Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My impression of every job application I've ever filled out

Tell us where you worked before, because we would never hire anybody who hadn't worked somewhere in the past. It's kind of like how it's a good idea not to date anybody who hasn't already had several meaningful relationships. It's just good common sense.

Are you willing to work really terrible hours, including overtime with no pay?

Are you willing to move wherever we tell you to, since it's not like there are a billion other jobs your could be doing if you just stay where you are?

Tell us about your education. It won't make any difference whatsoever, but we want you to feel like it's making a difference and you haven't wasted your life or anything.

Do other people think you're a decent person? We'll totally take their word for it.

Tell us what you think we should pay you. Because we are not going to tell you what we'll actually pay you until it's too late. This is completely fair.

Are you an illegal immigrant?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

By the numbers

This is a writing exercise I found in this book I'm reading. It's where you create a list of numbers of things that apply to you, and in the end you're supposed to have a portrait of who you are or something. Let's go.

Number of times I woke up from a dream only to find myself in another dream last night: 3
Percentage of playoff basketball games I watched in the past week: 100
Number of songs in my iPod: 5780
Percentage of songs in my iPod I'm actually familiar with: ~46
Pictures I took at the beach yesterday: 15
Views of my most-ever-watched youtube video: 640
Different shades of color my son's hair has had in the year since he was born: 4
Times my facebook statuses were about basketball in the past week: 5
Odds I would set for Dallas defeating Miami in the Finals: 1-6
Number of times I spent New Year's away from home: 3
How sure I am that I want to name my daughter either "Dallas" or "Maverick" if they DO beat Miami: 1000%
Number of books I've read in the past year that feature Hobbits: 3
Age when I first learned how to whistle: 1
Age I taught myself to play guitar: 15
Number of problems that I have that are not a bitch: 99
People who read this blog that will get that joke: 1, maybe

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nostalgia is solipsism

So I was reading this stupid list that I clicked on for some reason. It's called 40 things that will make you feel old.

Now personally, I've seen a lot of these types of things lately. Lists that are just a bunch of "omg, can you believe how long ago this was?" xkcd did one. My personal favorite was this cracked.com list.

But this one was stupider than most. I mean, supposedly I'm the target demographic for this list, because I have clear memories of "Tha Crossroads" being a #1 jam and the premiere of Family Guy, pre-cancellation/comeback. But none of this stuff makes me feel old at all. Like, am I supposed to look at this and be like "Wow, I can't FOR ONE SINGLE SECOND believe Macaulay Culkin has hit the big three-oh!" or "It seems like just yesterday that people knew what the Macarena was!!!!11" When I look at those facts, all I can say to them is "Yeah, seems about right." (Although it did surprise me that Elijah Wood was only 18 when he did the LOTR movies; I could've sworn they used young-person makeup on him, still.)

Then I looked at this list and realized, this is only stuff that will make you feel old if you can't possibly conceive of any other experience than your own. Just because you were young when Seinfeld was on the air does not mean everybody was. There are people who were not born when the show ended, and guess what? They are going to grow old too. Lots of people were already old when that show even premiered. Did you think they were going to keep making new episodes forever? That only happened with the Simpsons.

You know what does make me feel old? Being married for six years. Having a one year-old child and another on the way. Watching my parents become grandparents. Watching my grandparents become corpses. Seeing my little brothers graduate. Seeing my little sisters get married. Having to spend money on my student loan. Working out at the gym and feeling sore for the next week. Eating a ton of sugar and feeling like crap afterward. Looking for work, any work. Blogging about stupid lists like these.

Pop culture? That stuff has a shelf-life that can be measured in weeks. I'm surprised that stuff isn't actually older than it is. So screw the Taco Bell dog. I feel young because he's dead and I'm not.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Youth is wasted

Some old guy once said "Youth is wasted on the young." This is supposed to imply that it's impossible to truly appreciate youth until you no longer have it. I would challenge this assumption, and even argue that the opposite is true: no one is better-suited for youth than the young.

As evidence, I would cite observational data: Have you ever seen a young person? They're running all over the place, trying to experience as many fun things as possible in the short amount of time they have. Children know instinctively they won't be young forever. That's why whenever you see a child at church, or in school, or some other place they don't want to be, they can't sit still. They have no patience. Every precious minute they're not playing and enjoying their childhood to the fullest is like torture to them.

is a season 5 episode of South Park that features a pot-smoking anthropomorphic towel. One of the running gags in the episode is the four kids calculating the number of consecutive hours they can continue playing video games before they have to go to school, or do any other activity that doesn't involve video games.

This desire to whittle one's life down to only the activities one enjoys most is emblematic of childhood. Only someone who has experienced so little time as a child can see the flawed logic in this approach to time management. For an adult, instant gratification all the time only brings eventual disappointment. Only children know how to appreciate that, because they intuitively understand another epigram that needs a few words cut out of it: Time flies.