Day 87: The Man and the Emergency Test System; ‘Test’

Not a Test BW.jpg

When did tests lose their power?

It’s not a matter of irony I don’t think, but it is interesting to note how we grow up fearing and dreading tests. Tests were the only things that mattered. It was the end all be all ultimate measure of our knowledge and worth. It’s why we stayed up all night and slept with textbooks under our pillows. But now we throw out ‘this is only a test’ and suddenly whatever we are working on doesn’t matter. It’s our best excuse to preclude judgement or criticism. ‘Tests’ now have absolutely no bearing on the real world.

As a child my parents had me write down my test schedule on our family calendar. Displayed on the refrigerator for all to see, along with family and friends’ birthdays and Ear Flick.JPGanniversaries, was every math, spelling, history, science, and reading test I had coming up. Tests were a big deal in my family. I was rewarded for good performance and heavily punished for poor. I remember reviewing for spelling tests, my mother would sit across from me and start drilling the words. If I got the word wrong, she would flick or twist my ear. ‘Thermometer’ and ‘temperature’ were so difficult for me that when I was finally able to recite it correctly multiple times in a row without fail, my ear was so red and swollen that I could barely hear out of the left side of my head. My father was the math wiz in the family so he would take on the responsibility of drilling me before math tests. He would create hundreds of problems and have me do them all. God help you if you got any wrong because my father certainly wasn’t going to. He’d look over the list and if any were wrong he wouldn’t point out which, he’d just tell me to go over all of it again.

I really have nothing bad to say about how my parents handled my schooling. Honestly I might not have achieved as much as I did in school if they weren’t so literally and figuratively hands on. And as I said they were as serious about rewarding me as they were about punishing me. When I would come back home with 100s on my test or with my straight A report cards I’d receive the fruits of my labors. Extended curfews. Cash. Toys. Ultimately, the message was clear. Tests mattered. They measured something. Maybe not our worth, maybe not our talent, but definitely our preparation. And in a world where tests mattered, results mattered. Poor results needed to be met with remedy and reprimand. Successful results deserved award and merit. And this understanding held water all throughout my schooling. Each test did matter. They made up the percentage of my grades, helped me get into a magnet high school, got me into the college of my choice, assured me a full ride scholarship, and distinguished me when I started applying for teaching positions.

But then I left the academic world. And suddenly I saw how the rest of the world viewed tests. They are ubiquitous in our daily lives but we are so saturated with the term that we barely even notice it. Do you remember starting your WordPress account? Do you Magic Bullet.gifremember ‘testing’ out various themes and investigating pages? You would load up a theme, browse the different pages, maybe visit the ‘About’ page. ‘This is a sample of an ‘About’ page,’ it’d say non-committedly. ‘This is a test.’ ‘Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.’ Nonsensical words that are so prevalent in online text that you imagine if you say it enough times in the dark in front of your bathroom mirror the ghost of Al Gore would appear on the other side. I’d be watching my favorite late-night infomercials like Magic Bullet or Nu-Wave Oven and before falling asleep to the sound of ‘one, two, three seconds and you have perfectly chopped chicken for your quesadilla’ I’d be jarred awake by the *eeenh eeeenh eeenh THIS IS A TEST OF THE EMERGENCY BROADCAST SYSTEM*. You’ve probably heard this so many times that the moment it comes on you just turn off your TV or switch to something else.

But what about the test results?! Did you like the page layout and design? Did you check to see if, in a real emergency situation, you’d be able to hear the information immediately following the beeps? When did tests lose their power and prowess? It seems in the real world tests have come to signal the coming of something of little consequence. Something not to be considered or regarded. Oh it’s just a test. Pay it no mind. It doesn’t matter. There’s a huge pushback against tests and testing now. We grow up thinking that tests are the ways in which we could prove ourselves. Some of us even have to take tests just to get potential jobs. But when it comes to the actual work and the way in which we interact with others, when was the last time you ever took a test? And I don’t mean ‘which dog suits your personality best’ either.

I feel that part of the reason why we avoid tests in life and have begun to reject testing is Radcliffe Test.gifthat tests naturally come with the potential for ‘failure’. No one wants to be labeled a failure and in our culture of participation trophies we seem more and more averse to the possibility of failing. But we need failure. We need to know that there isn’t always a safety net below our feet. Failure is a great motivator to get you on your feet and moving because you know the only other alternative is to feel the walls start to close in on you. If we desire and crave success we can only ever achieve it if we acknowledge that the alternative exists as well. Failure tests us. It is how we find out if we actually have the resolve to continue on. How many things have you failed, never to try again, and how many things have you failed that only motivated you to try even harder the next time. I’d rather listen to the stories and lessons of failure than the boring repetition of lackluster success.

I understand also the viewpoint that tests aren’t the end all be all most efficient or even effective way of measuring the whole of a person. And this I think is not the fault of the tests themselves, but of our own definition of them. It isn’t the test’s fault that we are so bad at interpreting their results. There are certain things tests will never be able to measure. But they are damn good at measuring the things they were meant for. Like preparation, for example. Focus. Attention. I would certainly never place the entire weight of my self-perception on how I do on tests. Two students who receive exemplary results on a test but approach it from very different methods should be viewed differently as well. Perhaps a test that is aced with little to no prep is a measure of someone’s talent or inherent ability. Compared to a student who receives a similar grade but with much more preparation, we would classify the latter as an example of their focus and determination.

Even as adults we still need tests. We should constantly be testing ourselves each day because there are so many things that are important to us that are worth measuring and succeeding in. We should test our abilities in occupations that challenge our minds and bodies. We might not like to think of our relationships as ‘tests’ but there certainly moments that test us. Our faithfulness. Our commitment. Our concern and consideration. Maybe we if viewed these as tests where the possibility of ‘failing’ them meant losing those we care about, we’d put more pressure on ourselves to be better for them.

Day 87

Man: 68 Loneliness: 19

Day 86: The Man and the Big Ball of Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey…Stuff

‘People assume that time is a strict progression of cause and effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it’s more like a big ball of…wibbly wobbly…timey wimey…stuff.

