Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What If?

It’s a question that has woven itself into the lives of anyone wanting desperately to change an aspect of their lives. I have been asking this question for many years, but usually I’ll decide “what if?” would be either pointless or unwanted. The question of “what if?” is also known as the “Butterfly Effect”. Going to your past and changing one small detail could effect the entire world. Would the change be worth it?

So, if I could go back in time and change anything, would I? How far back would I have to go in order to make a significant change? How far back would I have to go to make a change that I wanted?

I have to say the option to change anything in my past is something I would consider heavily. So, here’s what I would change in order from oldest to newest:

  1. Go back to September of 2006 and explain to myself how I need to quit college before the cut off date, so I don’t get boned with owing the college money.
  2. Go back to August of 2007 and remind myself I need to go back to college, but this time go for a degree that everyone wouldn’t have in a few years. Possibly something fun.
  3. Go back to August of 2009 and explain to myself how I shouldn’t finance a vehicle that will keep me in debt for four years.
  4. Go back to November of 2009 and remind myself that since I don’t have a car loan, I should stay with my job since my bills would be less than what they would have been.
  5. Go back to December of 2009 and explain why I do not need to be in a relationship right then.

Now, since all of that would be taken care of, there would be some final instructions to myself for a while, “Don’t do anything but work, don’t go out on dates, and definitely be on Facebook chat on April 12th, 2011.

There is one more thing I would change:
  • Go back to the beginning of May of this year and have a good chat with myself. I’d tell myself just how, and how much I would screw up and explain how to not screw up.

Would that be fair of me to change the past of everyone for my own benefit and not change other things that would make other’s lives better? Would me changing the past even reflect on the present or future? If the one person I was changing the past to ultimately be with found out, would she even want to be with me then?

Yes, I am that superficial. I do want to change my past in order to be with someone I’m in love with. However, I’m not sure she’d want that. Perhaps a question better than “what if?” is needed. A question that looks towards the future, instead of the past. Is there such a question?

All I can say is, (name omitted), I’m in love with you. You are my best friend and my confidant. I have shared every secret I own with you. No matter what, I will always be here if you need me. Even if we aren’t a couple, you will never have to doubt our friendship, or my loyalty. I love you.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Everyone is a Humanitarian... except.

As most of my friends, acquaintances, and family members know, I'm a fairly helpful type of person. I give as freely as I can when I can. Occasionally I've given more than I could afford, but I didn't ask for anything in return. Only when someone insisted, so much so that I'd hurt their feelings for not accepting, would I take anything.

I'm also very, very blunt which has given me a bit of trouble in the past. However, it's a trait I find lacking more and more in today's society. Everyone is afraid to speak their minds because it might "offend someone" for speaking the truth. There are occasions where I'll hold my tongue, such as the one in the first paragraph, but this is not one of those times.

So, you're reading this thinking, "What has any of that got to do with the title? So far I see a pompous and overly critical ass pumping up his own ego thinking he's Jeremy Clarkson on cocaine." Not that I'm arguing that, but just hear me out.

Here lately, and by lately I mean the past ten years or so, political correctness has run rampant. We call black people African-American even when they come from Europe and have never been to Africa, government intervention in bars and pubs telling the owners of the establishment they're not allowed to allow anyone to smoke indoors, even as far back as the Washington Redskins being threatened a lawsuit if they didn't change their name. I could go on and on about these things, but this last example is what really chaffs my rear.

With the recent catastrophe in Japan, foreign aid from all over the world is being sent to help out this devastated country. We did the same for Haiti. Now, I'm not against people helping out other people, but not at the forced expense of taxpayers. This isn't what I'm writing about, though.

Blizzard Entertainment occasionally releases special items for its game, World of Warcraft, that you can purchase with actual money. These items are in game pets and mounts thus far, so purely aesthetic pixels in an in-game world. Now, every year, Blizzard donates part of its profits to charity (e.g Make a Wish Foundation). I think this is wonderful, but what I don't think is right is when a few of their customers demand, not just ask, DEMAND, that Blizzard donate even more of their profits to the disaster of the month. Whatever gets the highest press should get the money, according to these twits.

