Throwback Thursday (Manifesto of Sanity)

In a society that is increasingly parting ways with integrity, honor, ethics, standards and logic, the opportunity arises for chaos which will tear apart the fabric holding our population together. As a member of this global society you should view it as your duty to help ensure the continuation of the freedoms so many others have fought and died to provide you. Turning a blind eye only gives consent for the behavior that is destroying our collective intelligence and engaging in the destructive behavior should never even be considered an acceptable option. Although the majority of the masses may already have fallen prey to this addiction to drama, the rest of us must stand strong and ever fight to restore the values that are necessary to survive in a world where you do not have to be afraid that every other person around you will either frustrate the hell out of you or screw you over for their own selfish purposes. We must help the contaminated population remember the benefits of living in a world where you could count on your neighbors to have your back, where you actually wanted to spend time with your family, when you were proud of your friends, your house and your job. We need to take back the times where a person’s word meant something and you could trust strangers. A world that is tolerant of other people’s creativity, sexual orientation and religious/political views does not have to be a world that also allows pandering to the lowest common denominator, a denominator that continues to plummet each day to new and more disturbing lows. Regardless of your personal preferences, laziness and wickedness are not justified by any logical argument. Each person is responsible for being responsible for themselves, if you are an able bodied person of reasonable age you should contribute in a positive manner to the society in which you reside. Be kind to others, offer assistance to those who are no longer able bodied, uphold standards, develop a work ethic and a desire to continue growing intellectually. Take pride in your actions and honor your commitments. Accept any limitations you may have and instead of denying or crying in indignation, work to overcome them. Think about the long term effects of your decisions before you act on them, choose healthy options and encourage the same of those around you. Lead by example and always strive to live a life that inspires others. If we make the effort to hold on to honor, integrity, ethics, standards and logic we can have the best this world has to offer. We will have the freedom to go out and enjoy ourselves with the added benefit of knowing we can safely walk down the street. We can go to work and know our tax dollars will be going to maintain the infrastructure of our country and not to corruption. The entertainment industry will once again provide actual story lines in movies and television and not just slap some reality star up there to act like an asshole over and over again. Technology will advance at an increasingly rapid rate because large corporations will no longer supress new inventions just because they may take away from their finite and outdated goods and services. Right now we are circling the drain and if we continue to allow this crazy chaos to thrive our society will crumble past the point of repair. Do not take the quickly declining population of responsible people for granted, if they are not replenished and maintaned then we are doomed. Help restore sanity to the mass actions of this world, believe that you can make a difference and never stop fighting for a planet worth living on.

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Night Terrors

The newscaster announced it was now time for the ten o’ clock news and a series of graphics flashed across his screen. He had to be up at 5:30am, he was exhausted, the logical course of action was to turn off the tv and go to bed. He sat there for a few more minutes, trying to combat the dread that was threatening to bubble up inside. Every night it was the same, he would have to force himself to walk to his room, shut off the light and lay down. It seemed pointless, he wasn’t going to sleep, but staying out in the living room watching late night tv didn’t make him feel any more rested when his alarm went off in the morning. All of his life he had struggled with insomnia. As a child his parents thought he was being difficult. They couldn’t understand, and he couldn’t explain, why it was he simply couldn’t fall asleep until the rays of morning light began to shine through his window. As a result of cycles of little sleep he had struggled through school and failed to learn normal social behavior. He was prescribed sleep aids by a doctor, but they didn’t work. He exhausted himself and tried all suggestions to find sleep at night, but it seemed that when “the cycle” started he would just have to deal with months of zero REM. After almost a year of peaceful slumber, the knowledge that he was in for numerous nights of laying there with his thoughts was almost more than he could bear.

