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Chasing The American Dream

November 20, 2004


Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head. Found my way upstairs and drank a cup. Looking up, I noticed I was late. Found my coat and grabbed my hat. Made the bus in seconds flat…”

John Lennon certainly knew what he was talking about. A day in the life, right? Too often, if we’re not careful, this is what becomes of our day-to-day life. Get up, go to work, come home, sleep. Sorta like that Bill Murray movie, "Groundhog Day." And then we get all caught up in, and complain about, the little things which, when you really get down to it, don’t really matter much. I think we, as humans, love to complain. Why? Why do we focus so much of our energy on the negative things that go on in our lives and never really comment or pay enough attention to all the good things happening right in front of our eyes?

So your burger was cooked medium-well and not medium. So it’s raining outside. So your boss is an asshole. So your date was a disaster. Traffic sucks. Cellphone reception sucks. Some asshole in front of you has 11 items in a 10 item express lane. Oh there are bigger issues, too. Work, relationships, etc. Lots to complain about.

My work sucks. Work has me on the road 95% of the time. The company I work for is unethical. I’m not a used car salesman so I struggle to fit in. My relationships or lack thereof, suck. Lately, it seems the harder I try to please people, the more I get myself into trouble. Divorce is a pain-in-the-ass. Let’s not even go there. Yeah, I have a lot to complain about. I’m guilty, but I am trying to make an effort to improve. I AM trying to invoke Ferris Bueller’s philosophy of, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

I jog two miles a day. Not because I like to, but because I’m just trying to stay fit. But now I make an effort to hear the birds sing, look at cloud formations, smell the fresh air, and smile because I’ve got my iPod on and am listening to The Shins, no one’s hassling me, and I’m keeping in shape.

But the tendency for us, I think, is to relapse and complain again. But then you get a reality check. One of your best friends calls you and tells you her 25-year-old brother is dead. His roommate found him unconscious in his bed. Gone just like that. Cause unknown. WHAM! I’ve been hit over the head with a sledgehammer. My blood rushes through me, I’m sweating, nauseous and am utterly speechless. Imagine how she feels? What do you say? What can you say, really? Her life and her parents lives, all great friends of mine, will never be the same again. Now THAT is something to bitch about. And it’s unfortunate, but it takes a tragic event such as this to make us realize that life indeed is too short and that we have much to be thankful for.

So what? It’s raining. We’ll get a little wet. Fuck it, the old man has one too many items in the express lane. Big deal. At least we’re alive and well and have the opportunity to make the best of each day and appreciate the little things rather than complain about them. Ferris was right. Let’s all try to listen to him, shall we?


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