Mike\'s Soapbox: Super Happy Smileytime


This is said to be one of the slowest weekends for hits on the site, since even our loyalest readers are out and about with families and friends so I’m going to take a gamble and try to be as hopeful and positive in this week’s column. Whenever Brian comes back from where he is, I promise we’ll finish what we started last week.

As it is Thanksgiving weekend, and we’re supposed to be in a thankful mood, so I’ll be ever so humble and admit that I am thankful for my dad. I’ve always respected him, moreso than any other man. He’s taught me an invaluable amount of information, inspires me to be a better person, yadda yadda, yadda. And he taught me something else last week. I noticed that he had stopped his weekday ritual of 4:30 P.M. Crossfire, 5:00 Local news, 6:00 News Hour with Jim Lehrer, 6:30 Nightly News (unless Brooks and Shields are on News Hour past 6:30), and 7:00 P.M. back and forth switching between Chris Matthews Hardball and the rebroadcast of the previous night’s Daily Show. Going from all that news coverage to cold turkey in a matter of a week is a bit extreme, but damn if he isn’t a happier man because of it. I asked him why he stopped watching the news, and he told me “We tried, we lost, and I don’t care anymore. I’ve realized that being happy is more important than caring about a world that gets worse and worse everyday”. And you know what? He’s right once again. In this column I’ve gabbed about what’s wrong with television, dabbled in politics, but have never tried to write in a motivational manner. Well, that’s not entirely true. I tried convincing you that reality television is on it’s deathbed, but let’s be honest, doing those things really won’t change your life for the better. What I propose today will. Now I don’t see myself as being very persuasive or insightful, lacking the imposing nature and massive presence of Tony Robbins, but hey, if I can get at least one person to think a little differently by the end of this week’s column, I’ll be pleased. And this advice is free, so that’s a plus.

The thing of it is this: We’re going to die soon. The average life expectancy is about 68-70 years old, last I heard. That’s a rather short time when you think about it, so as Morgan Freeman so eloquently put it, “Start living or start dying”.

One way to do this I’ve found is to filter out the negative garbage (you can still read me). It’s been drilled into the ground to the point that the message is ineffective, but the truth is that the news relies on fear and sensationalism. And it’s just freaking depressing. Be selfish. Care more about falling in love, keeping your grades up, and doing things you want to do before you croak. Focusing on your own life is more important than finding out who got whacked in Iraq. Terrible things have always happened, and they will continue to happen, regardless of how knowledgeable you are of them. Whos, Whats, Wheres, Whens, Whys, and Hows, may change, but the basic issues remain the same. After awhile, I wasn’t sure if the same story about an Israeli mall being bombed was being run in the papers again and again, or if different locations were being attacked, and after awhile, I gave up entirely. If you really want to know something there are plenty of places to look for it, and if you feel you’ll be missing out by not being informed daily, then don’t give it up. And if you find something unique and interesting in the news that doesn’t have anything to do with rape or death, let me know, though I doubt you’ll be successful.

With a new year coming up, and the season of joy quickly coming upon us, do yourself a favor and block out the noise. Make it a resolution you might actually be able to follow.

The thing is, (and yes I’m breaking out of character here) there are more important things than television. You know, like love and happiness, as I hinted at above. These should be our major priorities in life. And find it and cherish it in as many ways as you can. I love television and it makes me happy, but it sure isn’t enough.I get lonely watching T.V., and sometimes I’d rather be doing something else. T.V. is best when i choose to watch it, not when I feel it’s my only option.

If you feel it is your only option, turn it off, have a great day, do something you haven’t done before, and as Tim Mcgraw says(through the words of hired songwriters) Live Like you Were Dying. Because, lets face it; You are. Hey, I couldn’t be all positive.