The Tenth Doctor

Reflecting back on this episode brings back such good memories. For those of you who are Weeping Angel.jpgunfamiliar with the series, Doctor Who is pretty much credited for being the prime source material for the nightmares of every single child who grew up watching the BBC. It is one of the few series I know that is at its best when it is centered around tragedy and loss. This particular episode, Blink, is especially notable. First, it is the premier appearance of what is now one of the most famous and feared of the Doctor’s enemies, the Weeping Angels. Real nightmare material. Beings that can only move when you can’t see them. They kill you by throwing you back in time and letting you live to death. Second, it guest-starred Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow. I loved her performance in the episode and I’ve Sally Sparrow.jpgbeen an avid fan ever since. She is the perfect example of just irresistible adorableness and pixie-like waifishness. Third, the Doctor, played by the incredibly talented David Tennant, barely makes an appearance in this episode yet it is still hailed as perhaps one of the best of all time. This is a testament to the show’s ability to capture so much without relying on the same people over and over again. Some shows never quite grow out of their cast, but this proves that Doctor Who is timeless and is so much more than just the sum of its greater parts. Fourth, and most importantly of all, the writing in this episode is just spot on. The entire episode is quotable. For example, here is Sally Sparrow checking out an old house with her friend:

Kathy: What did you come here for anyway?

Sally: I love old things. They make me feel sad.

Kathy: What’s good about sad?

Sally: It’s happy for deep people.

I think there are many of us who would heartily agree with that sentiment.

Still for all that I can say about this episode or the series in general, we cannot forget that the real reason why I brought any of this up in the first place is the line the Doctor uses to try and explain the true nature of our relationship with time to non-time travelers.


Everything that could ever possibly happen, has already. We are just slow to experience it.

Once again this is mainly a problem of perception. We view the world, and time, always in relation to us. This is understandable, as it is our best frame of reference. Since our day is structured as wake up, brush, shower, dress, breakfast, drive, work, etc., this is how we view time. Everything follows the previous in a nice, orderly line. The problem is we aren’t alone. At the exact same time you are doing your daily routine, millions and billions of others are doing theirs. And what they do could in some way impact what you do. Their present runs parallel to yours and their past affects your future. Everything becomes…jumbled.

Two things to consider when it comes to our minds. 1) We don’t like chaos. We always try to find order and reason behind things. We try to justify events with understanding or else we’d be too afraid of our own minds to ever step foot outside. So we try to convince ourselves that the other people that exist somehow don’t affect our realities. We can be perfectly immune from the action of others. 2) We have very limited vision. It’s hard for us to see beyond our own noses sometimes. Because of this we struggle to realize how many events are taking place independent of our own lives or the lives of only those who are closest and dearest to us.

If we took in everything that happens at the exact time it happens we’d be pinned to the floor with the sudden onslaught of information and experience. To keep ourselves from going insane we parse everything off. We create blocks of time. Seconds become minutes become hours become days and we place everything we experience into a schedule otherwise we could never process it all. This creates that order from chaos so we can say ‘oh this happened at this point’. It also helps us process when too many things are happening at once. We all know that feeling when we are weighed down by our concern for others or when we are thinking about all the people we care about for positive or negative reasons. We can, for those we care about deeply, think about all of their individual timelines at the same time. We know that we can think about say, maybe five different people and know what they are all doing simultaneously. But ten people? Fifty? One-hundred?! We divide them out. They are separate.

The world doesn’t run like this though. There are an infinite number of things happening at every single moment. Every possible outcome, event, experience, it is now, nownownow. Imagine an infinite amount of straight lines shooting out into the universe. But at the same time the gravity of our actions start to tug and pull on other people’s lines. My heartbreak intersects with so many people’s timelines. Your decisions are curving and warping the straight lines of time of every person around you. What started as a collection of parallel lines starts to turn in on itself. We get…wibbly wobbly.

Time is not a progression. It isn’t a line that we define on our own. When we gain the insight, the patience, and the broader vision to consider other people, time becomes a definition of our relationships with others. We all want more time. It is our most precious commodity. Perhaps the easiest and best way to gain more time is to let more people into our lives. A day lived through the relationships of five people is four days more than a day lived on your own. We might not be able to live forever but we can certainly keep touching more and more lives and adding more lines to our own twisted and curved time and live more.

Day 86

Man: 67 Loneliness: 19

 

Day 85 Supplemental: The Man and the Unhappy Righteousness, or the Wrong Happiness; ‘Disagree’

Colbert Told You.gifI used to love being able to say ‘I told you so’. On the playground it was the equivalent of ruling by divine will. Affirmation was absolution. ‘I told you so’ made me right and it made me happy. In my self-centered universe the most important thing was my own opinion and perspective and every action revolved around the pursuit of proving myself in every way.

I didn’t like growing up. The unbearable weight of maturity came with the burden of realizing that the universe did not in fact revolve around only me. Suddenly I had to take into consideration other people’s ‘feelings’ and ‘perspectives’. I had to be ‘courteous’ and ‘considerate’. I had to stop talking to people with ‘air quotes’ because it was ‘condescending’. Now I live in a world where ‘I told you so’ is only said by children and smug know-it-alls. It’s taboo and uncouth. Suddenly, I was faced with a decision that separated two things I once thought were the same.

I could be happy…or I could be right.

When we learn to see beyond our own perspective we realize the ‘duality’ of things. Whereas before it was simply enough to be happy and right, now we have to consider that in order to be ‘happy’ someone must have to be ‘unhappy’ and to be ‘right’ someone must have to be ‘wrong’. As we learn to care for others and include other people in our lives, this realization complicates our relationships and often times presents obstacles and stumbling blocks.

Relationships are complicated and in the vast jungle of human interaction there are Happy or Right.jpgtwists, dead-ends, and u-turns. It is no longer a straight one-way street as we learn to ‘see’ others along the way. It isn’t as satisfying to be as staunch in our stances but at the same time it’s so difficult to yield.

I get it, it isn’t fair that we have to choose to be happy or be right. If only we could have both. But the only way to do that is to give up on our relationships altogether. No one wants to be wrong, but no one wants to be unhappy either. Someone is going to have to be one or the other though.

Being wrong hurts because it makes us feel insecure and embarrassed. It is an attack on our pride and our egos. Worst of all, it puts us in a compromised state in front of someone whose opinion, most likely, matters to us. It’s such a twisted irony that the biggest struggles between being ‘happy’ and ‘right’ that cause the most friction and frustration are often with the people we care about the most. These issues are so much simpler and easier with people who mean nothing to us but when it is someone important we become much more likely to ‘defend’ ourselves.

