This week’s listmaker: Robin Beery. Robin lives in Indianapolis and is a writer/producer at Well Done Marketing.
As a writer and amateur philosopher, I’m always thinking. Sometimes I even think about my own thinking, and that’s when things can get messy. Brilliant, but messy. It’s like dipping peanut butter sandwich crackers in a jar of peanut butter, which is something that I also thought up. The longer you continue, the more peanut butter you’re going to get on your hands. Just accept it. I mean, can you think of a better way?
People sometimes ask me, “Where do you do your best thinking?” Or, “Where do your best ideas come from?” Or, “Do you mind taking your coffee to the bar? We’re trying to serve lunch now.” To all of you seekers after enlightenment, and to people who started reading this article by mistake after leaving their phones turned on in their pockets, this Punchlist is affectionately dedicated.
A lot of people like to rest and recuperate while they sleep. Not me. I wake up several times usually during the course of a night, and find that I’m already in the process of thinking hard about something, usually something completely different than when I drifted off. The other night it was the 401(k) accounts from my last two jobs. Do I need to roll them into an IRA some day? Or is it too late for that? Especially for the older of the two accounts, which I probably should have taken care of years ago.
It does no good to worry, and it’s obviously far too late for that anyway. So here’s what I decided: When I reach retirement age, I’ll take whatever amount of money I do have and use it to hire a hit on myself.
Something really twisted and messy. The insurance company will never guess that it was a professional hit. That way my family will rest easy, knowing they’ll be taken care of.
Once I had that settled in my mind, I was instantly able to turn over and go back to sleep. To be sure, I was already thinking about something else (Where’s the best place to hire a good killer these days? Craig’s List?), but now my demeanor was peaceful. It feels better to have a plan in place.
The shower is where I do my most creative and insightful thinking about showering. I reminisce about other showers I’ve taken, or imagine what showers were like, say, in Jane Austen’s time. Did you know there is not one shower scene in all of Jane Austen’s novels? None in the Brontes’ works either. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Kafka never wrote a shower scene. I find that strange.
And then there’s all that water to keep track of. Is too much of it getting on the bathroom floor? When is the proper time to close the shower curtains? Some people say at the beginning of the shower, but then you find yourself stuck outside, so that’s obviously wrong.
I also use the shower to do some deep thinking about process. Standing up is an okay place to start, but maybe I’m limiting myself. Would it be better, or at least different, to sit on the floor of the tub, or even lie down? Maybe every third shower or so, I should stand on my head in order to clean the parts that are usually out of the path of the water. It’s that kind of thinking that leads my wife to say she guesses she has to watch everything I do. She can’t risk missing even the slightest of my great ideas.
When you feel your thought process getting stale, it sometimes helps to take a complete break from civilization and treat your senses to some wild lighting and loud, strident dance music. I was at a clothing store not too long ago, a place that’s sort of hip and also sort of cheap (although probably not quite enough of either). What it did have going for it was incessant, pounding techno music and enough fluorescent lighting and mirrors to turn an ordinary room with four walls into a dimensionless, psychotropic jungle.
Eyes and ears can be so lazy, always wanting a rest; when your brain becomes aware that your eyes and ears are resting, it decides it deserves a break, too. Far better to keep your senses going crazy and your mind constantly thinking about something. Anything. It doesn’t matter what. By the time I left that store, I was so lost in thought; I’d forgotten what I went in there to buy. It might have been socks. I know it wasn’t pants. But that’s what I ended up with. And they were ridiculous.
Some men see things as they are and ask why. Other men just know the answer instinctively. That’s how it is with me, especially when I’m driving a car.
It’s not so difficult for every person on the road to get where they’re going by the time they need to get there. Everyone just needs to drive at exactly the right speed and use only the lanes that I don’t need to be in. We’ll all be in better shape. Seriously.
I like to think of driving as an intricate dance that I make up as I go along. Of course, it helps if you’re a naturally great dancer. Whenever I go out dancing, there eventually comes a moment when it feels like everyone on the dance floor is miles away from me. There they stand, huddled in a semicircle, staring and shaking their heads with awe.
There so many subjects for contemplation here, it’s impossible to pick just one: sand, surf, vast distances, the joyful cries of birds and children. It’s enough to crack the brainpan of even the supplest philosophical mind. Fortunately, I already have something that I can’t stop thinking about when I’m at the beach. Balloons.
Why so many busted, half-dissolved balloons floating around in the surf? More, certainly, than when I was a kid. Are people really letting go of that many additional balloons?
If so, perhaps we’re also letting a lot more helium into the atmosphere. Could our voices all be getting higher as a result? Maybe not to a level that we’d notice consciously, but perhaps enough to affect our subconscious attitudes.
This great vocal lightening could also be affecting our sex lives. Imagine how much passion Barry White inspires if he’s got the voice of Theodore from the Chipmunks. Almost none. Now only very silly people will be having sex, which will result in only very silly children being born. I don’t know about you, but do I notice a lot of silly children these days, especially when I’m at a restaurant with my kids.
And then people cope with their high-pitched, sex-starved lives by buying and releasing more balloons. Sure. It’s what humans do when we’re depressed. But we’re trapped in a cycle, and we’ve got to break out.
Naturally, I’ve already thought it through, and there’s a simple, elegant solution. So simple, I bet you thought of it, too. If you have, let’s say it together:
Everyone gets one of those pitch-shifting devices that serial killers use to sound creepy on the phone.
No need to thank me. It’s what I do.
Editor’s Note: In the real world, balloon releases are using up the earth’s limited supply of helium, which is needed for scientific and medical applications. Broken balloons, even the so-called biodegradable kind, can harm wildlife. Find out more here.
Thinker by Oleg Alexandrov (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AThe_Thinker_by_Rodin_at_the_Cantor_Arts_Center_of_Stanford_University.JPG) via Wikimedia Commons
Clock by ParentingPatch (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ADigital_Clock_1232.JPG) via Wikimedia Commons.
Showerhead by Nicole-Koehler (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AShower_head.JPG) via Wikimedia Commons
Colourful wigs by fictures from USA (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AColourful_wigs.jpg) via Wikimedia Commons
A Man in a Car by Visitor7 (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AA_Man_in_a_Car.jpg) via Wikimedia Commons.
Balloons by Balloons Blow…Don’t Let Them Go (http://balloonsblow.org).