that is the question that I argued within myself this very morning, standing in line at the Starbuck’s counter in the Von’s store. On the floor in front of me was a crumpled receipt and there began the argument between my two brains.
I wrote a blog recently called the The Battle of the Brains in which I described the conflict of my left and right hemispheres. This is a very similar battle that wages in my skull, but it’s more of an emotional fight that isn’t quite as half and half. This debate comes from an ongoing question of what’s right and what’s wrong, when to be responsible and when to teach a lesson, and how many synonyms can I come up with for ‘battle’ in one paragraph.
So here’s how the conversation in my head starts:
<looks down at paper>
“wh-wh-wha-what’s this? Who dropped this? Why couldn’t they pick it up?”* That’s the angry man side. Then the side of me that is always trying to find the good in people, tries to find that possibility. “Maybe a mom gave a baby the receipt and the baby crumpled up the paper and then dropped it. That’s what kids do.”* Now that argument is usually ruled out, because a) it’s pretty lame, and really it’s only good for kids under about 3 that can be excused for not picking up after themselves b) if it wasn’t a baby in its mother’s arms, what are the chances that she saw it and could have picked it up? Or dad, no sexism here.
And so it goes. The race is on while question after question races around in my head. Why do people think it’s ok to just throw stuff on the floor? Why hasn’t someone else picked this up? Why should I pick it up? Why shouldn’t I? Why are we so lazy? Isn’t it this very laziness that causes global warming? Wouldn’t a cleaner environment lead to cleaner heads and cleaner hearts? Doesn’t this sense of ‘I’m better than everyone else so who cares where I throw my stuff’ contribute to the continuation of war?
And that’s just four minutes of my day.
And I did pick it up.
*These are not said out loud.
I’m sorry, I don’t know how to use this thing. I think John Bonham and Buddy Rich used it last playing drums.
Hey everybody, it’s God. Yep, the God. I don’t do this often but I thought we could have a sunset chat. I know you might be thinking this is an impostor, and I could mess up the weather real quick to prove it, but you all have been doing that too good as of late. Suffice to say wherever you go you won’t escape this announcement and let’s move on.
So sometimes the boss has to bear responsibility for his employees. I saw the big news in Chicago about new information of—well, putting it mildly—inappropriate behavior, of some of the priests, that wasn’t reported fully. Ok, so I just need to make it clear. That is not the Word of God. Ok. I am the boss, but I am not responsible for what my employees do in their off hours. Which, I know, as I say it is not completely true because they did it with altar boys.
This is just another thing where people forget that no matter where they are in the company, they reflect everyone. They make Catholics look bad, they make the church look bad, they make me look bad. I gave you free will, I’m not really responsible, but c’mon fellas. Really, though, this is not about me. I just thought maybe this was a teaching moment that couldn’t be passed up. Everything you do does impact everyone else —so boys pull your pants up, girls leave your pants on, and please, clergy, keep it in your pants.
Wow, I am babbling. I don’t know what I’m saying, I’m still tired from the Creation and I’m missing Jeopardy. Here’s the thing folks, I have faith in you. Always did. So start thinking about how what you do affects everyone else, start taking responsibility for all your actions. And act like human beings for Christ’s sake.
Ohhh boy, he’s not gonna like that. He’s still mad at me for having to die for everyone’s sins.
“Wow, where did that sigh come from?”
“I just realized I have nothing to worry about anymore. There’s no bills to pay.”
“Yeah that’s a good thing.”
“There’s no boss to answer to, there’s no CEO to impress and lift me up the corporate ladder.”
“That sure takes off the pressure.”
“I don’t have to worry what my family thinks of me, I don’t have to get anyone to like me. I can just be, because all there is here is love.”
“I’m glad you’re happy, now pass me that dish so I can dry it or we’re gonna get backed up before the lunch rush.”
My fellow Alive Things.
God here. The time has come for me to speak to you about the current status of Earth and the far reaching Universe around it. Number one, you all are messing it up. For those of you that don’t believe everything is connected, stop. It is. Take my word for it cause I made everything.
So let’s just proceed with that being a given and listen good. You need to stop polluting. And I don’t just mean with your emissions and gases and hair spray and pesticides. I mean with your words and your deeds and your thoughts. You think you all are in trouble because of stress? Just imagine the therapist that your planet could use right now? Can you imagine the Zanax pill Mother Earth needs to take in order to cope with all of your craziness? Give her a break. Just like your teachers gave you “time-outs” as young children, take a time-out right now. Stop talking about each other, slinging rumors about each other and making it more of a headline to slip a nip than it is to do something for someone else.
And don’t think that I’m not talking about the chemical pollution as well. Some of you are going to have to bite the bullet and just live on that $20 million this year and not get a bonus. Some will have to cram the kids into a hybrid instead of a big wasteful mini-van. And many of you, dare I say most of you, will have to remember what things I put on that planet for you to use as food and use those legs you’ve been given to work off that fat. If you don’t understand how that’s connected to global warming, just give a quick read to the ingredients panel on that bag of chips.
You see what you do does reach everywhere else. And if you don’t want to take my word for it, keep it up. And your future will look more like the Terminator and less like E.T.
Up to you, you still have free will.
Ok, I probably should not be using a quote from the movie “Spiderman” to introduce the topic of today’s blog. For one, the seriousness of what I’m feeling is not on the caliber of what a crime-fighting, web-slinging hero faces. Also, Spiderman is not real and I need to stop getting my life philosophy and inspiration from the movies, no matter how brilliant and philosophical things that Yoda says be.
