Go

I’d like to talk about something that I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ve found that modern society has made it fairly easy to coast through life. With really, a bare minimum of effort you can get through school, find a job, find someone to spend your time with, get a house, bills and responsibilities. You can simply become one of the masses. Each of these things does have its individual hurdles and heartaches. There are difficulties alone the way, but it’s not really difficult. Most of you are likely on some part of this path right now and let’s face it; it wasn’t non-stop effort to get here.

I recently read a book called The Information. I got it from the library and it took me $5.00 in late fees to finish reading it. One of the big revelations in that book for me was the fact that regardless of the possibility of life on other planets, the vast majority of the universe is dead. Most of it was never alive. If you were to average it out, life would be the anomaly. Life is the part that doesn’t quite fit. If the universe were a perfect machine, life simply wouldn’t exist.

Life is the part of the universe that doesn’t play by the rules. It is the chaos. And the last thing it does is what’s expected of it.

Now I’m rereading a book by Timothy Ferriss called The 4-Hour Workweek. Like The Information, there are things in there that I haven’t quite wrapped my head around. However, one of the main themes of all of Ferriss’ work is that you don’t have to do things the way everyone else does. More to the point, if you want a different experience out of life than what most people get, the best way to do that is not to act like most people.

Now when I put all of this together, a few things become clear to me. One is that our individual thoughts and desires are among the rarest commodities in the known universe. The fact that I’m writing this and you’re reading it is more amazing than anything we’ll find among the stars. It is clichéd to say that life is precious. It’s said so often that it lacks meaning. But how often does someone tell you specifically that your life is precious? How often do you realize as you go about your day that every breath in your body is in defiance to the rest of the universe? We are incredible and rare. This I think gives us a certain responsibility. Our hopes and dreams are not just fanciful ideas with no meaning. They are what we are here for. We are alive to live out those hopes and dreams. If you are not actively going after what you want in your life, you are giving in to the rest of the universe. You need to live while you’re alive. It’s not what the rest of the universe is expecting you to do and that’s why you should do it.

These things are true regardless of your personal belief system. Whether we exist by God’s grace or we exist because of a spanner in the works of the universe,  it doesn’t really matter for the purposes of what I’m saying right now. You can ignore what I’m saying and keep doing everything the way that everyone else does. Or you can start taking steps in the direction that you want if you haven’t already. Remember, no one on Earth can do what you do because there isn’t anyone else who has your mind. Let’s show the universe what we can do.

-Jack Cameron

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Snake Oil of the 21st Century

I’m not sure at what point we stopped trying to cure diseases and started making up new ones just to sell pills. In other words, when exactly was it that the ad men started running the pharmaceutical companies? I’m a child of the Cold War, so I’m used to my television lying to me. Maybe that’s why I don’t buy all of these new ailments and syndromes. In fact, I’m going to help you out with this handy little chart:

Google+

I started using Google+ over the weekend. I like it. It has a lot of potential. The Circles concept is so much better than Facebook’s ‘Friends’ thing. In a lot of ways I feel like Google+ is to Facebook what Facebook was to MySpace. Is it a Facebook killer? It’s hard to kill something 750 million strong.

Since I already have a Facebook, two Twitters, and three websites, I thought I should do something exclusive on Google+. So every day I’m posting a new ten minute writing exercise.

You can find me at jackcameronis@gmail.com.  And if you need an Google+ invite, let me know.

-Jack Cameron

A Facebook Confession…or a Confession About Facebook

I’d just like to apologize. As a writer, I have a pre-existing condition for thinking that others need to know what I’m doing or thinking. And so I am on Facebook throughout the day, updating my status and commenting on other people’s statuses because let’s face it, they need to know.

I remember a time when it wasn’t like this. I remember when the only people who knew what I thought about a given issue had called me or shared a drink with me. But now, like so many others, I feel you absolutely must know what I think of any given issue that has kept my interest for more than 30 seconds.

Even this post is in itself a further example of my thinking you need to know what I think about my needing you to know what I think.

Then again, I’m not alone. I can count on one hand the number of friends and relatives who do not have Facebook accounts. A recent post about my abnormally high blood pressure resulted in many comments and a couple of phone calls, including one from my mother in which she would not get off the phone until I promised to go to the doctor.

It’s easy to argue that Facebook has brought us closer. In many ways this is true. There are close friends who I don’t have the chance to see very often, who I talk to on Facebook. That’s nice. But there are times that I think I overshare and there are times I know that others do.

Okay. That’s enough of my rambling. I’ve gotta go check Facebook.

-Jack Cameron

http://facebook.com/jackcameron

All Purpose Sex Scandal Speech

Sex scandals and politics have gone together since before the days of JFK. This is not a secret. So it continually surprises me how politician after politician gets caught in a sex scandal and then utterly fails to deal with it properly. Congressman Weiner’s ‘Twittergate’ and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent scandal are perfect examples of this. So as a public service, I’ve decided to write a speech that avoids most of the pitfalls typically found in these things. If you happen to be a politician caught in a sex scandal, read this and you just might have a chance at reelection.

