Four Things You Are Not

Having spoken with several acquaintances about concerns they have in common, I feel that I must explain some things.

This will not take long.

I. You Are Not Dumb

I’ve never met a stupid human being.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I see people do stupid things all the time, but that doesn’t make anyone stupid. They’re mistaken, not stupid. There’s an enormous difference.

I make mistakes all the time, and I ain’t stupid. In fact, I may even be mistaken now. For all I know, I’ve been sharing oxygen with morons every day of my life. I don’t think so, though.

There’s no such thing as a stupid person, only stupid decisions. The stupidity of every act is determined by the trouble it causes. That’s the secret of Mrs. Gump’s wisdom, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

The way I look at it, everyone’s his or her own sort of genius, and everyone screws up in different ways to different degrees. Some of us have educations, some don’t, all of us pulling bonehead moves pretty much all the time…

It’s just that some of our screwups stand out more, is all.

The next time you feel bad because you don’t know the square root of zero or the political term for “asshole” or the approximate population of Paraguay, just remember how easily you buttoned your pants this morning, then try training a dolphin to do it.

Yeah, that’s right. Not so frickin’ smart now, are you, Flipper? Brains the size of cantaloupes, my ass.

We're all geniuses. Or, at least, we're each as brilliant as everyone else.

II. You Are Not Strange

Never have I met an entirely strange and bizarre person.

Every human feels set apart sometimes, different than and misunderstood by surrounding people, but nobody’s too different from anyone else. This is because we’ve only got so much to work with, our hands, eyes, brains, and all that.

For this reason our situations can’t vary too much — but our own interpretations of our circumstances, as well as the circumstances of others, can easily fool us into thinking that the beautiful, young and wealthy sleep like babies every night, carefree and serene, without a twinge of the various pains we regular people feel. However, it is arrogant and juvenile to presume oneself in a class apart. No matter how a person may dress, talk, walk, or whatever, one thing remains certain: there is no escaping humanity. Once a human, always a human, and this means being part of us.

You can’t be weird enough to out-weird humanity. You are never the only one. Like it or not, whether you’re stressed about paying for something, tore-up over an ex-lover, or mortified for having been caught masturbating, you’re just like everyone else.

You’re just like everyone else, and that’s really not so bad, because we’re all just like you, too.

If that depresses you, though, maybe because you’re one of those drama club people who’s been wearing wacky hats to garner attention since high school, or maybe because you always thought you were super-duper special, God’s special little chosen one (big G), then, go get a new haircut. That always makes me feel like a new man.

Nobody's much different from anyone else, really, but never underestimate the power of a new haircut to help you feel like an entirely unique person.

III. You Are Not Ugly

I have never met an ugly human being. Now, don’t get me wrong, I see people doing ugly things all the time, the sorts of things people do or say which make them less attractive to me, but I’ve never seen anyone without beauty.

Physically speaking, beauty is fairly simple to come by. Humanity has invented for itself all manner of cosmetics, clothes, soaps, styles, and even surgeries for the beautification of the human form, and versions of these are available to just about everyone. Not only this, but even the most cursory spin around the seedier side of the Internet can confirm that pretty much everyone is the sexiest person on earth to someone. Nothing so subjective deserves to be taken seriously.

The problem is, so many of you out there have let Hollywood convince you that you’re shambling, horrific wrecks, and now you’ve forgotten how nice you look with your hair the way you like it. You’ve forgotten how nice you look in that sweater your ex- bought you for Christmas. You’ve forgotten how to stand up straight and walk like you’ve got someplace to go, rather than sliding down the sidewalks of America like bewildered clumps of moss.

You aren’t ugly. You just look like you think you are. Show a little respect to your body, and I bet you get to use it a lot more for recreation.

IV. You Are Not Going to Hell

Most importantly (speaking of gods) neither you — nor anyone else — is going to hell.

I know this because no loving creator would ever make imperfect people, only to sit back and watch them burn throughout all eternity for having made imperfect decisions. Now, if we’re talking about a wicked, sadistic tyrant with a chip on his shoulder and an insatiable blood lust, then maybe hell exists after all, but so long as you believe in an all-understanding, ever-present god who emanates love throughout the universes, you’re forced to accept that you are not going to hell.

