinity-take your pick but choose wisely, it is all the same thing anyway. I think that that is a fair enough definition. If for whatever reason you decide to ponder on the idea of infinity be sure to watch out for small steps. I don’t know why this is the case, but it usually works out better if you follow this principle. This is not to say that things will actually work out, only that they will possibly have the chance to probably be better than if you choose to not follow the principle.
It seems apparent to me that God really fouled up with this whole Satan thing. He created a being that he had to have known would try to take his cupcake. So, he banishes him to a lush, tropical climate; full of new friends. Now, this Satan being can exist in a place we cannot until after we’re dead, and learn that we were wrong this whole time about where a semi-colon should have been placed. This, at the very least, establishes that this Satan is more powerful than us amnesia ridden, improper spelling monkeys. If this is in fact the case, how can we be responsible for anything we do under the influence of Satan? He is obviously more powerful, sneakier, and has a much greater sweet tooth than we do. How is that we are held responsible for acts that we could have had absolutely no control over? In fact if it says anything, it says that God is like a watching frog, and we are the flies stuck on a fly pad. This is going to turn out to be a bad situation for everyone except the person who’s eating the cupcake, nowhere near fly pads and grown-up tadpoles. I think the safest place to be is at the persons’ party where God was not invited.
I am often asked if I take anything seriously. Well, certainly. I take things that are serious very seriously. When I perform this question and answer segment in my head I come to a question which is “how do you know what is serious, and what isn’t?” This is a very good question, and I think I have found the best way for me to describe it. I don’t know what is serious until it already happens. If I did know that something serious was going to happen before it happened, then I would be able to find another way to look at the situation where it wouldn’t be considered serious. If you are not able to follow this I suggest you don’t read it again; it never does good to dwell on things for too long.