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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Seeking Wisdom.


It makes me happy to get a message from an inanimate object.  Today, I removed the plastic lid from my yoghurt and there, on the foil safety seal, super imposed over the silhouette of a cow was the encouragement “Don’t worry about the opinions of udders.” It was comforting, if a little silly. I took it to mean “be yourself, enjoy your lunch, some people will like you, and some are lactose intolerant, and that makes them angry, and they blame you.” I don’t know about you, but I find some relief in that.

In the gym people’s shirts offer constant reinforcement, “Just Do It’” “Don’t Finish Last.” “You Have to Play to Win.” “Beast Don’t Rest.”  Sometimes they provide a little fashion advice “Get your swoosh on.” Sometimes they will boast, “I Make It Look Easy.” Once in a while the advice will border on insulting, “Maybe you should practice.”  If you show up in a plain t-shirt you are practically antisocial. I like to wear one that says, “Cheesecake is the solution.”

Taco Bell has messages on the packets of sauce it gives away. I used to make a point of not looking until I got home. It was like a fortune cookie. Occasionally it was a little suggestive, “I’m up for it, are you?” Please, I’m a happily married man. Occasionally you would find something profound. “Do it with passion or not at all.” It made me wish I had ordered more boldly. I want the supreme burrito, please.

Heinz had a bottle of catsup that asked, simply “Need a gift idea?” Catsup for any occasion, it goes with anything, except a white t-shirt. And the price is right.

Bumper stickers have a lot to say. “Watch Out for Motorcycles.” Good advice, made timelier considering my eyes are glued to the bumper, of a pickup truck. Many people, too many people feel the need to tell you how they are going to vote, or soon, how they voted. I always feel bad for people who have the name of the candidate who lost fastened permanently to the protective feature of their car. I want to pull up next to them at the stop light and say “I understand. I vote for the wrong guy sometimes too.” I don’t, it seems mean to remind them they backed the wrong horse. They are forced to fact that failure every time they approach the car from behind. It must knock a few dollars off the trade in value.

I have this plan, everybody should wear a hat with a word on the top. Nobody gets to pick the word, it is completely random, and they will just go about their lives normally, at least as normally as possible considering they are wearing hats with a word on top. At odd times during the day a helicopter or a drone would fly over the people, like lunchtime or some time it is crowded and snap a photo, just to see what they said. What sentence they made. What message the universal controller had for us.

I like to think it would offer some reassurance, “Don’t worry, things will get better,” or “Don’t give up, you are almost there.” The voice of the cosmos telling us that it would all be ok, our work and care are not pointless.

Maybe it would provide a little comic relief, “My dog has no nose.”

“How does it smell?”

“Awful.”

But, as a race of sentient beings we are not inclined to provide that level of cooperation. And hats are not cheap, even if I could talk the entire metro area to help out, and it costs a lot to rent a helicopter. So, until I can work out the details I am going to look for wisdom where ever I can. If I find any I will tell you right away.