Being unhappy isn’t much of an alternative. The source of our unhappiness is the knowledge that we are right paired with the frustration of trying to assert that knowledge on others. We take up causes we believe in (why would we waste our time on things we don’t, after all) and it is our cross to bear. We are the heralds of our truth and much like all the visionaries of past, we are unwanted or ignored, or worse yet, challenged.

I think to help us make this decision we need to reimagine these two concepts. ‘Happiness’ could be considered ‘reward’ and ‘rightness’ could be considered ‘struggle’. If the struggle is worth more than the reward, we stick to our guns and continue to pursue being ‘right’. But if the reward outweighs the struggle, we should yield at the cost of our conviction for the greater good.

Let’s take domestic bliss for example. You and your partner are living together and you toilet-couplecannot count anymore how many times you’ve had to remind your partner to replace the toilet paper roll. You consider it a sign of common courtesy and respect. They just don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Your otherwise happy union is constantly marred by this…(pardon the pun) dirty streak. You could continue this crusade. Bring it up over and over. You might seriously believe that this is some indicator of a larger lack of respect or awareness in your relationship. But if you are truly happy, isn’t a moment’s inconvenience a small price to pay? When our partners constantly come to us to complain about their day, should we point out all the things they clearly did wrong that we warned them not to do that we had the foresight to predict, or should we simply nod along and offer sympathy and understanding?

I read an article last month about a woman whose crusade to prove the IRS owed her money cost her ten years of her life living homeless on the streets of Washington DC where most people considered her insane. For more than a decade she hopped from homeless shelter to street with her only belongings being three suitcases full of documents and checks from the IRS that she refused to check because she was sure they were in the wrong amount and that she was owed more than they were giving. She could have cashed these checks and taken the amount that the IRS had issued her. She didn’t have to move to DC to prove her point. She didn’t have to chase after the IRS for ten years. But if she had cashed those checks, the ‘reward’, who would have ever believed that she was right? This story has a happy ending, by the way. After a social worker finally agreed to listen to her case and review her documents they realized she was telling the truth all along and the IRS issued her $99,999. According to her lawyer she may be owed even more.

I’ve been so used to chasing being right. I live in an environment that thrives on that. Being the older brother and being the oldest person in my group of friends I am used to taking a leadership position and taking for granted that I would be right without much opposition. The only time I’ve ever really encountered some resistance has been in my relationships. In hindsight I realize now that while it wouldn’t have ultimately saved any of them, I must have surrendered so many opportunities and possibilities for happiness because I stubbornly insisted on fighting.

When we rephrase these concepts as struggle and reward, it’s interesting how almost none of us would ever freely choose to struggle, when the reward is right there in our grasp. But our pride and our ego and our vanity sometimes get in the way. Sometimes it’s just that we have so little experience taking into consideration other people’s perspectives. We’re not bad people. We’ve just been dealing with bad definitions of happiness and rightness. We’ve been dealing with bad perceptions of how relationships work. No one wants to struggle. We have to choose this. When we do for the right reasons it lends nobility and courage to our actions. But when we let the struggle choose us, we invite chaos and hurt and suffering.

So the next time you and a person disagree, don’t think ‘do you want to be happy or do you want to be right’, think ‘is this struggle worth more or less than the reward?’

Day 85: The Man and the Third Day of the ‘Who’s WHO’ of Wisdom

Day three of the quote challenge and it has been a lot of fun to actually do this. More than I thought I would, not being a quote person. Before we move on to the last quote, let’s review.

kitchen-confidentialWe now know that the first day’s quote came from Anthony Bourdain’s hugely popular first book, Kitchen Confidential.

‘I’ve long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime ‘associates,’ food, for me, has always been an adventure.’

I chose this because of the brave and wildly reckless attitude towards good food and good life. Bourdain is a culinary and lifestyle hero and I’ve lived by his creed in all the ways I can. (Yes, this does mean that every girl I have ever dated has had to pass his infamous ‘sushi test’.)

Yesterday’s quote source is revealed today.

‘Worse than the feeling of loss that comes with a breakup is the feeling of losing. Loss is a state of emotional injury that you can get past; losing is a feeling of humiliation and defeat that stays fresh. The latter causes most of the problems in the world. If there is another man involved, it is almost impossible not to judge yourself as a failure and see him as an enemy.’

Attempting Normal.jpgThis is an excerpt from the wonderfully manic and depressed comic Marc Maron in his second memoir, Attempting Normal. I like this quote because it deals so poignantly with the origin story of my blog. I could certainly speak to great length about this very true and very deep feeling, as petty or vain as it may seem. A breakup does feel very much like losing. Say what you will about the folly of pride but it is an undeniable accompaniment to loss. There were plenty of sleepless nights spent imagining Beautiful with her ex, the one she left for me and then left me for. In a relationship you spend so much of that time idolizing the other person and being idolized in return. You shower each other with praise and admiration so consistently and constantly that you begin to believe it in the deepest most dangerous parts of yourself.

To that, I say there is good news and there is bad news. The good news is Beautiful’s words have begun to fade from memory. I’ve separated her perception of me from my own self-perception and am beginning to identify and characterize myself for myself, not for what I once meant to someone. This is a major point, I believe, in the process of getting over someone. The bad news, ironically, is that this would have been a really great piece of writing. So before I completely heal I’ll need to pick at this wound just a little bit to capitalize on what sad inspiration is left.

The truth though is that this quote is too mature, too insightful, too serious to really capture Maron’s spirit and prose. This is a wonderful book full of trauma, humiliation, self-deprecation, and insecurity. It is a love song to paranoia, self-doubt, and feral cats. If PokeMeme.jpgyou’ve ever seen or heard Maron’s material or seen his short-lived IFC sitcom Maron, you would know that this level of self-awareness and confidence is so rare in his environment of self-loathing and self-destruction. I like broken heroes. I prefer the Batmans of the world over the Supermans. Both Bourdain and Maron lived lives that were so dangerously close to the edge of peril that I want to hear their stories because they survived. I can’t deny that I’ve had a pretty god damn cushy life. I have two parents who are happy, healthy, and together still. My brother and I are closer than ever. I’ve got a nice job, friends, and I enjoy a regular diet of good food. I can’t change this. I can’t just suddenly inject myself with so many drugs that the still living ghost of Keith Richards suddenly appears at my door to take me to nirvana. I live vicariously and destructively through these idols. I love a broken psyche. The fact that these guys have not only hit rock bottom but have then eked out more than just an existence but a success story is all the more compelling. I don’t aspire to live their lives or be them. I’m just glad that these people exist for our benefit. You need to read these stories. You need to see that the human spirit is not only capable of incredible victory but that it often times craves intense loss.