That's not the whole story, though. You see, they (the twits) not only want Blizzard to give up money that pays their employees, they (again, the twits) want them to give up money that pays their employees AND give their customers something to buy.

In short, they will be a humanitarian and donate twenty-five dollars to the people of Japan (so far it has been Japan and Haiti when that happened), ONLY if they get a pixelated pet in return.

If you're thinking these people are terrible, think about the last time you helped a charity. Ask yourself, "Did I give freely, or did I gain something in return? Perhaps a ribbon or T-Shirt?" I know a few of my friends have done this, but again, I'm not questioning your intentions or your good will. I'm just trying to put my thoughts out there and maybe help someone to understand, there's no need to receive anything in return for donating.

Please, if you want to donate to disaster relief, use the American Red Cross directly. You can be certain any monies that are donated there will go towards the areas that need it. Sure, you may not receive a ribbon or T-Shirt for doing so, but does that really matter? While everyone else is wearing their pride on their sleeve, you can wear yours on your face and in your heart as a smile.


Since I've written this article back in March, Hurricane Irene has swept up the Eastern Seaboard. As we speak, there is another thread on the World of Warcraft forums wanting more pixels for doing a good deed. 

"Everyone is Special!"... Wait a minute...

“You are my friend, you are special. You are my friend; you’re special to me.” This song is familiar to anyone growing up in the 70s and 80s. Most of you reading this might think this song is a good thing, but to me it isn’t.

In the past 30 years or so, this theme has been recurring throughout the western cultures. “Everyone is special.” “There are no losers." That is the message we’ve been sending our children. Self esteem training has replaced knowledge in school. “If you can’t pass what we give you, don’t worry, we’ll give you something easier,” or “We’ll just put everything on a curve so everyone passes.” Even in the twelve years since I have been in high school, SAT scoring has changed so more people will have “acceptable” scores.

What is this kind of thinking doing to our kids? For one, it’s making our children dumb. Yup, there’s no nice way to say it, they’re getting dumber and dumber. I know what you’re going to say now, “How does having a high self esteem make you dumb?” Well, it doesn’t happen for everyone, but a lot of kids just stop trying when they’re congratulated at every turn. They feel that they can do no wrong, everything they do is great, they are the best, no one and nothing can beat them. That would be a great attitude... IF it were true.

In the real world, we don’t congratulate and praise someone for being average. Mainly because there is an overabundance of average people. The laws of supply and demand can be pointed to in this instance (leave it to me to make a link from economical practices to self worth). The better you are at something, the more you’re worth to the world. If you have nothing of substance or worth to offer, you are worth less. We are, of course omitting popularity contests like politics and fame creators like music and movies.

When there is always someone better than you at something, one of two things can happen:
  1. You try to do better.
  2. You fail to try to do better.
Really, that is all there is. It’s just surprising and sickening to me that we’ve stepped away from this when teaching our kids. It’s becoming so bad now, that some schools aren’t even giving failing grades to students any longer. No more ‘F’s. Politicians keep with their rhetoric about “No Child Left Behind”, but they fail to realize when everyone is a “winner” no one really wins. The rules of the universe forbid it. There MUST always be a loser.

So, how do we fix this? I’d say it should be fairly easy. If you’re terrible at something, you should be told. No beating around the bush, you just suck at that. Practice or quit. I think the only other way to say it is like this:

“When everyone is special, no one is.”

Just remember, if you're ever confronted by one of these people who say, "Everyone is special!" Just look at them with the coldest of expressions, and tell them how much they suck at something. Hell, a whole list of things they suck at would be better. Anything that could be a reminder to them how we, as a civilization need both winners and losers.

Honestly, what's the point of playing if there's not a winner? What's to strive for? Don't you kind of think that's why we're not perfect?