Tuesday, May 29, 2007

my superwallet

i want to tell you all how awesome my wallet is. it appears to be nothing fancy, being a nice dark red leather with an inner lining of manmade materials. but it has superpowers like a boomerang, because every time i lose it, it comes back to me.

rewind two years or so. i lose my wallet in the dead of winter, shortly after i bought it. after it didn't turn up for a couple of months, i got new cards and drivers' license and social security card. a full five months after i lost it, someone returned it to me. (his name was Butch or Spike or Beast or something, but whatever it was, i was kind of afraid to go to his house by myself.) i had apparently dropped it in a gutter a few blocks from a friend's house, and it got covered with snow. after the snow melted the wallet was discovered, crusty and soggy but still very full of important things like $46 and a valid duplicate drivers license, although i decided to keep my newer one as the picture was a lot better.

on friday, i sat my wallet on my car roof after paying-at-the-pump for some (really expensive) gas. then i drove off without retrieving the wallet from the roof. a few hours later i discovered my error, and retraced my earlier route (nearly 15 miles!) trying to find it. then, for the second time, a stranger contacted me and told me she'd found my wallet.

now, i've had this wallet for a long time, and it's been through a lot, such as traveling to several countries and spending a lot of time in a slushy gutter. the pockets inside are a little stretched out and things kind of fall out of it if you're not careful.

anyways, the lady said most things had fallen out of my wallet, and were scattered all over the side of the road. she took the time to hunt until she found all she could. she put it all in a bag and returned it to me. isn't that awesome?

i don't have much faith in humanity (fallen nature and all that), but my guess is that most people would return a wallet to its rightful owner. i don't know if everyone would take the time to pick everything up. anyways, it's pretty neat that strangers have been good to me all this time. i actually planned to put the wallet into retirement last week when i bought a new one. but the new one didn't work very well, and i had to reenlist my red wallet to active duty. then i almost lost it again. the moral of the story is, it's only when you lose something do you realize how much it's really worth. :)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

sorry, worms

i always end up feeling sorry for worms in one way or another...

the first, and perhaps most obvious, reason needs no explanation except this horrific picture.

secondly, i feel sorry that they are kept in the fridge in shredded newspaper, up to a whole before a fishing outing. this is just prolonged torture, or at least i can hardly think of anything worse than being cold for a week straight. and in newspaper too.

also, i always feel really awful for the worms who crawl onto the sidewalk when it's rainy, only to become stranded and die when the water dries up. i've been told they come out because they would drown in the mud. but i don't know why they don't go back to the dirt when the sidewalk starts to get dry. and don't tell me they can't feel it either, because they are covered in little sensitive hairs. so i'm just saying i do feel sorry for them for this one, but not too sorry.

i don't like putting worms on fish hooks, but only because i hate to see them recoil in pain when i pierce their body multiple times. i try to believe they will die quickly because they will drown.

so this is for all the worms that i've hated on. i'm sorry. we're all sorry.

Friday, May 04, 2007


i think one of the most pervasive and most obvious obsession that currently shapes our country (and other developed cultures as well) is youthfulness. in the way we look and act, we are completely taken with appearing younger than they actually are, and it's not limited to those over 50 or 60. we see commercials, advertisements, TV shows and articles about collagen boosters, microdermabrasion, glycolic peels, chemical resurfacing, and other words that should be confined to a course in organic chemistry. Botox appeals to women and men in their 30s. makeup products aimed at 20-30 year old women contain chemicals supposed to "minimize fine lines and crows-feet" later on in life. nearly every brand of skin care contains an anti-aging line. Ivillage notes that "90 million Americans have used a product to reduce the visible signs of aging."

americans are petrified of old age. why wouldn't we be? it's our own fault, you know. we're the ones who dump our parents and grandparents in bland, institutional old folks' homes and marginalize their entire generation into an irrelevant burden. in most Asian countries, growing old equals more respect, not less. in south american countries, older family members traditionally live with the younger ones until they die, with homes growing larger and larger to accomodate more people. if we had treated our elderly better than we do, maybe we wouldn't be so paranoid of getting there ourselves.

but, i digress. it's a true statement that old folks have never been thought of as especially outwardly beautiful. since the beginning of time, physical beauty was almost synonymous with youth. it's also true that the standard of beauty has become sky-high in our society, but i see that as a completely different issue. it's not even that there's some different standard of beauty...there are cultural differences, of course, but there has always been physical beauty and ugliness. no one, not in japan or ecuador either, would probably say that people grow more outwardly beautiful as they grow old. the difference between them, then, and us, now, is that we currently attribute a disproportionate amount of value to the same kind of beauty we've always desired. it's a universal fact that outward beauty fades as time takes its toll, and no one denies that. but those in other cultures don't care nearly as much about it, and i think people in other times haven't cared nearly as much about it, either.

there's another undercurrent in the anti-aging hype that i want to address. it's the survivalist instinct, the fact that all civilizations now and before are aimed at preserving life as long as possible. obviously, no one is really under the impression that our lives can be extended indefinitely by using skin products and special diets and exercise. everyone knows that death is one of the two certain things in life. so why do so many of us pursue the chimaera of youth, knowing deep down it will always evade them? maybe the answer at the heart this issue of longing for eternal youth is found in Scripture. we weren't ever meant to die.

God originally created people to live forever, not just in a spiritual heaven, but physically, on this earth. it should come as no large shock, then, that we all long to do just that. that isn't a wrong desire; it's God-given! it's just that in some western cultures, that longing is coupled with a system of superficial valuation, which makes life miserable for the middle-aged (who spend gobs of money trying to outsmart the appearance of old age) and the old-aged (who are now devalued because they can't attain the standard of beauty) alike.

any thoughts, questions or rebuttals are welcome. thanks for reading!

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