Time for quote number 3! This should be a dead giveaway for fans. I had to do this in video because his delivery of the line is just so perfect as well. Enjoy, if you recognize it I hope it brought a smile to your face, and there is a whole beautiful post lined up just for this that I’ve been waiting to share and lines up perfectly.

Allons-y!

Day 85

Man: 66 Loneliness: 19

Day 84: The Man and the Second Day of ‘Winning’ Wisdom

Time for day two! As a reminder, Tantei M. Gin has challenged me to share three quotes in three days. Yesterday was day one and I shared:

‘I’ve long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime ‘associates,’ food, for me, has always been an adventure.’

Before I share Day Two I’d like to first reveal the source of this quote.

kitchen-confidentialI love this man. If there were the possibility of reincarnation I would be happy to just be his left arm. Kitchen Confidential helped me become more realistic about my ambitions when it came to food. I definitely still love to cook and there is still this passion in me to bring my creations to a broader stage but his memoir on his experiences in the kitchen have helped me to be much more realistic about the expectations and responsibilities that come with it.

Everything Anthony Bourdain does originates from a deeply profound love of food. I think the reason why he is so interesting is because he sees past the pretentiousness and surface vanity of food. You can’t fool him with pretty garnishes or influence his opinion by spending half an hour explaining to him how the ingredients were made or what techniques were used or why your food is supposed to taste good. He knows honest cooking when he sees it no matter where it comes from. I loved watching him in No Reservations and his newest program on CNN, Parts Unknown, is like a travel checklist for me. His love letter to Tokyo is one of my all-time favorite pieces of television.

Anthony Bourdain is as close to a hero as I’ll ever allow myself. He is an incredible author and TV presenter. I’d highly recommend reading his first book, Kitchen Confidential, or his follow up, Medium Raw. You can catch him on television either on reruns of No Reservations or on repeat and new episodes of Parts Unknown. He is opening a food hall in Chelsea sometime next year in New York and I cannot wait to live in that space.


‘Worse than the feeling of loss that comes with a breakup is the feeling of losing. Loss is a state of emotional injury that you can get past; losing is a feeling of humiliation and defeat that stays fresh. The latter causes most of the problems in the world. If there is another man involved, it is almost impossible not to judge yourself as a failure and see him as an enemy.’

Appropriate, don’t you think?

Day 84

Man: 65 Loneliness: 19

Day 83 Supplemental: The Man and the First Day of ‘Pearls’ of Wisdom

Oysers White.jpg

The wonderful Tantei M. Gin has tagged me in a three day, three quote challenge which is both exciting and very very stressful because I am not a man of quotes. Hahah. I’m a big picture kind of guy; I’ll consume whole books and ideas and concepts and I’ll know who to attribute them to but if you want a nicely packaged quote that captures all that, bupkus. This goes to my ‘poetry vs prose’ mentality of not being able to do anything succinctly.

BUT…

I know the works I want to discuss. So it’s been fun to revisit old favorites and find something that speaks to me.

I also happen to enjoy Tantei’s idea of withholding the origin until the next day, so I will continue in that vein.

If you’d like to participate, it’s really quite simple. Three quotes, three days, and if you’d prefer, three nominations each day.


Day One:

‘I’ve long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime ‘associates,’ food, for me, has always been an adventure.’

It is pretty obvious that for me, food is life. It is in the way I view the world and how I process experiences. You’ll notice that a lot of my writing is ‘food’ related. I ‘consume’ experiences and thought. I ‘relish’ opportunity. A lot of my rhetoric is in terms of food. Just as artistic people seem to be able to ‘color’ their world or musicians ‘tune’ in to their thoughts. I’ve always gravitated towards good food and good drink as signs of a good life.

I could never exist on a diet of only the safe and the glamorous though. Good food, like life, is found in the hard to find places. I can’t tell you how many horrible nightmare gastrointestinal experiences I’ve had in pursuit of the best, most authentic, completely unapologetic food. Life isn’t something to be distilled or sanitized. If a dish is supposed to be spicy and I know it to be so, I’ll make sure when I order it that they give me the full flavor. Don’t think I don’t know when you’re ‘tourist’-ifying my meals. I’ve dined in places where I always had one foot on the door and one eye on the other people. I’ve had to really stretch my imagination to convince myself of the ‘beefiness’ of a restaurant’s ‘beef’. But I’ve never regretted a single experience. Not everything has to be repeatable or end neat and tidy and well. There have been times where afterwards I thought to myself ‘that was clearly an unwarranted risk’. But hindsight is 20/20, and a luxury for the dead.

Risk is a given in anything worth while. Careers, relationships, dinner. I am not averse to risk.

Day 83: The Man and the Golden Balls; ‘Dilemma’

Prisoners.jpg

Do you consider yourself a good person?

I’ve no doubt that any mature, reflective, well-adjusted individual has at some point spent at least some time considering this question.

‘Am I a good person?’

And certainly there are ways in which we can prove, to ourselves and others, of the inherent ‘goodness’ of our natures.We are, after all, also incredibly generous, according to my previous writing. We are loyal to our friends and family. Give of our time, money, and possessions to those in need. We never speak ill of those with whom we disagree and we never participate in negative gossip. As we walk through our days we are conscientious and courteous of others: we hold the door open for people, we say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, we help little old ladies cross the street and load their groceries into their car.

For all intents and purposes we do all the things we feel we need to in order to effectively convince all those involved that we are good people.

But a good person can find himself in a bad situation. One day as you are walking along you suddenly find yourself in a dark room with a man whom you do not know. In front of you are two buttons, labeled ‘split’ and ‘steal’.

The stranger explains to you the following situation:

In another room is another random individual whom you have never met. Between the two of you is a total sum of one million dollars. If you and the stranger both decide to press the ‘split’ button, you will each receive a payment of $500,000. If you choose ‘split’ but the stranger chooses ‘steal’, they will walk away with the entirety and you will be left with zero. On the other hand if you choose ‘steal’ and the stranger chooses ‘split’, you will be given the entire million dollars. If you both choose ‘steal’ you will both walk away with nothing. There is no way for you to communicate with the stranger to assess the decision and you must make a choice.

So, do you choose to split or do you choose to steal?

