Archive for April, 2014

The Season of Irrational Fears: Supervolcanoes

One of my dearest, dearest (dearest) friends posted a link to a terrifying news story today.  It may not hit others as particularly terrifying, but for me, it kept me from focusing for much of the day.

Yes, I’m talking about the story of animals fleeing Yellowstone National Park in an eerie foretelling of the supervolcano super-eruption of DOOM.

We're all gonna die

In case you don’t know about this phenomenon, a few easy facts to remember:

1.  Yes, Yellowstone National Park sits on a supervolcano.

2.  If you’re looking at gambler’s odds, it’s due.

3.  It will probably kill us all.

 

Flashback to my childhood self: I’m watching a special on natural disasters and their potential for a mass human extinction (e.g. Dinosaurs) –

You know, "light" watching.

You know, “light” watching.

-and after they finished with the melting of the polar ice caps (and the subsequent swelling of the seas that would drown us), they started talking about volcanoes.

Pish posh, I said.  How the hell are volcanoes going to scare me after I just watched a diagram of America DISAPPEARING??

Well, dear readers, it didn’t take much.

If Yellowstone were to erupt, we would die.  Not a quick death of  “Oh my GOD LOOK OUT FOR THE LAV-”

lava

No, it would be a death where ashes black out the sun, food doesn’t grow anymore, the air is filled with smoke, and we’re going to starve.  It would kill the population, and be pretty damn thorough about it.

After I watched scientists discuss the inevitability of this fate, I went to my room and did my best impression of sleeping.

Oh, when I said "sleeping" I meant "wetting myself."

Oh, when I said “sleeping” I meant “wetting myself.”

I spent a lot of time worrying about it.  At school I tried to tell people about what I’d seen, about how Yellowstone is actually TERRIBLE and it’s going to destroy us, how we’re on a ticking time bomb of nature’s fury.  But no one was listening.  And I was panicked.

So today I read this article and felt the irrational fears of childhood once again – like a friend you’re never happy to see who you don’t even like and you’re like “ugh, what does friend mean?”

And then I went to snopes.com and read about it a little more here.  And I feel slightly better.  But only just.  I’m so relieved that I had some bourbon when I got home.

Yellowstone will kill us.  Just not today.

You're welcome, freedom.

You’re welcome, freedom.

Let’s Get Lost

At many points in our lives, unconsciously or not, we lose our way and lose sight of things that are important.  We get caught up in being caught up, we abandon things we like  for things we deem more necessary, or more urgent, or more easy.  I’ve lived an entire adulthood bouncing from one thing to the next.  It’s no wonder that I build a blog and then abandon it.  Or become comedian and then let that grow weeds.  It’s a part of my nature to do these things.  The act of not doing is what I do best.

todolist

A brief history of my comedy career, as I see it:

There were moments where it was fun.  There were moments where it was exhilarating.  But, ultimately, the life of a stand up comedian was not for me.  What I thought it was, and what it actually is, is not at all what I thought it was.

There’s an innate craving for attention and adoration that gets people into comedy in the first place.  Anybody who goes on stage has that desire.  But comedy isn’t the scholarly pursuit you think it is.  Sure, writing material is something you do alone that tests you, but being a successful comic has way more to do with who you schmooze with, who you know, who you get high with, who you sleep (or don’t sleep) with, than you could imagine.  And I’ve never been that person.  And I don’t love comedy enough to become that person.

So that’s it, really.  I fulfilled a lifelong dream of saying that I was a stand up comic.  I tried it out and decided it wasn’t for me.  I’m at peace with that.  I may decide one day to come back to it.  I might write something that can only be truly appreciated on a stage in front of drunk people.  And if that happens, I’ll do it.

drunk-audience

But trying it out is always the most important thing.  I’m not going to wake up when I’m 60 and remember my wild days as a 27 year old – wondering what if I’d tried it – why didn’t I try it – why didn’t I do it when I could?

Don’t worry, 50 year old me, you did.

"In the old days, we told jokes about wieners and boobs for fun."

“In the old days, we told jokes about wieners and boobs for fun.”

And now that I’ve made peace with the fact that I’m not doing that thing, I’m on to the next thing – whatever that is.  That’s always the part that gets me – figuring out what I’m supposed to do now.

I’m writing more short stories.  I’m trying to get involved in local writing clubs here in Atlanta.  I’m building myself up to try something new.  I’ve been dormant long enough, I suppose.

 

But getting lost, it seems, can also be an end in itself.