Today is a sad day. I didn’t receive any junk email. I used to spend 30 minutes before sleep unsubscribing from distribution lists. I called pharmacies and told them I don’t need Viagra. I replied to all money offers that say $1,000,000 is waiting for me in some bank account and told them the amount should be $1,078,347. I won. For a few minutes I felt satisfaction but then I understood I just lost my meditation time of clearing junk emails. I can’t wait for someone to put my email address in some website that promise not to share it.
How come if your profile picture is the same for long time, Facebook tells you maybe it’s time to change it. After the age of 6 I kind of grasp the notion of time passing by and not sure I need a responsible adult to remind me of it. Do they want to make sure people are not in denial of their age? Why rub salt into the wound? Or is it just another reason to have traffic on the network? I am planning of keeping the same profile picture until the age of 84. Then I will ask someone to replace it with a picture of my grave.
I wonder why the default GPS voice is a woman voice?
I wonder how many people change the default to a man voice.
I also wonder what would have happened if the default was a man voice. Would most of the people will immediately look for ways to switch it to a woman voice?
They always said that men don’t like to get driving directions from a woman. So how come they accept it from a GPS woman? Is it because she doesn’t exist? I wonder if they would be OK with actual GPS woman sitting near them on the passenger seat and giving them instructions?
I wonder why the default for movie trailers is a man voice. What is so special in the man voice that makes it superior to a woman voice in movie trailers?
Why can we hear man say “story full with blood, pain, tears and romance. Story about a person that keeps fighting against all odds” while on the other hand we hear the woman say “turn right, turn left, make a u turn”?
Actually I tried switching my GPS voice to a man voice and it was a weird experience. I immediately felt I can’t stand him and that he is bragging only because he knows the way better than I do. I switched it back after 5 minutes. How come women are OK listening to another woman giving them directions?
Since I am not doing much with my life, I have time to read all kinds of motivational quotes hoping that I will stumble upon the quote that will change my life. “Life before the quote” and “life after the quote”. I see myself in the future sitting in front of the journalist and answering the question “so when was the time you decided to drop everything and become a race car driver” and I will humbly smile and answer “it all started from this quote I read 10 years ago”.
I think I am now very familiar with all those quotes that I can write my own article which will be a random mix of quotes I know. I might be a failure myself but that doesn’t mean I can’t coach others to be successful people living meaningful lives. Whenever they ask me what I am doing for a living besides coaching them I will just say “let’s just say I am waking up every day with a smile.” And I will smile.
I think I will start with the quote ” Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” by Confucius. This could have been THE quote that makes the difference for me. However, I am still stuck on traffic every day on my way to a job I just tolerate and not love (and that’s also on a good day). So I guess it didn’t work out for me until now.
But before I become a coach I need to figure out one quote that really bothers me. Usually, it is not used as a quote by itself but more as an extension to existing quotes. It goes something like,
“We have one time on this earth. Don’t wake up and realize you are old and haven’t done the things you dreamed about”
Now, I am all for the idea it’s good to regret things you didn’t do when you were younger. I am a firm believer that people should be punished and suffer in their lifetime for not following their dreams. It’s a good introduction to the hell that is waiting for them after they die. The problem I have is with the definition of the word ‘old’. When is exactly the age that “from there it’s too late?” The age from which I should start sitting on a lonely bench in some park and regret my life? Is it 64? 39? 75? 29? 119?
It bothers me since I don’t want to wake up one day and figure out it’s about time I start regretting. I’d rather know how many years I have before the time comes to mourn about my missed life. I would love it to be a nice age like 85 since there is a good chance I won’t be here to stop everything and start sobbing. It also gives me a few good years to follow my dreams. After all George Eliot said “It is never too late to be what you might have been”. For him there is no good time to enjoy beating yourself up. I guess you can still become a pilot in the age of 97.
But the only reason that made me spend 8 minutes of my life writing this is I read the quote:
“Don’t wake up and realize you are old…”
with a specific age.
