Friday, September 18, 2009

1001 Ways To Tune Up The World, Number Thirty-Nine.

39. Stop describing things as "hell" or "hard work" when they're not at all.

It's a mark of just how easy one's life is when things that are not even remotely difficult or hellish can be described as "hell" or "hard work."

Last year, for five days, I and The Boy tore down our old shed, carrying rotting boards and junk to the dumpster in the front yard, hauling cinder blocks, cutting up wood, and more. We were exhausted two hours into it. After that, I vowed never to describe my "work" as "hard work" again, and I've stuck to it.

Being a lawyer isn't hard at all. It can be mentally challenging, the hours can be long, there can be time pressures and people depend on you. But it doesn't make my back hurt, it doesn't cause blisters, and I wear a polo shirt on Fridays. I don't have to be exposed to the elements or wear safety goggles.

This week, in The Onion, the writers there discussed the movie Adaptation and noted that the movie in part "show[s] how writing for the movies can be a personal kind of hell."

Really? I'd love for my job, and my life, to be so cushy that writer's block is a "personal kind of hell." Because prior to reading that comment in The Onion, I'd thought a "personal kind of hell" was best described by, say, as "being trapped in a coal mine that's burning."

There are many problems in our world, but one of the greatest problems is that people no longer understand what is really hard, and what just seems hard because our lives are so easy. If we could get people to never again describe "sitting at a desk in Southern California, typing" as "a personal kind of hell," we'd be a great deal further towards a better world.

Prior entries:

13. Ban driving any kind of automobile, motorcycle or other personal vehicle within 1-2 miles of downtown in any city with a population of more than 100,000.

12. Abolish gym class; instead, teach kids to play musical instruments.

11. Change copyright laws to allow anyone to use anyone else's creative work provided that the copier pay 60% of the profit to the originator and that the copier not cast the original work in a negative light.

10. Have more sidewalk cafes and outdoor seating.

9. When you have to give someone a gift, ask them what they want, and then get that thing for them.

8. Never interrupt or finish someone's jokes.

7. Periodically, give up something you like for at least a month.

6. Switch to "E-money."

5. Have each person assigned one phone number, and then add an extension for the various phones and faxes that person might be reached at.

4. Abolish Mondays and Tuesdays.

3. Don't listen to interviews with athletes or comedians.

2. Have "personal cashiers" at the grocery store.

1. Don't earn more than $200,000 per year.

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