What An Opportunity

Posts Tagged ‘life’

The Good Guys

In Life on May 7, 2015 at 12:09 am

Disclaimer 1: The reader must be willing to entertain the notion that art imitates life. If not, this post may not be your cup of tea. Just FYI

Disclaimer 2: There may be spoilers below for Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and the CW’s Supernatural. Not trying to ruin anything for anyone. Proceed at own risk

 

So I have to say this upfront, I’m a DC guy. For those of you who don’t know (or really care), in comic book vernacular, I like DC Comics. DC Comics has characters like Superman, Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, etc. I use “etc.” because with each reboot, reincarnation, “death”, and so on, I could name characters for a long, long, time. The other immensely popular comic book enterprise is Marvel Comics. Marvel is home to Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor, X-Men, Spiderman, etc. (same rule applies here) You could say DC vs. Marvel is a friendly rivalry. Something akin to Playstation vs. Xbox, Red Sox vs. Yankees, or Bunchers vs. Folders. Your decision doesn’t matter either way but I promise, you will lose the respect of strangers if they find out one way or another.

So I’m a DC guy. I love Superman and the idea that fictional characters can be tangible conduits of certain morals and tenets. I love that in many ways, art imitates life. However, I was beyond excited (you can ask my friends) about Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. I saw the movie the day it came out and I loved it. I loved the heroes back together, the depth and fleshing out of individual characters (including the big baddie), the meta-references throughout, and the very subtle rebooting of the cinematic universe. Still, I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling.

See, the Avengers are ostensibly the good guys. They want to save the world and protect it from threats that may arise throughout the planet and the galaxy. Even if they can’t save the world, in the words of Tony Stark, they will avenge it. When is life ever that simple? When are the lines ever that clear? If art truly imitates life, the answers to the previous questions are the same: an unequivocal “No”.

Tony Stark truly believes that one day, the Avengers will not be necessary. There would be a program that could stop conflicts, and save lives, before the conflicts arise. It is this thought process that leads Stark to create Ultron. In a bit of foreseen irony, Ultron decides the best way to protect Earth is to remove those who enjoy living on it. The Ghosts of Summer Blockbuster Big Bad Past are seen in Ultron’s arrogance and desire for world domination but there is a disheartening twist: Ultron quotes Tony Stark. No, not out of context. No grammar semantics here. Ultron takes Tony Stark’s actual words and behaviors and shapes its identity and pursuit after its creator’s demeanor. Is the real villain of ‘Age of Ultron’, an Avenger?

This is not the first time that good intentions have had disastrous results. None of us are perfect but we try to do good. It only makes sense that we would mess up from time to time. As I said before, art imitates life. For example, I loved the TV show, ‘Scrubs’. It is #3 on my favorite TV shows of all-time (so far). Yet, I am not sure if there is one character that is a true hero. Heck, even the main character J.D. goes out of his way to find a mature, nurturing, and caring hero who he can emulate and has no luck. Instead, he finds his mentor in a narcissistic, alcoholic, and immature rage monster whose combination of self-loathing and arrogance is barely palatable in fiction. (By the by, Dr. Cox is my favorite character on Scrubs. Don’t judge me) Still, Dr. Cox is a phenomenal doctor, a wonderful husband, a loving father, and a surrogate father/mentor/therapist to J.D. throughout the show. Simultaneously, Dr. Cox is the best and the worst person for J.D. to look up to at Sacred Heart Hospital. Putting that another way, Dr. Cox is human.

This all brings up the whole reason I am writing this post. I was watching Supernatural tonight and a character died in the show. For a show like Supernatural, people die all the time. I am pretty sure every opening scene of the show has shown someone dying for some reason that will drive that episode. However, this death was a little more sad because I had grown to enjoy the presence of this character. Just like every season of Supernatural so far, this character was fiercely loyal to the Winchester boys and lost her (sorry) life trying to help them.

