Five Crazy Things Life Has Taught Me

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
A thoughtful, touching and humorous set of rules for everyday life, from everyday life.

Submitted: March 12, 2007

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Submitted: March 12, 2007

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These are five everyday rules that life has taught me.


1. Commit random acts of kindness.

But actually do it! Most people know the first line, but few of us remember to practice it. Beyond the hippy, flower child message is a powerful idea. I was at the gas station the other day and an old man walked in on a crutch. I had seen him riding a battered bicycle with a trailer following behind. He looked dirty, poor and tired. I was having a terrible day and became suddenly overcome with an urge to pay for the juice he was buying. The cashier looked at me like a was nuts, the old man just smiled and said sure. He pointed to his leg and said he needed the vitamins to get better and I agreed that sounded like a good plan. He left. He may have been a homeless wretch, he may have been a wealthy loon, he may have been an alien in disguise, he may have been an average joe on his way to work. It didn't matter. There was a chance that for less than two dollars I had just bought sustenance for an elderly, battered man. That alone made my day better.

2. Bend someone's reality, but don't break it!

I don't believe in committing random acts of violence or pain. I do believe in committing random acts of absurdity though. I have always sworn that one day I would break into a complete strangers home and re-arrange all their furniture. I won't break or steal anything, maybe I'll even clean up a bit. But I'll totally re-arrange their entire home. Why? Just for the pure picture of someone waking up one morning to find their house totally re-arranged and nothing missing. Because really, how do you wrap your mind around that? Why would someone do that? It's just absurd. Exactly. Their entire structure of reality and fabric of understanding are just bent. They are not hurt, they are not suffering, they are just forced to take a completely new look at what they call " everyday life". Ditto for "kidnapping" someone's lawn gnome and taking it on a trip with you or sending the strange homeless lady down the street a bouquet of flowers and granola bars.

3. Be suddenly honest!

We all tell lies, social lies, white lies, and big lies. Just get fed up with it one day and tell the truth. Perfect example, my ex-boyfriend when he was homeless. He lived in a big city and had seen tons of people with signs begging for money. He had seen the trick of having a dog with you for sympathy and faking an injury for the same reason. He just wanted a beer. He was fed up with trying to think of a scam to get one. So he just decided to be honest. He got some cardboard and a pen and made a sign that read "Homeless, Penniless, and I just want a damn beer!". He swears he has never received so much charity in his life. He said people would come out of the nearby liquor store and walk over to him, offering a 12 pack, muttering "I've been there." People were sick of false charity, sick of lies, sick of scams. They were happy to help him out, because he was blunt and real. He was just human and they could relate. Though you're not always rewarded for honesty, sometimes you just need to cut through the bull and get the truth out. It can be surprising what happens.

4. Discover a superstar and tell them!

Find someone totally outrageous, gutsy, and insane. Then observe what you need to learn from them and let them know they're your idol! The other night I was at a dance club and I saw this huge man on the floor. His skin was pasty white, his greasy hair covered most of his ample body. At least six feet, at least three hundred pounds, very sweaty and very chunky. He was wearing a tight, faded green T-shirt and some cheap jeans. His sneakers were worn and his glasses looked like they were outdated, complete with tape on the nose. He quaked when he moved and was a formidable presence. Yet he shook it like Shakira and always had his pinkie fingers in the air like a princess. He tip-toed across the dance floor like a ballerina and jiggled more cleavage than a Playboy bunny. He was wonderful! My companions thought I had lost it when I insisted on going and telling him so. All I knew was that he was the perfect poster boy for the phrase "Looks can be deceiving" and I wanted the club to put a spotlight on him and make everyone watch! I think the next time I see him I'll ask for dancing lessons.

5. Just step outside your life for a day!

It doesn't have to be often, if even only once a year, everyone should step out of their own life for a day. A tiny example from when I was in Junior High School. I lived in a sheltered town in Southern Idaho with a predominate Mormon population. One day a girl brought a full Iraqi women's robe and burqa to school for a class presentation. I was intrigued, and bribed the girl to let me wear the outfit for the day. I wanted to know what it would be like to see the world from under there, and wanted to introduce the image to my naive peers. Both the physical sensation and peer reaction was fascinating. Most students had no idea who I was or what I was wearing. This was long before 9/11 and "Muslim" was not unknown, but still not a commonly heard word. I received both fear and animosity, curiosity and indifference. I was a little Jew in a Mormon town glancing into a Muslim girls world. It gave me empathy for her life and reflection upon my own. For one day I took a tiny sidestep from my own reality and quickly peered around the corner into someone else's. This is a more elaborate, creative example of the basic idea, since it can be as simple as observing the people you serve when working a day in a soup kitchen, or really listening to the stories from the lonely souls at a nursing home, or going to a service for a religion you've never been exposed to before.


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