My sister and I weren't always friends. It took a lot to get where we are now. Some people think not having parents would bring you closer to your siblings. But for us, it tore us apart.
Phillis liked to read. There was one day where she read an entire book every single day of the year. People think that there's never any downside to reading. But I think there is. Why you ask? Fantasy. No I'm not talking about fantasy, the genre, like fantasy books. That's not what I mean. What I mean is living in your head. Immersing yourself so much in books that you care more about your books than your life. Like everything else, books are a small part of life. But it's not life.
What is life then. Well. It's breathing. It's sucking in air and it's spitting it out. If we go a little further, it's breathing and spitting with other people. It's learning to communicate, and it's learning to experience. It's learning to laugh and to cry. For some people it's learning to shoot a basketball, for some people it's learning to read. For some people it's learning to put pencil to paper, for some people it's learning to throw rocks in a pond (or lay bricks on a house).
When I first thought this I told it to someone. I shared my genuine thoughts. And they told me I was wrong. They said it was too broad a summary of life. But that's the only way to describe it. You can't talk about life or write about life if you're being too specific. Then you blur it. You make the authentic experience something else. And I don't want to do that.
Because when people read a book, they shouldn't say "hmm, that's how I should bake a cake." And they shouldn't say "hmm that's how I should have sex." No. No, no, no. That's all wrong. If you want a good life, you don't ever even have to bake a cake.
Because, all life is is breathing. Once you got that, you're fine. You've been given the greatest gift one could receive. So why complain.
let me explain what I mean by fantasy. And I can't be broad here if I want to be understood. Because people tend to mix up fantasy and imagination, and I think there's a clear distinction between the two. Imagination is good. Imagination fuels creative. And if you want to enjoy your life well into your 70's I will tell you from experience you must be creative. You need to make things. Imagination is the thought in your head that gets you out of bed because you decided you wanted to draw a picture of a snail with a scarlet red colored pencil. It's the thought that lets you calmly take a break from an argument so you can hang up some paintings on your wall. It's the thought that gives you desire to try something new for some kind of greater good. And in this case the greater good doesn't always mean making someone else smile. It might mean making yourself smile.
Fantasy is not good. Fantasy is fake. You have imagination; you do not have fantasy. Fantasy is made up worlds that aren't yours. Fantasy gets really bad when you want to live in those worlds instead of your own. And it gets scary when you think you are actually in those worlds instead of your own. Fantasy is a false reality that is a virus to your brain. So when you read a book, that's great. But when you desire that world, you should be careful. You don't want to marry that girl.
Last week, I was going about my nightly routine of taking a swig of Nyquil and jumping into bed. Sleeping conditions were perfect: sirens blaring all around, couples fighting on the street, and other people screaming for no known reason (still looking into this).
But then, I heard a rustling noise. This isn’t comforting, I thought, as I sat up in bed. I walked over to turn the lights on. As I looked down at my feet, I saw a mouse scurry across my floor, and I screamed. I learned a lot about myself that day.
Naturally, my scream woke up Josh, my roommate. My other roommate Jordan stayed fast asleep. Josh and I huddled together and came up with a plan to excommunicate the mouse. We set up three cardboard boxes in my doorway and put a blueberry in each one. The goal? Get the mouse to run towards the boxes, then flip up the box when it goes for the blueberry. Genius. A humane way of problem solving this nightmare. But this mouse was no silly goose. He was Jerry-level smart. As I rummaged under my bed to make him scurry away, he went straight for the blueberry. But instead of going for the blueberry, he jumped straight over the box. This mouse was no Jerry. He’s a modern day Bo Jackson.
After taping the tiny opening at the bottom of my door, I was able to get a good night sleep. But this was not before we discovered there was a dead mouse living with us as well. None of these jerks are chipping in for rent. The dead mouse resided behind the stove, but Josh and I decided this was a dilemma for a different evening.
The following daybreak, Jordan’s boyfriend came over and eagerly asked if he could see the dead mouse. This was the most excited I have ever seen this guy. He proceeded to pull back the stove and grab the dead mouse. He held it up proud and exclaimed, “it’s decaying! It caved in on itself!” Josh responded by saying politely, “Get that out of my face!” The boyfriend asked us what he should do with it, and we yelled at him to put it in the trash. Then, Jordan walked out of the bathroom, and we told her she missed a lot.
This past week I have learned a lot about mice and Jordan’s boyfriend. Every experience is a learning experience.
©2022 Jake Schick