In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “An Extreme Tale.”
When has the quote“ It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” applied to my crazy life specifically? That is a tall order to ask. I tend to envision myself as a glass half full (or a why do people ask unanswerable questions) kind of person. I make a conscious effort to remember the good times, and try to forget about the times that were tough, or markedly regrettable. However, among all the time periods of my short, and rather tumultuous lifetime, one specific span stands out. High School.
Yes, I said high school. And for those of you who have checked out, and are ready to click back to a site containing less teenage angst, let me assure you, my post will not be focused on the inevitable sorrow that comes with most adolescent stories. I now look back upon my years of schooling, and have decided that they really were not so bad after all. I have had to suck up my pride and admit that maybe (I said maybe, I am not ready for complete admission yet) my parents knew a thing or two about this whole adulthood situation. I could tell you woeful tales filled with the wonderments of endless homework for AP classes, and the stress of college applications. I could waste your time with anecdotes of social unrest, and failed romance. Or even spin tales of top quality family drama reserved especially for primetime network television. All of these stories would be uninformative, because all in all, I had life pretty good, and most peoples high school stories are quite akin to my own. So for that reason, I can skip the worst of times, and get right to the good stuff.
I now reminisce on my days of schooling, and wonder at how marvelous they really were. First and foremost because the only bills I had to pay in high school were for the the gas in my Jeep, my ticket to the prom, and the piles of food my buddies and I consumed constantly. Being a fiscally responsible member of society proves not to be as freeing as I thought that it would. And secondly, high school is the last time I was able to be a kid, and just have fun. My friends were only ever a “bathroom break”, and I could “chill” with them almost constantly. I was able to perform in a competition show choir, which is an opportunity only afforded to most people during high school (I got to dress up as Flynn Ryder from Disney’s Tangled, and if thats not epic, I don’t know what is). There were entire weeks that were essentially duplicate halloweens just to celebrate homecoming, or the end of a semester. I was woken up at 4 am and “kidnapped” by beautiful girls and taken out to breakfast before school (the catch you may ask: I had to wear a Mickey Mouse costume that consisted of black tights, red cheerleading shorts and red suspenders to school all day). My friends and I could spend entire weekends, week after week, sitting by the lake, fishing and drinking sweet tea. I could stand under those proverbial friday night lights, and be a hero for two hours. High school was the time period where anything was possible, and I was invincible.
Now, I am not so invincible, and I have duties,and responsibilities. Do I hate being an adult? No! Would I want to go back to high school? Definitely not. But high school was a time in my life where mistakes were encouraged, and exploration was praised. Maybe the lesson in all of this is that as we grow up, we make life too serious. I say we all do something crazy,and spontaneous every once in a while. It makes that whole responsibility thing way easier to deal with.
Are we, the people of the technology generation, really as connected as we claim to be. Can we claim that our devices, as advanced as they have become, are suitable substitutes for real interaction?
As I was scrolling through the info-verse yesterday I stumbled across fantastic article by She’s a Maineiac. It detailed the struggles of a newly converted smart phone user, and how her new smartphone seemed to be sucking her life away. The reason? The immense amount of information available at our fingertips on the screen of a smartphone has a gravitational pull not unlike that of a black hole. Once we get our information hungry hands on a smart phone, its almost impossible to rip them away. Erin Schmidt, the Executive Chairman, once estimated the size of the internet at over 5 billion gigabytes of data. With new content being constantly added, it is easy to see how addicting a device with instant access to all of this information becomes.
These addictions are more real than we would like to think, and even I am guilty of such a condition. I am positive that I am not the only one who, upon realizing I have forgotten my phone at home, suddenly feels my heart sink.Presumably, I’m not alone in having a compulsive urge to check my phone every minute in a frantic desperation for new content. Whether that be a text message, a snapchat, or a new post on a social media site, the constant desire for an update on the cyber world keeps my mind and eyes fixed on the evil little glowing device.
Does checking my device constantly really keep me engaged and updated? As I began to ponder this conundrum, I realized that these devices are not the saviors they claim to be.They are in fact, the ultimate prison. They tether us to charging ports, Wi-Fi hot-spots, and service areas. Our eyes and ears are fettered to a tiny glowing screen. We are engrossed in a false sense of reality. What happened to the old days? Where waiting in public meant striking a conversation with the stranger next to you, and hanging out with friends was not merely a mutual use of smartphones. How much do we miss when we put our headphones in, and stare endlessly at a screen? The new iPhone 6 has an 8 megapixel camera, while the human eye captures images at 576 megapixels. An hour long phone conversation carries more informational and emotional content than a whole day of text messages could ever hope to convey. How much better would our relationships be if we took the time to truly have a conversation with someone, and look them in the eye? Or to talk on the phone and maybe even write a letter instead of exchanging emotionless texts.