Perhaps it was because he had spent the last year resting up, but the first week of insomnia hit him harder than normal. He started slipping at work, wasn’t sure how he made it to his destinations when he drove anywhere and his inability to remember simple things reached a new high. Three weeks into “the cycle’ the first hallucination happened. He was laying in the dark trying to count backwards from 1000 when he noticed movement out of the corner of his eyes. He chalked it up to shadows from the street light outside and resumed his count. All of a sudden he couldn’t concentrate on counting, his mind started to wander and latch onto topics that inspired anxiety and fear. He desperately tried to divert his thoughts and calm down, but his heart was racing, his palms were sweating…he was as wide awake as one can be. He wanted to cry. His body was screaming that it was tired, but his mind would not allow rest. Again he thought he noticed movement on his ceiling but was too distracted to really register the observation. He got up and walked out to the living room couch. Almost as soon as he laid down on it he felt his eyes growing heavy. His relief was enormous, he pulled himself up and padded towards the bedroom again. Unfortunately, when his head hit the pillow he was awake again. Instantly he felt despair well up in him and the anxiety soon joined in until he was once again filled with a mixture of stressful feelings. As he laid there, thinking about all the pressure of life, he began to pick up an odd sound above him, not quite a slither, or a rustle, but perhaps a soft suckling sound coming from the ceiling. He closed his eyes and tried to calm himself down. I am imagining things he told himself, there is nothing on the ceiling, no sounds, no movement. He was about to open his eyes again when he was struck with a certainty that if he looked up he would see something terrifying. His mind’s eye showed him a preview of a creature that was black and dripping silvery smokey wisps from its upside down mushroom-shaped body. It was hanging from the ceiling by a large root, with smaller thinner root strands clinging to the nooks and crannies of his orange peel texture. With trepidation he opened his eyes and looked up…nothing was there.

Over the next week his anxiety grew with each passing night, soon his eyes couldn’t close without seeing those creatures swarming above him. He felt like he was going mad, plagued by monsters that disappeared as soon as he opened his eyes. Sleep was impossible, his life was starting to unravel at a rapid pace. By the fifth day he could no longer even pretend he was able to drive to work. He called in sick and decided he needed to get some professional help. After seeing his doctor he came home armed with a bottle of extremely powerful sleeping pills. He wasn’t going to wait till dark, he took two and headed towards his bed. As he lay there waiting for the pills to take effect, he thought he could once again sense movement above him. A soft rustling sound began to grow in his ears. He prayed that the pills would kick in soon. The rustling began to turn into the sound of something sucking air in, the sound of spongy material opening and closing over and over again. He looked up and thought he saw a shimmer all over his ceiling, could almost make out shadowy blobs hanging down all above him. Panic began to well up inside him, fighting against the fast acting Halcion in his system. As he felt himself starting to fade into the blackness of sleep the shimmering blobs began to solidify overhead, the last thing he saw before the pills overtook him was what looked like a colony made up of something that appeared to be a hybrid virus cell, mushroom, jellyfish concoction. Much more terrifying was his knowledge that its true form was far more horrifying and this was as close as his brain could process without going completely mad. Sleep chased away the terror and as he slept the creatures above him feasted on his energy. Soon they would have enough to transform into the next stage of their life. They had followed him all his life but while he was awake they could do little more than cause his subconscious to awake in fear and send waves of panic coursing through his system. When he was asleep they could suck up the electrical charges that made up his thoughts, dreams and soul. It had taken 27 long years, but they were finally reaching the end of their meal, with a final inhale the last of Eric Johnson was absorbed by the entities above him and in the dark a new demon was born.

The Rest of the “Profiles”

Below are the rest of the made up profiles I created years ago to describe people I often meet. This is meant to be humorous, but most of them are funny because they were/are true.

Deep-seated super insecure unfixables

The absolute worst thing about a deepseated superinsecure unfixable person is that often times they are some of the nicest, most thoughtful/respectful people you will ever encounter which is why it’s so disappointing that they are also some of the hardest ppl to get close to. Their insecurities & anxiety create, often impenetrable  walls that keep you from ever really becoming a part of their life, which is just frustrating for the people who want to befriend them. However, not all DSSIU’s are great, some are just plain selfish needy assholes whose insecurities cause them to lash out at others just trying to help them. These DSSIU’s constantly change their mind about what they want, torn between their desire to be loved & their fear of being left. This causes a lot of self-destructive behavior which ruins most relationships they feel have the potential to hurt them. They justify backstabbing/cheating by rationalizing they have/would eventually have been screwed over so they might as well be the ones doing the screwing. Depression/anxiety/bi-polarism is present in many DSSIUs & 99% of the time you can’t help them out of their self-destructive cycle. The best way to deal w/them is to not get attached & if it’s too late for that just realize they need unconditional love & a lot of patience but don’t hold your breath on them changing any time soon.

Overly enthusiastics

Overly enthusiastic people often inspire in others a deep urge to punch them in the face. They talk incessantly, often over-explaining even the simplest of things, to the utter annoyance of anyone unlucky enough to be within earshot. They constantly sport a large fake-looking grin on their faces & can often be heard laughing at all the “funny” things they say. They love to point out other people’s mistakes but will then quickly add in some sort of compliment or encouraging remark to (soften the blow) justify to themselves that they weren’t being an asshole. The most annoying aspect of the O.E. is that their continual contradictions & overall fakeness make it very difficult to know where you stand with them. The best way to deal with an O.E. is to never take their opinion seriously & avoid talking to them unless absolutely necessary  Also let them know that you don’t care about their opinion & you have no interest in talking to them. This ensures that you will, of course, be spoken badly about (then complimented) behind your back but since you don’t care what the O.E. thinks it’s a small price to pay to keep them out of your hair.

