What if you knew it was the last time?

The last time you read your child a book,

the last time you put him behind  you when you rode the bicycle and he held you tight,

the last time you told him to be careful before he used his bike,

the last time you told him to do his homework,

the last time you helped him solve a math problem,

the last time you dressed him,

The last time he cried from a small scratch and you made him smile,

the last time he slept with you on the same bed,

the last time he needed help in the restroom,

the last time you helped him shower,

the last time he jumped on your back,

the last time he looked for your hand to cross the road,

the last time you bought him a kids book,

the last time he believed you when you said you had a camera that would watch him at school,

the last time you told him you would protect him and he believed you,

the last time you went hand in hand to the school door, the last time he turned to say he loves you, the last time he held you tight and didn’t want you to leave,

the last time he wasn’t embarrassed when you kissed him in front of his friends,

the last time you joined him for a school lunch,

the last time you put him on your shoulders,

the last time you wiped his mouth after ice cream,

the last time he asked for permission to do something,

the last time he asked if we could go to the park,

the last time you took him to the slide,

the last time he brought home a stone he found,

the last time you sat on a bench in the park and saw him playing with kids,

the last time he wore his monkey pajamas,

the last time he waited outside the house door so you would open with the key,

the last time you let him win a game against you,

the last time you had to run slow so he would win in a running competition,

the last time he sat in a booster seat,

the last time he rode you like a horse,

the last time he held on to you in the swimming pool,

the last time he played “Daddy’s the big monster” with you,

the last time you took him to the barber,

the last time he hid under the blanket and believed you couldn’t find him,

the last time you couldn’t leave him home alone,

the last time he had a babysitter,

the last time you told him to eat all the food from his plate,

the last time you put him on your lap in the morning,

the last time you took him to the zoo,

the last time you held him in your hands,

the last time you decided what he watched on TV,

the last time he came to visit you at work and felt proud,

the last time he asked you the meaning of a word,

the last time he was too short to take a ride on the Luna Park train,

the last time he was sure you had the answer to every question,

the last time he didn’t know the burger on his plate was once a cow,

the last time you told him the car can fly and he believed you,

the last time you came to pick him up from school and he ran into your hands like he didn’t expect to see you again,

the last time he thought there were no wars,

the last time you changed stations on the car radio so he wouldn’t hear the bad news,

the last time you told him to go to sleep because it’s after bed time,

the last time he told you he is afraid of the dark,

the last time you hugged him really tight before he went to sleep,

the last time you leaned over his forehead and kissed him softly.

 

What if you knew it was the last time?

 

 

 

The Missing Ingredient

The ambulance was cruising across the highway. Another restless shift. Why couldn’t he just be a fireman? Just having boring shifts playing cards with the guys and maybe once every few months going to fight some fire which most of the time ended up being a malfunction in the fire alarm. After all that’s what he wanted. A nice job he can have fun and get paid for it. Nothing too much. Well, of course, that’s what most of the human kind wanted. But only few chosen ones actually live to have it. Most just find themselves with a job they can’t stand and a boss they can’t stand even more. It was always a hard choice for him. In any of his jobs he found himself contemplating with the existential question of why can’t he stand his job? Is it because of the actual job or is it because of his boss? Since he couldn’t find the answer he just waited for his boss to be replaced. If it was the job he couldn’t stand, a new boss won’t make it better. If it was the boss to blame, he might start having fun.

 

He always liked cooking. That was probably the first thing he would have done if not being a paramedic. Well, as long as he doesn’t need to wake up every day to drive somewhere to do it. He liked cooking for his friends. He was actually in the process of cooking his favorite dish before jumping on the ambulance. He learned how to make this dish from some one-time guest in a cooking show he watched a few years ago. Just five more minutes in the oven and it was done. Maybe it’s for the best. There was always something missing with this dish. He remembered the guy in the show reading off the ingredient list. A phone call. He missed the last ingredient. Only one. His friends always gave him compliments for every dish he made. Not for that one. Something was missing. They called it the “unfinished dish”. No girlfriend stayed with him more than a week after cooking this dish. Women like guys who cook but only if they cook something to their taste. He knew the one missing ingredient could make the difference. He will win the perfect girl. That one ingredient would have made the dish a masterpiece. Instead of being remembered in the hospital as a paramedic that used to cook he will be remembered as an unforgettable cook that used to be a paramedic. If only he would have received this dreadful phone call one second later. His life would have meant something. He googled all over the internet and found like seventeen different ways to make the dish but none was the one he saw in that cooking show. He even tried calling the TV station but they told him the program is going off air due to low rating and they have better things to do than help someone find some so-called missing ingredient. He never got a hold of the actual show guest who made the dish.

