The Secret to My (Lack of) Success

I was talking with a friend of mine last night about control.  We were relaxing a little after a half-successful film shoot, in which we shut down before completing the evening’s tasks due to technical failure.  He looked to me and mused, “I want to be in control of everything.”

Well, that’s the trick, isn’t it?

In our natural state, we really aren’t in control of anything, ever.  I can utilize electronic equipment that was manufactured by a machine overseas and sold to me at a reasonable price six years later on eBay, but how am I to control defects in the hardware?  I’m not.  Last night one of our batteries proved to be faulty, but who’s fault is that?  We can’t sit around blaming each other for selecting that particular battery at the store; it was out of our control.

Some people are out of control and perfectly cool with it.
Some people are out of control and perfectly cool with it.

Society has rules in place that put people in control, of situations, of others, but are they really in control, or simply given a position where wrestling for that elusive control may prove easier or even temporarily successful?  A shift manager can’t guarantee the people he has control over will obey his commands, and the birth of organized labor is living proof that total control is, at best, short-lived and fleeting.

Even inside our own bodies, we don’t have control.  My thoughts and my actions aren’t always in agreement, if they were I could just think I should be thinner.  My will turns out to be no will at all, but merely desire.

If I want to be thinner, or more muscular, or more contemporary standards attractive, I have to put in a lot of work.  I’m giving up any control I might have had, allowing exercise and healthy eating to take over, giving up cheeseburgers for salads with fat free dressing, even giving the control my body has over protecting itself from the elements to the barber.

That last bit might suggest society has tangible control, by forcing me into proper grooming practices.  But nay I say, since we as a society continuously buck against the norms that govern our way of life.   But why?  Are we a society of rebels?

Attractive changes constantly, and begs the question: does it change because we have control over what we like, or does it change because we have no control over who we are, and just change our likes accordingly?

A couple of these girls aren't going to make the next catalog cycle unless they start counting those calories better.
A couple of these girls aren’t going to make the next catalog cycle unless they start counting those calories better.

In the 80s, every model was rail thin.  To a lesser degree, society as a whole was much thinner than today.  Today, we have an emerging plus-size model culture, and even the “regular” models are becoming far less bony.  Is this because tolerance and acceptance has begun to include larger women, or because we as a whole are becoming larger, forcing our ideas of what is attractive and sexy to change, since we have no real control over it happening?

Not that we need any more to eat, but there’s some food for thought.

What of the millions of people that suffer from some form of mental illness?  Can they even pretend they have any semblance of control?  Maybe the worst of the lot are the only ones that can truly believe they are in control, as they suffer from delusions.

For the rest of us, we’re stuck with inspirational poster nonsense that tells us to “take control,” which immediately suggests that control is something we don’t have.  And when we’ve taken that control, whom do we give it to?  I certainly don’t have it; my control has been relinquished to the Ab exercise device I bought, leaving me with only a desire to use the device.  What controls you, I wonder, and can you take it back?  Good luck, either way.

This video shows several generations worth of being told what’s good to look at.  The best part is a classroom of girls in negligees doing the Hucklebuck.  Some things never go out of fashion.

1 MR Blog: Where Are They Now?

I looked at my list of things I wanted to accomplish before starting this blog. Turns out, I need to make some edits; I need to cross a couple of things off!

Starting my own product company turned out to be a bit of a mess, but I did successfully start my own business. You can view my Facebook page here. I repair tube amplifiers and, if I ever sell those damn Slick Shots, flip classic arcade machines. So far, work in this field hasn’t made me rich but I do enjoy it, when I get work.

My band The Alphabet Asylum moves ever closer to completion of our second album, which we have now been working on for longer than the length of time between when we stopped playing live and when we started the album project. Still, I am nothing but pleased with the results so far, and feel confident about the finished product. I can’t wait for it to be done, too, since I have a music video to cross off my list…

The best laid plans of mice and men don't mean diddly squat without a little execution. Even sleeveless hillbillies know that.
The best laid plans of mice and men don’t mean diddly squat without a little execution. Even sleeveless hillbillies know that.

I sent my first screenplay off to an agency, to try my hand at becoming a paid writer. The agency works with spec scripts, and charges a fee to have their professionals give it the old “you suck, give up now”. If you make the prestigious cut, you are invited to join the agency, and your screenplay becomes available to the agency’s clients, all movie producers, managers, and directors. For those of you already raising the red flag of he’s getting scammed, fear not: I did a lot of research on this and the agency I ended up going with is reputable. Since this is my  first real outing as a screen writer, I’m in it more for the professional critique than anything else.

But who knows…

My web TV show is in its final stage of production. I hope to release that and cross it off my list in another couple months.

All of these things coming together is good, since I really need to start thinking about getting a job. Money is still pretty good, and the wife working has kept my endeavors afloat, but since the new product idea didn’t pan out, steady employment will soon become necessary, unless my one of my artistic endeavors takes off.

We also have a new addition to our household, and while we weren’t trying to replace our beloved feline friend Emcee, a human associate of ours needed a home for his young cat, and ours was an obvious choice.

Much like the hazy fog of uncertainty that has descended onto my future, such is the life of a cat that is torn from its home and taken to a new one. Thrown into a box and bumped along for who knows how long, then deposited into a cold new world, this is the feeling I get every time I finally realize the conclusion of something new that I am attempting. I haven’t been anywhere near as nervous as when I sent off that screenplay. Clicking the upload button made it terribly real, the pending results a truth I won’t be able to escape.

Our new cat Sylvia spent several days in our spare bathroom, inside a cardboard cavern I had constructed for her. The truth of her new life was exacting upon her fortitude, demanding of her nerves, relentless to her senses. It was easier for her to remain in her cave, fantasizing about what might be out there, safe yet ultimately ignorant.

Of course, once she finally emerged from her cavern, after having unrolled an entire roll of bath tissue, she discovered an amazing world, filled with new places to explore, people to pet her and give her treats, and new friends to play with. She is as happy as a cat can be, yet never would have known if she had not taken that first horrifying step out, proving to herself that the world was much bigger than she had imagined.

There's my Sylvia. The first thing she did when she came out of her cardboard cave was locate every other "cavern" in the house.
There’s my Sylvia. The first thing she did when she came out of her cardboard cave was locate every other “cavern” in the house.

So is the same with my endeavors, as with yours or anyone’s. I could have kept my screenplay to myself, telling myself that I had done a good job, but then how would those dreams be different than the ones you have at night while you sleep?

There’s an expression that states curiosity might have been the death of poor Sylvia. Like the rooted, unadventurous life the expression advocates, she could have spent the rest of her days in an upturned cardboard box, slinking out the few paces it took to reach her food, water, and toiletries. But then, she never would have discovered the magical world she now lives in. Her physical being is safe, her emotional state restored to normal, her piece of mind a now better feeling than the previous torment and wonder of unknown possibilities.

Wasn’t that worth just a little risk? You can stand still, pretending you might someday give your dreams a try, or you can move right along with your plans, and let the chips fall where they may. You’ll never know either way, otherwise.

Just think about how sad the world would be if a dancing frog hadn’t accepted a ride from a wise-cracking bear. Sometimes you just gotta give it a go.