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Better Living Through Invisibility and Time Travel…

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black and white swans

How can you turn bloodthirsty ugly Black Swans into beautiful iridescent White Swans?

The forces of evil (Black Swans) and goodness (White Swans) do battle, each character standing on one of your shoulders, glaring viciously across the divide.

A duel to the depths.

Invisibility vs Time Travel

THEN – Young next door neighbour Gary and my titillated wee self – baby woodies in our pants – gleefully reflected on invisibility while perusing the X-Ray Specs ads in Batman comic books:

We could sit in girls’ changerooms and bedrooms and watch them undress.”

INVISIBILITY. The force of evil and sexual vice.

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Most boys, yes, young and old alike, want to see ladies naked.

I’m sorry, but we can’t help it. It’s in our DNA.

Do you think the porn industry is a fringe element? Nope!

The internet gives us (kind of) Invisibility. 

NOW – Me, reflecting on invisibility while watching the Trump Channel (CNN):

“I’d sit in the oval office laughing in sadness and pity at the smoky haze of profanities and expletives fired by Donald at the poor helpless waifs Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway or any other sycophantic lackey that wormed woefully across the carpet to his desk. And each time he berated anyone? I’d sadistically pull one shocking orange hair from his scalp so his pain reflected theirs’.”

INVISIBILITY. The force of goodness and atonement.

………………………..

THEN – Me, as a young man, reflecting on Back-to-the-Future time travel:

I’d travel into the future and find all of the businesses that skyrocketed from penny status to mega-billion dollar success with huge stock market gains. Then I’d come back and plow every cent I could get my hands on into these sure winners!

TIME TRAVEL. The force of evil and greed.

NOW – Me, reflecting on coulda/shoulda/woulda Time Travel:

I’d go back in time to 1973 and, knowing more about healthy lifestyles, equipped with some CPR and rudimentary life-saving skills, I’d help my Mom look after herself better- stop smoking, lose weight- and failing that, perhaps keep her heart beating a few minutes longer – as she laid dying from a heart attack on our family driveway – until proper medical personnel could revive and maintain her heartbeat and breathing.

TIME TRAVEL. The force of goodness and mercy.

Back to the future.png

Time travel and invisibility are like super-power bribes offered by the stars.

It’s intoxicating, that alluring possibility of changing things, making things better – better for ourselves, better for others, better for the world.

The forces of good and evil, with or without the interference of religion, can assume their roles like characters in a Broadway play, or a Faustian bargain. Which road should we travel?

 

……………………

What ever made me think of these things this week? Thanks for asking.

I was meeting for a tutoring session with my young East-Indian student friend the other day at the library – as part of his requirement for passing his IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam he is required to talk – intelligently – for 3 minutes about a topic of the interviewer’s choice.

If you could choose the super-power of either time travel or invisibility, which would you select and why?”

This was the practice question I asked Ramesh. He’s damned good at this stuff. Usually.

To Ramesh, it was merely an academic question, a practice session, but I was interested to see how his mind worked and where he might take this idea.

Initially, he looked a bit stunned at the question, struggling with the proposition, the notion that such a feat was remotely possible.

I’m guessing that his cultural and educational background in the Punjab region of India had never addressed the airy concepts of imagination and head-play.

It’s pretty obvious that he had never read the story Anne of Green Gables – the ebullient orphan waif whose carrot-haired head floats on wings in the imaginary clouds more than her feet are on terra firma. Reality is less real than her inner visions and dream life.

Behind Ramesh’s dark eyes, I saw the question coursing through his mind… This isn’t something that could ever happen, so why would you ask me this nonsense? 

OK“, he said finally as he gave me that intriguing, yet charming head waggle that only Indian people possess.

I’d go back in time and save my country from the corruption that made things bad in the past for the people around me.” He explained the back story and gave me a lesson in Indian politics, succinctly and in 3 minutes.

He chose time travel and the White Swan force of goodness and remedy.

I smiled. I like Ramesh. His heart has a sympathetic rhythm.

Black swans are an unstoppable force. We can’t predict them. We can’t prevent them.