 

The guy lying on the bed near him was definitely fighting for his life. Connected to all those machines it was obvious it’s going to be a miracle if he makes it to the hospital. He asked him to hold his hand. Looks like he was afraid to die. How does it feel like knowing the end is near? You are about to disappear from earth and if there is no heaven, reincarnation or even hell it doesn’t look like you are going to exist in any form or even get another chance. That’s all. You finish your life as “Mr. X”. If you just knew in advance. Maybe you wouldn’t have bought so many groceries that will stay to rot in the refrigerator. And you probably wouldn’t have waited so long to buy that huge TV you always dreamed of having. You could have had six donuts instead of the one you get for breakfast. After all, who cares about obesity in the last day of his life? Maybe people with cancer should consider themselves lucky. After all they have some advance notice. They can at least plan their grocery shopping better.

 

Traffic jam. Cars trying to clear the way but there is still nowhere to go. It’s not a good idea to die in a rush hour. If you can, better do it in early morning. If you woke up too late try to stay alive during the day, make sure the roads are clear and then have your heart attack. Early evening was the time between shifts and usually the “day shift” didn’t have the same patience to deal with a patient who decided to die during rush hour. They might connect him to life sustaining machines before doing everything they can to save him. He wondered if anyone ever checked statistically how many people in a life-threating situation died during the rush hour compared to other times of the day. He just wished the ambulance would make it to the hospital soon. His favorite team is on TV tonight.

 

The dying guy’s grip of his hand got tighter. Desperately trying to hold into life. But, taking all into consideration, the guy should feel lucky. There are much worse ways to die. Like in a plane crash or burning to death in some public building. When you die you want to be alone. Think about your life, your childhood, your first kiss, your first sex and your loved ones. Going back to life intersections where you could have taken a different path. Where you might have been today? For sure not in the ambulance. All those people screaming around you, sharing their death with yours distract this thought process. You might start feeling sorry for everyone else around you. It is hard enough feeling sorry for yourself. Much better dying here in the ambulance holding hands with the paramedic.

 

He stared directly into the dying guy’s sad eyes. He looked somewhat familiar. Dead people looked the same lying there. Same fear. How does it feel to die alone? No one was at the house besides him when they came. While he was still able to talk he didn’t mention anyone else. He looked lonely. Just like him. One lonely dying guy holding hands with one lonely living guy. Maybe that’s one of the main reasons you stick with your spouse, if you have one, after the age of sixty. You don’t like her, she annoys you, it feels like hell on earth to be with her in the same house but – she is going to be there in the ambulance. Sitting near you, holding your hands, maybe even crying. It makes you feel good to see someone crying on you when you are dying. Even if they are faking it so you won’t feel bad. If you are leaving this world while someone is still crying on you, you know that you made a difference. If not you, this someone might have been having fun on the beach right now. Instead he is sitting here crying.

 

The dying guy was fully dressed. Probably just came back from work. Somebody should call his office. Let them know he is not going to make it tomorrow. What if there is a major project for which he is supposed to give a presentation tomorrow. Actually, that might have been one of the reasons he had the heart attack in the first place. The room filled with all managers waiting for him to come and give the presentation. Checking their phones. The presentation is about to start. The company is going to lose so much money by having so many managers doing nothing for one hour. Almost as much as it is going to lose having them doing something in this one hour. His boss is frustrated. Thinking, why did I do this? Why did I give him this responsibility? I should have done the presentation myself if only I didn’t delegate my role to everyone around me so I can make it on time to the dates with my mistress. He shouldn’t have counted on anyone else beside himself. He never felt confident putting the project in the hands of this guy. He was always late. This time is one time too many. He better have a good reason or he is out of here. He will probably have some excuse, as usual. Something about the traffic or his mother not feeling good. He is history in this company. Not even one month’s notice. He is out today. If he can only give the presentation himself, the manager kept thinking. But what’s the point of being a manager if you are actually doing something that someone else can do much better than you?

