People have been saying it for years but I’ve been reluctant (refusing?) to believe it. I am an irrational creature. And so are you. And that guy over there. And that woman… well it’s possible she’s a robot. But us flesh and blood humans are off the deep end.
I had this hammered home to me in a dash of insight while I was playing video games. That’s when all the best insights happen. I realized that as I was trying to turn a tight corner I found myself leaning to the right. Like the balance of my weight was going to be that one crucial factor that put me over the top to victory.
I am not new to video games. I’ve been playing them since 1982. This was not a wii or a PS4 with gyroscopic controls or motion detectors. No Kinect with a camera mapping my every move. I was playing a PlayStation 2 game and leaning as hard as I ever yanked on an Atari 2600 controller trying to make things go faster. Remember how bad your hand hurt using a 2600 joystick? How you were afraid you would snap the stick right off? No? Then you weren’t gaming in the 80s.
So what’s the point, you ask? You’re irrational. Big deal. The big deal is that I realized I was functionally irrational. That that is a constant human state of being. That no amount of knowledge or education can counter my most tightly held beliefs. It used to be that we would all employ rationalism as best we could to come up with a common consensus of what is real and what is not and make that the world in which we live. That was before King Rhetoric came to town. FDR once famously said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself and we believed him. Because we are dumb. And irrational.
There are plenty of things to fear besides fear. I won’t list any because I’m trying not to be overly a bummer and I’m sure you can think of 40 or 50 on your own. What I will say is it might be helpful if we redeployed our common rationality to separate the irrational fears (say, the boogeyman) from the rational (spiders- it’s true, you know it, shut up). If we can see reality, we can fix reality.
p.s. Sometimes Admiral Ackbar is right and it’s a trap. Sometimes it’s just a house. Or a cigar. <.<
I hope you can forgive me if I get a little confessional today. I’ll try to keep it light.
So five days ago I tied the knot with unemployment. We had been flirting with each other for years, but we just couldn’t contain ourselves anymore. We were meant to be. This is my cute and not too heavy way of saying I was laid off.
I want to make it clear that this situation was not at all my situation. My boss was ok. The job was… ok. Really really really really boring but ok. It was also very very easy, which led to my improving how it was done to the point that my company could reduce my department of three’s headcount by a third. Ironic, yes?
Which now puts me in the position of assessing step two. What to do with life now? In the past, I have tried very hard to do the things that I was told needed to be done to provide a secure future for myself. Notably absent among those options was that of being an artist- the one and only thing I have *ever* wanted to be. I went to college and got a history degree before I found out I didn’t much feel like being a teacher and the options for using a history degree are pretty small.
From there I got a job in a call center because first jobs are usually in call center, fast food places or a grocery store. That’s what you do, right? I then went to law school to get further than five miles from where I had come of age. I still wanted to be an artist and when I sat down and figured out how much it would cost for my ideal studio, I didn’t see that coming as a result of being an artist. So I was going to be a crusading lawyer who fixed the system from the inside and used my ample salary to have a nice studio.
After graduating I figured out how little I wanted to be a lawyer and how really really broken I felt the judicial system to be. So… no legal career and a student loan debt that is ironically what I thought it would have cost for the studio I wanted in the first place.
Then… back to the call centers because let’s face it- once you set your foot on a career path, that’s the path you are going to follow for the rest of your life. My ex-employers, with the best of intentions, have signed me up for a transition service to help me find another job ASAP. By which they mean a job using the skills you have used to get your other jobs to get a job just like this job. And I hated those jobs. All of them. Repetition here would be insanity.
So… knowing that there is no security, and tired of chasing it, I’m going all in. I spent 30 years being told you can’t make a living as an artist, and since it’s kind of apparent I can’t make a living doing anything else- I’m doing what I should have done in 1994. I’m gonna be an artist. If you’re anywhere in the world and you have art needs, hit me up. If you live in Salt Lake City and need your dog walked or something, hit me up for that too. Thanks for letting me vent interwebs friends and I’m looking forward to sharing this adventure with you all.
Love and fearfully excited hugs,