“Don’t wake up and realize you are 60 years old…”
Let me read it again. 60 years old. 60????
The article was titled “Advice from old people”. Although the picture showed someone that looked 88 the quote mentioned the age of 60. Which makes me think the writer was 27 and it should have been titled “Advice to some old people” instead of “Advice from some old people”. The writer advises people older than 60 years old to go to sleep and never wake up if they don’t want to spend their time crying about their lives. It wouldn’t be such a big of a deal if the blog was another one of those popular blogs being read by 7 people. As of now the view count is 3, 669, 143 (!!!). Statistically, taking into consideration the age distribution in the world, around 15% are older than 60. Let’s assume mainly young people are wasting their time reading motivational blogs. It still leaves us with around 10% of “old” people who read the advice. Let’s also assume 9.9% of them didn’t follow their dream (according to the last research made by myself of how many people fulfilled their dreams in their life) and let’s add 0.1% of those in the ages of 58 and 59 that planned to join a university and get a degree and now understand it’s too late for them. That leaves us with around 370,000 people who read the so-called “advice” and right now are shedding tears about their miserable missed lives.
The writer implies that once you get to the age of 60 it’s too late. You are done. No more soup (dreams) for you. Even if your life dream was quitting your job at the age of 60 and moving to some beach house in Hawaii, it is too late. Better start packing, but not to Hawaii. It’s time to get going as the death train is about to leave. I guess for different people the line between living your life and looking back at your life crosses at a different age. For the Beatles band for example the border is 64. After all, they wrote in their great song “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?”. They are kind enough to give you four more years to purse your dreams. John Lennon was murdered at the age of 40 so he is not part of the equation and we shouldn’t disturb his peace. George Harrison died at the age of 58 while he was still young and living the life. Paul McCartney, 74, and Ringo Starr, 76, are spending 10/12 years respectively being too old. Maybe they should re-write the song and change the age to 83. This will give them a few more years to stay young.
I now have a dream. To wake up 60 years old, learn French and sign myself into a famous cooking school in France. Graduate at the age of 64, just before it’s too late according to the Beatles, and become a chef in one of the most prestigious restaurants in France. Sit every evening in a different coffee shop spending my time people watching with my beautiful French girlfriend. Then if the guy who wrote this article is still alive I would give him a call. Not sure he is going to answer since he will probably be in the regression phase, sitting in some basement busy moaning about the missed opportunities in his life. But if he answers the phone I will say “I know you are busy being a grumpy old man but I wanted to tell you something. I decided to ignore your recommendation, follow my dreams at the age of 60 and guess what? I made it. I made it!!!” then I would slam the phone and tell my girlfriend “so, where are we going tonight? Or maybe we could stay home and have some fun?”
Now that I think about it I kind of like the fact that I am going to start following my dreams at the age of 60. I can go to sleep and waste my time doing nothing for the next 14 years. I can at last enjoy life as I will take a break from trying to maximize my life potential and just enjoy my time on earth. Don’t try calling me 14 years from now. I will be on my way to France.
By the time I finished writing the text above the number of views of the blog advising the 60 year old people to gather their families for the last talk jumped to 3,666,449. Well, 3,666,445 if we don’t count my multiple views. That is 402 views in around 10 minutes. Forty more people who feel sorry about themselves and looking to jump from some roof.
Note: For the 3 people who took a break for a few minutes from their dreams pursuit and read the useless text above I first would like to apologize for doing it to you. Anyhow, if you want to waste another 2 minutes – this time out of your own will – there is a link below to the “Advice from some old people” article. Advice number 16. Just take into consideration it might reach the 4,000,000 views once you read it so take a calculator and update the numbers above. If you share my post, please share it with people 60 years old or older. If you share the blog below, please make sure you share it with people 55 years old or younger. For people 55-60 years old you can share both. The only thing which makes me sad is the blog below has ruined the mood for 370,000 people and I will only help 1-2 people.
I wonder when is a good age to start regretting my life.
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 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.
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: