Moose Mug Irony and Other Points to Ponder

“Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Once when I was on vacation in Lake Tahoe, I decided to spend my hard-earned money in the best way possible, by entering a tourist trap gift shop and buying myself a set of four moose mugs. I’m not talking about the clear glass moose mugs like in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. (“Is your house on fire, Clark?” “No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.”) These mugs were tall, mustard yellow and had big moose silhouettes in black, very Lake Tahoe. [insert ironic tone] I had to have them. I just LOVE irony, plus anything that helps me tell a story. 🙂 As it turns out, life is full of ironic twists and turns, worst case scenarios, and don’t-try-this-at-home moments.

When you become a parent, you find out many ironic things about people. I was a perfect parent, once upon a time, in my dreams, before I became a parent. You know the type? Yeah, well I’m sorry. When we have a situation we are usually much more understanding toward others facing the same situation. When we have no idea what we are talking about, we sure have a lot to say, don’t we? Ours is ALWAYS a special circumstance, explanation, convenient reason…….everyone else has NO excuse. I’ve had my share of “special circumstances”. It’s easy to fall back on these as reasons why we can’t. Sooner or later though, we will meet someone with enormous obstacles and serious life challenges, and this person will be more than a survivor. This person will succeed spectacularly and make us feel like whiny schmoes.

There is the irony of the people who walk the red carpet and have more than a lot of people would ever dream of having, but live such dreadfully unhappy lives. Others with maybe not as much in the way of worldly possessions feel rich in friends and family and the simple joys of being alive. Our family has been hit quite hard along with many others during these financial adjustment times. We’ve had to live with friends and family. This week, I am sleeping in my own bed and using my own dresser, which I haven’t been able to do in over a year and a half. We also finally have our own washer and dryer. I am feeling very thankful as I listen to the swishing and tumbling of these machines, look out my own kitchen window, or lay the baby down to nap (safely bolstered with pillows) on my own bed. Household chores might be a source of stress for some, but for those without a home of their own, having their own floor to sweep is indeed a blessing.

The childless long for noses to wipe and diapers to change. Orphans long for parents to tell them what to do and get in their business and care. Those battling cancer see yet another birthday as a celebration of life and not something to dread. Irony, it turns out, is everywhere. With the proper perspective, however, we can all see things in a more positive, if ironic, light.

The Courage to Do Things Differently

“We all have different desires and needs, but if we don’t discover what we want from ourselves and what we stand for, we will live passively and unfulfilled.”

 Bill Watterson  (American Author of the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes, b.1958)

You may or may not be familiar with the campy 80’s horror movie, The Stuff. In it, a delicious marshmallow cream-like substance was found bubbling up from the earth. It became all the rage, replacing all other food. However, something strange happens as people begin ingesting more and more of “The Stuff”, and I got this straight from IMDB, “But the sugary treat rots more than teeth when zombie-like snackers begin infesting the world.” Seriously, this movie is silly, and fun, and a little bit concerning, if you can get past the cheese factor. I was put in mind of it this morning because of the fact that I was eating vanilla yogurt and granola, and the yogurt reminded me that it is definitely a better idea to be in charge of what you eat, instead of what’s eating you. *chuckle*

But I digress…the point is that we all like different things, have different styles in everything from home decor to music to the color we paint (or don’t) our toenails. The world is made up of a kaleidoscope of different kinds of people. We don’t even look the same. In spite of the loud and obnoxious message that is pumped into our conscious minds at all hours by a greedy consumer industry, we are NOT happier when we are just like everyone else.

I have a friend who lived, like I did, in a small home town, grew up, went to college, had some bad relationships, and is now working and deliriously happy in South Carolina, working as a nurse in a cancer treatment center. I have other friends who have traveled the world to find happiness right back where they started in Quincy, California, a little logging town, a couple of hours away from Lake Tahoe. The point is, we all have to find the life that makes us happy, and go out and do the work necessary to live it. Of course I mean our best, positive life here; no one should pursue a life of robbing banks, etc.

The principle goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done – men who are creative, inventive and discoverers.

Jean Piaget (born on August 9, Swiss psychologist and pioneer in the study of child intelligence, 1896-1980)

It is actually very exciting when you think about it. Your life has the potential to contain all kinds of adventures and experiences! You could start today to work toward getting your pilot’s license, or take dance lessons, or learn to sing opera, or build a house, or speak Russian, or ANYTHING!! Your life can be as rich in actuality as your imagination will allow. There is no reason to hang back and bide your time waiting for “someday”. The main reason isn’t even because life is shorter than we think it is, although that’s true. The main reason is that this is YOUR life. The sooner you take responsibility for it, the better you will be at planning and making decisions that affect it.

Instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses, or Davises, or the Kennedys, STOP and really think about what you want in YOUR life. When you get to know them, you might be surprised to find that the Joneses and Davises and Kennedys are trying hard to keep up with someone else. Thus lives the rat race, all of us, coveting things we have no idea what to do with, in order to have a life someone else doesn’t even want, chasing our tails. As Susan Powter would say, “STOP THE INSANITY!!” Yes, I went there. Really, she had a lot of good points.

You were made YOU on purpose. There is no need to change that or feel ashamed. You don’t have to spend your life trying to be someone else, and you SHOULDN’T. Trust me, you’ve got your hands full with the one life you’ve got.

This is what the Lord says—
    he who made a way through the sea,
    a path through the mighty waters,
 who drew out the chariots and horses,
    the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
    extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
 “Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.
 The wild animals honor me,
    the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
    the people I formed for myself
    that they may proclaim my praise. Isaiah 43 : 16-21