Narcissist

Ah the narcissist, they always make me giggle. There are actually many types of narcissists, some annoying, others amusing, but you know for sure that you are dealing with one when you come across the over-inflated sense of self worth. I’ll go over 4 different sub-types.
Snobs
The snobby narcissist are very concerned with appearance, both theirs and yours, and a lack on your part to be seen wearing the correct clothing labels, or driving the right car, results in shunning (if you’re lucky) or worse….having to hear them bitch to you about how un-cool you are. They themselves expect nothing but the best of both material goods, food, and company, though their opinion of good company usually is attributed to how well known a person is and not their actual quality as a person. Their favorite pastime is to tell you all the reasons that they themselves are so awesome & why you should be impressed with/adore them. The best way to deal with this type of narcissist is to tell them that you don’t give a shit what they think & if applicable remind them that not everyone has a rich daddy to buy them things or are willing to prostitute themselves for designer shoes. If that doesn’t shut them up just make plans with them then don’t show up, that annoys them and usually results in their public assertation that they “are not speaking to you!”….thus you win!
Brooding musicians/artists
These narcissists also love to go on about how awesome they are….and how creative/talented/well known/insert something great about them here. In fact you could literally spend hours trying to get a word in edgewise but unless it was about them good luck getting them to pay attention. Not only will they talk on and on about themselves and their work, they always feel compelled to show you as well. So you have to hear them play their instruments, or show you their painting/photographs/sculptures/insert artwork of choice here. The worst is when they write the poems….oh god seriously….no one wants to hear your emo poems, but no matter how much you protest you always end up hearing the fucking lameass emo poems. Best way to deal with them…avoid them, or finally just grab them by the face, put a hand over their mouth, say “SHHHHHHHHH, no one cares” & when they go to speak, just repeat it, then never make plans with them again. They’ll never learn if no one doesn’t take the time to tell them that just because they painted a picture of a vase of flowers bleeding over a dead bunny doesn’t mean they are anymore talented than the average student at MCAD. I’m not advocating people not giving credit to talented people, it’s ok to tell people when they produce something of quality…but for fucks sake I’m not going to constantly feed an over-inflated ego.
One-uppers
These annoying bitches always have to add something to the damn conversation…if you won a $100 on a scratchoff, they won $200, if you got an unfair speeding ticket, they got unfairly beat by cops…you had a baby, they had twins, or some horrible experience with a baby. Point is, god forbid you get a chance to share something that happened to you (be it good or bad) without these jerks having to immediately chime in with their own story. Best way to deal with them…tell them to just shut the fuck up for a second. Shame their asses into giving you your 5 fucking minutes. If they have a relevant story that’s fine, but no one needs to know about some stupid thing that happened to them 10 years ago that has the smallest of ties to something that just happened to you. If you need advice, you’ll ask for it, otherwise let them know you don’t need their input.
Drama-dumpers
Everyone knows at least one of these types of people, they never call you or hang out unless something horrible happens to them. Then if you’re stupid enough to answer the phone or agree to see them, you find yourself the oratory recipient of months of stupid bullshit drama that you could give 2 shits about. They don’t have time to hear about you & your problems, but you sure as shit had to hear about their co-worker’s marital problems/cheating escapades and the time this one guy at their apartment building flashed them. They never admit to being a selfish conversation hog either, you could call them out on it and they’d put forth the minimalist of efforts to hear about your new job/significant other/pet/car/house/insert something that isn’t b.s. drama gossip here, but by the next unfortunate conversation it’s back to them dumping their drama on you and fleeing. Best way to deal with them…block their number & avoid them at the bar/grocery store/Target. If you get backed into a corner just put your fingers in your ear and hum the most annoying tune you can think of & when they finally notice and stomp off in an offended huff then you can do a victory dance!

Pessimists

Now no one goes around wearing rose-colored glasses, not even the overly enthusiastic, but there are some people so negative that their mere presence can ruin the cheeriest of moods. These pessimists always feel the need to point out how half-empty the glass is or how futile a situation may be. They never have a positive thing to tell anyone, more content to brood on the negative aspects, and can only be counted on to spread anti-goodwill wherever they go. At first it’s easy to brush off their comments, but after awhile their pessimism starts to eat away at you. These negative assholes are like a virus, continually wearing down your defenses until you are as miserable as they are. If you call them out on their lame-ass negativity they just get defensive and spout out more negativity. The best way to deal with them is to go on the counter-attack. For every negative thing they say, say two positive things. Eventually they will run out of negative things to say and will shut up, or walk away, either way you win.

