Things We Forget

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There was a time, before we got all jaded and grumpy, that our main purpose was to have fun. As kids, we jumped out of bed every morning, eager to find the best ways to a) get candy, b) meet friends, c) watch cartoons and d) avoid chores at all costs.

We had it all figured out. Why did grown-ups make everything so difficult? Politics, manipulation and sociopathic behaviors were things we didn’t understand. (I still don’t understand.)

After life punches us in the face for several decades, we get out of bed a little slower and rarely find time for cartoons or candy. Friends become precious. Chores increase exponentially.

But maybe those 10-year-old versions of ourselves were right all along. Maybe we need to remember some basic rules about life that were totally obvious to us before we finished elementary school. These things are truths at any age.

  • Going to the bank is boring—unless there are those chain-attached pens you can play with
  • If you’re good at the store, you might get a Butterfinger
  • Going to the zoo sounds like a good idea, but it’s actually exhausting
  • Visiting grandma gets you spoiled
  • Sometimes you need to stay in bed all day reading a good book
  • Making friends is easy
  • Going to bed early is a punishment
  • It’s okay to cry when your feelings are hurt
  • Saturday morning cartoons are awesome
  • Spending an afternoon in the park is the best use of your time
  • A $20 bill makes you rich
  • When your friend is mean, it’s okay to tell them that wasn’t nice
  • It’s fun to be excited for birthdays and Christmas
  • Eating cold cereal for dinner is the best
  • Throwing a water balloon at your sister is thrilling
  • You never have to watch your carbs
  • Shoes aren’t always necessary
  • Cloud watching is not a waste of time

So how did we go from being fun-loving kidlets to cranky adults? When did we decide it was better to be busy than to have fun?

As with most terrible things, I blame the teenage years. Being 13 years old can be devastating. If you watch the movie Eighth Grade, be prepared for some serious junior high PTSD as a beautiful young girl destroys her own self-esteem with anxiety, junior high romance and pool parties. Seriously triggering.

Once we drag ourselves out of the primordial swamp of high school, we’ve become a little less trusting and optimistic. Then we double-down on our cynicism as we enter the workforce.

When you were in elementary school, dreaming about the time you’d be a grown up with your own car and the ability to eat ice cream after midnight, you never considered the possibility that working sucks. Sure, we saw our parents come home from work, down a bottle of gin and collapse on the couch like a bag of old pudding, but that was because they’d had SO MUCH FUN at work!

Something needs to change.

If you find yourself scowling at happiness, it’s time to check back with your inner fourth-grader and do something fun. Skip work and go hiking. Have an ice-cream sundae, without promising to jog later (because 10-year-olds don’t jog). Start a conversation with a stranger. Spend $20 on something entirely useless. Have Lucky Charms for dinner.

We need to remember, it’s fun to a) get candy, b) meet friends, c) watch cartoons and d) avoid chores at all costs. Life’s too short to grow old.

Originally published in Iron County Today–http://ironcountytoday.com/columns/life-laughter/things-we-forget/

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The Truth is Out There

At the risk of losing the respect of 89 percent of the human race, I have to admit my guilty pleasure: watching Ancient Aliens. It’s so amazingly serious, with its deadpan narration and “authentic” illustrations, that you can’t help but step inside its lunacy.

According to the show, pretty much everything on this planet has been created by aliens. From volcanoes to the pyramids, from Twinkies to cancer, aliens have used Earth as a mad scientist lab to test our intelligence and threshold of gullibility. (BTW, we failed the intelligence part but aced the gullibility.)

ancient-aliens

(Please let this happen in my lifetime.)

Ancient Aliens has “proven” that a great number of the country’s founding fathers were convinced there was life on other planets, and even documented the first U.S. alien abduction in the late 1700s.

The show goes on to explain that aliens destroyed the dinosaurs so humans could be introduced to earth. Its “experts” showed fossilized images of human footprints walking next to dinosaurs as proof. Lucky! I always wanted a pet dinosaur.

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(This chart scares the shit out of me.)

Did you know Stonehenge was a UFO landing site? Did you know the Pharaohs were actually our alien overlords?  Were you aware the Ark of the Covenant was a nuclear device?ark

(That Indiana Jones movie nailed it.)

If highly intelligent beings visited our planet thousands of years ago, where did they go? How come they’re not building super cool things like microchips, satellites and gluten-free donuts?

Or are they . . .? I always wondered about Bill Gates. . .