She was trying to help the Winchesters because they are good guys. Sam and Dean are the good guys. “Saving people, hunting things, the family business.” Yet, I am sure that they have hurt almost as many people as they have saved in their time. Close friends, family, angels, demons, monsters, etc. have lost their lives protecting Sam and Dean. All of them have lost their lives because Sam and Dean are the good guys. Sam and Dean placed them in harm’s way and they paid the ultimate price because Sam and Dean are the good guys.

The Supernatural episode left me thinking: Who are the good guys anymore? Then again, does it even matter?

The heart of the human condition lies in the foremost knowledge, and abject denial, that we are mortal. With each passing breath, we are drawn towards the inevitable. Therefore, we are continuously striving to reject our fate through feelings, moments, and other devices that capture time even for a second; in order for us to taunt eternity with our disregard for its strength.

Art accomplishes this goal. We empty our vision for existence into various mediums and draw conclusions and morals from stories we created based on our experiences and ideas. Perfectly circular logic at its best. Art cheats the most basic rule of life because we all know the ending.

The disclaimer at the top asked the reader to entertain the notion that art imitates life. However, a crucial detail has been forgotten in the message. See, we created art as an expression of the multitude of nuanced activities that surround the human experience. Further, art challenges the will of mortality. Therefore, art accomplishes what we never can. Art flatters life but truly, life wishes to imitate art. No matter the unclear lines, we all want forever.

 

The times

In Life on February 5, 2015 at 8:04 pm

Could have sworn I would do anything to see you smile again

(Still do I suppose, considering I think you smiled at that)

Wandering through the city with eyes of wonder

Hope you haven’t lost that wonder in your eyes

Thought that finding a path would make me whole

Turns out it’s just a part of what makes us fulfilled

Filling our lives with the dreams of our 9 yr. old selves

And we wonder why we aren’t getting any sleep

 

Somebody somewhere said something about being born as an elderly person and living life backwards (chronologically) so we would have the energy to compensate for mistakes we made and chances we missed earlier in life. Makes sense. Life is funny that way.

 

Never know what people are going through though. Nobody has it figured out. We’re all just…living. Somebody somewhere said something about live-laugh-love. Makes sense. I like love-laugh-repeat.

 

I don’t know much outside of that. love. laugh. repeat. love. laugh. repeat.

 

The times…they are a changin…

Shooting star

In Life on July 15, 2014 at 9:16 pm

 

Like to think that, before the books were written, we really thought the sky was falling

Counting each trailing comet as another sign of the end

We know better now

But what if that sky really was coming down? Where would we be?

 

We could be pouring ourselves into others

We could be trading miles for memories

We could be love we never saw in the distance

We could be the beginning of all things new

We could be the regrets that strain the spirit

We could be the tears on the pillow

We could be the gleam in her eyes

We could be the shoulders for him to stand on

We could be the path back to our Father

 

We could be seeing the world: a collection of memories, laughs, and dreams interwoven within borders of time and space to structure a life fulfilled in service,  the warmth of kind words, and quality of purpose.

 

For me, I want to see the world the way I see a world with you

One perfect shooting star after another

 

The space between.

In Life on June 9, 2014 at 7:49 pm

The space between us was the speaker and the receiver

Clockwork, we tried those tired numbers

“4” on my phone is forever embedded in my thumbprint

Guess you’ll always be a part of me that way

 

When rains came, the drops on my head counted innumerous as my arms ran to you

No umbrella or anything useful

But something in the effort was enough

Couldn’t understand that but it made perfect sense somehow

 

The space between us was something like my favorite set of hours

Years were too long but that’s the overprotectiveness

You asked me a question and there was an answer

That answer haunts me to this day

 

9 letters on a Saturday night

Amalgamations about vocabulary and the like

Missing you is missing you

Loving you was first

 

The space between us was one word

Think. repeat. yearn. Think. repeat. yearn.

It danced in my head as you withdrew into yourself

Think. repeat. yearn. Think. repeat. yearn.

 

Doesn’t matter what we do as long as we do it together

Flowed from your lips and lives in my heart

Underlying current to the beating drum

Do those kisses still linger on your forehead?

 

the space between 

the space between what’s found and what is forgotten

the space between what’s been and what’s undone

the space between what was, what is, and what will be

the space between us

What is it all worth?