Lazy bastards

Another delightful type of person in great abundance is the ever frustrating lazy bastard. L.B.s are always willing to hang out if you come to them, or come pick them up. They love activities that utilize the couch, and minimalize hard work. If you need someone to hang out with, they’re there for you, if you need someone to help you move, they’re “unfortunately” too busy. L.B.s don’t like having jobs, and switch employers often. If the smallest little obstacle surfaces at their job L.B.s would often rather quit than put forth more than the barest of efforts. As a result most L.B.s don’t have a lot of money to go out and socialize with. They are, however, very good at persuading others to pay for them with the promise that they will “pay them back real soon” which never happens because in order to do that they’d have to keep a job. L.B.s don’t believe in multitasking, so if they are in college, they can’t work because “it’s too hard to concentrate on studying and working a job” so they will take out unnecessary student loans to cover expenses they could easily have avoided with a little extra effort. They have no concept of how to handle money and spend it unwisely, depending on others for their economic survival. L.B.s are often brought up by other L.B.s and then when they have their own offspring, which they always do considering being responsible and practicing safe sex habits is usually too much effort for an L.B., the cycle just continues anew. The best way to handle an L.B. is to never ever give them any help…ever! No money, no enabling of laziness, no acceptance of excuses on why they suck so much. Just refuse to allow them to take advantage of you just because they can’t be bothered with helping themselves. If you suspect your significant other or child is an L.B. take immediate action. Don’t allow them access to your funds or anything of value. If they get an allowance cut it off and tell them they need to get a job, if they’re too young make them mow the yard or other people’s yards to earn money. Repetition about the value of a work ethic while they sleep can often provide excellent subliminal influence. If you are in love with an L.B. you obviously have horrible judgement of character or you lack the confidence and intelligence to demand more out of a partner. You should break up with them immediately or if you’re too much of a pansy to do that, you should give them a deadline to shape up. If they really love you they’ll make the effort, if they don’t just accept the fact they’re only in it for the perks & kick their lazy asses to the curb. By allowing someone else to be an L.B. you just perpetuate the problem, instead be a part of the solution & together we can eradicate laziness from our society.

Pseudo intellectuals

Ever met someone who at first seemed to know about so many different topics it was like a breath of fresh air in comparison to the usual boring assholes & their usual inane babbling. Then a day/week/month/year later you realize the awful truth, they aren’t really a smart & fascinating individual, you have just fallen victim to a pseudo intellect. P.I.s can fool some people all the time & all people some of the time but they can’t fool all people all of the time because eventually they will screw up & let some incriminating remark out & then their cover is blown. Common P.I. tactics are learning a small amount of information about a wide array of topics & then casually throwing bits of said info into conversation in a manner which deceptively implies they are very knowledgeable  If pressed for more info they suddenly have a million things to do & can’t possibly continue the conversation. They often contradict themselves while speaking/writing, unknowingly of course, which can alert you to their P.I. tendencies. I’m not against pple learning about many different things & I don’t expect pple to know everything about everything, but don’t pretend to be smarter than you are, it’s insulting and implies insecurity on your part. That’s the worst thing about a P.I. that they are deceptive & someone willing to deceive others for such a trivial reason makes me sad. Actually the absolute worst thing about P.I.s is when they manage to charm their way into the spot of a true intellectual. There’s nothing more insulting to a person of quality than being usurped by a P.I. It can be hard to spot a P.I. but a bit of gentle probing usually uncovers their true nature. If they seem too witty/charming & knowledgeable they probably are so start asking questions before you become enamored by them. A truly intelligent person is happy to go in-depth & share their knowledge & if they don’t know the answer they will readily admit it. The best way to deal with a P.I. is to be smarter than they are & demand only a true intellectual.

Quietly Into the Dark

In the fall of 2019 the human race was defeated and enslaved. They fell not with a bang but with a whimper, barely a hand was raised in defense of the planetary takeover. The alien race that had been observing Earth for decades had devised a clever plan for domination. Their strategy allowed them to conquer without a single casualty on their end and also kept the majority of the human population intact for slave labor. Only a handful of humans were able to avoid capture. They hid underground and in caves, living as their ancient ancestors did, with no electronic devices, rudimentary tools and at the mercy of the land. A refusal to embrace technology was the only thing that had spared them the fate of their brothers. For it was through technology that the aliens had found a way to make willing slaves of humanity.