Those of you who have studied psychology or game theory will realize that this is a stylized version of the famous Prisoner’s Dilemma conceptualized by RAND Think Tank mathematicians Merrill Flood and Melvin Dresher and formally structured by Albert Tucker. The original, actual Prisoner’s Dilemma is as follows.

Two members of a criminal gang are arrested and imprisoned. Each prisoner is in solitary confinement with no means of communicating with the other. The prosecutors lack sufficient evidence to convict the pair on the principal charge. They hope to get both sentenced to a year in prison on a lesser charge. Simultaneously, the prosecutors offer each prisoner a bargain. Each prisoner is given the opportunity either to: betray the other by testifying that the other committed the crime, or to cooperate with the other by remaining silent. The offer is:

  • If A and B each betray the other, each of them serves 2 years in prison
  • If A betrays B but B remains silent, A will be set free and B will serve 3 years in prison (and vice versa)
  • If A and B both remain silent, both of them will only serve 1 year in prison (on the lesser charge)

You would perhaps think that the decision would be easy to make. One would simply have to consider one’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’ nature and make the decision based on that. But the reason why the Prisoner’s Dilemma has remained such a fascinating example of game and social theory is that it forces us to not only consider our nature, but the nature of the other person. The result of whether we choose to ‘split’ or ‘steal’ or ‘cooperate’ or ‘remain silent’ is not simply a result of our actions but a result of the other person’s as well. This is best illustrated as such:

Dilemma.png

From a purely logical standpoint, speaking from either prisoner’s perspective would show that the most logical decision would be to actually ‘defect’. (8 years is better than 20 years and free is better than 6 months.) Even though the absolute best outcome would be for BOTH A and B to ‘remain silent’ (what we consider the ‘good’ option). This requires a tremendous amount of trust in the good nature of other people. Especially when considering that, as I mentioned, the logical decision would be to ‘defect’ (what we consider the ‘bad’ option).

Do you have it in you to not only believe that you are a good person, but that this strange is also? Remember that the off-set if you choose to ‘remain silent’ or ‘split’ when your partner chooses to ‘defect’ or ‘steal’ is either 20 years in prison or no money at all.

This brings us to consider some very interesting things about our own good natures. The first is that we have to realize that our good nature is not objective. It’s actually very subjective. Therefore, good people cannot exist in a vacuum. If you are alone, and only interact with yourself, can any of your actions ever be considered ‘good’? We need other people. It is against the backdrop of various experiences and interactions that we actually define who we are. It doesn’t matter how often you tell yourself you are good or do good things for yourself, without someone to compare to it would be like throwing shadows against the wall.

Here’s a great example from a British game show called Golden Balls (I know, it certainly wouldn’t have been my idea for a game show name either).

As you watch the events unfold you are perhaps tempted to side with Ibrahim and find Nick to be a manipulative untrustworthy thief. He speaks of his father who gave him advice on a man and his word. He assures us all with emphatic enthusiasm that he is a noble man and has every intention of sharing. Nick on the other hand is unmoving and untrusting. He is prepared to risk it all for seemingly selfish gain by choosing ‘steal’ despite all of Ibrahim’s pleas.

What is interesting is what you DON’T see. The actual exchange during this final round was closer to almost an hour long. At a certain point the studio audience began to turn on Nick. They booed and jeered at him for what seemed like such a stubborn and selfish act. Everyone, wanting to believe in the good nature of Ibrahim’s words, was now on his side as they tried to convince Nick to choose ‘split’. Ultimately though you see that what looks like Ibrahim’s good nature (as he eventually relents) was actually manipulated by Nick’s knowledge not just of the game but of our human nature. (I would also like to point out that in a radio interview Ibrahim outright ADMITTED that a) he NEVER met his father and b) he had EVERY intention of choosing ‘steal’ had Nick agreed to choose ‘split’). But we only judge people by what we see and perceive, and so we were ready to side completely with Ibrahim.

Dilbert 1.gifThe other interesting thing that comes up with the Prisoner’s Dilemma is how little our own nature actually influences our behavior. Humans are social creatures. We live and survive in packs. From the most primitive hunter-gatherer tribes to the vastly complicated international web of city-states, our survival is based on how we interact with each other. Therefore most of our decisions are also social based. If we believe in the good nature of others we are more likely to choose actions of good nature. But if we perceive any possibility of injustice or unfairness or of someone ‘getting away’ with something, we will go so far as to purposefully sabotage our own interests in order to deny others’. This isn’t immature or unnatural. In fact it is, if we are honest with ourselves, the truest most natural state of our mentality. Our justice system is not built around the idea of judging the morality of our actions but of punishing those who do things that we wouldn’t want to go unpunished.

This understanding extends beyond just contrived prison examples and cheesy British game shows. This is about our mutual success and/or mutual destruction. Countries dilbert-2should keep this in mind when considering policies on energy and climate change. We understand that the mutual benefit of an entire global community cutting back on emissions and using fuel is that we save our planet and last longer. But we also know that if we were to cut back but our neighbors do not, we would fall behind in industry and wealth. So who moves first?

In relationships this can extend to how we define our relationship with our partner. If we work together to compromise and soften our expectations and demands of each other we attain a better understanding and perhaps happier and longer union. But the danger of perception here is that if one is more willing to yield than the other, a power struggle could result and pride gets in the way. So who gives in first?

So here’s your new dilemma. When you’re walking down the street don’t just ask yourself:

Am I a good person?

Consider also:

Do I think you are?

Day 83

Man: 64 Loneliness: 19

Day 82: The Man and the Apologetic Gratitude

I am always so floored when people tell me they’ve nominated me for these awards. I’ve never gotten such consistent and quality feedback. It’s not just the positivity and the recognition. Every comment influences my consciousness as a writer and blogger. All of the feedback I receive helps me become better over time: polishing my writing, developing my rhetoric, creating a voice that is more universal, finding topics that reach more of an audience.

And yet I also feel bad because most if not all of these most recent recognitions were on Saturday night and I couldn’t get a post done for yesterday at all. Really great French restaurant twenty minutes from here that my friends and I had to try out! Hahah.

As I’ve done for the past nominations, I would like to recognize and thank the bloggers who have nominated me and recommend that you visit them and give them a read if you haven’t yet already. I don’t have anyone to nominate that I haven’t already so I will stick to the thank you and the responses. Hope that’s not too narcissistic.