You may, however, be going to a cosmic video arcade, where all celestial matters are decided according to who achieves the high score on Frogger, Asteroids, and Donkey Kong.

Ancient Hebrew mysticism has revealed that the apocalypse will be triggered when Moses prevails over the Holy High Score of Pac-Man set by John the Baptist in 1150 A.D.

So please, fellow humans, take a look in the mirror and see nothing more or less than what you happen to be: a powerful, intelligent, intuitive body organ of the universe, humming and thrumming, capable of godlike wonders of creation and destruction, given to acts of compassion, gentility, and grace far beyond anything described in any holy book, yet also bearing the potential to invent horrors yet undreamed.

I don’t care who you are; I can’t but be in awe of you. You’re human, for god’s sake. You can read and write, concoct a casserole, develop an opinion of modern theatre, alter your brainwave patterns through self-medication, communicate terribly complex concepts, drive a car, teach children to sing, engage in genocide against insects, play badminton, knot a necktie, walk in high heels, hum a tune, organize a spitting contest, pen a poem, flirt, flaunt, fornicate — all this while considering the implications of your existence in space and time and your relationship to the universe which birthed you.

Just admit it. You’re far, far more than you take credit for (and modest, too!) and your worst opinion of yourself is a nightmare from which you may as well awaken, because your shortsighted opinion of yourself is just as much silliness as anything else humanity has come up with, such as duck-duck-goose, Sasquatch, chewing gum, Teletubbies, or the Presidential election.

I don’t know what else to say, except that it’s time I stopped having to explain this rudimentary nonsense to people. You’re cool, OK? If we could all stop acting like winners and losers in some crucial beauty pageant, some apocalyptic talent show, a whole lot of this global tension would disappear in a puff of goodwill and self-recognition.

Stop it. Just stop it. Relax. Be amused. No matter how seriously you take yourself, this life is hilarious.

With faith in my fellows and well-meaning impatience I remain,

Yours Truly,

-BothEyesShut

17 Comments

  1. great post. thanks for sharing.

    • Dear MyPolarLife,

      I have never been polar. I deal in checks and balances. The imbalanced I find amusement in, but never so much as to make them my acquaintances.

      Thou art presumptuous, Sir or Madam. I applaud your brazen self-confidence.

      Yours Truly,

      -BothEyes

  2. Ha. Great article. A touching of misanthropy but with sprinkles of optimism, video game references, and quite frankly hilarious illustrations. Particularly that first one, the excitement in his eyes as that fork approaches the socket, his enthusiasm is infectious.

    I think I’m supposed to ‘like’ this. It’d be stupid, dumb, ugly and downright hellish of me not to.

    You should visit my blog too, no-one else does, there’s potential for you to like it. Did I just undermine my compliment about your post by plugging my own stuff? Sorry, I’m a horrible bastard.

    • Actually scratch that last bit, I’ve read some more of your posts and I actually don’t feel all that worthy. Wow, you can write well.

      • Dear Mac,

        My cup runneth over, Sir. Thanks for reading, and thanks also for the swell compliments.

        You are, however, no slouch, yourself. I would never say so over where you work, but I’d be interested in seeing what you sound like without all the cool font changes and computer gags you use so effectively. Not that you should — you probably shouldn’t; it’d disrupt the continuity of your style, which is my favorite of your qualities — but I’d still be interested as hell.

        Are many writers your age as talented as yourself where you come from? I believe I read that you are nineteen. It’s difficult here in Southern California to find a teenager interested in anything but mediocre cinema and the Twilight series, let alone one bearing enough literary clout to have developed a real authorial style of his or her own.

        Yeah. Anyhow, I won’t blow anymore sunshine up your ass. Just don’t sell yourself short, as we say.

        Yours Truly,

        -Both

        P.S. — Oh, and in case I did not infer it with sufficient clarity: you need to keep writing.

    • Dear Mr. MacTingz,

      You’re a polite fellow, aren’t you? Thank you for the nice things you’ve written.

