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Location: Central Florida, Florida, United States

Paramedic EMT-II (Ret.), Computer software designer, Building contractor, Cruising sailor, Humorist. . . obviously unable to hold a job.

Friday, August 05, 2005

(a little something from the archives . . .)

Don't Think About It

Lately my mind has been wandering, and I'm afraid it may one day leave completely. It isn't that I particularly mind that cat food jingles run through my head each night for an hour before I fall off to sleep, or worry that I am perfectly content to leave the television on The Weather Channel for hours on end, but I do wonder why.

Recently , while doing my daily review of the news on the net, I think I've figured it out.

According to scientists, who, (if they are to be believed) are supposed to know about such things, the earth is in danger of being destroyed by Invisible Asteroids. Not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill iron and stone juggernaut from the cosmos, but an invisible invader for which there is no chance of detection or protection. We, as a species, are in danger of vaporizing faster than a campaign promise the day after the election.

Well, it's no wonder that of late, I prefer to idle away the hours thinking about nothing.

Each day we are bombarded by dire predictions, somber warnings, and insipid advice from so-called experts. This explains why the televised mini-series has lost its luster . . . why start a movie when the odds are so long that you will live long enough to see the second half? Why, if even if a tiny fraction of the stuff they warn us about are true, we might as well march out into our backyards, pick a nice spot under an oak tree, and dig our own graves - except that that would probably upset the eco-balance - and who needs Karma like that?

There are now medical web sites where you can input your age, your weight, your dietary habits, exercise regimen, and the number of cigarettes you consume daily . . .and they will tell you your life expectancy. When I tried it, they sent me an email asking if I'd prefer a donation to my favorite charity in lieu of flowers. The only good news was, I discovered - at my weight - I qualify for a group-rate health insurance policy.

But if scientists are right, and stress and worry are major health risks, isn't it better that we not think about all the things we do that are unhealthy? And if the world is continually on the brink . . . does it matter anyway? I would hate to spend agonizing months going through nicotine withdrawal, only to be incinerated by some pre-ordained disaster brought by some asteroid from a parallel universe.

Jay Leno, of Tonight Show fame, does a bit once a week where he interviews people on the street and asks them simple questions about current events or history. Stuff we all know. Like `Who is the President of the United States' (although most Democrats still argue over the correct answer . . .), and we guffaw at their ignorance. Folks, these people with blank stares are not stupid. They have simply made the best of a bad situation, and have tuned out the news. They worry not about North Korea and their missiles, or about the emergence of Ebola in equatorial Africa, or whether there is bio-engineered corn in their taco shells. They have abandoned the 24 hour cable news fix to concentrated on their own shallow existence.

And most of them seem . . .happy.

They are the ones who think Foot and Mouth disease is what struck Senator Robert Byrd when he used the `N' word twice on a Sunday morning news show a couple of years back. To them, the cast of Survivor is reality, while their congressman is a fictional villain from a bad soap opera carried by C-SPAN. They don't care if Bill Clinton gives up the saxophone in order to play the hormonica. And they certainly don't worry about the ozone layer, social security, or the terrible prospect of a new CD to be release by Brittany Spears.

To them, consciousness is simply that irritating period of time between naps.

And, I'm thinking of joining them

Not full time, but on a part-time basis. At least to start. An hour here, and hour there. Lost in non-thought. Oh, it will take some time to overcome my news junkie habits. I will go through withdrawal, suffering the crawling of my skin and shaking of my hands when breaking news occurs . . . and I force myself not to listen. But I am determined to try . . . at least today.

I've often heard that `thoughts are things'. That the world we live in is created by the things we imagine. If so, the less we think, the better things should be. At least I think so. But I am determined not to think about that too much. . . just in case.

So if you see me with my jaw slack, my mind blank, my fingers drumming to the beat of a cat food jingle, with a trace of a smile crossing my lips . . . it's just me, doing my small part to save the world.


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