Was it murder--or something serious?
Philip Marlow in Murder, My Sweet

Friday, March 13, 2015

Tune Out, Turn Off

I know! I know. But I really do think spending less and less time online is one of the best and healthiest choices we can all make. Or maybe it's one of the best and healthiest choices I can make, but if it works for me, I'm thinking it's going to work for you too.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the concept of being present in my own life.

Something that I see over and over and over again is how many of us put the people around us on hold while we respond to a cell phone call or text -- or Facebook message or a tweet. What are we doing?

Or this -- you've seen this, I'm sure -- someone holds up an entire line at a grocery store or a theater or whatever in order to take a phone call.

Mr. Thrilling was just talking about an NPR montage of interviews interrupted so that someone can take a phone call.

This is nuts.  Not only are these behaviors incredibly inconsiderate and rude, they're unhealthy. an electronic leash is a stressor. Never being able to be completely alone is stressful. And unnecessary because there are few phone calls that are so vital, they can't wait a few minutes. And if they are so vital that they can't wait, chances are you're too far away to do much anyway.

Here's something even more interesting. When you turn off the Internet and all the blah, blah, blah that goes with it, it doesn't follow you. If you're not participating in it, it's not real. I mean, yes, it's real in a tree falling in the forest sort of way, it's still happening with or without you, but it might as well cease existence for all the impact and importance it has on you once you click out of your browser.

But even that's not exactly what I mean. What I mean is it's difficult to give the people in your offline life the attention they deserve if you're on line all the time. It's difficult to give yourself the attention you deserve if you're on line all the time.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Simple Pleasures: Laughter

Tankist276 licensed thru Shutterstock
I think one of the best moments of human connection is when you meet a stranger's eyes and you both start laughing. Maybe it's just a few seconds of shared amusement or maybe you strike up a conversation.

In a way that's what writing humor is like. Getting a reader to laugh is much more difficult than making a reader cry. Moving a reader to tears is kind of like shooting fish in a barrel. But moving someone to laughter...not so easy. I suppose that's because it's prodding a different part of the brain. Well, maybe that's it right there. Tragedy hits us in the heart and Comedy is largely about the brain.

Anyway, there's nothing better than shared laughter. Whether it's those silly, goofy moments spent with friends, or recollecting happy times with family, or that flash of amused recognition with someone you'll never see again...laughter really is the best medicine.