      I rather like the fork-socket man, myself. He really does seem as though he does that sort of thing all the time, doesn’t he? Why must agony and death dissuade us from so much domestic adventure? It seems a terrible omission from the human experience, when one thinks about it.

      I was electrocuted, once.

      About your blog, Sir… You were right! It did undermine your compliment to plug your stuff. Really, though, I do like your writing. I’ve said as much on your side of the ‘net, I’m sure you’ve by now discovered. As far as your being a horrible bastard is concerned, I highly recommend the practice.

      Horribility is an attribute one must cultivate, as one might cultivate an appreciation of ancient Greek poetry, you see. Once garnered, grown and nurtured, however, one’s capacity for inspiring horror places one amongst the most admired writers of the modern age: Disraeli, Jefferson, Bon Jovi, and Charles Schultz being but a few such juggernauts.

      One must be born into bastardism, though, I’m afraid. You were merely lucky on that score.

      Thank you for stopping to write, Sir, and thank you for your own writing, which I sincerely enjoy. Well met.

      Yours Truly,

      -Both

      • Both,

        I’ve been anticipating a reply since I discovered your blog yesterday, especially after reading the hysterical ways you cut down attempted spammers. I feared a similar response. Though what I received warmed the cockles of my cold and carbon heart, a genuine thanks is in order. And at the risk of sounding like a horrid little sycophant [which isn't usually my thing], compliments about my writing style from someone who writes as well as you are doubly, triply and maybe even quadruply appreciated. About other writers my age, I can’t really comment on the quality of any of them, because I’m the only one I know. I don’t really know how I got here either, but it wasn’t a team effort.

        Indeed I was born into bastardism. And what a fun ride it’s been. I’m pleased to say it hasn’t involved the Twilight series, electrocution or any repugnant combination of the two. I must comment again on the quality of this blog. It is by far and away the most entertaining mixture of ridiculous intelligence and humour I’ve come across during my short time as a blogger.

        Well met indeed.

        Mac

      • In brief, Mac:

        Yeah, OK, so it is the same with young writers over there. Maybe it’s for the best. That which is not rare, cannot be precious. Our value is going up.

        One can’t be a sycophant and know the meaning of the word sycophant, you know. It’s like discovering the truth about Santa Claus, or learning that the Sex Pistols were a marketing ploy.

        Thanks again, Mac. Cheers!

        Yours Truly,

        -Both

  3. Oh what a wonderful post, reading this made me smile. It’s true we never really would say a person is that ugly, dumb, strange or going straight to hell unless in my case at least when I am making a joke with other persons besides the subject of conversation (lol) or like you just said it’s more of the things that people do or say that make us want to say they’re ugly, dumb, strange and going straight to hell.

    You’re alway a thrill to read, Both. And as to help me have this points tattooed in my mind -being a serious pain-in-the-ass obsessive self-critic by nature, I shall print this post and paste it on my the wall of my room. =D

    Have a beautiful day ahead and please keep writing! =)

    “My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you’re ugly too.” – Rodney Dangerfield

    • Dear Shanaz,

      Only with much difficulty can I imagine you being as obsessive as you admit. You’re far too optimistic-sounding. Your own writing is flippant and irreverent without cynicism (a trick I must learn one day — or at least a trick I must learn to approximate…) and I’ve never read a frown into anything you have to say. How can anyone who goes about wishing people to have a “beautiful day ahead” be obsessive?

      In any case, whether you hang this piece on your wall or not, it’s one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever had, and it sorta-kinda makes me feel all gosh, gee willikers.

      Thanks again for stopping in, Miss. You are far, far too kind.

      Yours Truly,

      -BothEyes

  4. So, what IS the approximate population of Paraguay?

    • Dear Rambling Taoist,

      The approximate population of Paraguay is turtles.

      Yours Truly,

      -Both

  5. Nobody is strange? Are you sure about that?

    I mean, the fact that we are all human (or reptilians) itself doesn’t really connect us. All books are really just letters on pages, but then there is Henry Darger, the Voynich manuscript and some of the stuff I wrote in highschool. Clearly they are not quite the same as everything else.