I Got Picked for the Team
But having been selected for Freshly Pressed has put a lot of pressure on me. Ok, it’s not Freshly Pressed’s fault, nor the generous editor that selected me, nor the wonderful people who viewed, liked, commented and are following me. Ok, maybe it’s Freshly Pressed’s fault but I don’t feel bad any time I blame an inanimate object or concept. They can’t sue me.
I’m just faced with the numbers: I went from 22 followers to 114. My best day was 146 views, yesterday was 1314. I’m as “giddy as a schoolgirl” like Scrooge says, but now I’m questioning what to write about. Last week, I would get up, get coffee and take a long walk until something funny formed in my brain. But my entry to Freshly Pressed was chosen because it was funny and heartwarming and it seemed to resonate with a lot of people. I don’t know if I can be that relevant every day. I don’t think I’m that deep. You people just made me up my game and I wasn’t ready. Thought I was, turned out it was easier when I was just thinking a few of my friends were looking.
When I was a kid I was chubby, short and wore glasses. I always got picked last for any sport. I joined Freshman football and was second smallest of all the recruits. Although devastating, it meant I had nothing to prove. When I was eighteen three things happened: I lost weight, I began to exercise and learned yoga, and I started to juggle. I became fit, coordinated and could do cool stuff. This was exasperated by learning gymnastics. Suddenly I could do cool stuff on the beach as well. People assumed I was coordinated and said things like “I bet you’d be good at that since you’re so good at balance.” They hadn’t seen me skate. My ankles give out faster than a political candidate changes their position.
I love exercising and couldn’t imagine a day without it now. And I looove writing and am excited by the attention I received the last two days. It’s been a great push to make me want to practice the discipline I’ve talked about so long and finish my novel and screenplay re-write and get back to that other screenplay I know will be my Juno.
Blah Blah vs Blogging (please don’t use this title, it will be a separate blog :))
So on the first day after getting such flattering notice, I don’t know what to write. Yesterday’s was the real first day but I had the concept for the 5 Stages of Freshly Pressed when I first got the email I was chosen on Tuesday. I flashed on the scene in the movie “All That Jazz” when Bob Fosse (as played by Roy Schneider) is editing this comedian doing a routine on the 5 Stages of Grief and I had the parody.
Then on my morning walk this morning, I couldn’t decide what to write. Do I need to be more concerned with what I’m saying? Will my new-found audience rather I wrote about the situation in Libya versus poop jokes? I have made a living at performing for 25 years, but that was in front of people. If something wasn’t funny to an individual or audience, you just take a left and try something else. If you’re not touching someone (and I mean that metaphorically not physically, I did lots of work with kids and i don’t want anything to be misconstrued, that’s just downright creepy) then you change your tactic. But now I have to write and see what you folks think after I press “Publish.” I can’t change my mind. Unless you all want to try a big live blogging Skype thing? That would be fun!
When it was just my friends and family reading I figured that they could just go “ah, that’s just Jeff and he’s having an off day.” But now it’s about the numbers! If I’m not as heartwarming and funny as you want me to be, BOOM, you un-follow me, you unlike me, you ABANDON ME. I can’t handle that. My ego has become fragile as a writer. I no longer have the stand-up comedian shell that can take drunks and four year olds telling you “you’re stupid.” That’s the four year olds by the way, the drunks say “you..you’re…bleds nose…you are. You feel me. I know it. You and me..we’re like cousins. No! Better. we’re like brothers. I love you man.”
I also was given the opportunity to re-write my blog “The Evolution of a Friend” before it was officially selected. I have the goal of continuing to blog every day and don’t have the time to re-write if I’d like to continue to eat. So it’s got to be just what’s on my mind in the moment and grammar be damned. (I do try to proof-read as best I can but my mom the ex-secretary catches things and I’m always open to criticism and suggestions on format.)
But as the sun came up (yeah I was up at 5:05am, what’s that about?) I realized what I’m good at. I got picked because I have two philosophies. I love to laugh and I love to make other people laugh. I also believe the World is alternately a truly f*#ked up place and the most amazing. And…oh wait. Ok I have three philosophies. I’m sorry. See what happens when you don’t have time to re-write.
My belief is that there are a lot of ways to see bad stuff. That’s why I don’t want to write about politics because then I’d have to read all about the senseless violence and absurd policies before I commented and then I’d end up in the fetal position, lying on my futon shaking and staring at my laptop. Also, Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” is already doing it the best that it can be done.
I believe that all of us that are intrinsically funny and see the bright side have an obligation to do so in this social climate. That’s our responsibility, to keep the light on.
So although I don’t know if I can be heartwarming every day I will try to be funny. Hope that’s enough for all of you. The performer in me doesn’t want to lose a single one of you. This is scary and entirely too much fun at the same time.
I didn’t really write about anything. I’m the Seinfeld of Bloggers. But I still have to fly back to LA today. I hope there’s something funny at O’Hare or the airport or security or the other passengers or the airlines.
I’m not too worried. I think this will be a double-blogging day. And maybe a bunch of tweets. Oh yeah, please follow me on Twitter if you like my stuff, I’m the master of under 14o characters and I want to do those more often now that I started.
Thanks for listening all. Peace out.