Megalomania's only mania if you're wrong

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And My Name is Death

Added on by Kevan Loy.

The Childhood Camping Trip and the Story of Finn McCool

When I was child I went on a camping trip with my father. One night, the smoke rising from the crackling fire we'd built, my father swallowed a gulp of some blue wine cooler and said, "Son, I'm going to play this song and I want you to think about it." I told him that I would, but he reiterated it as though I'd said nothing at all, "No, son, I want you to really think about it."

The Last Nine Months

have been an incredibly trying time for me with Kyle's accident and for my family because of similar, albeit not directly related reasons,. I don't say "my family and I" because I'm not sure it has actually been hard for me; it certainly has been a learning experience however.

In early February one of my uncles passed away and then, in March, my pseudo-grandfather1 passed away as well. While pretty much everyone else was emotional, I had basically no response whatsoever.

I imagine you're probably thinking something to the effect of "You cold, emotionless bastard!" The truth (or at least a portion of it anyhow) is twofold: I was simply too caught up in pondering death and all of the things we do in vain attempts to make the living feel better coupled with me not really knowing the guy (I’d only met him four or five times).

Finn McCool

My father got out of his camping chair and made his way to his truck to change the CDs and blast the song into the smoke-filled night air. The song he put on was an interpretation of an old Irish fairy tale about the hero Finn McCool. Finn and his companions were out hunting and the weather turned sour and so to escape it they sought refuge in a house they stumbled upon in the woods. Thinking highly of themselves, they foresaw no problem convincing the owner to allow them to spend the night; when this old sprig of a man opened the door he wasn't particularly friendly to Finn and his group.

As you might guess they were startled by the old man's lack of hospitality towards them—after all, they were the highest heroes of all the land. So, they asked the man if he knew who they were or the things they'd done on behalf of Ireland; needless to say he wasn't particularly impressed. He told Finn and his men that they could stay the night if they'd just tether the white goat running around the place. Offended, but thinking nothing of tether a goat juxtaposed against their previous adventures, they agreed. Strangely enough, Finn wasn’t able to tether the goat, so the others in his party gave it a try.

I Didn't Attend My Uncle's Funeral

but I did attend my pseudo-grandfather's. To put it simply: he looked, sounded and acted like (from what I remember anyway) what my grandfather looked, sounded and acted like—and with good reason: JD was my grandfather's brother2 (I’m pretty sure that's something damn near out of Deliverance. Interestingly—perhaps fittingly given the aforementioned awkwardness—his funeral wasn't so much about him, it was much more so about my grandfather and what wasn't about my grandfather was incorrect. The paster read directly from the eulogy printed on the funeral booklet. He botched reading it in several places stating that JD was born in Florida, that his former wife's name and his mother's name were both my grandmother's name et cetera.

Truthfully, it was like watching a funeral rerun because everyone who spoke did so as if it was my grandfather's second funeral. It was often mentioned how having JD around was like my grandfather still being alive or that they'd had a second chance with their father et cetera. It struck me as "off" while it was happening, but I didn't truly realize how little attention was paid to JD's passing until my sister mentioned something about it on our trip back toward Chicago. We talked a fair amount about the religious nature of the service because of how we were read a bunch of "feel good" passages from the bible and heard numerous times that "God took him to a better place..." and that "You should give yourself to Jesus so that you live forever...." All of this really made me question the importance of JD to the people present. Did they care about him? If so, why was his passing being used to celebrate the death of someone else? Perhaps it was that, given the situation they were doubly hurting and with such a weighty situation they didn’t know really what to do. Alternatively, maybe they genuinely felt they were doing the right by both of them.

Finn and Company's Failure and the Old Man’s Return

As the last man in the party gave up the task they were charged with, the most beautiful woman any of them had ever seen came into the main room. They were all stunned by her beauty and only one of them, Jermitt of the Love Spot (he had a spot on his head that would make women fall in love with him instantly whenever they saw it—somewhat like Medusa, but without the turning to stone bit) had the courage to talk to her. Being he a gentleman and wanting to give the woman a chance to make her own decision, he put on his charm thick, but nothing he did could get the woman to acknowledge him. He took off his cap and exposed the spot, but she ignored him still.

The men were all confused, angry with themselves and with the old man for not showing them the hospitality they expected and perhaps more so for the way in which he allowed the woman—his daughter they guessed—to treat them. As their grumbling died down, the old man came back to the room and commented that they'd failed at tethering the goat. As Finn tried to defend his group the old man walked right up to the goat and tethered him with ease and grace. Again the men were stunned for not a one of them was able to get within a few feet of the goat. At this point, Jermitt spoke up asking who the woman was and why they'd been treated so poorly and just how did he tether the goat so easily.