The aliens, a race known in other parts of the galaxy as Coaxians, prefered to work smarter, not harder in their goal to find resources. They had found that in the past, hostile takeovers were messy and to be avoided at all costs. The chief commander, Eyreal, had devised a strategy of observation to pinpoint the weakness of the inhabitants of any planet deemed worth overtaking. Humans had been found to possess a troublesome attitude towards invasion and the ability to band together and overpower enemies even against great odds. They hadn’t evolved intellectually to the level of the Coaxians but still showed flashes of ingenuity and cleverness that presented the opportunity for them to potentially be victorious. This was a chance that Eyreal was not willing to take. He studied different humans from all over the world. He sent small ships to capture samples so he could run experiments and figure out a plan that would not fail. Eyreal was pleased to discover that the human collective would often refuse to believe things they could not see and touch and thus he grew more confident and bold in his capture and release experiments with humans. Even when one of his ships was captured by one of the human governments, the humans did not realize what they had found, or the danger that it represented. The two team members that were held captive by the humans acted like spies, sending all visual and audio back the main ship for years before they feigned death and escaped. It was this information that gave Eyreal the idea for how he would conquer Earth.

Eyreal had observed that humans were often emotionally contradictive but could be easily manipulated if they felt that they were in control. Pride could be used against them quite successfully, as well as the need for adoration. If given the chance, most humans would avoid hard work and choose to be lazy and gluttonous. Eyreal captured a human and implanted an idea in his head that would advance the primitive technology the humans currently had. He sent the human back and watched the effect the new technology had on the civilization. Humanity embraced what the technology allowed them to do. Eyreal grew impatient, however, at the slow speed of tech advancement. He captured several more humans and implanted the specs for even more advanced electronics. This time the influx of new advancements in technology spurred the desired effect Eyreal had wanted. Humans began to try to outdo each other and create better and more powerful electronics and machines. They sought ways for technology to take over all the mundane tasks their bodies and brains previously did. Machines were designed to do the physical labor and programs were created to take over all the complex thinking. By the second decade of the 21st century humans relied so heavily on technology, computers and machines that there were very few who could live without it. The cumulative IQ of the planet, which had been steadily rising for centuries, began to decline. The drive to do better and be better began to cease, instead people just wanted to get paid to watch videos of cats on the internet and type complaints in 140 characters or less to put out into the social media. Entertainment was prized over intellect, amusement over integrity. Creativity morphed into nothing more than creating the next meme. The only scientific advancements were for how to make life easier for humans, so they had even less to do themselves. Eventually people forgot how to do simple math, grow food in a garden, hand write letters, sew clothes, make things by hand and even how to interact in person with each other.

Eyreal began the takeover in early 2019 with the introduction of a new type of personal computer. He had planted the suggestion in all the world leaders to make this personal computer a mandated device for all humans. This computer would be implanted into the brain and would allow the person to sit back and do next to nothing because the computer would take care of everything. It would also contain the person’s currency, allow for long distance communication and access to the human collective of knowledge, thus replacing the need for formal education. With this computer implanted in the brain anyone could solve complex math problems, pick up heavy items, take a photograph with their eyes and so much more. Humanity embraced the technology with open arms, lining up and even fighting to get the computer implanted in them before their neighbors. There was almost no opposition and by the fall of 2019 99.9% of the world had the technology inside them. Once all humans with any ability to command military had been “chipped” Eyreal launched his attack. He sent out a test signal first to a high-ranking earth military general commanding him to pull out a gun and shoot his entire family. The general complied without a single glitch. Eyreal sent several other test signal commands out to the general population and each command was obeyed with no resistance. He broadcast the signal world-wide and the humans became puppets in his hands.

There was a small percentage of people who didn’t trust technology, they had rejected society and lived in the woods or countryside, farming and living off the land. Some called themselves Amish and did it for religious reasons, others just placed a high value on hard work and self-sufficiency. These were the humans who watched the rest of society fall to the aliens, the only free humans left on the planet by 2020. They were the only ones who fully understood what was happening and left written copies of the story in as many safe places as they could find. Each cave drawing the same, each story scribbled down warning future generations of how the aliens manipulated humanity through technology. Over time their numbers dwindled. Living off the land, hiding from aliens, was hard and many didn’t procreate. They were unsuccessful in their attempts to free the enslaved humans. The slaves would refuse to even listen and often times the effort would only cost the free humans their lives. Eventually all attempts stopped and the last free men retreated quietly into the dark, the flame of humanity fading out with them.

