And now for something completely different. Dysfunctional. Dis fun shun Al. This fun shuns all? Or this fun shuns Al? If the second is the case, then I feel sorry for Al. Weirdness, absurdity, incredulity, many more multi-syllabic responses to recent news, global trends, and my current situation reached a limit with me recently. At some point the word “Ridiculous” pops up, and maybe that’s a good time to step away and find a way to recharge, and maybe laugh.
Remember laughter? Thank you Monty Python and Laugh-In for making fun during the sixties and seventies. Thank you Saturday Night Live for 38 years of breaking the rules and skewering convention. Thank you John Stewart and Stephen Colbert for taking the hyperbole of broadcast “journalism” and making it more hyperbolic by comparing it to reality. How else can we get through such times?
My situation is so bizarre that several of you have suggested making it a movie. One of you has already pitched it in Hollywood. I’m an imaginative guy. A lot of what’s happened were things I knew were possible, but I spent more time imagining the optimistic possibilities. To have some many of the apparently negative possibilities occur was unbelievable. Put all of that into a story and audiences would dismiss it as fiction. Throw in the illogic of the foreclosure process, the irrationality of the stock markets, the disconnect between what should work for finding jobs and selling houses and the story becomes so complex and incomprehensible that listeners and readers would find more reasonable entertainment elsewhere. As a movie or a book, it could play out as a series, and most series are dramas, not comedies. Where’s the fun in that?
I haven’t studied the stages of grief but somewhere along the healing process must be the ability to make a joke about it.
I think our society will demonstrate its maturity when crowds start demonstrating with messages that are more terrific than terrible. The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear was an excellent start. That was over two years ago. Isn’t it bizarre that things have gotten more bizarre since then? We’re due for another dose; and then it should be franchised, and I think it would be hilarious if someone found a way to make a lot of money from it, and then use the money to set up super-Pacs like Colbert’s Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow. I guess we need a new and expanding breed of court jesters that outnumbers and speaks louder than the combined special interests and dysfunctional institutions. There’s plenty of raw material delivered every day. Money may be hard to find but opportunities for punch lines are littering our lives. Yes, the Guy Fawkes’ masks are iconic; but, I think jester’s bells or clown’s noses might be more appropriate.
Rhetorically, I’m asked how I’m getting through this. Skip the philosophical responses. They haven’t turned off my oxygen. Gravity continues to keep me on this planet. My body continues to continue. What other choices do I have?
Within the last few days I came to realize that my backup plans that require the most effort can’t seem to produce a solution. Even if I fill out all of the appropriate forms and deliver them on time, foreclosure will happen if I don’t find enough money. Working twelve hours a day only produces half of what I need, and simply doubling my efforts will simply eliminate me, which is a drastic way to eliminate my finances. Even selling my house only solves my foreclosure and debt issue, not my housing situation because I’ll still have to find money to pay rent somewhere.
Within the last few days I came to realize that my backup plans that can produce a solution are all out of my control. My best job prospects have been unsolicited. My business is like any other, in control of the customers. My portfolio will recover if the market raises the price of my stocks. And my lottery tickets are in the control of random chance – as far as I know.
So, as a consultant I could recommend to myself to only concern myself with the plans that can make a difference and only work on them as much as necessary. Especially in the case of my portfolio and lottery plans, sitting on the deck with a gin & tonic should suffice.
Now, that’s an appealing plan!
And we know that I won’t do that. I’ll continue to work because planning on luck is not planning. It is an exercise in faith, but faith has its own timing, and in the meantime I should spend my main resource, time, making the resource society demands, money. It should only be a temporary exercise anyway, and my efforts are generating lots of stories.
My efforts may not have much to do with the right causes that will produce the correct effects, but they are what I can do, so they are what I will do. But this new realization also inspires me to relax. I should do more things that are fun. Fun is healthy, yeah, that’s it; I’m keeping down health care costs. Fun can be free; excellent if I can find ways to spend time that don’t cost money. Fun can be shared; and too many people have told me too many stories for me to doubt that millions of us need to laugh.
So, I’m not going to apologize for skipping a stock analysis, or not providing a personal finance tip, or delving into a lifestyle trend (though I guess I accidentally am doing that.) Oh wait, maybe that’s the point and I didn’t even realize it. When we try to outthink and outwork our problems we can wear ourselves out. Have a bit of fun and find unexpected treasures, unexpected wealth.
Here’s something a friend and I did for a bit of fun. Wynn likes being in front of the camera. I wanted a way to play with the camera without thinking in terms of galleries and sales. We both enjoy the tourist towns around Puget Sound – and decided that too many of their videos were “rainbows and wind chimes”; so, we started making a series of videos of Two Guys Walk Around – fill in the blank. The most recent: Two Guys Walk Around Anacortes. Enjoy, just for the fun of it, and as Wynn says at the end; “Who knows where that may lead us?”
As I type this last, the music next door has started. There’s a free dance tonight. From my office window I can see my friends arriving. Time to go. It looks like fun.