Monday, September 15, 2008

It's funny the things you remember from when you were a child. Now I know some of my readers might imply that I myself am still a child, but frankly I've been hating my birthday since I turned twenty so really I consider my childhood days long gone. Especially since I have aches and pains like they're going out of style these days. By hey, I've digressed. Let's talk funny childhood memories.

Some might consider my family life a little bizarre; parents living hours apart yet still "together." It seemed normal to me growing up however. But I remember weird, random things like what I watched on TV when my sister and I would go to visit my dad. Stuff like a Disney firework special broadcast from Disney World or bits of a TV show that would preview small sections of all the Saturday Morning Cartoons, on Friday night (which I think is a genius idea). But what prompts all of these seemingly random and pointless memories? More randomness. A song on the radio from the 80's that I remember two guys singing in that Disney special. Or a clip from Everyone Loves Raymond because Marie played an ever-so-small role on that one cartoon preview show.

All this has made me think, "Why do we remember some of the stuff we remember?" Clearly I haven't locked away all my childhood memories as my dad is quick to point out how much of a pain I could be when I was a little tike and I don't seem to recall those moments at all. Clearly I am alluding to the time I "forced" my family to attend the early church service at The Barley Church. That doesn't even sound like me! I hate getting up early! Yet my dad and uncle still remind me of that time on a quite normal, and obnoxious basis. And while they still don't believe me, I don't remember that ever happening. Why? It obviously affected my family enough for them to attempt to remind me about it over and over and over again. Why does it not exist in my world of remembered consciousness?

Sometimes it concerns me because I think of what I am doing right now that I may or may not remember in the future. I want to remember everything I ever do like it's recorded in my head on super hi-def brain matter. The good and the bad. There is so much to learn from all our experiences. Even those ones that seem like long ago "funny" childhood memories. The thing that is so great about the memories we do keep is that they are multidimensional. Not only do we remember what we see and hear, but we remember what we smell, and feel and even think. It's those extra emotions and thoughts that we remember that seem to make those funny, random memories meaningful and worthy of being remembered.

So take it all in. Capture the world not only through your eyes and ears, but through all your senses, through all that you can feel and experience. Maybe in another twenty years I'll think back to some random time when I was 27 and I spent one weekend with a group of friends sometime, somewhere . . . It'll be a good memory. They always are.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

In case you haven't noticed, the 2008 presidential election is quickly approaching. In this corner (picture me pointing to my right with a silver microphone hanging from the ceiling) is John McCain, the "original maverick" (does anybody really even know what that means?) who just made the vice presidential choice of his life! He is a 72 year old, prisoner of war / cancer survivor. And in this corner (now of course I am pointing to my left, microphone still in hand) is Barack Obama, the first African American presidential candidate and according to his campaign speech, the only real hope for change. He's a frail man at best but eager to get himself on the same level as his supporters.

So what is a person to do? Well I'll tell you. Basically now all you have to do is watch as these two knuckleheads duke it out in verbally horrific television ads. Frankly I feel as though these elections have gotten quite out of hand. Is it really even about being a person elected by the people, for the people anymore? Or is it more about just winning? Looking at McCain it seems to be about winning. In one swift and completely unforeseen motion McCain gathered women of all ages and without warning got them to join his team without hesitation (I say team because really the way elections work is the person with the most voting team members wins). It was pure strategy and an amazing one at that.

But that appears to be what elections are these days; strategic movements to stun your opponent and to get people to join your team. Is that what they should be? I don't really think so. Shouldn't elections be the candidates voicing whom they are, what they plan to do and how they plan to do it? Of course we'd have to assume here that we live in a fact-and-truth-telling society. We know that isn't accurate because it takes Candidate #2 to point out Candidate #1's misleadings and vice versa.

Perhaps there in lies the problem (pun intended). We've become a society so consumed with winning, how we get to the end is unimportant anymore. We have TV shows like Survivor and Big Brother where the better lier you are, the more likely you are to win. We teach kids with movies like Election that it is better to destroy your opponent than to promote yourself.

So over time we have come to this; campaigns that are run strategically more like a game than like the election for our nation's leader. Even more so we end up with lives that revolve more around winning than actually living. Don't get me wrong, I like to win just as much as the next guy, but frankly I'd rather live honestly and in the moment. It's not about winning, but about making this life better for yourself and others.

So how will you vote come this November? Are you voting to be a winner or are you voting because you actually care to make a difference?