In Life on May 28, 2014 at 4:37 pm

 

Take them back, love

Return that laughter to the jar upstairs. It’s behind the sugar, my love

Those sweetest memories? Those can go back too. They linger on my lips so.

If you don’t mind, can you also return those embraces? Yes, those that we held onto. I believe we kept them in the pantry.

Also my dear, please return those tears. They are kept in a box in the basement.

 

But before you go, I have one more favor to ask of you. Dance with me one last time. Draw out the best of my abilities in only the way you know how. Tell me this is not the end. The truth only makes sense when it leaves your lips.

 

Feel like we miss so much when we’re dreaming

We give up what we hold dear for what we could have

Snow in April

In Life on May 1, 2014 at 12:13 am

Cool air weaves through the trees

As buds have sought a season new

Surprised they may be,

Persevere they will

 

Stars, enchanted, fell from the heavens

Touching the horizon

Before leaving our eyes to wonder

Surprised as we may be,

Persevere we will

 

 

Somewhere in that subtle upturn of the lip

Somewhere in that embrace where words lose importance

There was all that needed to be known

Surprised as you may be,

Persevere as you will

 

Moving heaven and earth

For snow in April

 

Oceans

In Life on April 7, 2014 at 9:26 pm

oceans.

The waves gently crash on the shore and draw back into themselves

You taught me to love like the tide

Constantly there yet never too much

A tempest, within necessity

Yet, as the tide, gently drawing back into yourself

Spirit lead me

The horizon stands as it always has

You all taught me to endure as the day does

Few moments, in our experiences, capture the extent of our capacity as people

Therefore, there is significance in the mundane and the ordinary

As the horizon approaches everyday, we endure towards our aspirations

Spirit lead me

Now, some say the moon and the torrents are one

Profoundly independent and willingly dependent

The torrent presses as the moon tugs

Held together by the strongest tie

The tie that will steady you and I

Stars may pass but there is only one moon

Spirit lead me

 

In all of this in-between, I pray that we find those people who are the lighthouses in the stormy seas

In all of this, I pray we remember the glorious echoes of Your love and grace as we declare with a resounding chorus:

Spirit lead me

Where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper

Than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior

 

 

You’d better slow down: reflecting on The 4-Hour Workweek, a bestseller by Timothy Ferriss.

In Sports on April 7, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Slow Dance

by David L. Weatherford

 

Have you ever watched kids

On a merry-go-round?

 

Or listened to the rain

Slapping on the ground?

 

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?

Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

 

You better slow down.

Don’t dance so fast.

 

Time is short.

The music won’t last.

 

Do you run through each day

On the fly?

 

When you ask: How are you?

Do you hear the reply?

 

When the day is done,

do you lie in your bed

 

With the next hundred chores

Running through your head?

 

You’d better slow down.

Don’t dance so fast.

 

Time is short.

The music won’t last.

 

Ever told your child,

We’ll do it tomorrow?

 

And in your haste,

Not see his sorrow?

 

Ever lost touch,

Let a good friendship die

 

Cause you never had time

To call and say, “Hi”?

 

You’d better slow down.

Don’t dance so fast.

 

Time is short.

The music won’t last.

 

When you run so fast to get somewhere

You miss half the fun of getting there.

 

When you worry and hurry through your day,

It is like an unopened gift thrown away.

 

Life is not a race.

Do take it slower.

 

Hear the music

Before the song is over.

 

Timothy Ferriss presents some unquestionably revolutionary ideas in his bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek, but his perspective is well-founded. He makes radical points, but they rise to counter a culture that is dying a cruel death from the inside out. The above poem is contained within the book, and it encapsulates Ferriss’s ideas perfectly. It rings eerily true. Don’t let life pass you by.

Trying again

In Life on February 22, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Fights take different forms in different relationships. Some are instantaneous explosions of emotion. Others are the boiling over of slights that have simmered under the surface for some time. I think for them, it was the latter. Something kind of like this:

1) The slight (who ever remembers why they got mad in the first place?)

2) The lying (is everything ok? yea, of course) lies. lies. lies.

3) The boiling point (how could you do that one innocuous thing that secretly bugs me but i’ve never told you it  bugs me because it’s not a big deal?)

4) The fight (few things that are true, but most things are overblown in a moment of forgotten forgiveness and spite. the words we can not take back and the bits of us that we lose in defending who we think we are.)

We catch our protagonists at step #5.

5)  The apology

It is easier than we think to move on from something. The opposite of love isn’t hate but selfishness. All we have to do is become caught up in what matters to me and lose sight of what matters to us. So she was out with her friends. Something to keep her mind off some of the stuff that had been going on. Maybe some space would do them good.

He didn’t leave the house. Had some work to do but he wasn’t concentrating too much. It is interesting to think how much would get accomplished if we ever said how we truly feel about something. Guess that is part of being human.

When she got back, he wasn’t home. The distance between mr. and mrs. was greater than one conjunction could hold. She dropped her bag and took off her shoes. She placed her jacket on the coat hook and walked into their bedroom. She sat down on the bed and her eyes found the picture on the dresser. In that unoccupied stillness, her sadness flowed from her eyes. It graced her cheeks until it fell from her face and landed in her lap.

She rose to find some tissues when she noticed the item on her pillow. A neatly folded note. It read:

“Baby, I am sorry. I don’t care why we’re here but this is not where we should be and I don’t think this is where we should stay. I think the most important phrases in the world are “I love you” and “Thank you”. I don’t mean the first phrase enough. I don’t say the second phrase as much. Beautiful, I will never be the man you deserve. However, I know I will try. Thank you for everything you do. I love you for all you are and everything you will be.”

The front door closed. In her haste, she missed the flowers in his hand. In her haste, she ignored her makeup. In her haste, she neglected the disheveled man in the kitchen. In her haste, they were whole again. I guess that’s step #6.

6) Trying again

Mama, there goes that man

In Life on October 1, 2013 at 10:09 pm

 

“Mama, there goes that man”: Former ABC NBA Commentator Marc Jackson’s confident and poignant analysis of basketball. It’s such a simple statement to highlight a play that simply has no better response. “Mama, there goes that man”. I can’t remember how many times he said that during the Lakers playoff runs from 2008-2010 but to be perfectly honest with you, the phrase doesn’t hearken to back-to-back championships. No, it’s something so much simpler than that. Something that makes more sense to me now.

“Mama, there goes that man” takes me to a little boy sitting next to his mother on a park bench when he sees his favorite ball player walk by. The ball player gives him a smile and the little boy ducks into that safe spot in his mother’s side. She knowingly smiles as the little boy doesn’t have the courage to say hello. Not yet, anyway. Once the ball player rounds the corner, the little boy looks up to his mother and says calmly, “Mama, there goes that man.”

There’s an emphasis on the “Mama”. Something about how what the little boy saw was so important that he needed Mama to know. I like to think that Mama turned to him, expecting to see him really excited, and was surprised how calm he was in that moment. Then the rest of the phrase kind of tumbles out: “there goes that man”.

There’s an antiquated notion in the little boy’s use of “that man”. It’s not just any man, it’s “that man”. The idea that we can emulate those we find significant to our dreams. It’s not an embodiment of perfection, but rather a naive comfort in the assumption that we can aspire to be like those who inspire us. “Mama, there goes that man”.

We’re getting to an age where “I hope”, “I want to be”, and “I pray” are turning into “I’m trying to”, “I’m working towards”, and “I am”.  We have fond memories and deep regrets. The paths we take are more and more our own. The little boy is growing up.

I like to think that some years pass and the smile and endless hope are the clearest measurements in the man visiting his mother. He walks past the home of ‘that man’ and ‘that man’ is sitting on the porch with his grandson; comfort in his rocking chair, peace in a life fulfilled. The grandson looks on with grandpa and wonders what’s so intriguing about this particular person walking by the house. The man walks by on the way to his childhood home as ‘that man’ looks on from his chair.

He turns to his grandson and says, “Sonny, there goes that boy.”

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