 

He looked at the guy’s phone lying beside him. He was not lonely after all. Still had the ultimate friend, his phone. Did he have enough time to post a Facebook message saying goodbye? What about his account? Who will inherit all his wonderful pictures and funny posts? What about his Facebook friends? Are they going to come to his funeral? Are they actually going to miss him? Are they even going to notice he is dead? Some people die in their cubes while no one notices for few hours. How long does it take your Facebook friends to notice you are not posting anything? A week? Month? Year? How can they even notice when each has more than five hundred friends? Unless he unfriended them just before he was about to die. They might notice a change in the number of friends. But it will take them some time to find who it was.

 

He used to google the names of the people in the ambulance. It was interesting to see who they were, what they did in their lives. Not every time he found the right one. After all he couldn’t search for something like “Mr. X dying in an ambulance”. His phone was dead. He looked at the guy’s phone. No, he can’t do it. He can’t use the phone of a dying man. Well, still not dead but definitely on the fast lane for being one. He looked again at the phone. Maybe only this one time. Nobody is going to notice. He really wanted to google his name. The last respect he can give to someone lonely who has no one to cry on his dying bed. At least he will know who this guy was. And then, holding his hand he will feel something for him. Not like a spouse, a family member or even old friend but still something. Before the guy takes his last breath he will see someone caring for him.

 

He took the phone. The weak battery signal flashed. The battery was dying, just like its owner. They were close to the hospital. Even if the guy lying here is not dead by then, he will definitely be dead by the beginning of his next shift. He holds the phone gently almost trying not to annoy the battery hoping it will give him a few more valuable seconds. Not much time. The last thing he can afford to happen now is someone opening the door and finding him playing with the phone of a dying patient. He will probably need to look for a job as a cook. He checked again the name of the guy on the medical board. With shaking hands he typed the name. The search engine gave few results. He checked images related to the guy. Few faces appeared. One of them resembled the dying man. The phone beeped about to turn off. Last few seconds. He must find who this poor guy is. He pressed on the guy’s face on the screen and was redirected to a website. Some TV channel. He scrolled down looking for his name. There was a link to a cooking show with a list of guests. The guy name was the last one. He checked again the name of the TV channel. The name was familiar. It was the same channel he watched the cooking show with the missing ingredient. He looked at the guy again. The phone. The guy. The phone. The guest. The phone. The cook. The phone. The missing ingredient. It can’t be. It just can’t be. That’s him. That’s the last guest of the cooking show he watched. The phone died.

 

Here in front of him was lying the guy that meant so much to him. Gave a reason to his existence. His hero. He got his last chance to find the missing ingredient. Here he is sitting in front of the treasure. He just needs to find the combination to the lock.

 

He didn’t think twice. He pushed the guy aggressively waking him up. “Wake up, Wake up, please!!! I have a question. One question and then you can die!” The cook opened his eyes, probably for the last time. “Remember the show? The cooking show? What was the last ingredient? Please. Just tell me. The last ingredient. Please!” He yelled not caring if anyone would open the ambulance door. He must find the missing ingredient. The cook looked at him. He understands! He understands what he was saying. “Please”, he cried, “Please help me. What was the last ingredient???” The cook looked suffering. He was making an effort to say something. He start uttering some unrecognized words and crashed shutting his eyes for the last time. The recognized dead monotonous sound came from the machine. He cried like he never cried before. All he wanted was the missing ingredient. The ingredient missing from his dish, from his life, from his happiness. He took the cook like a baby in his arms. Someone cared for him after all.