    I, at least, don’t really care about the biology part of other people. The only reason I discriminate against cats is that they make for poor conversations. Humans, unfortunately, most of the time do, too, but at least there are some exceptions (and I don’t always care, anyway).

    What really matters is the stuff in their heads. And this can be quite strange. It’s rare to run across anyone that worries about Curry’s Paradox (it really bothers me!) or Clark’s explanation of the Industrial Revolution or the relationship of Turkish and Japanese, and even rarer to find them all inside the same head. Your examples of things people worry about, I don’t worry about and all the stuff that bothers me seems to bother almost nobody, and if so, then only a few things, not all of this. How can anybody not be bothered by where specific languages come from? Or how closely Lee Harvey Oswald and the Discordian movement are linked (really, look this one up!), or how you can make pretty much anything taste better just by throwing *more* flavors on it, regardless of choice? There’s nothing that doesn’t taste better with cinnamon.

    Your assertion that no one is ugly, as well, plays into this, in a sense of inferiority and frustration, in that I find it weird that this even matters. I mean, being asexual, why should I even care about looks, both my own and of others? Even the few fetishes which look interesting focus very little on physical appearance, and are probably illegal anyway. Nonetheless, I find that I still do care, to some degree, if only because OkCupid insists on using photos and so many (all?) communities push visual identification. If only there were sites geared towards amorphous blobs.

    Maybe I’m just crazy and need to hang out with other crazy people to see how un-unique (ique?) I am. But then, those guys are crazy, so maybe not.

    • Dear Mr. or Ms. Muflax,

      My goodness, that’s an unfortunate moniker you’ve happened upon. Is it a Turkish medication?

      You’re right, of course, that all such designations (ugly, strange, or what-have-you) exist within specified parameters. Poisonally, though, I try to look at things from the broadest perspective here at “In a Real World…” In fact, the title would describe what we discuss here far better: “The Broadest Perspective,” but that sounds too much like a gadgetry store in a strip-mall.

      The way I see it, if we’re all arbitrarily comparing these attributes to other attributes in the sense that I’m strange compared to the Queen of England, but quite normal compared to Charles Manson, then the whole business is a useless sham, and I may as well decide to consider people politely and with a measured degree of optimism, if only to yield beneficial results.

      What I mean to say, then, Sir or Madam, is that from the broadest perspective, no one of us is even distinguishable from the others. Even should one happen to be Einstein, neither his exploding snowball of an afro, his quirky sense of humor, nor his flair for constructing nuclear weaponry can place him apart from the society of men and women that had these traits inherent in it to begin with.

      Of course, this is all dependent upon one’s perspective, I emphasize.

      I come from Los Angeles, where I have seen men fornicating with fire hydrants on the street, women running like hairless werewolves with smiles on their faces, celebrities eating cheeseburgers, children checkmating champions as though it were effortless, police like toy soldiers, punk-rockers like exotic birds…

      One cannot stand out here, you see. And from a broader point of view than that of Southern California, it only becomes more chaotic. I maintain that there’s no such thing as strange, nor ugly, nor dumb. But that doesn’t invalidate your point. We believe in paradox and contradiction here, my friend.

      Thank you very much for taking time to write such an eloquent reply, Sir or Miss. Your intelligence and conversation is more than welcome here.

      Yours Truly,

      -Both

      • Well, I see your point. We’re only primates, after all. It reminds me of this great Subnormality comic: .

        I’m never sure how much my mental vision of SoCal really matches the Real Thing. All this Buffy and years and years of Hollywood warped my perception. Still, sounds like a great place. The strangest part of this, actually, are the fire hydrants themselves. I don’t remember ever having seen one myself, they rarely use them around here in Germany.

        Oh, and it’s Mr. muflax, but then, I’m not into this whole gender identity thing, so Ms. muflax is fine, too. If muflax is medication, then I’d like to meet the disease.

      • Oh, the link got eaten. Anyway, it’s the “Weird?” one, for your googling pleasure.

    • Bah, I can’t find the “Weird?” comic from Subnormality. I like the art I saw there, though. Stupid broken links…


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