Alex’s Analysis – I Am Mortal

posted by on 30th March 2013, at 7:27pm

It’s not a joke. It’s not a bragging right. It’s not a pathetic cry for a round of undeserved sympathy. All it is is a personal revelation I’ve had fairly recently.

I am mortal. Simple.

I cannot float things with my mind. I would not be able to do any better than those lifetime devoted hockey players when they make a bad move. Despite training in martial arts for 7 years, I don’t know how I would handle a street fight, if at all. I don’t know everything, and quite a bit of the stuff I do know is incorrect or out of date. I don’t remember everything I’m told, and contrary to personal belief, I cannot do homework while watching TV.

Yeah, it sounds a little depressing, doesn’t it. But I won’t just take it like this. I’m not just going to accept the fact and leave it at that. I’m doing something about it. I’m taking responsibility. I am looking to improve myself every day. I try new things and I take interest in uninteresting things. I accept other points of view in something I feel I’ve mastered.

If they offer, I accept it. If they refuse, I understand. I don’t recognize any of those dishes to be anything edible, but load me up anyways! Seconds? I’m full, but I’ll have some more if you don’t want any. I don’t like drinking beer, but I’ll have one bottle to toast with. It’s only proper, after all. I see that I can no longer fit anything into the garbage can, so that’s when I take it out. Big giant stack of dishes near the sink; better go clean them as soon as I can.

… OK, I know what you’re thinking. What’s the point of me saying all this? Have I gone crazy? Did I just get beaten up or did I discover God or something? I’m just rambling on. Most of it is all common sense, after all.

Exactly. Common sense.

Many of us forget what common sense is. The problem is that we don’t realize it. When asked “Where’s your common sense?”, we just say “I’ve got lots of common sense!”. And then nothing happens after. The person who was asked never asks “why do you think I have no common sense?” or “what makes you ask that?”.

And no, I didn’t get beaten up, nor did I find God (K is much too busy for me anyways). I just had the cruel reality thrust at me one time and I took it to heart. I’m not ashamed to admit that tears were shed as a result. And let me tell you, it’s been one of the best things that has ever happened to me in my delicate mortal life. Didn’t matter if I had bruises or not at the end of it; it stops hurting after a while, and I became (at least I hope) a better person afterwards.

If you haven’t already, I can promise that you too will soon have this experience where you come to the realization that you are, in fact, mortal. It may come from a lecture from somebody. Or a death in the family or someone close to you. Maybe you’ll get beaten up, or witness someone get run over. Some people don’t get it until they’re jailed or even killed.

It may even happen several times. Just accept it when it comes and don’t think nothing of it. The purpose of these events is to learn something from it. Otherwise they’ll just keep on happening and get more and more annoying over time.

And it’s not just having the experience, it’s what you make out of it. I’ve seen people take it entirely the wrong way, taking it to an extreme. They think that everything they do is wrong, or become depressed and alcoholic in an attempt to escape the cruel reality rather than acknowledge it, or believe that there is a God and he has blessed them with infinite wisdom that they absolutely must tell everybody about (please don’t, it gets intolerable).

So for my free article this month, I’m not going to write something entertaining. I’m going to write something beneficial.

What I want to do is help ease you guys into receiving this event. When the experience does come, it won’t be as painful. At the best, you’ll even be prepared for it after this talk. You can stop reading if you want, but if you’re not prepared for it, it will be painful, and you will more likely take it the wrong way.

Please note that there will be times where I will ask you to speak aloud. When I do so, I want you to go ahead and speak. Disregard the people around you. When questioned why you are talking to a computer screen, you may simply answer that you are doing an interactive exercise like you see those therapy doctor shows put their audiences through. In fact, invite them to join you. It’ll be fun!

All right, you ready? Then let’s begin.

First, ask yourself if you have any common sense. I’m serious, ask yourself right now. Do you have common sense? Please answer aloud.

… did you just say the words “pretty sure”, “should”, or “might”? Unacceptable! No confidence! It’s a yes or no question. True or false. Black or white. A or B. 1 or 0.

So let’s try again. Do you have common sense? Say it. Say it out loud.

That’s better.

Funny thing is that it’s a very strange question to answer. No matter how you answer it, it’s almost always wrong. If you answer “no”, you do have the common sense to admit you have no common sense, so the answer would really be “yes”. But if you answer “yes”, can you support your claim?

Chances are very high that you indeed said yes. If you did say “no”, I’m actually quite proud of you, because in that spur of a moment, up until now having had no common sense whatsoever, you have just gotten yourself some common sense. So either way, your answer is “yes”.

With that in mind; how much common sense do you have? Are you the pinnacle of common sense? Or do you have none whatsoever? And are you going to do anything about it? Again, I do not accept the word “should”. “Will” or “will not”. Binary. Confidence.


