Saturday, July 10, 2010

I really do need to ink a new TJMOC

I just spent some time reading over one of my old essays, "Andy Rooney, Paul Harvey, and Good Old-Fashioned Common Sense".  I have to say, that has been one of my best to date.  It reminds me that the wonderful point of view piece I wrote (as a critique of drama heaped upon a close friend) was my starting point for podcasting and it began my time as a common sense commentator with the signature phrase, "That's just me of course".

For those who grew up with me, I'm sure they're wondering, "when did SHE grow common sense?"  I didn't.  It's time and lessons learned that has given me some sort of horse sense to not step intentionally into potholes or some other sort of mess.

Over time, I've written pieces for the podcast that include topics like:

  • Drama.
  • Saying "Thank You".
  • Remembering the people who work hard to create things you enjoy.
  • Don't take things for granted.
  • Perseverance.
  • Seeing reflections and the impact you make in and on everything around you.
  • The importance of family and sticking together.
  • Online worlds.
  • Tolerance and being sweet.
  • Common sense.
To be honest, I've done so many that I've forgotten half of them. Every month for a while, I struggled to put together something that was relevant to Uru Live and that still gave an uplifting message.  Truth told, sometimes it's hard to keep coming up with positives when all you want to do is scream about the negatives because they've got you so worn out.

But, thinking about my TJMOC's, the one thing I've tried my hardest to stay true to was the common sense aspects of life.  It doesn't take a genius to figure out that common sense isn't all that common.  Every day I watch some poor dummy shove their head clean up their butt, knowing that just the slightest notion of common sense would have kept their head on straight.  The horrible part about it all, is that in a lot of cases, it's hysterically funny what happens when someone throws their common sense clean out the window!  Oh come now, you've not watched America's Funniest Home Videos and wondered how they became so funny?  In a lot of cases, it's because common sense got up and left the building.  It's true and it's the truth in it that makes you laugh so hard.  Sometimes I'm convinced that's where half of my comedic moments come from, if not all of them.

I love common sense.  I do.  I wasn't born with a lick of it, but now that time has passed and I've gained a bit more, I guess you have to be grateful for becoming wiser as you age and realize that you have learned things through your experiences.  I was always book smart.  Nan was the one that was born with all the common sense.  Thank goodness she was around for me, or I'd have ended up in pretty poor shape.

But I need to get back to topic.  The fact that I'm a month overdue for a good nutritional value filled TJMOC.  To be honest, I really don't know what to say.  Oh, yes, I know, that's rich coming from someone who blogs like it's going out of style.  But really, I've covered every topic there is to cover when it comes to common sense.  Be sweet, be polite, be grateful, don't be prideful or arrogant, give more - take less, be understanding, make your words kind, gentle and tasteful...I think I've covered it pretty much from head to toe.

I guess I'm just going to have to cover the one topic I've been dying to do, and that's Adventures in Books.  Last semester, my favorite professor took me on a tour de force of the ancient world through literature.  Oh and what a pack of common sense no-no's went on through that!  I saw characters step on their whatevers in ways that I hadn't even considered yet.  Most of all, Doc T sure did put us through the paces in classroom discussions on the male/female conundrum. Oy veh.  I had a young man in my class think it was perfectly fine to be disrespectful to women. If you know me, you know full well what I did to that poor kid.  I shut him down seven ways from Sunday before he could even retort.  Doc T had to jump in front of me to make sure I didn't eat the kid for lunch.  I didn't make a friend that day, but young people have to learn to kick in what common sense they have when it's time to do so.  I mean really?  It's ok for guys to be disrespectful to women?  When did that happen and when did it become acceptable?  Lordy.  I just shook my head, finished the class and went about my business.  But that day still sticks to me and that young man's reaction to me for the rest of the semester told the tale.  He had no use for me whatsoever because as another student told me, "They're afraid of you."  As well they should be, because I've got no use for snot nosed young people who haven't quite learned what Mr. Gibbs had taped to his podium in my 11th grade English class, "A man at 18 thinks he knows more than he will learn between the ages of 8 and 81."  There are just some young folks that need to learn to respect their elders, even more-so the rest of the human race.  It was a day I could swear up and down that common sense wasn't all that common.  Sad really.

However, the best part of it all in my World Lit class last semester was the fact that it was lessons and adventures through books.  All together now!  *swoon*  Yes, it was a triumph!  Well, to me it was.  Ok, to give you the relevance and really juicy nutritional value out of it, you need just for a moment to suspend your disbelief and step into the world of the Myst Universe.  Oh yes, here we go again!

In the Myst Universe, all traveling is done through books.  Oh, go ahead you Mysteriacs, cheer for goodness sakes!  That's right.  When you play ANY of the Myst games, you're always confronted by books.  When you're faced with a book in the Myst Universe, all you have to do is open it and put your hand on the page.  As soon as your hand touches the book, the adventure begins!  The books can take you to far fetched worlds where physics just don't seem to apply, in others, physics plays more of a role than you'd like it to.  There are exotic locales and things of every shape, size, color, you name it!  It's a wonder for the eyes and more importantly, a real test for the intellect. It's a whole universe of puzzles that will test you until you'll want to collapse.  It's filled with unique characters with every sort of character flaw and whether you like it or not, you become a character in it as well.  But, it all starts with a book.

In World Literature, I found myself just as I did when I stood in front of my very first book stand in Myst.  I was confronted with the almost 3000 pages of the Longman Anthology of World Literature (subtitled, The Ancient World, The Medieval Era and the Early Modern Period).  It looked daunting.  But, I kind of put my Myst know-how to work for me.  It was going to take a stretch of imagination, but if I put my hand on the page and read the story, I'd be transported into the time and place it was depicting.  Over the course of the semester, I found myself covered in the dust of ancient Sumeria for The Epic of Gilgamesh, then on to the sun-drenched Mediterranean for plays by Aristotle, Euripides and Sophocles, even stopping for a few weeks to deal with that horrid man Odysseus and his Odyssey. We stopped briefly to sample the exotic fare in India and Japan, then it was on to rain-soaked ancient London for plays by Shakespeare.  

Each story was unique in it's own way, it mirrored so much of the Myst Reader that I felt like I had read the stories before. It turned a semester that I thought would be treacherous into something that I enjoyed.  It was the common sense of taking all of my previous experiences and letting them be further illuminated by the lessons being offered to me through those wonderful pieces of literature.  Yes, there were a few things I already knew, but there were a lot of things I didn't.  But, just like in the Myst Universe, I wouldn't have learned anything new if I hadn't had the courage to step up, place my hand on the book and be transported to a whole new world.

The Myst Universe, if given the chance and the right mindset, can really help in the real world.  It taught me to have the common sense to be grateful for any adventure that comes my way.  All it takes is putting your hand on the page.  Books are a wonderful thing, aren't they?

But then again, that's just me of course.

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