May 25, 2005

Life: The Zero-Sum Game

Oh, but what a game it is, eh?

IMO, life must be a zero sum game. You're born at the beginning and dead at the end. As far as I can tell, that makes it a zero-sum game. What is the point of life then? Simple: Make the world a better place when you die than it was when you were born.

For me, that means raising a kid who'll grow up to be a decent human being, and possibly change the world in a positive way. Extending a hand when it's needed to my fellow man. Make a positive mark in the world beyond a headstone.

It would be nice to win the lottery (I think). It would be nice to run a multi-million dollar company (I think). It would be nice to live in a palatial mansion on 70 acres in La Jolla, California (I think). None of it is necessary.

It IS nice to have a loving wife, a brilliant kid, a stable home (rented), food on the table when I need it, a decent job and a positive outlook on life. That is all I really want or need.

Last night, while driving to pick up dinner, I witnessed an accident right in front of me. It was pretty brutal, a Ford Expedition vs. Honda Accord. The Accord was struck just behind the passenger-side door, and spun around a couple of times before coming to rest against a curb. So I stopped to help. I have first-aid gear in my car.

When I approached the Ford (another bystander was attending to the Accord, which was closer to them), it was obvious that the driver (a 30-something woman) was concious, aware and not crtically injured, so I went to the back, where I could see two children. I opened the door and said "Hi! Is everyone okay? My name is Ernie, and I'll help you if I can." The two kids were a 6-yr old boy and a 9-yr old girl. Luckily, nobody was seriously hurt, and everyone was wearing their seatbelts. Police arrived, EMS arrived, statements were taken etc, and I went on my way. Why am I telling you all of this? It's because of what happened in the middle of it all.

The mother of these two children, while I was inspecting them, calming them down and generally making sure of their well-being, stopped and said "Thank you so much for stopping to help." She was under the impression that I might have driven away, not knowing if they were okay, not knowing if I could have helped. That just stopped me dead. I can't imagine living my life that way. Do you?

These are the things that make me happy. I got nothing out of stopping and helping except the feeling that I might have made a difference to this Mom and her two very scared children. I like doing that, and I'll continue to do that because that's what makes life worth living.

But I'll still play the lottery.

May 04, 2005

27 ways to be a good Republican...

In response to this (22 ways to be a good Democrat)

  1. You have to be against a woman’s right to choose, but support the murder of thousands by air strike.
  2. You have to believe that a shopping mall is better than a backyard, as long as it’s not YOUR backyard.
  3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of drug dealers and gang-bangers are less of a threat than countries that have never fired a weapon at Americans here in America.
  4. You have to believe that there were no airlines before Federal funding, tax breaks and kickbacks.
  5. You have to believe that global temperatures are more permanently affected by natural changes in the earth's climate than billions of tons of waste gasses pumped into the atmosphere by coal and natural gas power plants.
  6. You have to believe that the sex of someone else’s spouse is actually your business, but your adultery isn’t anyone else’s business.
  7. You have to believe that the AIDS epidemic cannot be slowed with the assistance of the Federal government.
  8. You have to believe that the teacher who can't teach 4th-graders how to read is doing a great job.
  9. You have to believe that hunters care about nature because the 10-point rack on the wall shows their commitment to it.
  10. You have to believe that things magically happen even if you have no self-esteem.
  11. You have to believe that Mel Gibson made The Passion Of The Christ because Christ died for our sins and not to gain notoriety.
  12. You have to believe the ACLU is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, but the NRA is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.
  13. You have to believe that taxes are too high and the deficit, trade gap and unemployment levels are too low.
  14. You have to believe that Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, and Thomas Edison.
  15. You have to believe that standardized tests are not racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are.
  16. You have to believe that George W. Bush is normal and is a smart, well-spoken person with no hidden agendas.
  17. You have to believe that a representative democratic republic will work for everyone, regardless of belief, history or ideology and that it’s okay to kill a considerable percentage of them to bring it to them.
  18. You have to believe that a President having consensual sex with another adult is far worse than a President who’s eager to send our children off to get killed in a war that isn’t a war to find weapons that didn’t exist.
  19. You have to believe that Christmas and Easter were originally Christian holidays and not co-opted seasonal festivals of Pagans.
  20. You have to believe that changing the rules of the Senate and the Ethics Committee to protect Republican Senators is somehow in the best interest to the United States.
  21. You have to believe that we actually went to war in Iraq to find WMDs because they were a clear and present threat to the United States.
  22. You have to believe that Republican backed special interest groups didn't finance The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, they got the idea and money on their own.
  23. You have to believe Bill Clinton getting a blowjob in the Oval Office is appalling, but Newt Gingrich serving his wife with divorce papers on her deathbed is A-OK.
  24. You have to believe in defending the sanctity of marriage except when it’s a husband trying to fulfill his wife’s wish in ending her life.
  25. You have to feel that marriage is sacrosanct and inviolate while ignoring the fact that 61% of Catholics get divorced and another 7% get their marriages annulled.
  26. You have to believe that what John Kerry did 30 years ago is important, but what George W. Bush didn't do 30 years ago isn't.
  27. You have to believe that this message was authored by a left-wing pinko socialist bleeding heart liberal.

I could go on and on and on. That's why I go to a help group: On And On Anon. Funny thing is, I'm not really a Democrat.