Now, next question: do you have a mound of dishes in your kitchen, or an overflowing garbage bag, or a messy room? Do you have an unmowed lawn or unshovelled snow on your walk? Do you have chores that were not done the moment you noticed they needed doing and had ample time to do them between that moment and you reading this? Are you even reading this to distract yourself from the responsibility? Be honest with yourself. And answer aloud. Go ahead, speak to the screen.

In fact, if this makes you stop reading and go do something more important in what you believe is a fit of rebellion, then I’ve had the exact effect on you that I wanted and I am satisfied.

This is why house rules are made; nobody has the common sense to do simple chores when they present themselves out in the open. Even if the observer does, in fact, have some time to do them. But the observer doesn’t want to do them, and they try to occupy their time with something more trivial and simpler so they could use the excuse that they are “too busy” or “don’t have time”.

What? You really don’t have time? Well, why is that, then? What are you doing that takes up so much time? Goodness sakes, I’m sure you at least have the weekend, or right after you get home, or just before you go to bed. Or maybe you can wake up 15 minutes early. One thing at a time even for 5 minutes each day. I’m sure you’ve at least got that.

Chores are not meant to be enjoyed, they’re meant to be done. So if it helps, you may as well enjoy them. Turn it into a game. Set a time record. Let’s see how clean I can make this room in 15 minutes!

Next question: what would you do if you were thrown into a bar fight or get mugged on the street, and are you physically capable of doing so to a moving target that would probably get the first shot in up close or from behind? I guarantee they will be the ones to strike first, and they will do it when you least expect.

Half a second. That’s all it takes. Can you, without initially thinking of it, defend yourself from a punch in half a second? Time yourself and see.

In fact, here’s a quick little exercise to help answer this one:

You have an analog clock in your room? A wall-mounted clock or a watch, or even the clock that appears in your computer’s Change Date/Time settings. No, don’t look at it yet. What I want you to do is face the clock with your eyes closed. Then after maybe 15 seconds or so, open your eyes and look at the clock. Once you look at it, look where the second hand is pointing. Then, before it moves, pretend you are being punched and the punch is coming from the direction the second hand is pointing.

If it points at the 12, it’s coming for your nose. If it points at 6, it’s going for your waist. 9 or 3, it’s at your respective shoulders. 4-5 or 7-8, it’s at your right/left ribs, and 1-2 or 10-11, it’s a haymaker to the right/left side of your face.

Now, while watching the clock, try to block that “punch” before you see the second hand move. Once it does move (tick), the punch has landed.

Ready? GO!

What do you think? Did you make it in time? And would your block have worked if the punch used bone-shattering force? Did you cross your hands in front? Did you try evading? Diverting the force? And what would you do if they had a follow-up?

Try it out every so often. Don’t do it too often in a row, because that would lead to anticipation (you would know approximately where the hand is pointing). Also, note that sometimes it will be much faster to move, and sometimes you’ll have a good load of time to do it. It’s a very good exercise; you train yourself not to anticipate anything.

Next question: are you one to take something completely apart to “see what was wrong” even though you have no proper education on the subject, nor any references or guides on the proper way of doing it?

…OK, you can probably give that one to “innocent curiosity”, but the idea is there. You should at least have a guide or something so you know what you’re doing, because if you break the insides, you will be left with some false information, a voided warranty, and an even more unfixable object. Despite being unable to break something that’s already broken, that is still lack of common sense. For all you know, a simple bead of crazy glue in the right place and it would be working even better than when it was new!

Last question: when you watch a sports program, do you call the players idiots for poorly executed moves, uncoordinated plays, and all-around mishaps? Did the ref make a bad call and put it in place before a replay could be shown? You think you could do better?

Again, I won’t criticize you for this one. It’s half the fun of watching sports in the first place, and it’s very good conversation material for the day after. But still, behind that excuse, the argument is not as justified as you may think.

Keep in mind that unlike your omniscient capabilities, all those players down there are playing in first-person. Half the time they have no idea what’s going on or what to do next. Plus, after moving so much, they are exhausted at least to the point of hyperventilation. Part of the strategy behind sports is finding cool-off time and conserving energy so that the players do not limit themselves.

Also, these players have committed their lives to the sport. They work out every day, cut cookies and ice cream out from their diet, and they take bumps and bruises way more than you see on TV. Hardly anyone gives them the respect they deserve just for their self-control and concentration to continue playing properly under the stress of fatigue, being watched by millions, and putting this pain out of their minds. Incredible commitment and devotion! Trust me, a 9-5 job would be a cakewalk for these guys.

As for the ref’s bad calls, you can’t really blame him. He’s viewing the field in first person as well; plenty of blind spots to go around. And why do you think that they don’t show the replay so the entire host of referees can confirm their suspicion before the call is made? Because mostly everybody doesn’t like to wait for the footage to be put on the screen for review. That’s right, the ref makes bad calls because of the audience! It’s our fault! In fact, if we did wait, the players would get an extra moment to breathe and the game could become a lot more exciting!

That’s all for now. I’d keep on going, but Shane doesn’t like it when I’m smarter than him.

Cheers, cannoneers!

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