Sunday, October 19, 2008

I Y'am What I Y'am

Everything I learned about self-confidence I learned from cartoons on Saturday mornings.

Cartoons are a cultural melting pot; cartoons have been the leading medium to tolerance and acceptance. Where else can you find cows, ducks, oversized mice, rats, and other assorted creatures getting along so well? By the way, they also can drive, play instruments, sing, build houses and boats, anything we can do as humans they can do. How many mice do you know that have a dog for a pet and another dog for their best friend?

But I digress. This isn't about tolerance. I'm not very tolerant.

Let’s talk about confidence. The king of self confidence has to be Popeye the Sailor Man. You know the guy. Sailor, toot toot, spinach, big muscles (the “cles” is pronounced “culls”). Popeye was a good looking guy, if the light was right (and you couldn’t count on the light). His main object of affection is Olive Oil (who has gained in popularity recently as a food additive), a razor thin anorexic wafer of a women who is about as attractive as two monkeys eating bugs off of each other’s private parts. His challenger for the love of Olive Oil is an overweight beast of a man named Bluto. Bluto is actually less attractive than the two monkeys. J Wellington Wimpy is his overweight, panhandling, burger obsessed friend. Mostly used for comic relief.

If you have seen one Popeye cartoon you have seen them all. Popeye wants Olive Oil, Popeye makes a date with Olive Oil, Bluto tries to break up the date, Bluto beats up on Popeye and just when the end is near for Popeye a can of spinach falls out of the cupboard, off a shelf, out of the grocery bag, off a truck, is sitting on the bottom of the ocean, lake, stream, in the belly of the fish, the whale, the dolphin… well you get the picture. Popeye eats the spinach, gains super strength (a modern day Samson) and beats the living daylights out of Bluto. Olive Oil exclaims “Oh Popeye!” gives him a kiss and a hug and all is well in their cartoon world.

Wimpy is inserted into the story always searching for, begging for or having found, is eating a hamburger. Popeye sings that song at the end and all is well with the world. It is Oscar winning and incredible heart tugging dialog. But what do I remember about Popeye? He always managed to say “I am what I am” but more like an old seadog; “I Y’am what I Y’am”.

And therein is the great message. This overly buff, short, ugly sailor with an obsession for overly skinny girls with no apparent figure just liked who he was.

Will America: I Y’am what I Y’am.

I love cooked spinach, I tolerate raw spinach. But if I had my way I wouldn’t eat raw spinach ever again and if I was God I would make raw spinach one of those foods that you could only eat cooked because it would just be awful raw. Of course, I think that is the way God did it anyway.
I’m 50 years old and I know what I like and what I love. I know what I will tolerate and what I hate. I’ve got 50 years experience. I’m past the point of thank you bites and no thank you bites.
About food; I’m old enough to know that just because a food has a fancy name doesn’t mean that I don’t know that foods I hate are in it. Tell me the main components (ingredients) of a dish and I know whether I’ll like it, love it, hate it, or just be plain indifferent. There is a hidden meaning in this paragraph. Life is too short to eat something that you don’t like. No one should tell you what that you have to eat something and if you do it only pacify them then your life is wasted.

I’m pretty sure that I would hate the taste of dog crap even though I’ve never even come close to trying it. I’m pretty sure that most humans feel the same way. I’m absolutely sure that if you try to serve up a dish with an ingredient like dog crap to the public that they wouldn’t order it and would even go so far as to say the chances of that being a successful restaurant would be nil. So don’t try to convince me that you can take what I hate, mix it together with things I love and come out with a winning dish that I’ll be packing the leftovers up for the next day’s lunch at work.

I love to drive. Give me the choice of being the driver, riding shotgun or shoving me in as the backseat passenger and I choose driver every hour, every day, every week. You could bury me in a bucket seat and I’d prefer the seat with the seat controls on the left (unless it’s a British right hand drive and then I choose controls on the right). I don’t like being anyone’s passenger. If I could drive the bus that I occasionally have to ride I’m wishing that I was the bus driver. I wouldn’t own a Yugo or most German cars but I’d drive them if the only other choice was to ride in them as a passenger. If I ever ride a camel with two humps I call first hump.

I like cheap tennis shoes. I don’t like to pay much over $20 for my shoes. I don’t know if they look good or not. I’m just into comfortable. Same view on t-shirts. I don’t like to buy or wear t-shirts advertising Old Navy, The Gap, or Abercrombie & Fitch. They aren’t paying me to advertise for them, in fact, they charge me extra to do so. I’ll advertise a car on a shirt; that’s a cultural thing. I don’t know when the moment comes that you part with a favorite shirt. It’s somewhere between holes in the hem at the bottom and the collar barely hanging on. My jeans preference is 501 Levi’s. I like cuffed pants over no cuffs with my dress and suit pants. Pin stripes over solids, black suits over blue.

My favorite color is British Racing Green. I’m not fond of pink or purple. My favorite song has been “Clouds” by David Gates (of Bread) since 1973. My favorite singers/bands are Bread, The Moody Blues, The Eagles, Cliff Richard, The Beatles, Crowded House, Paul McCartney, and The Corrs, although not always in that order. To me the Rolling Stones just got lucky. Five of the ugliest blokes in the British Isles that don’t seem to know more than 6 guitar chords, and a 40 plus year career. Luck.