Blogger Recognition Award

blogger-recognitionIt is my honor to receive another Blogger Recognition Award from meetmeinnevada. I love reading her writing because of the freshness of perspective and the unbridled enthusiasm and positivity she writes with. ‘Fish out of water’ transformation stories are always particularly interesting and following the chronicle of her journey from Kansas to Nevada has been a wonderful read. Aside from this she also includes some great personal and honest posts that are truly thought-provoking and inspiring. She’s given me plenty of great ideas to write on in the future. Thank you so much for your nomination and I cannot wait to keep reading your story. I hope many others soon follow suit.

Most of you know how this blog came to be. It was my salvation, my refuge after a devastating breakup. I had to rediscover myself and what I was looking for. I needed to step away from my cycle of dating and distraction to do some serious reflection on my own, and the only way to know I would give myself the time and the opportunity to do so was to bar myself from relationships for a year. From there I thought I’d be journaling how each day went, talking about the struggles and victories, but instead what I discovered is that this process isn’t about winning day to day. It’s about serious thought and transformation. I had to rethink everything I thought I knew. So days became concepts and daily victories became campaigns. Now I still keep track of that and on certain days I might want to capture the feeling of that, but a lot of my blog has now become about those things that I needed to give myself time to think about and sharing what I’ve come to discover.

My two pieces of advice from the last nomination can be found here. To reiterate: 1. WRITE WRITE WRITE and 2. BECOME INVOLVED.

If I could add to that, I’d say…

3. BE CONSISTENT. And I’ll try to be better at this too. Creating a consistent schedule of posting benefits both you and your readers. It helps your blog grow its audience because people who have come to appreciate and enjoy your writing know they can consistently expect content to keep them satiated. As a writer maintaining a disciplined schedule helps you focus and improve your writing.

4. GIVE/GET FEEDBACK. We are all writers who can always stand to benefit from continued encouragement and feedback. If a post resonates with you in a certain way, let the writer know. If it inspires a thought, share. You never know if your comment could start a whole new path or direction for the writer. In the same vein, keep the communication open with your readers. Enjoy and appreciate the compliments and positive feedback but be able to grow and take in constructive feedback. We all want to see each other be better writers.


Sunshine Blogger Award

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Thank you to aYoKa for nominating me for another Sunshine Blogger Award. aYoKa’s blog is one of the most positive ones I’ve read and so to receive a Sunshine nomination is quite an honor. I’m actually very glad that the blog was nominated because the answers were so interesting. I did not know about the origin and struggles of the author’s life and it frames the positivity and optimism in a much more dramatic way. Always fun to read the posts and always such a bright light to remind me of the good in myself, in others, and in our shared experiences. You can’t have a bad day if you read. So please, check out this blog.

What languages do you speak?

I was born and raised in New Jersey so English is my native tongue but my parents are from the Philippines and made sure I learned Tagalog as well. I would like to learn French and Norwegian in the future.

When did you last cry in front of another person?

When Beautiful broke up with me. Uncontrollable, inconsolable crying in front of someone who clearly did not care about me anymore, if ever.

Are you less religious than your parents?

Yes. My parents were raised as devout Catholics in Catholic schools in the only Catholic nation in Asia. So that was a big part of my youth. As I’ve grown I have drifted further from the church but I will never be able to fully separate myself from this part of my identity.

What is the the one thing you have tried but will never do again?

Does Tinder count?

Do you believe everyone needs a soulmate?

Oh man…this deserves a whole separate post in the future! To suffice for now…no. I think there’s too much unfair and unrealistic pressure to make someone our ‘soulmate’. We deserve someone in our lives. Someone who loves us and accepts us but also inspires us to be better than we are. But ‘soulmate’? No. I just want someone who loves me and who I can love back.

Would you say no to palm oil products to save the orangutans?

I think I’ve lived pretty well so far without palm oil so…sure? What could possibly be the biggest departure of my life in a world without palm oil?

Have you ever succeeded when you thought you might fail?

This blog certainly has received more attention than I ever thought my simple musings would have ever attracted, but I never really thought it would ‘fail’ or that I would measure any sort of ‘success’ from it. Otherwise…when I left my teaching job I thought I was a failure. I was ashamed that I had to walk away and that I hadn’t lived up to my potential. But a month before the end of the school year my Juniors got back their standardized test scores. Almost all of them (89%) of them passed, and of those a good third of them were in the ‘advanced proficiency’ category! I thought the biggest success was the numbers. But it was actually the pride and gratitude I saw in my students’ eyes when they called me ‘Mr. [Man]’. I will never forget that. I made my mark, I did the best I could when I had the chance.

Who makes your dinner?

If I’m on the road, the restaurant chef. If I’m at home, my mother. If it’s a special occasion or date, me.

Do you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert ?

An introvert no doubt. I couldn’t live without alone time. It’s the only way I can maintain such a bright and chipper personality. Hahah.

Have you ever witnessed a panic attack?

Yes. The first major car crash I was in, I was driving my friend home from college when a woman ran a red light and t-boned my car on the driver side. I suffered a minor fracture in my lower leg and a bump on the head but my friend, who had never been in an accident before and was never comfortable driving, suffered a straight up panic attack. I had to calm him down and coax him back to the ground. He was relatively unscathed and just really shaken so I sat him down at the side of the road. Gave him a bottle of water and told him to drink long slow big gulps to help regulate his breathing. Told him to focus on me and assured him he was going to be okay.


Versatile Blogger Award
versatile-bloggerShayma nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award, which always means a lot to me. Versatility and variety is something I strive to bring to my writing and to this blog. I’d like to keep experimenting not only with different topic but different mediums as well. If you want an example of excellence and versatility, you definitely could not go wrong with Shayma. Her poetry and her prose are equally impressive and a joy to read. There is a high level of awareness and maturity in each piece. It’s a relatively new blog but that means you can be on the ground floor to really see some growth. I truly hope that Shayma continues to write and shares the love and insight.