All Purpose Sex Scandal Speech

My fellow Americans, it is with a heavy heart that I speak to you today. There has been a lot of talk in the media about my activities and I am here to clear them up. Yes. I was inappropriate in a relationship outside of my marriage. It was wrong of me. I betrayed the person I was married to and I will work that out one way or another, but at no time did I ever betray the people who were good enough to elect me to this office. I will continue to do the work I was sent here to do despite the personal problems of my own creation. But to be clear, the only person who should have a problem with me at this point is the one person I broke a promise to and I am humbled and ashamed for that.

(Take a moment and let them get the humble/shamed pic of you.)

I apologize for the distraction this has caused from the important issues we should be talking about. I will not be making any other comments about it because it is a personal matter that has regrettably entered into the public spotlight. It was a mistake and I do regret it. Until someone can tell me how this matter has anything to do with my stance on unemployment, national defense, the budget, or any other aspect of my representing them in this office, I will continue to serve the term for which I was elected.

Anyone who feels differently can vote for someone else next term. I thank you for your understanding and look forward to serving you in a better capacity in the future.

Thank you.

–          Jack Cameron

Note: If you have a specific problem you’d like me to write a speech for, I am available at reasonable rates.

Conspiracy Theory

My son and I have been watching X-Files. I think the best movie of last year was Inception. I recently reread all of the issues of Marvel’s Secret Warriors. My point here is that when it comes to fiction, I absolutely love conspiracy theories. However, the key thing with a conspiracy theory is that it has to make sense.

So when I hear people saying that the recent killing of Osama bin Laden didn’t really happen or that it was faked or that he really died years ago, I have to ask the relatively simple question: Does it make sense? Does it make sense that President Obama, Leon Panetta, Seal Team Six, and a random contractor in Afghanistan all got together and decided to fake bin Laden’s death?

Let’s say you think Osama bin Laden’s death has been faked and that he’s still alive? How does this help Obama or anyone else in the United States given that the first thing that Al Qaida and Osama bin Laden would do is release yet another one of his tapes saying he was NOT in fact dead? And once those tapes are authenticated any benefit that Obama or anyone else received would be gone. So it doesn’t make any sense. Why go to all that trouble if it can all be destroyed by someone who has a vested interest in destroying it?

So, I think it’s fairly clear that anyone in their right mind knows that one way or another Osama bin Laden is dead.

Now, let’s say that Osama bin Laden was already dead. He died of renal failure. He was killed by Pakistanis. He was killed by Elvis. Whatever. So he’s dead, but it’s not an American bullet to the head so just to get people to shout “U-S-A.” If that’s the case, then as long as his body doesn’t show up anywhere and (these are smart people so they’re going to make sure that doesn’t happen), they can literally announce his death whenever they want to. And as Commander in Chief, we’d have to assume Obama would have the choice of when to begin the conspiracy. So why on earth would he choose NINETEEN MONTHS before the election?

It’s all well and good to be skeptical, but it’s a whole other thing to be stupid about it. No one goes to all the trouble of creating a conspiracy without there being some sort of benefit and there simply isn’t one.

–          Jack Cameron

Why I Don’t Celebrate Valentine’s Day

I’ve never met someone who liked Valentine’s Day. I don’t think this is due to not knowing anyone romantic. I think it has to do with the fact that Valentine’s Day is one of those things that seems better on paper than it actually is.

When you get down to it, if you’re in a good, rewarding relationship, you don’t really need a holiday to celebrate it. And if you’re not, well, you don’t really need a holiday to remind you of this fact. You might as well have Ferrari Day. The last thing all us non-Ferrari-owning people need is a reminder of the fact that no, we do not have a Ferrari.

One Valentine’s Day I bought twenty-five roses for my girlfriend and had them specially delivered to her during a test. In my entire life, I’ve never had anyone give me a more genuine thank you than her. Two months later we broke up. It turns out, spending $215.23 (yes, I still remember how much I spent,) didn’t guarantee anything at all. Later it occurred to me that I shouldn’t have given her twenty-five roses. I should have given one rose to twenty-five girls.

Buying a Valentine’s Day present doesn’t make you a better significant other. And if you’re the sort that likes to buy gifts, you’ll get a hell of a lot more out of it if you just do it for the hell of it than for Valentine’s Day. And if you’re the sort that absolutely needs a holiday to buy something for the one you love, there’s always their birthday, your anniversary, or Christmas. That’s a minimum of three other chances throughout the year.

I’ve asked friends and coworkers, but I can’t seem to find anyone in support of Valentine’s Day. As far as I can tell it’s just this holiday that retailers have foisted upon us and we’re just supposed to go along with it.

My wife and I have no real plans for Valentine’s Day. And it’s not that we’re not romantic or angry with each other. It’s not even the economy, because it’d be easy enough to set aside some money and get each other something. And despite everything I’m saying here, it’s not some ‘in your face’ to the retail world when it comes to Valentine’s Day. It’s that on Valentine’s Day I don’t love her any more or less than I do on any other day.

If I could, I’d abolish Valentine’s Day, but since I can’t, I thought I’d just throw some thoughts about it out here and see if it resonates with anyone.

-Jack Cameron