You cannot convince me that rap is music, that most of today’s music is music, and that any movie put out since It’s A Wonderful Life showed up on the silver screen in 1946 can compete with the greatness of that film. None of today’s actors capture my attention or my heart as does Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, William Powell, Audrey Hepburn, and others from the golden age of film. But I grew while rock 'n' roll was a child and while the movie greats were still alive.

I like women who leave things to my imagination. There’s nothing sexier than a woman who makes you wonder what kind of girl she is. Today’s girls are like Las Vegas lights. You know exactly what they want even though they say they don’t. I'm happy with my wife. She stills leaves things to my imagination.

I’m not homophobic. I have no fear of gay people and no aversion to someone that is. I don’t discriminate against someone who is gay. I just do not agree with the lifestyle choice and do not support special rights for someone that is gay. I believe that if gay was okay the big guy upstairs would have outfitted males and females with duplicate plumbing. Should I tell you what I think about gay marriage?

And I’m not absolutely sure I’m always pro-marriage between a man and a woman. It’s hard. You have to stop being selfish. You have to commit to someone. Men commit to a woman thinking that she thought he was perfect prior to marriage and found out that she’d been making a list of things that she wanted to improve. Women commit to someone who was happy to get a girlfriend to go home with every night for the rest of his life. Women are complex and men are simple. You buy a sexy outfit to turn him on and get him in the mood, women require expensive jewelry. And here is how simple we are as men; sexy outfit not required to get him in the mood. You have to put your spouse’s needs before most of yours. Kids get in the way of having regular sex, marriage gets in the way of sex. Some dreams die only to be replaced with other dreams. All kids disappoint at some time, all kids make you proud at some time. Some kids are ugly, some are beautiful. Mine are all beautiful. And yet we love them, hurt with them, laugh with them, ache for them. Some people believe in marriage and commitment, others use it as a disposable relationship.

But here is the thing. I don’t hate anyone. I just disapprove of lots of things. For instance, baseball purists say that the designated hitter is the worst thing that ever happened to baseball. Seriously? Have you ever seen a pitcher hit? They don’t have low batting averages because they’re in a slump. Most pitchers have been in a batting slump since they picked up a baseball as a child.

Dolphins are not the smartest animals on earth. Humans are. Of course, that depends on the human. Now Hitler was not smart. Attacking Russia in the winter is not smart. Nor was Stalin. Killing your own isn’t smart. Pol Pot was stupid too but to his defense the name he got stuck with was kind of a handicap. If dolphins were as smart as some would have us believe they would have created some kind of weapon to eliminate all of the sharks and whales in the seas, leaving a few for Sea World. That way they could have all of the fish. See, not smart. Humans have found ways to spend time underwater for long periods of time. It’s called a submarine. Dolphins still have to come up for air at fairly predictable times. Dolphins aren’t even close to coming up with a way to live on land. Chimpanzees only look like they have potential. Take humans out of the equation and they are still just trying to find the best tree for bananas.

Time out is for sports and not children. Discipline is for children. Who came up with the idea that a child in need of time out should only spend one minute per year of age in said time out? In prison they call that an early release. What a 5 year old child learns is that 5 minutes in time out is time worth doing the crime. I believe that a misbehaving child will die of malnutrition before I let them out of “time out” without a sincere apology and a hug and a kiss (so they know I love them). Interested in what I think about parole, sentencing to multiple life terms, probation? Yeah not in favor.

I don’t think we’ve had any good politicians and certainly not any great ones since Abraham Lincoln. I’m in favor of “We the people” which translates to “less politicians” and ”less government”. I think that if you’re going to take welfare money you should work cleaning streets and parks. You do that enough days and you’ll get an education and a job. If you live on welfare you shouldn’t have a pet, have a bigger TV than me and anything more than basic cable. Your Christmas should be smaller than mine. I think that welfare should have an expiration date. Food stamps should only buy basic food staples. If you’re going to have babies and be on welfare you should pay for the diapers. Keep having kids while on welfare and your benefits should be reduced. I don’t have a problem drug testing anyone on assistance.

I’m for school uniforms and outlawing gangs. I believe in the “F” grade. I think that for some people General Education is a waste of time and that they should be in a trade or a tech school. I say pay the good teachers good money and get rid of the bad ones. I think that kids should look at a teacher with a little awe and some healthy fear. Being sent to the principal’s office should have some meaning put back into it. I think that if you cheat you fail that assignment. You cheat three times, you fail the class.

I’ve seen the kind of art supported by public money as a requirement of law. I’ll be honest, the drawings on my fridge over the years are worth more than the crap I’m forced to pay for through taxes. If most of the public art is indeed art then I think we should all get a refund or at least get paid to not look at it.

If public transportation can’t serve the public or only supports a small percentage of the public then I don’t believe in giving them more money. It’s like putting a turbo on a Yugo.

There. I Y’am what I Y’am. This isn’t my all inclusive list. It’s just some healthy ramblings. I think that if you slowed down a bit and considered your life you could come up with some of the same conclusions. Happiness is truly wanting what you have and not having what you want.

Be you. You’ll be happier.

1 comment:

Tana, Chris, Alexis (9), Aiden (3), and identical twin boys Brennen and Camden (6 months) said...

OK, so that was a fun read! Chris agrees with you--says "he makes a lot of good points and true statements--something the media would never cover because of it" :)

Can't wait to read some more "ramblings"