  1. Not so much as before, but I am a huge anime/manga fan (Japanese animation and graphic novels). I currently have more than 200 manga in my bookshelves. Aside from the books and the DVDs I also got the merchandise to prove I was in the deep end at one point. Swords, wall scrolls, figures, accessories, and even clothing. Yes, I have cosplayed (dressed up as some favorite characters in public, usually at conventions).
  2. I know it’s been irrefutably proven to be disastrously detrimental to your health, but there have been a few occasions in my life, even post college, when I’ve pulled all-nighters out of sheer enjoyment and/or curiosity. Sometimes I wanted to keep playing video games or watching movies. Other times it was just because I felt like it and wanted to see what would happen. I love the silence of the early hours when the world is still wiping the sleep from their tired eyes. I also like the luxury and audaciousness of sleeping when everyone else is up and being productive. Hahah.
  3. I’ve been featured in my local paper three times. Two have been for spelling bees. One year I won the tri-county and another year I was second in state. Unfortunately never got further than that. The third time was in high school. I was a member of my school’s China Care Club. China Care is an organization that helps Chinese orphans. One of our programs is called Dumplings, which is a playgroup we host for families who have adopted Chinese orphans so that they can learn about the culture of their homeland. Every Chinese New Year we would do a huge celebration with the families and I’d do a martial arts demonstration and then teach the kids a little something. One year the paper came by and did a story on us and they took a picture of me teaching the little kiddies.
  4. The worst injuries I’ve sustained cooking are a permanent burn mark on my left arm from trying to grab a cheesecake in the oven with my bare hands and slicing off the surface of my finger tip using a mandoline slicer the very first time. Don’t worry, it grew back. Too bad. Without fingerprints I could have committed all the crime I ever wanted.
  5. I saved my brother’s life once. He loves peanut M&Ms and when he was 5 we were walking around and he had a bag of them. As he was eating he must have accidentally swallowed one whole and started choking. I did the Heimlich Maneuver on him and it popped out, just like in the TV shows. Got some good air too. Flew for a good little while. Hahah.
  6. If I want to impress a girl, the first meal I make for them usually starts with a salad (either tomato and mozzarella where I cut the tomato partially and insert the cheese so it looks like a fan or a frisee salad with bacon and a poached egg), linguini with clam sauce, rack of lamb, and then a dessert (either tiramisu, creme brulee, or a strawberry napoleon).
  7. My first car was a Honda Accord that I named Baby. My second car was an Acura TL I named Appa (after the character in Avatar the Last Airbender). I currently drive a Subaru Forester that I have not yet named. I haven’t discovered its soul yet.

Tags of Eight

This isn’t an award nomination but still seems like a lot of fun. Cosmic Explorer tagged me to respond to an array of questions where I need to make lists of 8.

8 TV Shows I Love Watching

Big Bang Theory

Modern Family

Brooklyn Nine Nine

The Walking Dead

Stranger Things

New Scandinavian Cooking

Law and Order: SVU

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

8 Favorite Games to Play

Chinese Poker (also known as Pusoy Dos and Do Dai Di)

Mahjong (Filipino rules)

Gin Rummy

Cards Against Humanity

Billiards (8 ball or 9 ball)

Fallout series

Mass Effect series

Paragon (recently)

8 Things I Look Forward To

Travel with friends

Travel with family

Travel alone

Travel with someone special

Moving out to my own place

My next career move (whatever it may be)

Another first date

Day 365: The Man and the…

8 Things I’m Passionate About

Food

Drink

Film

Literature

Martial Arts

Love

Travel

Writing

8 Phrases I Use Often

Right on, Donkey Kong.

Please.

Thank you.

It’s on like a chicken bone!

Ain’t no thing but a chicken wing.

I love you.

Ehm…

I was kidding. Don’t believe that.

8 Things I’ve Learned from the Past

If a restaurant offers reservations, make one.

Try before you buy.

You should have more dignity than to ever be someone’s rebound.

You need to have a plan when you go to a casino.

The best way to lead and to gain followers is to lead by example.

It is often better to be happy than to be right.

Blood doesn’t make family.

Breakfast tastes best at 2am.

8 Places I Would Love to Visit

Montreal

Norway

Taiwan

Japan

Korea

Italy

England

Aruba


Day 82

Man: 63 Loneliness: 19

 

 

 

Day 80: The Man and the Predicament of Giving; ‘Generous’

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When is an act of generosity not actually an act of generosity?

We like to think of ourselves as generally good and generous people with a giving nature, but have you ever stopped and wondered if there were any caveats or conditions to that generosity?

The benefits of generosity are easy enough to identify. It is the generosity of others that provide funding for many non-profit organizations who work for the betterment of the world. When everything is clean and above-board and we can trust our organizations then we know that our donations go towards actual good. We feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give shelter to the homeless. Generosity is one of the hallmarks of humanity in all its noble nature and many historic milestones in all aspects of society have been accomplished through remarkable acts of generosity from the population.

We cannot, however, deny or pretend not to acknowledge that generosity also benefits the generous.

Sometimes these little rewards for the giver are just that, little rewards meant to honestly Tip jar.gifexpress gratitude and appreciation. If you donate $1 to the Feed America campaign you get to write your name on a little cutout of a grocery bag that the grocery store displays at the register. If you donate blood at your local blood drive they might give you some cookies and juice (also to help replenish vital sugars) and send you on your way with a sticker that marks your act of generosity for the day. A ‘thank you’ can go a long way to reassure a generous giver that their contribution is appreciated and welcomed.

Now, let’s say you’re on a date with someone you particularly fancy. It’s come to the end of the meal and you of course offer to cover the check. When it comes time to calculate the tip you may be tempted to do two things. First, you will want to tip more than the standard amount and second, you will make every subtle effort possible to ensure that your date sees this wonderful, noble, and selfless act of generosity.

The next evening you are at a charity event hosted by your company. Everyone is enjoying a wonderful meal in an elegant banquet hall and the time has come for the partner organization to explain their mission statement and ask for the ‘generosity and kindness of fine folk such as yourselves’. You reach for a $5 bill in your pocket but notice that your boss is watching you from across the room. Suddenly, as if by some magic force, your $5 bill becomes a $20. You glance over. Make that $40. One more look. Okay fine, here’s $50 to save the rhinos of…Canada?!

Why do we do this? How can we explain how we act so differently when around certain people like romantic partners or employers? And more importantly, when does our act of generosity lose its generous spirit?

When it comes to finding a potential partner, most of us would say that ‘generosity’ would certainly be a desirable trait or at the very least, that ‘selfishness’ is a trait we’d like to avoid. During the beginning of a relationship we naturally desire to put our best food forward. We are punctual, organized, mature, and yes, of course, generous to a fault. If you were on a date with someone, wouldn’t it strike you as unappealing or odd if they couldn’t share? And similarly are we not so impressed and attracted to a person who, oh my, look at how generously he tips. Look at how giving he must be. Surely, this is a benefit for me to have a partner such as this.

