Friday, January 19, 2018

Octopodes and The Ostrich

Did you know that the proper plural for octopus is "octopuses"?  At least that's the most widely accepted plural.  Technically, the word "octopus" comes from the GREEK word "oktopus" and the true plural would be "octopodes."  Like awk-TAW-poh-deez.  Which brings a mental image of an eight-armed gladiator or a pimped-out cephalopod holla'ing "awktawpohDEEZ NUTZ!"

Other fun facts about animals.  Did you know that you can't get warts from touching a toad?  Or that a mother bird won't abandon her chicks if a human touches them?  Or, my personal favorite, that penguins don't fall backward when they look up at airplanes?!  Last, and most relevant to me, ostriches don't really bury their heads in the ground to escape or hide from danger.  It's a total myth.  They do bury their eggs in the sand and peek in now and then to check on their progeny, but they never actually jam their heads into the ground for safety.

This last one blew my mind.  I've long-identified with the ostrich of old.  In fact I've patterned my approach to life's difficulties after its clearly effective yet apparently false strategy.  Just shut your eyes real tight and wait a while and the problem disappears.  It's like magic.  And it works for everything.

Anytime a difficult conversation or conflict comes on, don't say anything you really mean or feel.  Just apologize and agree with everything the other party says.  Cut yourself off when you are about to say something honest and real.  Bite your tongue and nod.

If there is a bill that has to be paid or a project to be done with a looming deadline, just don't think about it.  There are so many more positive things you can put your mind to!  Like TV.  Or FOOD.  Coincidentally, if you don't want to clean the kitchen or do the dishes...then don't!  Just shut your eyes tight and pretend it's clean.  If you wait long enough it will magically happen!  Same thing with yard work and house cleaning.  Just close your brain and wait.

You don't really need to return rented videos or library books.  Just hold onto them.  Eventually the phone calls stop and nobody will bother you again.

You don't actually have to register for the draft.  What the hell is the point of that?  The army is obviously not for me so I'll just blow it off.

If I don't want my parents to see my report card I'll just hide it in the closet.  POOF!  Problem gone.


DISCLAIMER:  If you are a fellow ostricher and happy to be so, read no further.  Spoilers ahead!  Minds are fixin' to blow.  Ready?

The kitchen doesn't actually clean itself!  If you wait long enough, someone more responsible than you comes up behind you and cleans it.  And likely resents you for it.  By that time the alfredo sauce has cemented itself to the bottom of the pot and needs a blowtorch and chisel to come off.  There is no force on earth that can get Raisin Bran flakes to detatch from a bowl if it sits long enough.  And grass doesn't cut itself.  It just grows and grows until it chokes itself out and dies.

When people stop calling about a bill it's not because they don't want your money anymore.  It's because they've shut your account down and you're at their mercy.  Good luck using that VISA that is 120 days past due.  Now the financial special forces are onto your ass and your credit is fooked for life.

Blockbuster didn't forget you owe them a rental return.  FUN FACT: In the "olden days", people had to travel to "video stores" to rent movies instead of paying the $15 to buy them.  You would pay money to borrow a movie for three days, then return it when you were done!  Or if you failed to return it you could simply buy it.  For $49.

Mom will find your report card and you'll be grounded for the remaining two months of summer because your grades sucked and you hid them.  

Hypothetical Situation:  Let's say it's 1989 and you have a school paper to write on a famous person from history.  You go to a public library and they give you a card that allows you to "check out" a book called, oh...let's say "Joe Louis: The Brown Bomber".  You get this book for two weeks.  You read it and write your paper and get an A!  Now you just need to return the book.  But no one is forcing you.  You didn't pay any deposit so what's the point?  Way too much effort here.  Just forget about it and pretend it doesn't exist and you'll never have to think about it again.  Flash Forward to 2004 and you want to go to the library to check out CDs to illegally copy by the dozens but you can't because you've still got to return The Brown Bomber and your card is frozen.  You can buy the long-forgotten book for its current value that has tripled over time, or you can invent an elaborate story about how your identity was stolen and someone else named Peter Tyler Pearson checked out The Brown Bomber in 1989.  The latter totally worked.

Oh, and it turns out that registering for Selective Service, aka "The Draft" wasn't optional after all.  Good luck getting any kind of federal loan or assistance if you failed to register.  I've never been through more hoops for anything in my life.

Bottom line, DON'T OSTRICH.  It is painful.  There is no sense in not just doing shit when it needs to get done.  I don't think I was lazy.  I think I just didn't care.  There wasn't any real-time accountability.  And it is the absolute worst practice imaginable for communication and relationships.  Say what you mean.  Speak what you need.  Hold your ground.  Know yourself and respect yourself enough to insist on your right to feel and think and want things.  Be perfect in your speech.

I am new to this concept.  Truth and authenticity at the cost of comfortable environment is scary.  But I believe it's crucial to a happy, healthy life.  I can't just sit back and pretend my body and mind don't need work.  They won't fix themselves.  I have to actually do something about it.  The concept of doing important things now or being straightforward and strong in life may seem so simple for non-ostriches.  But my avian brethren get it.  It feels complex and difficult and scary and, frankly, sometimes impossible.  But it's not.  Difficult?  Sure.  Scary?  Yes.  But it's not complex and it's not impossible.

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