Saturday, December 10, 2011

Julie Challenge #1

One of my favorite people recently began writing a blog of her own [shameless plug:] and mentioned to me that she needed brain fodder. I can totally understand this need, as most of my topics come from Craigslist or my boobs (occasionally my failed attempts at dating, which I will get to at some point, I swear) and on occasion it would be nice to be able to talk about something else. Anyway, she and I started sending each other topics and today I got....

Wait for it...

 "No matter how good something is, people always try to make it better. Such as... chocolate covered skittles"

She's trying to make me think. I find this insulting. Not the topic, just the thinking. I'm feeling deeply disinterested in the world right now and instead of thinking, I would like to sloth about the car dealership I'm working at and fantasize about napping. And a life of being fanned by over-muscled cabana boys while eating whatever I want and not getting fat. 

But, alas, I cannot ignore the gauntlet that has been thrown at my feet... a challenge is a challenge, and my cats would never look at me the same if I failed them. So here goes.

*note the competitive streak*


When I first received today's topic, the only thing that popped into my head was the entire bag of peanut butter-filled, chocolate-covered, pretzel bits I ate on the way home from taking my dad to surgery on Tuesday. Those were by far the most amazing things I've ever eaten... well... the first half of the bag was pretty good. The second half of the bag was not so great, but for some reason I felt the need to eat it anyway. Don't ask, I have no willpower.

Whoops, derailed! My eating habits really don't have much to do with the topic at hand. Those popped into my head because they took a pretzel, shoved it full of peanut buttery goodness and then covered it in my life-force... er... chocolate. But, Julie's topic really made me have to take a moment to think. Why improve a perfectly good pretzel in the first place? That is the real question. After all, a pretzel is a good snack. It's got some salt, but not too much, not too high in calories, provides roughage/fiber/something good for you I'm sure, etc, etc... all in all, not the worst thing to snack on. 

Wait a minute! What was I saying? I'm American! A reasonable snack? WHAT?!? We've got to do something about that! Quick! Infuse it with LARD!!!

Okay, okay... back to the question. Why improve the damned thing in the first place?

Not all improvements are necessarily a bad thing... I mean, look at one of my favorite inventions: the single serving blender. It's perfect! It's a cup and a blender in one and totally cuts the amount of dishes that need to be washed in half. I can make my breakfast and take it with me in less than five minutes. But, one can go a little overboard with fixing things that aren't broken, and often it results in breaking the hell out of whatever it is you're trying to improve. Just ask 2/3's of the wives/mothers in America who ever made the mistake of letting their husbands/sons "work on" their household appliances. (Years of watching "Home Improvement" showed this to me).

In all honesty, moderate competition can cause some amazing things to be invented and some serious results to be achieved. For instance, a friend of mine started running last year, and when she started catching up to my running "records" I had to up my game so I could continue to be "better" (in my mind at least; she could still whoop my ass any day of the week if we're going to be honest). But, it caused me to stay in shape and continue trying instead of resting back on my laurels of being in good-enough shape.

Mild competition is somewhat different than what I'm focusing on in the mental regurgitation that I'm putting up as this "blog post" though. I mean, chocolate covered skittles? That's not a minor competition. That's a candy trying to claim dominance over the entire candy sphere. It's got a candy shell, chocolate, and squishy, chewy, candy-yumminess. That's complete bullshit! It's practically trying to steal all the other candy's lunch money! What happened to a nice, normal Hershey Bar? Chocolate covered skittles?! GAH!

Not only can the "improving" be unnecessary (chocolate covered skittle), and on occasion, nothing is different other than packaging (turning a robe backwards and calling it a "Snuggie"), but I think that the whole thing can be boiled down to a strange need people have to one-up virtually everything they come in contact with. (Spray-can pancake batter). I think in general it has to do with a deep-set insecurity. "If I can improve it, it will show that I'm valid and important." The insecurity is not always necessarily to do with food, (especially not with me... obviously. I couldn't cook my way out of a paper bag) but it could be, I suppose. Some people put a lot of stock into how good of a cook they are.

People's competitive nature seems to revolve around insecurity and the need to prove oneself as valid and worthwhile as the person(s) they're competing with. We all do it, it's just part of our nature, but some people take it to a level that is almost inappropriate. (See: chocolate covered skittles). They can't interact in a group without taking whatever the subject is and working it into a web that wraps around them and their life. (Like how I'm taking chocolate covered skittles and using it as an excuse to talk about myself... you like that, dontcha?) So they sit around with their "friends" and spend the entire time telling each other how amazing they are instead of just enjoying the time they have together.

"Hey guys, I redid my lawn. I put in a whole bunch of roses because I think they smell nice."

"Yeah Joe-Bob, I really like what you did with your lawn, that's why I did the same thing but added 6,000 rosebushes so you could smell my house from six miles away."

"Oh, I know, Joe-Ellen and Joe-Bob, that's why I added 6,001 rosebushes and imported them from a greenhouse in OUTER SPACE where they genetically modified them to produce enough scent to canvas the entire STATE in rose smell!"

Really, people? Why not just appreciate the damned pretzel for what it is. An awesome fucking snack! Let people enjoy their moment in the spotlight and let them be special for who they are and what they are. The most impressive people out there are the ones who don't have to say anything to prove how awesome they are, they just are.

I guess my ramble-ender is...

Stop trying so hard to make things bigger and better and more impressive, and just BE. You'll be amazed with the results, and the lack of 723 unnecessary calories.

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