Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Don't let imperfections ruin life

Don't let imperfections ruin life

(My Clovis News Journal column for November 4, 2011.)

The imperfections in the world can bring some entertainment. I am glad for that. Unbroken comfort can make you more numb than jumping into that frozen lake with a polar bear club.

Recently I enjoyed sitting outside during the dirt storm that hit the area. My young daughter enjoyed it with me. She ran around laughing as the dirt engulfed her- obviously exhilarated by the novelty of the situation. We could have hunkered indoors and complained about the weather, but look at the joy we would have missed. Adverse conditions can be fun to sit through, with the right attitude. Witness storm chasers.

Some people live lives of bitterness just because everything in the world isn't perfect. They seem to believe the only way to make themselves feel better is to force everyone else to conform to their idea of "perfect". That is sad. Sure, there are so many things that could be better, but you may as well enjoy what you can when the opportunity presents itself. You are only responsible for your life, and you have an obligation to mind your own business. Remembering that frees up a huge amount of your life.

For example: I value liberty, but I can still enjoy life even though I am surrounded by a government that I don't need, I don't want, I don't respect, and that only gets in the way. There is no Utopia. Even in a free society there will still be bad guys trying to use coercion or other aspects of the political method in order to deprive individuals of their life, liberty, and property. If you can't enjoy life now, under government, you wouldn't be able to enjoy a life of liberty. either. If you can't enjoy a little dirt storm now and then, you probably can't enjoy the rainy days. There will always be something you could complain about.

That doesn't mean you let evil go unnoticed or unchallenged. It just means you call a spade a spade, then move on and don't let it ruin your day. In fact, you can probably get on with the business of living more easily when you clear the air and stop trying to justify the unjustifiable.

Just weather the storm, try not to get blown away, and laugh at the foolishness of it all. Especially the foolishness of those who mistake the storm for life.


Cursed turn signals!!!

I have come to the conclusion that I really dislike turn signals. I know, that's not a popular opinion. You are more likely to hear people cussing about those who don't use turn signals. But I have come to really despise the stupid things.

And, here's why.

Sure, it sounds like a good idea: let other drivers know that you intend to turn (or change lanes) before you do it. Of course, unless your move will actually interfere with other drivers in some way, it's pointless, but we'll ignore that for a moment.

The reality of turn signals comes down to this: Some drivers use your warning as a challenge to cut you off before you can do what you signaled your intention to do.

And, in the case of others signaling for your "benefit", in most cases it seems that the signal is ripe for tragic confusion. Here in town I can't trust drivers to turn when they are signaling that they are turning. And I am not talking about people who used their signal when changing lanes and then forgot to turn it off. When I am trying to pull out on the highway and see an apparent opening due to someone signaling, it usually turns out that they are actually turning beyond where I sit. If I trust their signal and pull out I will be hit. If they wait until they are past me to begin signaling so as to not be misleading me, the signal is meaningless. And in that case, according to the "law", they didn't turn on their signal far enough in advance of their turn. So, signal or not, I need to wait until they either turn or pass me before I make a move, just as I would have to do in the absence of turn signals.

And, in response to one person I mentioned this to (after just such an event while they were driving) who couldn't wrap their mind around my point at all, I am not saying hand signals are "better". I think it's usually better- but not always- to forgo the signal completely. If you can signal in a way that has little chance of causing confusion, do it. If not, leave the lever alone!