Posts Tagged 'college'

Deadman’s A-Z Guide to Living: Inertia

Observing the mistakes and silliness of others is a perfectly useful way to learn how to live the well-lived life.

For instance, my mother’s mother, may her soul rest in peace, was a tremendously loving and caring grandmother, but I probably learned at least as much about life from her flaws as from her positive attributes. In particular, I was able to see the damage my Bobba wrought (to herself as well as others) as she bitterly held onto grudges and regrets as if they alone could sustain her, and often retaliated to perceived insults with petty nastiness.

I realized such behavior had to be terribly unsatisfying, and ultimately unproductive, and believe I have embraced a much healthier way to deal with people and events that disappoint me (I forgive easily. I focus on the positives. I take my share of the blame. I think before responding, and try to consider the long-term implications of my actions).

Alas, I’m beginning to realize that a fair amount of my A-Z Guide to Living will also end up serving as a cautionary tale, full of advice which I believe to be critically important but am not following for whatever reason.

Give charity generously, unlike me.

Avoid distractions, unlike me.

Overcome your fears, unlike me.

And now, for my latest lesson, I want you to fight inertia, unlike me.

In physics, inertia is the resistance of any object to a change in its state of motion. When you throw in the additional effects of friction and gravity one encounters here on Earth, inertia basically means that things have a tendency to be still and tethered to the ground.

Or specifically: My ass has a tendency to be tethered to the couch, watching TV.

My college roommate and I used to comment all the time about how our lives were basically ruled by inertia. Recognizing we were powerless to stop it, we embraced its presence, bowing to the ever-looming God of Inertia and offering it regular sacrifices, which of course meant continuing to sit on our asses and watch TV.

It’s no surprise that the root for inertia comes from the Latin iners, meaning lazy.

Unfortunately, with the passing years, inertia tends to exert an even more powerful hold. Energy levels deplete as responsibilities build, so sitting on your ass during those precious moments of free time almost always seems the most appealing option. Indeed, nowadays when I find myself stymied by inertia, it often takes a tremendous amount of unexpected force – such as the passing odor of freshly baked M&M/fluff cookies – to get my ass to move.

I probably don’t need to tell you the problems that will develop as you let inertia work its voodoo, but like those scary stop-smoking commercials, I’m going to anyway: Atrophied muscles, weight gain, poor vision, loss of brainpower, diminished creativity, decreased sex drive, general ennui, a disturbing accumulation of knowledge of lame reality TV shows.

And inertia will increasingly sneak its way into other parts of your life, as well. It will keep you in unhealthy relationships and unfulfilling jobs. It will make the prospect of change seem like the most frightening thing in the world. Its primary goal is to turn your life into one big rut.

Seriously, you must fight inertia with all of your might.

Go to the gym. Play a sport. Find a fun new hobby, like say, blogging. Make love to your wife. Cook dinner. Meet up with friends (but not my college roommate, especially if there is a couch involved). Always be moving. Always be changing.

Yes, it is tiring to battle the God of Inertia, but the most appropriate place to sit your ass down is the coffin, not the couch.

I won’t join you in your fight, of course … but if they make it into a reality TV show, I’ll likely watch.

More Questions …

It’s question time again. I’ve been posting these columns first on the dagblog.com site I’ve been working on and contributing to, and it’s been cool to see the rather extensive reader response to them. Check it out and be sure to subscribe to the dagblog RSS feed – we’re adding new, talented bloggers constantly. Here’s the link.

1) The NHL hockey season started a few weeks back. For you this means: A) Absolutely nothing B) Something to watch IF there’s no college football, pro football, pro basketball, Poker, English Premier soccer, Nascar, cricket, Dancing with the Stars, AND I can somehow find the VS. channel on my cable system C) The return of one of the most exciting games in the world, a wonderful symphony of grace, violence, and unbelievable athleticsm that is punctuated by the best postseason period in sports.

2) Have you ever owned a Bobblehead? Who was it of?

3) So a few weeks ago, I wanted to know how I could learn about good music, and one of the most common answers was ‘friends’ … So, dear dagfriends, what must I immediately add to my music collection – popular to obscure, rock to jazz, and everything in between, I’m open to anything.

4) As long as I’m asking for pop culture recommendations, my Tivo viewing schedule has gotten surprisingly small (Daily Show/Colbert Report, Family Guy, Office, 30 Rock, Jeopardy, Heroes (barely, that show is really losing me), and House). Any other shows that i should absolutely be watching, esp. new shows???

5) Why have laundromats/dry cleaners resisted the national chain trend? I understand it’s a business that’s hard to differentiate and where proximity trumps all other considerations, but you would think scale could still matter. Yet they’re still all mom-and-pop shops. What’s with that?

6) How is it possible that some people shop to make themselves feel better?? I just got back from buying stuff, and it made me instantly depressed. The crowds, the lines, the cold, heartless materialism of it all, the knowing that I don’t have room in my apartment for what I’m buying and that I probably don’t need what I’m buying anyway, the walking home past panhandlers while carrying several bags on each arm. This really gives pleasure to people??

7) I plan on sitting my child down (assuming I have one one day) as soon as I think he or she can understand the logic of this statement:

“You are the most important thing in this world to me, and I want to give you everything I can and do everything I can to make you happy. But there will be times where I just will not, for different reasons, which I will try to explain to you as best I can, be able to get you what it is you want. I hope you will understand that and realize that crying and crying about it won’t help, and will only make me upset.”

For all you parents out there, do you think that will work at all to limit outbursts?

8 ) I know corporal punishment is a no-no, and illegal in many countries, but don’t you have to spank a misbehaving kid at least once to show it’s an option, even if it’s the nuclear option you never hope to use again …

9) Now that I have asked the previous two questions, should I be sterilized?

10) For those of you who went to college, do you think your liberal arts education was largely an inefficient waste of time – an enjoyable, inefficient waste of time, but an inefficient waste of time nonetheless? If not, defend it.


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