Summoning

Jasmine had always been jealous of Micah because he had a good life, and she had to struggle for everything. Whatever Micah wanted he got, one way or the other, and it just wasn’t fair. Why should siblings have such a different experience when they had the same parents and grew up in the same house she often thought to herself, why can’t I be happy all the time like my brother. One day, after Micah came home gloating about how he had found a twenty-dollar bill on the ground, Jasmine decided she’d had enough. That week only Jasmine had gotten her allowance because Micah had failed to complete his chores and she had been secretly pleased that he wasn’t going to have the money to go see the new movie coming out that he had been raving about for a month. Jasmine had decided it would serve him right to miss out for once, that it would be good for him to see how it felt to be deprived of something. Now that lesson would be lost on him, his luck would allow him to go see the movie anyway and he got to skip taking out the garbage and walking the dog. Jasmine devised a plan to sneak into Micah’s room and steal the twenty-dollar bill. She figured he hadn’t earned it and it wouldn’t really be stealing, besides she would put it in their mother’s purse so he would get it back eventually. After dinner Jasmine waited until Micah was deeply engrossed in his favorite show and then excused herself to go do homework. She crept into his room and began looking for the money. She was in the middle of searching through his desk drawer when she heard his feet pounding up the stairs. There wasn’t enough time to sneak out so she shoved the drawer closed and dove under his bed. Her feet had just disappeared underneath when his door slammed open and he strode quickly towards his closet. Jasmine quietly sighed with relief that she hadn’t chosen to hide in there but it was short-lived when she realized that Micah was obviously looking for something, something he didn’t seem to be finding in his closet. She pulled herself forward just enough to peek out and see what he was doing. As he came into view she noticed he was holding his cell phone and in between flinging clothes around he would say a word or two into the phone. Jasmine saw he had left the door open and wondered if she could make a run for the door while his back was turned. She was just about to chance it when Micah backed out of his closet and headed towards the bed. Jasmine felt a stab of panic hit her and she shrank back, hoping he hadn’t seen her and wouldn’t look under his bed. Micah crossed over to the bed and laid down, Jasmine could feel the bottom of the bed push down on her back as the weight of her brother made the mattress sag. He was talking on his phone and with no chance of escape Jasmine began to listen to the one side of the conversation she could hear. “I don’t know where it went man, I looked in all my pants pockets but it’s gone…Yeah, yeah, I know it’s important. I’ll find it, come on, you know… dude…yeah I got it…yeah I know you’ll…I get it man, stop worrying, you know how good I am at finding things. I will call you when I find it…soon…I don’t have a specific time frame…soon as I can dude…yeah, bye.” Jasmine heard him tap his phone and felt the shift as he sat up. Micah let out a loud sigh and stood up. He walked to the doorway and shut his door. He walked back towards his closet and stood staring into it for a minute, idly shifting from foot to foot and tapping his fingers on the door frame. She heard another sigh escape him and then he walked into his closet. Jasmine decided to creep forward again to see what he was doing. She peered out and noticed he was sitting on the floor of his closet. He had his legs crossed and was staring at a pair of jeans lying next to him. She could see his lips moving but couldn’t hear what he was saying. His eyes closed and he continued to mumble something. After several minutes she began to grow bored watching him and was just about to try sneaking out again when he opened his eyes. Micah reached down towards the pair of jeans and felt inside the pockets. She saw him pull something out of the pocket and heard a chuckle of relief emit from his mouth. Micah stood up and walked back out of the closet and headed towards his door. Jasmine waited a couple of minutes after he left to pull herself from underneath his bed. She hurried out of his room and into her own.

Once safe on her own bed she contemplated the situation she had just witnessed. Had Micah lied to his friend about losing something? Had he just not looked very well the first time? What was he doing sitting on the floor, meditating maybe? If Micah talked about wanting something, he always seemed to get it, even when their parents wouldn’t get it for him. It was actually the main reason Jasmine didn’t like to be around him and he never shared his good fortune with her. Jasmine thought back to the family trips and the few times that she was forced to endure her brother’s company. One time they had gone to Disneyland and near the end of the day both Micah and Jasmine had wanted to go on different rides that both had impossibly long lines. Their parents had told them they weren’t willing to wait and they had been so upset. Twenty minutes later a guy had walked up to the family and handed Micah a VIP pass that allowed a person to go to the front of the line. Jasmine was still too short to go on the rides she really wanted to go on by herself so Micah got to go on his ride and she was forced to sit there with her parents, stewing in the unfairness of it all. Things like that were always happening for him and it made her mad that she never seemed to luck out. Plus he was always the one finding whatever their mother would lose. Jasmine had always assumed in the past that Micah had simply hidden the items so he could find them later to gain favor with their mother, but maybe that wasn’t the case. She decided she needed to do some investigating, maybe conduct a test or two, and figure out what was going on with her brother…maybe he wasn’t just lucky.

Almost a week passed before Jasmine was able to devise a plan to test her brother’s abilities. She waited until he was in the shower and she went and grabbed his cell phone off his desk. She turned the sound off so he couldn’t call it and put it deep into the cushions of the couch. Then Jasmine headed towards the kitchen to pour herself a bowl of cereal. She sat at the table, slowly eating and waiting for her brother to notice his phone was gone and come looking for it. Almost thirty minutes passed before Micah came downstairs and Jasmine had given up trying to maintain the ruse of eating breakfast. She waited to see if Micah would ask any of the family about his missing phone, but he simply headed towards the toaster to make a pop tart. Micah grabbed his breakfast and backpack and without a word headed towards the car so their dad could drive them to school. Jasmine was disappointed she wasn’t going to get any results before school and just hoped their mom didn’t find the phone while cleaning before they got home that afternoon. Jasmine was thinking up another test on the ride to school when, to her surprise, she saw Micah pull his phone out of his backpack and start texting someone. He hadn’t gone into the living room, she could see the couch from the kitchen and he hadn’t gone anywhere near it. How did he have his phone? The mystery haunted her all day in school, she could barely concentrate on what the teachers would say. She couldn’t wait to get home and check the couch. As soon as school was over she waited impatiently for her mother to pick her up. Micah wasn’t in the car when her mother showed up, he was apparently going to a friend’s house to work on a project and wouldn’t be home for hours. Jasmine was relieved, this would give her the time she needed. Once home, she ran to the living room and began digging in the couch cushions. She pulled them all off but couldn’t find the phone anywhere. Jasmine asked her mom if she had cleaned the living room that day but her mother said no. Jasmine ignored the follow-up questions her mother was asking and headed up to her room. What did it mean, she thought? How did he get his phone? Jasmine decided on another test before confronting her brother.

This time Jasmine took her mother’s favorite ring from her jewelry box and put it in her pocket, she would keep it on her until the test was over. As soon as their mother noticed the ring was gone she would make the whole family look until it was found and Jasmine wanted to see just how good Micah really was at finding things. It took two days before her mother noticed the missing ring, it was a Saturday and the whole family was home. Jasmine heard her mother yelling about the ring from the kitchen and reached her hand into her pocket to make sure it was still there. She ran her fingers over the smooth band and smiled, eager for the test results. The whole family began to look for the ring, after ten minutes Jasmine noticed Micah head upstairs. She stayed downstairs with their mother, looking in drawers even though she knew the ring was in her pocket. Another ten minutes passed and Micah came back downstairs and handed their mother her ring. Jasmine stared in shock. She felt inside her pocket but the ring was no longer there. Through her daze she could hear Micah saying he found it in a pile of laundry and her mother thanking him for finding it for her. A million questions flooded her mind, and only one person had the answers.

Jasmine followed her brother upstairs and into his room. He gave her a look of annoyance and told her to get out. Jasmine crossed her arms and shook her head no. “I have some questions for you and I’m not leaving until I get answers.” Jasmine exclaimed. “First, how did you really find mom’s ring?” She thought she saw a flicker of fear cross his face before he told her the same story he had told their mother. “No,” she shot back, “I want the truth, I know you didn’t find it in the laundry and I know because I took the ring and I had it in my pocket. How did you get the ring out of my pocket when we were never near each other?” Micah stared at his sister and then stood up. Jasmine prepared herself to fight against getting kicked out of his room, but Micah was only getting up to shut his door. He turned back towards his sister and motioned for her to sit down on the bed. “It started when I was really young,” he began, “I would think about wanting something and then it would appear. At first I just thought that’s how things worked in the world, but as I got older I realized that it only happened for me and depended on what I wanted and how badly I wanted it. Eventually I gave it a name, called it summoning, and tried not use it unless I really needed something. It doesn’t always work, usually only on small things, but it has definitely been a tool I’ve grown to depend on.” Micah finished his explanation and looked over at his sister, “you probably won’t believe me,” he stated, “no one does, but that is how I found mom’s ring. I came up to my room and concentrated on finding the ring, envisioning it, and then yes I did actually find it underneath a shirt on the floor.” Jasmine sat there quietly for a moment, trying to wrap her head around what her brother had just told her. Was it possible? Was he really able to “summon” things? If he was able to, could she? Finally she looked up at her brother and said three simple words, “teach me how.”

Micah and Jasmine talked long into the night. It was the most they had ever talked in their whole life and the first time that Jasmine wasn’t consumed with jealousy. Finally Jasmine headed towards her own room, exhausted but feeling like a weight had been lifted from her. She slept soundly and awoke feeling refreshed and optimistic. She was confident that she would soon be able to summon things just like her brother and couldn’t wait to begin practicing. Over the next couple of days Micah spent all his free time helping his sister practice. Even though she hadn’t been successful yet, a bond was beginning to form between the siblings and even their parents noticed that they seemed to be getting along much better. One night, as they sat in Micah’s room Jasmine was beginning to get visibly discouraged. She kept concentrating but the quarter she was trying to make appear wouldn’t show up. “What am I doing wrong?” she asked Micah, “Why is this taking so long?” Micah thought for a moment and then asked her a question. “What do you want more than anything? What have you wanted for a long time?” “To be happy,” Jasmine responded without thinking, “to be happy like you always seem to be, to not have to spend my life being jealous of all your good fortune.” After hearing her response Micah started to smile. “How do you feel Jazzy?” he asked, “Are you currently jealous of me?” “I’m actually not jealous of you right now,” Jasmine replied, “and it’s been fun practicing with you, I like the  thought of learning to summon things and I would be really happy once I succeed.” “Then you should be happy dear sister,” Micah said, “because you have gotten what you just claimed you have wanted for so long. You summoned a different outlook on life and that is bigger than anything I have ever done.” Jasmine thought about what he said and she started to smile too. He was right, she had summoned freedom from the cage she had locked herself in and that was a happy realization indeed.

Perception is Reality

One of my old co-workers used to use the phrase “perception is reality” to describe the inaccurate view of many of the top directors in our company. She was absolutely right…they had no clue what was actually happening and made many decisions based on gossip and opinions formed with no verification of facts. With one small interaction you could find your career ended, even if you were extremely productive and accurate. It is a scary environment to work in, knowing that even the most innocent of questions posed to the right person on the wrong day (literally, how was your weekend?) could cause year-long attacks on your credibility and eliminate the possibility to advance. That co-worker eventually decided she needed to get out and has moved on to a company based more in fact than in alliances between jealous hussies. I applaud and miss her, but the phrase has stayed with me.

I have always sought after facts and evidence to form my opinions on most subjects. I try not make broad judgements without anything to back me up. I do this because I want to be able to win arguments and have support for why I take that position. When people tell me perception is reality I respond that, no, reality is reality. The problem is, unfortunately, that for many people their perception is their reality. If they think their life sucks, their life will suck. You can’t convince them otherwise. If they see themselves as a victim, they will be victimized over and over again because that is how life goes for them. If you try to point out that they are continually creating self-fulfilling prophecies they won’t listen. Instead they will argue and claim that they don’t expect bad things to happen, they just always do, so they are prepared for them. These people are often in denial and don’t see that they create the opportunities for (continued) misfortune. They live in the past and will hold on to all their pain. I have noticed that they constantly remind themselves of what they have had to compromise on and what has been stolen from them. Life half empty folks also often, conveniently, fail to notice the positive in their life. They rarely dwell on what they have, or who they have, that bring them joy. They are continually waiting for the next bad event to happen so they can wallow in misery. They act afraid to let anyone know they are happy as if it will somehow invalidate that they have suffered in the past. It shapes all of their decisions and views of others and the world as well.

Perceptive reality doesn’t have to be used in a negative way. There are people who choose to look at life as an opportunity for great things to happen. They envision positive events and are not afraid to share their goals with others. We like to call those people lucky, or excessively determined, and sometimes we just call it the will of man. I think it is just accepting their positive perception as reality. If you expect good to happen, it will. These positive events might not happen immediately, or always, but it depends on what you focus on and choose to remember. Reality is just a word we made up to describe an aspect of life but it is flexible and ever-changing.

Perhaps I should learn to perceive it the way I want to and use that ability to better shape my life to what I want it to be. I struggle with the concept, however, the logical side of me is afraid of giving in to the idea of perception being reality. I do not understand how I am supposed to merge my perceived reality with the reality of others? What happens when a positive person clashes with a negative one, whose reality is the correct one? How do we ultimately come to a consensus on what actual reality is if we all perceive life differently?