Saturday, October 03, 2015 3:18 PM
I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life. When you reach the end of your rope, when you fail (and trust me none of us gets out alive) just remember that time moves inexorably forward, that memory is selective, and that no one is perfect. Forgive yourself and move on.
However, if you find you have to forgive yourself rather frequently, that’s a bad sign—you should look into that. See—the trouble is I have one set of advice for people like me, compulsively goody-two-shoes whose lives are an unending search for the ineffable—and quite another set of advice for those who feel that getting by, having a good time, is sufficient. In one sense, some of my pearls of wisdom are always a recipe for disaster—since I can only talk to one set of people at a time.
Because of this, and because I just naturally write as if I’m talking to people like myself, it would behoove me not to give advice—and everyone knows what free advice is worth, anyhow. But when I think of young people, when I think of all the advice I might have had a good use for when I was young and inexperienced and uneducated, it’s hard not to try to pass on some of the more valuable tricks and devices I’ve uncovered in the passing of years.
If the wrong person reads my blog, he or she could end up doing horrible things—and saying, “It’s okay—I’m literally doing what Xper Dunn said to do—and he’s a real smart guy.” So, I’m reluctant to be very definite about anything on a public space like this. That’s part of the reason I get annoyed at the media—those professional voices have such conviction—the same conviction whether they’re announcing another school shooting or trying to sell you a questionable Volkswagen. They use the same smooth sure vocal drippings when reporting on our best leaders and minds—and when they’re re-stating the clap-trap from the indescribably misguided voices on the ‘other side’. They often put even more emphasis on the clap-trap—because that nonsense tends to have a theatrical ring to it—listen to any Trump speech (or any of Hitler’s, for that matter) and you’ll see what I mean.
I would be definite if words could be trusted to mean one simple thing instead of lending themselves so well to differing interpretations. There is so much I would say if words would suffice—but they are worse than worthless, pretending to have meaning when they actually have far too many meanings. This typing is just a game I play to distract myself from the pain of being idle. I try to be positive but it’s hard not to let that lead me into thinking I can actually say what I need to say. Then I watch CSPAN and see those expert word-wranglers mangle common sense with a load of bushwah—and I realize that they (or anyone, really) can take any sequence of words and twist them beyond recognition. It’s completely futile.
The only thing that ever made words work properly, or at least a little, was when two like-minded people tried in earnest to understand each other. That is why education is such a dicey business—it requires an earnest, capable teacher in every classroom and it requires every single student to be earnestly engaged in the act of learning. Good luck with that—poor teachers. Just like society, where all the laws and police you can imagine wouldn’t have a chance of enforcing order and peace without the earnest good will of the citizens—the police and the courts are problematic enough dealing with the results of human nature in an unfair social system—imagine if the vast majority of us weren’t trying to get along and go along. That would get ugly.
You hear people belittle ‘good intentions’—nothing would work without them—not society, not schools, not even speech. So value your good intentions—even if they don’t work out they have a value of their own. It’s possible to try too hard—I’m not saying good intentions always bring good results—but good intentions are only the beginning—putting them down is just short-sighted. I think everyone already knows that. Still, ‘being earnest’ is still targeted for ridicule by most people—but I never much cared for the people who’ve adjudged me ‘too serious’. I’d laugh at them for not being serious enough but there’s nothing funny about that—it’s just sad.
I have a sense of humor—but I don’t care for pranks, or the Three Stooges (I like them better now—but when I was a kid I was mystified that anyone saw humor in a guy hitting his brother on the head with a hammer). I never laugh when I see someone fall down—that doesn’t seem funny to me. This difference was one of the first clues I had that people could be very different from me. I used to skip blithely along assuming that everyone was like me. I’m still not used to the idea that some people are different—and that I’m supposed to be okay with that. If the whole world seems careless and stupid to me, I have to question whether they’re the problem—but I take things too seriously, so I’m sticking with everyone else being careless and stupid. Present company excepted, of course.