Tamir Rice: Are you Black or White? (or The American Binary Thinking System)

Generally speaking, Americans prefer the binary thinking system. This is a very efficient way of thinking that might explain why US is the strongest country in the world but also the country with 5% of the world population and 25% of the world prisoners. The binary thinking system definition: Any complicated problem can be decoded into two simple, opposite, distinct, clear options. It’s either black or white and you must take side.

This way of thinking is most noticeable in the main stream American movies which make a clear distinction between the good guys and the bad guys. Good guys can’t have any fault and bad guys are only evil. Once you are out of those movies you have a feeling of immense satisfaction. The good prevailed, the bad guys got punished,  and the world is back in order. After watching most European movies you go to sleep depressed and with a headache.

A relevant example is the latest statement by Donald Trump, the republican candidate for presidency, after the San Bernardino massacre:

“Muslims should not be allowed to enter the US”.

The original problem: Many extreme Muslims are terrorists; they belong to different terror organizations, religious streams, and have themselves conflicting interests. They kills people all over the world including other Muslims. We need to find ways to track those people once they are in the US, or prevent them from entering the country.

The problem after translating to the binary system: Do you think ANY Muslim should be allowed to enter the US?”. Either all Muslims are good or bad. You must take side. You can’t sit on the fence. Once defining the problem in simple terms it makes it approachable to all levels of the population regardless of education level. You don’t need to understand the subject of the terror to it’s depth with the history, root causes and motives of all sides in the equation. Once the problem simplified all you need to decide is are you Pro Muslim or Anti Muslim. Two clear options, black or white. No gray. The debate can now be handled by people with zero knowledge of religion, terror, conflicts and history.

Tamir Rice is a 12 years old African American boy who played with a toy gun and was killed by a policeman within two seconds of arriving on the scene. The binary system comes into effect in the following  911 conversation (word by word) between the guy who called to report about Tamir Rice playing with a gun in the park and the 911 Dispatcher.

911 Dispatcher: “What does he look like?” (spoiler: she wants to know his skin color)

Guy (naive): “He has a camouflage hat on”

911 Dispatcher (making it clear): “Is he black or white?

Guy (did we say naive?): “Gray. He has gray coat with black sleeves and gray pants.”

911 Dispatcher (No skin color, no police): “Is he black or white?

Guy (begin to wake up from his “we are all human beings” dream): “I am sorry???”

911 Dispatcher (punching the knock-out blow):

Is he BLACK or WHITE?

Notice that in all 3 questions she kept the order the same. First black and second white.

Guy (defeated and almost apologizing, whispering): “He is Black…”.

911 Dispatcher (once the skin color is clear, we can move on) : “He has a Camel Jacket and gray pants?” (Wrong. she hasn’t been listening to any clothing details since she was obsessed with the skin color)

Guy (back to square one): “No, he has a camouflage hat on”

So, either the 911 dispatcher assumed that the boy must be black or white, or maybe what she is actually asking is: Is he black or not?”. Meaning, every skin color should be categorized as either black or non-black (white). If that is the case, to which category should we assign brown, dark white, light black and other skin colors? I assume all belong to the “white” bucket. The multi color problem is simplified to white and black options. Either you are [black] or [white = white, olive, brown, yellow].

Maybe It’s about time America will look in the mirror and understand she is not wearing only black or white clothes. It is about time to upgrade from the black-white binary system of the 1950’s to the 2016 rainbow  – White/Brown/Olive/Black/Other. And guess what, they all can be good people or bad people. And they all can be that guy that is playing with his gun in the park. With the popular terror attacks by middle eastern guys, brown is going to become very popular skin color when it gets to a terror scene. Black and white might not be good enough to describe the suspect. Let’s add brown before it’s too late.

So, Tamir Rice, are you black or white?

 

Link to the 911 conversation:

Top10Thoughts: Tornado in America

 

  1. The United States averages about 1000 recorded tornadoes every year. Annually tornadoes cause an average of 1,500 injuries. On average, 80 deaths each year are directly attributed to the 1000 tornadoes reported.

