re: Buying a Car

  • Rust on rocker panels
  • Did they already start the car before you showed up? A bit suspicious
  • Check the date on the tires. Four digits. Week and year of manufacture
  • Use penny for Lincoln head tire test
  • Oil leaks under car
    • And then open car and see if there is oil splattered around the engine
  • Are all the panels the same color? If not, maybe an accident.
  • Check oil: not burnt or low
  • Check transmission fluid (yellow pull): not burnt or low
  • Low brake oil may mean the brakes are worn (but they could just top it off)
  • Antifreeze: should be green or pink NOT oily
  • Stitching coming off on soft top?
  • Check trunk rust underneath cover panel
  • Check windows
  • Check stereo
  • Check ac/heat

We will fight hardest

and be most frustrated when something that’s obvious to us is not obvious to another.

This is how we will spend disproportionate time on certain matters compared to their real-world effects. Someone will notice this disconnect and decry “too much focus” on something “not that important.” This someone won’t be technically wrong, but he also misses that everyone tends to agree on the most important things – like, you don’t have to convince someone the nuclear proliferation is dangerous – and so urgent rhetorical battles involve pushing for consensus in the still consequential areas where disagreement amazingly occurs. Though dropping the “consequential” moniker probably wouldn’t change much since the urge to stamp out absurdity (i.e., the person who misses the obvious) is so strong that even otherwise taciturn individuals can’t themselves.

Saving Oneself

Whenever I feel like crying, I turn on the Zero Dark Thirty trailer:

I want to make something absolutely clear. If you thought there was some working group coming to the rescue, I want you to know that you’re wrong. This is it. There’s nobody else hidden away on some other floor. There is just us. And we are failing. 

You may have spent much of your life unaware that nobody can save you but you. (Feel free to skip ahead to the next section if you were fully aware.) Perhaps you missed the message because Jesus’ promises of salvation drowned out all other voices. More likely, though, “failure” and “saving” were faraway thoughts when everything was going pretty well. And even when you were riding closer to valleys than peaks, minimal responsibility made Just getting through it the more common thought pattern than desperate pleas for a full-blown bailout.

But those innocent times are now gone; it’s probably pretty uncomfortable. One way to know you are in this dreaded place is a longing for tidy external solutions: Maybe this one person will … Maybe the trade will shift to … Maybe if I just get into this program … Go ahead and soothe yourself, sure, but don’t become tranquilized into forgetting that, no, sorry, it’s on you. Oh how you’ll want to forget. Oh how you’ll wish for simpler times. Oh how you’ll bargain that if you could be rescued this time you’ll never, never, never sin again. (more…)

The Downside of Awareness

So now everyone’s heard of that once “rare” or “stigmatized” thing you have. Maybe that’s nice. There’s probably more funding invested in solving it. The downside is that when it was unknown and rare, you were seen as an individual and were treated to minimally judgy curiosity. Post-awareness, however, you’re just some generic individual stripped of his personal battle and instead tossed into the nuance-free box constructed via the awareness campaign.

It’s a terrible thing

to reject someone’s vulnerability. And anything other than compassionate embrace will feel like rejection.

In Instead of Out

Instead of finding one reason to dislike someone and ruling him out, find one reason to like someone and rule him in.

No, They are Worth That Much

You can’t stand CEOs making xxxx more than a janitor because your exposure to excellence it too limited. Do you know any pro athletes? If you did and you experienced “competing” against them, it would be impossible to deny the existence of galaxy-sized gaps between people’s abilities.

Now perhaps you scoff at this sports comparison and claim that business is less objective than vertical leaps and 40-yard dashes. But is it really? Think about how much smarter the smart kid in your school was compared to everyone else. Then consider he/she was only the best in one school within a state of thousands of schools. Consider how smart the state’s smartest kid must then be. Multiply again for the nation’s. The top CEOs are at that level of selectivity. A few dozen people among hundreds of millions. They all truly can mean the difference between success and failure for a business in a similar way to your school project going from a 73 to 99 if that top student joins your team.

That transformative ability, like Lebron’s basketball prowess, is truly worth xxxx more than the worst player’s/student’s contribution (to say nothing of the janitors within the organization).


Status or Joy?

It’s tough to know if you want to purchase that cool thing because the thing, in and of itself, would bring you joy or because it would deliver you status (and perhaps joy through that gained status). A solution is to surround yourself with such wealth that nobody notices your new Ferrari. No heads turn, no glowing conversations commence. In that scenario, you’ll quickly learn what material goods cleanly deliver happiness (and should be purchased) and which ones were mostly about how others viewed you (and should be avoided).

look for personal bluffs. Call them. Try to understand why you would want to believe something that isn’t true.

But Martin knew Billy to be a generalist, a man in need of the sweetness of miscellany.

I know how it is to live in the inescapable presence of the absence of the father.

Billy went for his ball, kissed it once, massaged it, chalked and toweled his right hand, spat in the spittoon to lighten his burden, bent slightly at the waist, shuffled and slid, a bazoo-bazoo, boys, threw another strike: not just another strike, but a titanic blast this time which sent all pins flying pitward, the cleanest of clean hits, perfection unto tidiness, bespeaking power battening on power, control escalating.

He salted his oatmeal and spiced it with raisins, those wrinkled and puny symbols of his own dark and shriveling years.

She was remote cousin to Charlie’s mother and would want to lend whatever strength she had to the troubled family, a surge of good will that would now be intrusive.

a reporter whose stories were so sugary that you risked diabetic coma if you read them regularly.

Pray to Jesus, but where is Jesus? Jesus, Charlie, sits at my desk in the person of an equivocating Welsh rarebit who doesn’t understand sons because he never had any. But he understand money and news and power and decency and perhaps such things as these will help save the boy we remember. (more…)