… who saw 9/11 coming and how it would change our world in countless ways… who saw the bullets that stole the breath away from Lincoln, Archduke Ferdinand, Luther King, Kennedy or Ghandi… who saw the tsunami that swallowed the coastlines of Indonesia and Thailand, snuffing out a quarter of a million loves in minutes… who saw the butterfly whose flapping ephemeral wings caused a momentous shift in your life…

But sometimes those real unstoppable forces – the black swans – need to meet an imaginative unmovable object – the white swans – invisibility and time travel… if only in our mortal minds and starry starry dreams.

Starry Night

 

What Movie Plays In YOUR Head?

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To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But then, one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be unhappy, one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness.”

   Woody Allen – Love and Death

dreams2

I’m a dreamer.

Sometimes my entire life seems like a movie – almost another dimension that I view from some heaven-like place far removed.

I spend a whole lot of time inside my head envisioning things I’ve done and enjoyed or things I’d like to do and enjoy.

Occasionally I relive the bad stuff too, but it usually gets nudged out by the positive thoughts. A baby’s birth seems to stick more readily than a loved one’s funeral. Isn’t the human mind great?

A little voiced narrative runs through my head as if Woody Allen was in there writing a screenplay for his next flick. I could be a little neurotic New York Jewish guy soooo easily.

My narrative sometimes involves a group of us pre-pubescent Canuck schoolboys dreaming of future lives as hockey stars with nubile little puck-bunnies swarming around.

We don’t really know what to do or say with these cuties yet – even if we feel a pleasurable stiffening in our jeans – but we know there’s something tantalizing and special about them and one day we figure we’ll know and understand the allure.

But until that time arrives the only stiff rod in our hand is a hockey stick.

For now, it’s enough to just feel the juvenile desire.

First we develop the talent and then worry about the puck-bunnies… Gretzky knew that at the age of 13 and was willing to wait another 15 years for his LA-model puck-bunny to materialize.

gretzky

So, from time to time, I’ll watch the movie of my life and see myself playing street hockey in the chilly winter air under the nightlight of Glen Echo School in Hamilton.

I look up into the inky winter-black sky and see the ivory snow flecks gently drifting down towards my pink-cheeked face. I’m wearing my PeeWee Parkdale Steelers hockey jersey with three clothing layers underneath to stay warm.

By the time my friends Rick, Jerome, Rick, Hugh and Larry and I finish our night game – the lively clapping sounds of hockey sticks hitting pavement turn silent – I’ll have peeled off all but the final ribbed-cotton t-shirt because of the heat built up by running and turning and jumping and slapshotting.

Future visions of becoming a Montreal Canadien or Chicago Black Hawk rattle around excitedly in our heads. I’m guessing we all wanted to become pro hockey players, but perhaps a stray thought of becoming a future ABBA singer was bubbling around, I don’t know!

…………………………

Fantasy is a huge part of so many of our lives…. I know this if only because Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, Luke Skywalker and Hugh Hefner have all thrived and flourished massively in the masses’ imaginations.

We love to spend time in other worlds. Worlds within our world or worlds galaxies distant.

But I prefer fantasies of my own making and choosing, not those of J.K Rowling, Suzanne Collins, or George Lucas.

For me, the best way to lay down the tracks for future “home” movies is by living in the moment with some focus and taking the daily actions that will create these movies…

That means I have to actually do stuff for my imagination to make stuff up …

My body craves movement and so most times I have to live the actions first that then synthesize the movie. I don’t want others’ fantasies occupying my head. I want the homegrown variety that involve me and enthrall me based on my own life experiences.

Once I’ve actually done something… gone swimming or canoeing, made a fancy dinner, run a Tough Mudder race, hiked into Machu Picchu …

… then my imagination can kick into gear and make my very own Walter Mitty fantasy world.

Imagination and dreaming are incredible human attributes. We all have a staggering ability to build worlds and stories from within.

My head fills with Olympic record swim times, Michelin Four Star meals I’ve prepared, war zones I’ve conquered with bravery, finesse and panache, and Incan kings I’ve encountered.

No matter what pain or suffering we encounter – and there are ample quantities of those – an engrossing book, a marvellously powerful movie, an incredibly real dream, have the breathtaking power to refresh and rejuvenate our minds with hope and joy and love.

Playing movies in my head works even better.

Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering – and it’s all over much too soon.”

Woody Allen