The old man said, "Her name is Youth and she wont speak to you now for none of you cared for her when she was yours. This goat is the World and none of you will be able to tame him, for only I can tame him and my name is Death."

My Sister and I's Conversation

reminded me of a quote from my sophomore year in college which I believe is in Herodotus's Histories, but it easily could've been from a Socratic dialogue or Montaigne's Essays. Unfortunately, Google couldn't find the quote and I'm not particularly interested in spending hours pining through thousands of pages to attribute it properly in a post. Regardless:

It doesn't matter what you do with me after I'm gone for I'll be dead! Do whatever makes you feel better about my passing.

All of this got me thinking about what I would want me funeral to be like (hopefully) some 70 years from now. And it's true, I won't be there to give a damn about it (those still kicking it should do whatever makes them feel better about it all), but for some reason I feel compelled to say I wouldn't want something like that:

  1. Make the thing about me
  2. Don't have it in a church or ball your eyes out because of me, instead go and get some drinks and talk about all the awesome shit I did and how you were involved.
  3. Move on, quickly. You're life is too short to morn the end of mine.

That latter point is perhaps the most importatn. This second, and all the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years to come; each and every one of us that is still here from second to second, minute to minute, et cetera ought to truly take advantage of that because any second now there might not be another one to follow.

We can't bind the world, but we can enjoy, appreciate and nurture the seconds we're fortunate enough to have.

  1. That's a story for another time.
  2. Okay, maybe that time is now.

There's No Open Position for "Denter of the Universe"

Added on by Kevan Loy.

For few months now I have been working for a company doing process improvements and innovations. Not to toot my own horn, but things I've created have rolled out to the entire company already; I'm working on a presentation for next week that will, hopefully, have the same results.

I've been doing this more or less as an independent contractor. When my projects started showing real results it started getting tossed around that I would get scooped up to work with the company permanently.

Today was the day that my superiors were supposed to discuss the situation with the powers that be. The men I'd been working with were fairly confident they'd be able to do something for me. Unfortunately, after the meeting it came to my attention that they wouldn't be interested in creating a position for me, but that if I found something that was available in their current job offerings they'd be happy to oblige and employ me.

Initially upset, I decided to go ahead and see what, if anything, I would be able and interested in working on for the company full-time. However, after searching through the open positions it is apparent that there is nothing I can do for them.

All of this is to say I've realized something: I'm a round peg in a square hole. There's nothing for me at this company and, in all likelihood, there's not going to be anything for me anywhere else – the only hole I'm going to be able to fit in is the one I make for myself.

There's no open position for Denter of the Universe

I Wake Up Disappointed Everytime

Added on by Kevan Loy.

I've been thinking a lot about what I ought to do with my life. I've had the feeling for a long time that I need to make a "dent in the universe" as Steve Jobs once said, but I haven't really figured out what the hell I supposed to be denting. I've banged up my proverbial fist trying to something going, but mostly nothing has happened. It turns out the world is really fucking difficult to change when you don't know how to affect the issues that need attention.

At first I thought there was something I could do with the whole Occupy thing, but that, I believe, is so far misguided and undereducated that there's not much that can be done to save it. It's not that the causes are bad, but the fact that there are so many causes wrapped up in the movement. You want to change the financial system? Great, let's fix it. Oh, you want to fix sixty-seven-thousand other things too? Yeah, that's not gonna happen. Protests work when there's a single cause (i.e. the civil rights movement, women's suffrage, et cetera). The major reason blanket protesting body doesn't work is people simply can't pay attention to that many things.

There's a great example of this in the advertising world in Ken Segall's new book Insanely Simple. The story goes something like this: Lee Clow, Segall and company are having a meeting with Jobs about advertising for a new product. Ironically enough, Jobs idea for the ad is to show off four or five features of the new device. Clow and company go back and forth with him in an attempt to get him to simply show off one new feature. Jobs, true to form, isn't into backing down and the meeting starts to get a little heated. Clow tears five sheets of paper out of his notebook and crumples them up. He throws one at Jobs as he yells, "Catch!" Jobs, looking confused, catches the ball and tosses it back to Clow who says, "That's a good ad." Clow then throws all five balls at Jobs who was unable to catch any of them. "That's a bad ad," Clow says.

People can only really handle one thing, so here's my advice: let's throw one thing--really fucking hard--and get it done. When we're done with that, let's move on to the next item on the list and so forth until the world is the way we want it. We're never going to get anywhere throwing hundreds of ideas out and seeing what sticks. We need to realize we're not going to be able to accomplish everything all at once. Further, we're not going to be able to please everybody and the long we let ourselves believe that delusion and try to keep it alive, the longer things stay the same.