Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Philosophy 101

If you're my buddy on Facebook,* you may have responded to my plea for a cure to writer's block. I kept searching my soul for blog topics but was only coming up with either negativity or extremely boring nonsense, like how I made sweet potatoes last week because I heard on KLove they'll keep you from getting the flu.

The suggestions I received made me laugh and cry, cry and laugh. You all know me too well, and I mean that. Like, you know WEIRD things about me. (Cue the Febreeze comment from Tim. I may explain that one day, but probably not, because it involves me not doing my laundry, and a traitorous betrayal of trust, and secrecy. About not doing my laundry. That's actually pretty much it.)

I plan to flesh out most/all of these ideas in world-changing fashion on this here blog at some point, but Anthony's question about my favorite philosophers piqued my interest first. Winner winner chicken dinner.

So, here you go. My 5 favorite philosophers and why, with a twist. A lemon twist, maybe. Appletini please, easy on the 'tini.

1. Mom
When we moved into our new house in Louisville, OH in 1995 I was 8. My little brudder was 5 and my sister was 10. Pretty soon after the move my Mom started getting upset because someone kept leaving his/her towels on the floor in the bathroom. She wanted whoever it was to come forward and fess up, and also to stop doing it. (Our family dynamic was so Stalin-era.) No one came forward. Soon, using my Nancy Drew skills, I realized I knew who was doing it. It, obviously, was Jen. I knew I wasn't doing it, and I knew Joey couldn't be doing it because Mom still bathed him herself, and, presumably, hung up his towel afterwards. I ran to Mom and with an inordinant amount of joy over my simultaneous innocence and brilliant detective skills, told her it was Jen. She said, "mind your own business." This was how Mom taught me that life isn't fair, and to only concern myself with whether I was doing the right thing. I credit this very situation with my inability to lose gracefully at board games.

2. The United States Postal Service
Everything I believe about politics can be traced to the time the post office stole my Mom's birthday present. I was still desperately heart-broken over moving across the country from her blonde head and was sending a package with perfume, matching lotion, and probably tears from AZ to OH. She called me the day she got the package and said "thanks for the lotion!" I said "What about the perfume?" (I am particular about getting FULL thank-yous.) She said "What perfume?" She then asked me why I had duct-taped the envelope, which I HAD NOT DONE. (I'll give you a moment to come down from your gasp...) So I went to the post office and explained what happened. They asked me if I had insured the package. I said no. I asked what would have been different if I had. They said nothing. I asked what my options were. The over-pensioned gentleman then said to me, "Next time don't use a non-post-office envelope." Now, I have a dart board with Uncle Sam's face as the center in my den.

3. Stephanie Tolan
In middle school I did a book report on Welcome to the Ark by Stephanie Tolan. It's very X-Men, but at the time the premise was completely novel to me. The four kids have weird, special powers. They invent their own language, see into the future, etc. This was the exact moment in my history when I realized that there isn't just "normal" and "weird," and that "weird" could be useful. I regarded myself and my eccentricity much more kindly after that. That's also when I started my infamous "color theory," wherein I told my entire middle school volleyball team that it's possible we all see different colors but have simply learned to call what we see by the same name. I blew their minds and we constantly talked about it on the bus. I'm pretty sure there's a plaque in my middle school hallway for this. (Not really.)

4. My first boss
Here's what I learned: Unhappy people don't like it when you're happy. That doesn't mean you can't be happy, but some people may not like you. Some people can't be understood, and trying to deciper their motives will give you an ulcer. People who eat a RIDICULOUS amount of jelly beans can stay skinny. And, finally, sometimes, people who act wrong get promoted, and they might get promoted all the way up to retirement. You have to function in a world that allows that, so get ok with it.

5. Anthony
The dude himself, the idea-giver. He's a dear friend and taught me something a few years back I still try to learn every day. I was lamenting to him about a friend who had moved away and wasn't staying in touch with me. He wasn't returning calls, wasn't writing e-mails, etc. I said "He must not want to be friends with me anymore!" And Anthony said, "how do you know that?" I said, "because I put myself in his shoes. If I weren't writing or calling, it would be because I don't want to cultivate that relationship." Anthony said - "so you put him in your shoes." In other words, I was interpreting my friend's actions by what they would mean if I were committing them. After thinking it over for a while, and allowing my far-away friend to be truly himself in my mind, I concluded he either didn't like phone chats (more of a texter maybe?) or he simply was forgetting about it. This was a HUGE LESSON. It occurs to me that if I'd heeded it better, it could've helped with #4, man. Shoot.

Life's philosophies are best learned through application, friends.

Also, and I mean this, when Ghandi said "Be the change you wish to see in the world," I officially and simultaneously became the truest version of a Christian, Republican, daughter, sister, friend, wife and woman that I can be.

Got a favorite philosopher? Don't say Ayn Rand. I'm too tired to talk about it.

*If you're not my buddy on Facebook, go ahead and buddy me! Just give me a heads up that you're a blog reader, because I no likey adding people I don't know from Adam. Also those with mustaches, so you'll want to take care of that first.

1 comment:

  1. hahahaah i was just going to ask you whether you have a twitter, bc i would love to follow you - when I thought I first might go search for you myself. and i found you and seen I already follow you and was like huh??? and THEN i realized how I came across your blog (remember, I didnt know anymore) - last week I was searching for a friend of mine in there who has the exact name as you and it was YOU who showed up instead. and I loved your tweets, followed you and then got occupied by your blog, so I no more had time for twitter since! oh dear brain... how old you get. Evelyn