At company events or outings we must remember that we are representatives not only of our individual selves but of the company as well. And as such our actions can either reflect negatively or positively on our employers. Your boss is looking to you to judge the extent of your generosity as an expression of your suitability to the company. If you look good, your boss looks good, which makes your boss’s boss look good, and so on and so forth. And while we are all admiring ourselves and patting each other on the back for our altruistic nature and celebrating our contributions, oh yes, apparently we saved some kids or some animals in some country. Right. That’s what it’s all about.

I do not think that enjoying some personal benefit from generosity is necessarily bad or detracts from the nobility of the gesture. To an extent. One of the reasons why generosity joey-doesnt-shareexists is because we can derive a certain sense of gratification and satisfaction from the act itself and I certainly do not wish to say we shouldn’t feel this way. When it is a cause we truly believe in or something close and personal to us, the simple act of giving can be cathartic and relieving. We give not only because it is good for others but because it also makes us feel good about ourselves. The problem is our sight is limited and often times we cannot see further than what is immediately in front of us. So how do we incentivize an entire population to care about something far removed as much as they care about something on a personal level? We can take advantage of another even stronger desire. The desire to be recognized. Say what you will about those big gestures with names attached but you cannot deny that it moves a lot of money to a lot of places that normally wouldn’t have that. So we appeal to our vanity and need to be recognized by others. It isn’t the greatest evil in the world and it is a system that works. But make no mistake, this is not generosity for generosity’s sake.

It is sometimes difficult to weed out the truly generous from the seemingly generous. In regards to relationships this is especially important because we certainly do not want to be caught off guard with the person we are with. True, altruistic generosity has certain defining characteristics that one should always look for in a potential partner if genuine generosity is something you are looking for.

  1. They believe that what is theirs is also yours.

Those who possess a true sense of generosity also tend to not have a high sense of possession. They should not be possessive of material things and should be willing to always give of what they have.

  1. They regularly demonstrate a belief in altruism.

There is a saying, ‘it takes 21 days to develop a habit and 90 days to develop a lifestyle. True generosity does not begin overnight. It is a reflection of a long and conscious effort. Those who are truly generous live lives that show it. They volunteer their time, they donate their goods to the needy, they contribute money to charities. A truly generous person gives not only to those he knows but to strangers as well.

  1. They give for the act, not for the reward.

One of the biggest red flags of ‘pseudo-generosity’ is the person’s focus on the reward of generosity and not on the act itself. If the conversation leans more towards ‘check out all the cool stuff they give if you just donate’, perhaps this is not the most genuinely generous person. They may disguise their actual wants and needs as generosity. For example, they might give you a big screen TV for your birthday when you know they’ve really been wanting one all this time. Or they might leverage their gift for something they want. ‘Well you know I gave you this really nice gift that cost x and so for my birthday I think it’s only fair I get y.’

  1. They give even when there is the possibility of anonymity.

Perhaps the biggest characteristic of the truly generous is their ability to give even when there is a chance that they will never be recognized for their contribution. They put money in the tip jar even when the cashier isn’t looking. They enjoy, rather than avoid, thankless donations. This is a true love of altruism, when the simple act of giving is all the pleasure they need.

We might not always be the most generous in all aspects. But we are certainly capable of generosity. Be generous in life, love, and laughter.

Day 80

Man: 61 Loneliness: 19

Day 79: The Man and the Unlikely Desire; ‘Jump’

What a silly, stupid, frustrating way to lose the day. Today goes to Loneliness because…I really really missed it.

A bizarre, cruel twist of fate. One of the rare few times I desire to be alone and goddamnit I cannot for the life of me squeeze a few minutes of privacy out of my day.

I really don’t know what happened today. I just wasn’t feeling it. Didn’t want to talk to others, didn’t really want to socialize, just felt a tiny bit of gloom over my head and I knew I needed to get ahead of it, give myself some alone time to recharge.

Got into work, didn’t go to my desk. Went to the Lido Deck (our communal space) and set up shop in one of the booths. Today of all days our marketing team decided to start shooting videos for our YouTube channel. You know, those cheesy company videos where we talk about what we do while playing ping pong so we seem hard-working but also fun. Scripted jokes. Scripted laughter. Do you know what wasn’t included in the script? A six-foot tall anti-social Asian man. So I was kicked out.

Okay, that’s fine. One of the things I do happen to love about my office is how modular it is. There are plenty of little private nooks and crannies with sofas, booths, tables, etc.So I find my own little niche and take a deep breath.

‘Where are you?!’

Oh god. The new girl. She’s texting me.

‘What do you need.’

‘Email came in and I don’t know how to respond.’

‘Alright, no problem. I’ll take care of it.’

‘No, I want to see how you do it. Where are you.’

‘Hiding, primarily.’

She didn’t take the hint.

I’m squeezed into this tiny little space and now she’s brought herself and her laptop. I didn’t ask for this. In fact, I asked for the complete opposite.

I think I struck out on almost every single social interaction I had today. I didn’t want to be with company at the moment so I was definitely curt (maybe more than I should have to be you know, a civilized member of society) with the new girl. And for some reason today all the people that I helped, and I helped a lot (that is the job description) either didn’t believe me and doubted my help and good intention or weren’t satisfied with my responses.

Their problems were fixed five minutes ago but now I’m either listening to them tell me they don’t believe what I’m saying and know more than me or are telling me that the solution is unacceptable and they’re too busy to work on fixing their mistakes.

I’m not in charge of this program you guys. I don’t have special powers. I don’t even get special emails. I am just a man who knows this system faster and better than others. I’m a teacher. I know the subject. I’m an expert in it. But I can’t change it. I can teach you math but if you don’t like that two plus two equals four I can’t…you know…make it five…so why does everyone look at me today like I can.

Everyone was an expert today. Nobody liked my answers or my solutions. They were kind enough to let me know this after we fixed their problems. At certain times I had to just pass it to the new girl because I couldn’t continue conversations just to justify what we did. I fixed your problem. I shouldn’t have to defend that.

Just not feeling it, you guys. There was an unfunkable funk that caught me today. Maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I hadn’t really considered that trying to avoid Loneliness for so long I might have a few days when I need it around.

Sometimes I feel like I need to jump out a window like some action star just to escape some people. Here’s to better days.

Day 79

Man: 60 Loneliness: 19