 

  1. The U.S. record for the fastest tornado winds occurred at Wichita Falls in northwest Texas on April, 2, 1958 with a wind speed of 258 mph.

 

  1. Number of Tornado Shelters built in US on average per year: 800. Approximately 10,000 lives are saved each year due to shelters.
  2. Schools standard building requirement: resist 90-mph (145 km/h), straight-line winds.

 

  1. The weakest EF1 tornadoes speed can reach 110 mph (177 km/h). EF5 tornados speed average between 261-318 mph.

 

  1. Chances that your kid school have tornado shelter: 0-1%

 

  1. Chances your kid will survive direct hit of EF-4 tornado: Depends how good he covered his head and if the storm spared the music room.

 

  1. US annual budget: $3.8 trillion. Authorities recommendation for surviving Tornado’s: At home – Hide in your bathroom under a blanket. On the road – lie flat in the nearest ditch, if you are lucky to find one. At a mobile home – run away. In all cases – Pray.

 

  1. Average cost of building your own private storm shelter: $3,000 – $22,000. FEMA might help (or not).

 

  1. Conclusions:

.

  • Does the country think it have general responsibility to protect its citizens from Tornado’s: No. The state: No. The city: No.
  • Do they leave it for the individual financial capabilities? Yes.
  • Do you have more chance of surviving if you are rich: Yes.
  • Does it have anything to do with the capitalistic life philosophy: Yes.
  • Does it have any similarities to the way America sees health care: If you have money you have it, if not you die? Yes.
  • If you know for sure that a tornado EF-4 will hit your kids school will you let him go to school the same day? No. Are you gambling on your kid’s life when letting him go to school: YES!

 

 

Top10Thoughts: Christmas

  1. I am getting close to the time my kids will know the difference between $19.99 gift and $39.99 gift.

 

  1. I wonder when is the time my kids will be embarrassed from getting mind games.

 

  1. I have twins and I failed in my calculations and bought one of them one more gift than the other. I guess counting on him to nurture me when I am old is out of the question.

 

  1. I wonder if Chang from China worked double shift before Christmas for $1.36 per hour so I can buy my kid the new $49.99 Star Wars toy which he is going to throw away after 12.5 minutes.

 

  1. I wanted to be patriotic and buy my child “made in USA” gift but the factory closed last month.

 

  1. I suggested to put name sticker on each family member since some of them I see once every 5 years on Christmas. They didn’t like the idea.

 

  1. You are trying desperately to keep on fooling your kids there is Santa. “One gift from me and one from Santa”. They are not going to give up on the Santa’s gifts so easily. There comes a time from which they fool you to think that they think there is Santa. “Daddy, can you leave some carrots for the reindeers? They will probably be tired running so many miles with my Xbox”

 

  1. The average age a child understands there is no Santa went down from 10 years old in 2004 to 5.5 years old in 2015. With that rate by 2025 they will be born knowing there is no Santa. Come up with a backup plan.

 

  1. According to my calculations I spent $325 on gifts and received $280 gifts. I tried to sell them as used items and got $150. That means my Net Loss from this Christmas is $175. I knew I shouldn’t have bought this Artistic Chess case that is hand made especially for me and other 3 million people.

 

  1. 364 days a year I preach to my kids that life is not about money and materialistic possessions. On Christmas, while sitting in front of their gifts mountain, they understand I was a cheap liar.

Top10Thoughts – “Star Wars The Force Awakens”

 

  1. Its enough to have one speaking role for African American actor and one for Chinese to justify the other 538 white actors in the movie. Who knows how many African American/Asian/Hispanic actors wasted gas, money, and energy to audition for this movie. I won’t even be surprised if the audition call mentioned “color blind”. Actually, they might have been behind the masks and under the costumes. You can get $150 a day for that role.

 

  1. You can develop a weapon that can destroy planets by sucking sun energy but it can be destroyed with a few small explosives that you put in 3 random points.

 

  1. You can’t save the world without looking good.

 

  1. You can be an insignificant soldier for the empire of the galaxy but, you can still know exactly what and where is the location to hit their 300 billion dollars’ weapon.

