Stick the Landing

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You can check out anytime you like,
but you can never leave…

– The Eagles

Have you ever noticed that the people who talk about chasing dreams are always the ones who have already caught them?

I find this sort of hindsight optimism annoying and beyond unhelpful. It seems to suggest that, if we have a job we don’t love, every minute of every day, that we have somehow sold out. We “gave up on the Dream.” We have failed ourselves, the men and women who gave us life, and everyone else besides. Thank you, and goodnight!

Bullshit.

Life ain’t like that. You know it; I know it. All us real people know it. Sometimes life gives you lemons; more often, it shoves them down your throat. You try making lemonade when you’re choking on citrus.

It’s easy to spout pontifical when you don’t have to con yourself into believing in what you do. Any fool can appreciate the rewarding aspects of his work when it actually is rewarding.

Anyone can work hard when she feels like she’s “hardly working.” (Such a clever phrase…)

The true hero is the one who thrives in a job he hates. This is the definition of work ethic: getting up every day, going to a job that clogs the pores, melts the brain, and kills the soul, and still giving that occupational bit of cowpie everything you’ve got. The miserable worker who does good work anyway. The one who decides to be all she can be even though no one seems to care who she is.

That’s the real world: the one where you don’t have time for chasing dreams because the reality is too busy chasing you.

Don’t get me wrong: on my best days, I’m thrilled for the lucky few who find that “perfect job.” But most of us…?

Most of us are lucky if we stick the landing.

 

High Res Newsolutions

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“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

– L.M. Montgomery

2016 is upon us, and as I prepare to bridge the New Year with a late anniversary trip to Santa Fe and points beyond, I want to inject a bit of optimism into the proceedings.

My whole life has been an exercise in mediocrity. (No, that’s not the optimistic part.) I have always been very good at being moderately accomplished in a variety of contexts–a sort of Renaissance-ish Man, if you will. I can play the piano, the viola, the drums, and a bit of the guitar, and I can sing…well enough to get by, to amuse myself, and no more. As a theater student, many moons ago, I could act my way onto a stage and off of it, without overly impressing or depressing anyone. I can write, and I dedicate myself to my craft…whenever the mood strikes, which isn’t terribly often. In other words, I coulda been a contender, but instead, I’ve rarely cleared the ceiling of “intender.”

But that all changed yesterday. Yesterday, instead of just carping on a cause, I stepped up and actually did something concrete. You see, yesterday, I officiated for the first time at a same-sex wedding. I’m not just talking about LGBT rights anymore; I’m standing up and doing something about it. It was in my power to offer something to someone that they hadn’t had access to before. And yes, I know anyone can perform these ceremonies now; I know someone else could have done this for these wonderful people. But it wasn’t someone else. It was me.

So that’s my New Year’s resolution: I’m done with the “just okay” approach to life. From now on, it’s balls to the wall. I’m going down swinging.

I hereby resolve:

  1. I will think not just outside the box, but outside the concept of box-ness. There are no boxes, as far as I’m concerned, anymore. It’s time for new and crazy-ass ideas, because today’s crazy is tomorrow’s hope for change.
  2. I will use this blog as a starting point, but it will be just that–a springboard for actual action, in the real world, because, while words are important and powerful, on their own they just aren’t enough.
  3. I will throw myself back into my work like never before, because at the end of the day, what you do and how you do it is who you are. Point me to my sled and tell me to mush; I’m ready to pull like my life depends on it. Because I firmly believe that in some cases, some people’s do.
  4. I will be a friend. I will answer my phone. I will help when asked, no matter who asks me. I will smile, even when it hurts, because it’s only dark until someone turns on a light. And my hand is on the switch.

Expect a post a week from me in future (if you’re listening); anything else takes up too much time, distracts too much from actually living a life that touches the lives of others. Unless your blog is how you touch the lives of others, in which case, blog away, and may it give you purpose.

But if you do seek to change the world by means of the blog, remember: hate breeds only more hate, bigotry cuts both ways, and there are real faces sporting real lives and back stories behind the little icons on your screen. So proceed with love and caution.

Happy New Year to you all,
and may 2016 be our moment, as a species,
to shine!

It Loves Me, It Loves Me Not

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Shall we play a game?

– Joshua

The Box is my shepherd; I shall not want.
It maketh me to lie down in screen captures; It Instagrammeth me beside still waters.
It refresheth my Newsfeed.

It leadeth me to Facebook for status updates’ sake.

Yea, though I talk naught but shallow and meaningless dreck, I will fear no consequences, for Thou art with me; thy detachment and anonymity they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table for me at the pleasure of mine followers; Thou crownest my posts with Likes;
my tweets runneth over.

Surely hashtags and friend requests will (sort of) follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Box
#forever.

De-Tweet!!!!

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Do not go tweet-ly into that good night;
Rage, rage against the dying of the write.

Not Dylan Thomas

A brief announcement:

After two weeks of shoe horns and crowbars, @magnificenttoad is no more.

I will not sell my soul, I will not eat my words, and I will not pretend there is true creativity in enforced brevity. Concision is for wimps. And those determined to make a point in 140 characters or less.

Dickens makes my soul sing; Hemingway makes my soul shrink. Twitter makes my soul nauseous.

So enjoy your tweets.

I will speak my own language. In complete, punctuated, grown-up sentences.

P.S. I am fully aware that the foregoing is a statement dripping with condescension and assumed superiority…

I’m okay with that.