This post is dedicated to my friend at Philosophy Through Photography Maybe check them out
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Actually, it wasn’t. It was pretty average all the way through. Let’s start this again: Marley was dead. Now, that’s a good line to open with. I mean you don’t even know who Marley is. Of course, neither do I. Also, he has nothing what-so-ever to do with this post so maybe I need a better opening sentence. Okay, take three: Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. Now that’s an interesting opening. However, if my wife found out I was writing this kind of stuff I’d be sleeping with the dog for a month.
I hope you’re not getting upset with all these false starts, but my seventh-grade English teacher, Mrs. Petresnik, told us many times, “The first sentence of a book is extremely important.” No, I’m not writing a book, but since I’ll be talking about books a lot, I thought I should open this post with a great opening line, like the one from Fahrenheit 451; It was a pleasure to burn. A great line sure, but again it has nothing to do with what I’m talking about. In case you’re wondering, I stole all those other opening lines from classic books as well. I was seriously at the point of having to think of my own opening line and very worried I might have to use my imagination, and creativity. Oh Horror! When I came across the perfect stolen opening sentence. Whew! So, without further ado I present my post.
All this happened, more or less. Wow that is a great way to start a post. I think I’ll say it again; All this happened, more or less. I have been taking a look at my life lately and I think I may not exist. I’ve been reading a whole bunch of philosophy blogs recently and I’m afraid that Mr. Ohh! is just an imaginary character in a book, written by some extremely talented, probably very hip and tremendously good-looking person. I mean they’d have to be, to have thought up such a wonderful personality as me. But It has me a bit worried.
You see I have always believed in the Latin saying: Bibendum Ergo Sum, (I drink therefore I am) But what if I just think I’m drinking. You know: Cogito Ergo Bibendum. On the other hand, the whole idea that I might not exist has me frustrated and Bibendum Ergo Sum Cogito, I drink, therefore I am thinking. You see how complicated this is. Even without the Latin sayings you really have to ponder the reality. There’s another thing about me being a fictional entity, I don’t speak Latin, but I do drink. So, it could go either way.
This all started with a new writing course I just bought. I wanted to improve writing style and become the next John Steinbeck, or Dr. Seuss. Either of those great writers will do. The very first thing the course said is: To make a book interesting it has to have a great central character. That would be me. Need I say more? This person has to be believable. I believe in me. Then again, I’m pretty gullible. I believed my uncle Fred was a super spy because at one time he had a cigarette lighter that looked like a gun. I also believe kitten tossing will be an Olympic sport one day. So again, there’s no conclusive evidence.
I read ahead to some of the later lessons and made a startling discovery. One of those lessons said that two-thirds through the manuscript the author should determine the absolute worst thing that could happen to the main character and then have it happen. Well, at two-thirds through my life my daughter was born. Is that the absolute worst thing that could have happened? I’m not sure. Children are more of a roller coaster than an actual evil. Daughters just seem to have more downs than ups. In reality, the down and ups are supposed to be equal. That’s Newton’s Fourth-and-a-half Law of How Stuff Goes. Sorry I had to get so technical, but I’m trying to prove a scientific point, so being scientific is kind of necessary.
Another biggie in this course is conflict. Conflict is everything in writing a book. Boy can I relate. If I am, in fact living in someone’s imagination they love conflict. I am in conflict with my children, at work, at the market, and even with my car when I attempt to start it on a winter morning. Don’t laugh, sometimes the car wins and colorful adult language is written into the book. If I’m not a total mess by four o’clock it seems like the day is wasted. I know conflict.
I also learned that there are four types of conflict. Man, vs Man is like when you’re at the bakery and somebody takes the last cream puff. In these tense moments the writer of my life takes me through a whirlwind of emotions and just before anger rules the day, I notice the éclair and all tensions are lowered. Just once I would like the author to let me get into the fight. Of course, the woman who got the puff could probably kick my butt all over Texas.
The second type of conflict is called, Man, vs Nature. This is usually defined by the ongoing battle between me and my cat. For all the struggle and plot devices with this type, the conflict solution is usually easy to explain: The cat wins, I bleed, end of story. If I wasn’t in some cruel book, I would be smarter and get rid of the cat. Now there’s a big point for the philosophers.
The third type of conflict is, Man, vs Himself. Who’s the stupid idiot who came up with that. Tell me this, when was the last time you smacked yourself in the face? Most folks just don’t do stuff like that. Perhaps their talking about the conflict which arises if there are both cookies and donuts on the counter. Which to eat can cause quite a bit of stress. I’ve read Self-Help books on how to eliminate stress. I eat both and get on with life. This makes a very poor book so maybe I really do exist. Hmmmm?
The last type of conflict is so horrible it is hardly ever mentioned. It is Man, vs Furniture. If you’ve ever gotten up in the middle of the night you know what I mean, and about the pain. However, it’s so much more than that. There is conflict buying furniture, moving furniture, fixing furniture, as well as kicking furniture. Then there is the greater conflict of trying to avoid screaming after you’ve kicked the bed in the middle of the night. I hope I don’t exist, because I don’t want to think about it. Cogito ergo sum in dolor. (I think therefore I am in pain)
Right now, I hear my wife calling. I think I’ll tell her I don’t exist. That might not be such a great idea. Because If I do, I won’t.
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