Tuesday, January 28, 2014

whoa, a thought.

Yesterday I had a startling realisation which, at first, sounded kind of superficial, but after really reflecting on it, decided certainly warrants its startling status.

My realisation was: Madonna’s entire career has occurred within my lifespan. I was born in 1981 and she had her first hit, “Everybody,” in 1982. Obviously she was busy building her career before then, but the part of it that affected culture—the part that made her Madonna—officially commenced in 1982.

Why is this important? Two years ago—in 2012—it was The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, celebrating 65 years on the throne. That’s not 65 years old, that’s 65 years in service. Starting in 1952, Her Majesty’s reign has seen some of the most significant cultural movements in history, movements that have shaped, defined and are still heavily referenced in our culture today. Having lived through World War II, she assumed the throne as food rationing in the United Kingdom was just beginning to taper off. She saw movements in music, having been especially privy to both the Rolling Stones and the inimitable revolution known as Beatle Mania. I hardly think the world has shaken the same since (and social media solar flares surrounding One Direction and Justin Bieber don’t count, it was a simpler time). She witnessed the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Thatcher Era (the stains of which are still evident and smarting in the UK). There are many other huge movements and events I could include, but I’m keeping this brief brief. The Queen has seen the stuff that largely dominates the pages of our history books, and is still alive today to relate stories of her experience having observed such important events. As a result, The Queen stands as a creation of history, a person made wholesome and rich by a multitude of heavy, weighted things that have impacted her life. She stands as a living relic of history by today’s standards, a piece of history herself, and there aren’t many like her.

To me, realising my lifespan had completely included the cultural movement made by Madonna meant that I lived through something major as well, which comes with its own inexplicable feeling of excitement and accomplishment, and especially when contrasted with the next fact that piggy backed my thought: that the lives of others haven’t included Madonna’s reign. Sure, my friends who are under 30 have lived through the 90s, both wars in Iraq, 9/11, and a variety of other, more recent events that will soon be told through pages in history books, but none of these things have spanned a full 30+ years, and that’s where I find myself in awe.

Of course some shithead reading this will think I’m comparing myself to The Queen which, under normal circumstances, wouldn’t be an unjust assumption, but not this time. She was merely the exaggerated example of what I’m feeling about my own life. Of course this realisation I had was short lived, as it soon gave way to a flood of other defining thoughts about my life, such as reminders that I now live in a foreign country, am married, own cats, finally have pec muscles that show from beneath a t-shirt, prefer red wine over white and other thoughts that basically affirm that I am no longer a child by showing me all the “adult things” I do nowadays. I suppose the most adult thing of all, however, is growing up enough to look back and realise all of this.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


there should be a holiday that commemorates the--most likely--untimely deaths of all those people who, since beginning of time, have made the bold choice to try something new, yielding amazing new discoveries, but lost their lives for it. like think of something as commonplace as spices: there must have been a guy who didn't spare a second thought before popping a dried myrtaceae flower into his mouth. "nice, he thought. i shall call this a clove, and one day, great amounts of these will be used to create lovely quilted patterns on Christmas hams." but then he could have had a friend who, inspired by the discovery of the clove, downed a a succulent bunch of dark violet berried on a deadly nightshade bush (probably just called 'nightshade' back then), and whose corpse and stained fingers served as a rather morose indication, perhaps one of the earliest, that 'this product should not be taken internally.' so thanks to all the adventurous tasters.

and then think of all the accidents people experience on a regular basis--electrocution, for instance. tesla may have pioneered the practical usage of it, but as electricity is basically invisible, it's a pretty safe bet it's fallen many a man with a strong sense of curiosity. and thanks to the man who wasn't afraid to test the waters, among other things.

and then there are people who do things without any intent of experimentation, and end up taking one for the team. so apparently, drinking too much water can deplete electrolyte levels, leading to death. once water became universally drinkable and was available in abundance, some poor schmo figured he'd down as much as he could to ward off all the digestive evils life brought him. so he drank, and drank, and drank, thinking with each drink he was flushing away toxins and keeping his supple body hale and healthy, but too bad his electrolytes piggybacked on his toxins and ultimately left him dead. death by drinking too much water guy, thanks.

we could go on and on, so to make this holiday happen, simply take a moment to pick something around you and consider whether or not someone could have died in its discovery. this basically means everything around you. like i'm staring at my phone now, and thinking "who could have died inventing the phone?" nevermind the phone--think of the plastic most of the phone is made from. after plastic was invented, it no doubt underwent a rigorous battery of endurance tests, some of which must have involved supporting a person's weight in some capacity, when CRACK--it stopped--and said person went falling or tumbling or sliding to their death. so thanks guy that died to make the plastic that makes my phone.
and the guy that died that proved glass can be sharp enough to inflict a fatal wound.