 

  1. They almost had a romance between a white girl and African American guy but they resisted the temptation.

 

  1. Adults can enjoy a movie with a childish plot as long as they see enough explosions and strange creatures.

 

  1. According to the reactions of the audience, not sure why they have a plot at all. All they have to do is to put some pictures of the old spaceship, the old robot and 2-3 old characters from the previous movies to make the audience cheer frantically.

 

  1. You can be captured by evil creatures that can kill you any second but still have a sense of humor – “so who talk first. Do I talk first, do you talk first…”

 

  1. If two men meet on a bridge on top of a scary abyss, one has to fall.

 

  1. They made sure the African American and the old guy will not be in the sequel.

 

Written by Nathan Amir.

 

Sentences you will not hear in the year 2037

 

  1. “I miss you” – you can’t miss someone when you can call/text/skype/WhatsApp/Facebook/twitter/Instagram/Snapchat with him any given moment of your existence. Another option is the time length required to miss someone will be shortened from 2 months to 3 minutes.

 

  1. “I would love to meet you in person” – why?

 

  1. “You can mail us at 123 X Dr.” – letters will be out at around 2024.

 

  1. “How do I get to …?” – GPS is God number 1.

 

  1. “Do you know the meaning of …?” – google is God number 2.

 

  1. “Where can I buy…? – Amazon is God number 3

 

 

  1. “Can I get your number…?” – phone numbers will disappear.  Connections will be done only via social media app.

 

  1. “Stay with us. We will be back after the commercial break” – Nobody will have the patience to wait for 3 minutes without switching a channel. Also since video on demand will replace all existing channels commercial breaks will be redundant.

 

  1. “Can I borrow a pen?” – Any writing material except keyboard will disappear from the world. Of course, keyboard will disappear as well but it will take 20-30 more years.

 

  1. “Your son has an amazing memory. He is such a great student” – In the google era good memory has no advantage. On the contrary, it takes energy from the brain that can be used to solve complicated problems. The sentence will be replaced by “Your son is using his memory for no apparent reason”

 

  1. “My dad is working in a factory” – The sentence will only be used by Chinese kids until the late 2060s. They will stop using it as well once robots will replace all man work. The sentence will be replaced by “My dad is working as a machine backup in a factory”.

 

  1. “Can you take a look under the hood?” – Nobody has any idea how the computerized engines work beside few engineers. The sentence will be replaced by “Do you want to buy this piece of junk?”

 

  1. “I sat with her in the classroom and I just knew she is the one for me” – Online learning will replace all physical classrooms. The only way to meet other students is by Skype. This sentence will be replaced by “She looked so cute on the screen so I just had to ask her out”.

 

  1. “He is so good in spelling” – With autocorrect text all you need to know is maybe 2 consonants and one vowel from each word. The natural ability to spell will not be needed and will be still required only in spelling bee competitions held in schools with 75 years old teachers that still think it is cool.

 

 

  1. “can I borrow your book?” – no papers, no books. The word borrow will not be used with the word book in the same sentence ever again.

 

  1. “Today is my grandparent’s golden anniversary” – five years long marriage will be rare let alone fifty. The sentence will be replaced by “My parents just celebrated their 3rd year of marriage!!!”

 

 

  1. “All please stand for a minute of silence” – Nobody will be able to stand still for one minute without talking/moving/texting. The only term which will be used will be a moment of silence and it will average between 5 and 15 seconds.

 

  1. “I had to stay long in the office” – remote connection will make offices useless. Even if you will work in an office there will be no reason to actually stay late since you can do the same work remotely. One less excuse for cheaters.

 

  1. “He was such a curious child. He broke everything to see how it works” – kind of tricky to put back together circuit boards.

 

  1. “Did you know his parents are divorced?!” – Divorce rate will be around 85% so the exception will be the kids to married couples. The sentence will be replaced by “Did you know his parents are married?!”

 

  1. “she has a fake boobs” – Most body parts will be replaced to last longer and look better. The sentence will be replaced by “I can’t understand why she s sticking to the same old boobs”