Information is fantastic, and the access we have to it is now greater and faster than ever. As amazing as our new technologies are, I challenged myself to experience my information. If I put my phone down, there is so much more information around me than there will ever be on the internet. I challenge you to do the same. Break the bonds of your smartphone. Talk with new people, genuinely interact with your friends, take in the sights and sounds around you, read a book, take a walk. If you genuinely invest your time in experiencing the people and the world around you, there is more to be learned than can there will ever be in the virtual world on our phone screens.
If you are reading this, it is likely that you fall into one of the following categories:
- Family and/or Friends who I have pestered and begged to read my blog, and have finally relented
- A skilled web-surfer, dedicated to finding the corners of the web still wild, and untouched by the reckless whims of a mass media society
- A dedicated fan of my works from the future who has gone to such lengths as to comb through my unquestionably excellent content, in order to uncover the gem that is my humble beginning
- An innocent web surfer who has stumbled here on accident, and is horrified to realize that I have captured enough of your interest to intrigue you to read this.
If I have missed a category, and it is one that you believe would describe your unique situation, please feel free to leave me a heated message in the comment section, and I will do my best to appease your anger. Now, however, I will attempt to shed the proverbial light on my blog, while speaking specifically to the specific interest groups I have outlines above.
As I stumble around in the dark, and attempt to find the light that will illuminate the empty room that will become my blog, the first group I must address are my friends and family. Given the fact that this is a personal blog, many experiences I reflect upon here may or may not involve thoughts and/or events that I have shared with you. The people who surround me are the ones who have ultimately assisted in shaping me, and helped me to become what I am now, and will continue to assist me as I grow, and change. Because you mean so much to me, I will allow you a privilege that few readers will be afforded. Due to the inevitable fact that you are probably reading this against your will, or to stifle my pestering, I offer this simple hint. Generally, my first paragraph, and last paragraph will contain a brief overview of the content that I have covered in my passionate, informed, and entertaining entry. If you read these paragraphs briefly, and regurgitate a sentence or two from them while following with a positive remark, I will bother you no further.
As for the rest of you, you could only hope to be so lucky.
For the web surfer, looking for untamed, original content, I can assure you that this will deliver such a product. This blog will feature the all original, patent pending thoughts of my mind. As a busy, multi-faceted, and attention deficit hyper active individual, I can guarantee the rawness of my thoughts. Although hidden by a delightful, well reformed, and educated prose, you will find that my content will delight the adventurer inside of you. This blog will feature whatever I, the almighty writer, choose to put my pen to. There are no limits, no boundaries, no rules. The topics may vary as wide as the gap between a redneck and a refined educator, and invoke emotions that you yourself may not understand (disclaimer: I am not a psychologist, so don’t ask me to help you decipher your feelings). The goal at all times will be to inform, entertain and enlighten my faithful readers. So if this is the adventure you seek, by all means join me for the ride.
To the dedicated fans from the future, may I first congratulate you for your diligence. To find this post would have taken feats of mental strength and perseverance that I myself cannot imagine. If you are here to find the last clue of an epic search that I have sent you on, I must now inform you that the quest was a ruse to invest you in my works, and that the real treasure is unfaltering friendship, and true love (you should have learned that from Disney). If, on the other hand,you have dispatched yourself to find my humble beginnings, you have stumbled upon the roots. I hope that my writing lives up to your expectations, and that you have come to enjoy what I call my grand adventure.
And lastly, I address the innocent stumbler. The one who has found himself here, trapped by the works of an ADHD writer. I assure you that my madness is calculated, and that my blog is indeed as weird as it sounds. The wonderful fact, however, is that you and I are not so dissimilar after all. You are as new to this blog as I am now. Your horizons are as broad as mine. You can do with this blog whatever you like, and take it in any direction you please, just as I am given the same blank slate. My words and thoughts will surprise me as much as they will surprise you, and I cannot specify a direction just as you cannot predict my future writing. I can however, guarantee that it will be on hell of a rodeo!
This rodeo is just beginning, and I hope this passage has at least swept a flashlight across the empty room that I now currently inhabit. If the fleeting light has caught a glimmer of interest in your mental peripherals, I encourage you to stick around. Come explore with me, and I promise that you will not regret it
Random: [ran-duh m]- Adjective: proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern.