Saturday, November 03, 2012

A Conspiracy of My Very Own

I think conspiracies are like fortune cookies.  Whether or not you see the truth in them depends on what you believe and how willing you are to see connections between things that may just be random chance.   
There are, of course, BIG conspiracy theories.  Theories that try to answer questions like, "Who Really shot JFK?" or "How DID they fake the Moon Landings?"  The most recent one I heard about concerned the presidential election in Ohio in 2004.  The man who was George Bush's "IT Guru" also owned the company that counted the votes in Ohio that year.  An "unexpected" voting surge won the state for the Republican candidate and the presidency with it.  And like any good conspiracy theory, this one persists and evolves with the times.  Just yesterday, someone filed a lawsuit in Ohio, claiming that the company tagged to count the votes this year in Ohio has a link to a Romney owned company.  
Remember, just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.
Conspiracies are reasonable.  Like Greek oracles, they touch on things you "know" and ask you to fill in the blanks.  Because they come from what you believe in, they just make sense.  Of course, the government is spying on us.  All the time.  You're a fool if you don't think they're watching us right now. 
And the media is always, always, ALWAYS bending over backwards to show the "other" candidate, the one you don't support, in a better light.  It's obvious, isn't it?  
The most insidious conspiracies are the smaller ones.  The ones we live with every day.  The things everyone just "knows" that tell us what we should and shouldn't do.
One of the employees I work with, a guy from Iran, told me the other day he wishes he'd been born an American.  When I asked him why, he said, "Because things would be so much better for me.  Even if I came here ten years ago, and my English got better, I could own my own company and do real well.  Every day I thank to God that I'm here, but it would be so much better if I been born here."  
I wanted to tell him that it didn't matter.  Even if he was born someplace else, even if his English wasn't all that great, he could do something about it.  Improve his English.  Work hard.  Forget about what might have been or what could have been.  I wanted to say those things, but I didn't.  
Because what he said was so reasonable.  They way he said it just made sense.  If he had been born here, his time here would be easier.  He would fit in better.  The fact that the new business start-up rate for immigrants jumped fifty percent last year notwithstanding, the idea that the obstacles of not speaking well, of being different, are too hard to overcome is be a persistent one.  
Only if you believe in them, though.  
Someone else I know decided to challenge a another reasonable belief.  He was a member of my Japanese study group.  Like me, he had an interest in Japanese culture and language.  Particularly in Japanese Pop Culture and Entertainment.  His dream was to live in Japan and work promoting Japanese movies and singers to the rest of the world.  He tried finding a Japanese company that would hire him from overseas, but didn't have any luck.  
So, he moved to Japan.  He quit his job.  He packed up his things.  He bought a plane ticket and he went.  He told me, at the last meeting of our group he attended, that he realized he couldn't make his dream come true from this far away.  To live and work in Japan, he had to Be in Japan.  The reasonable advice that said to not give up a good job at times like this, or to wait until he had something in hand before he left, was no longer to be believed.  So, he left.  
Scary.  But, in a good way.  
J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5, calls it the "Tyranny of Reasonable Voices."  The "good" advice that keeps you from "getting hurt," or from "risking too much."  It's a conspiracy that is all around us.  And it's one where we are one of the conspirators.  
I try think of myself as a guerrilla fighting against normalcy.  I have a persona that is one part Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory and one part Lou, the curmudgeonly  station manager from the old Mary Tyler Moore show that was played by Ed Asner.  I present myself as someone who is not completely married to the idea of being "normal."  Of having "normal" dreams, entirely willing to play along with what is reasonable and safe.  I get up early in the morning and craft my strange worlds and create the people that inhabit them, then fling them out, as often as I can, like Johnny Appleseed, hoping they'll sprout and grow for everyone to pluck something tasty from.  
As I get older, I wonder if I'm not more of a court jester in Normalcy's court.  I say my strange things, and I point out normalcy foibles, but deep down I'm loyal to the King of Reason, and I won't stray too far from court, lest the real outlaws, the true guerillas fighting against the Tyranny of Reason might capture me and hold me hostage.  
I want my own conspiracy.  A new one.  A conspiracy of my very own.  I want to gather the people that think like me and conspire to create a new world for ourselves.  We'll have our own secret handshake.  We'll put our symbols on the currency of our country or spray paint  them on alley walls.  We'll organize ourselves online, the way all good conspiracies do.  
We'll call ourselves "The Friends of Abby Normal."  Anyone that's seen Young Frankenstein should get that.  We'll work to make abnormal the new normal.  We'll try to do something unreasonable every day.  We'll recall that our being here in the first place is probably the most unreasonable event that ever occurred in the first place.  
And if we fail, we'll fix it and try it again.  The things we've done can be fixed.  The things we haven't can only live on in our regrets.  
And we will swear to not participate in any conspiracy that tries to give us reasonable advice about how to deal with our dreams.  We'll quit our jobs and fly off to a foreign country before we do that.  
But DON'T tell any normal person about it.  We'll keep it secret, just between you and me.  
Because it's a conspiracy, remember?  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe there is a conspiracy to make me think leaving California was a bad idea. I await confirmation that it was not.

November 3, 2012 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Erick Melton said...

Part of what I'm trying to say is that the confirmation you're waiting for will come from you.

November 3, 2012 at 4:54 PM  
Blogger Larry Hays said...

Erick, this could be "the best of all possible worlds" but only for some of the people some of the time. I enjoyed reading this post. Waiting for confirmation might only lead to regret, while acting now will provide a quicker answer.

November 3, 2012 at 5:36 PM  
Blogger Erick Melton said...

I want to think each of us has the greatest power to change our own lives, because we are the only person in our lives all the time. I was reminded of something Oscar Wilde once said writing this, "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."

Thanks for the comment, Larry. It's appreciated.

November 3, 2012 at 6:11 PM  

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