Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sit ‘n Go (humor)

(envisioned as a commercial, maybe on SNL)


Professionally dressed man and woman. Smiling. Enthusiastic. Chipper.

MAN: CEO’s, presidents, owners, and managers. Have you ever noticed how much time your employees spend visiting the restroom?

WOMAN: Coffee. Donuts. Breakfast burritos. Soft drinks. Water. Mexican food for lunch. It’s all gotta come out sometime!

MAN: Now you can increase worker productivity by eliminating those wasteful trips to expel bodily waste.

WOMAN and MAN: With the new Sit ‘n Go!!

Video display of what appears to be a motorized chair. It conceals a person’s body from the waist down. It folds open along the front, with a toilet seat inside. The video shows a man fold it open, turn around, bend over and drop his pants and underwear to the floor, sit inside, and then fold it closed. The man begins to steer the Sit ‘n Go with a joy stick, out of this office and down the hall.

MAN (voiceover): The Sit ‘n Go’s ergonomic design is adaptable and comfortable to any body type and size. It can easily navigate office doorways and halls, and is compatible with any desk style.

WOMAN: Your employees simply sit and go wherever they are! At their desk. At a meeting.… What else is there! No more bathroom visits to drain the main vein or drop a deuce.

SCENE: Meeting room with the attendees in Sit ‘n Go’s. Two men (TED and NED) and two women (JILL and JANE).

TED: Has everyone had a chance to review the project tasks?

Several flatulent noises are heard.

TED: Anyone have questions about the timeline?

The long steady sound of a urine stream striking water is heard through the remainder of the scene as NED stares about serenely.

JILL: I should complete my tasks in 20% less time now that I can piss and crap at my desk!

TED: Outstanding Jill!! (TED leans over and passes gas.)

JANE: These new Sit ‘N Go’s are totally awesome!

All faces turn to JANE as she concentrates during her defecation, with associated passing of gas and sounds of stool dropping into water.

JILL: Whoa, Jane. How ‘bout a courtesy flush there, sweetheart!

Everyone smiles and laughs.

MAN: Yes, the new Sit ‘n Go not only increases productivity but can be a team building exercise as well.

WOMAN: Get the new Sit ‘n Go for your office today!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Loneliness As Motivation

I completed a book called Wild Seed, by Octavia E. Butler. The book covers much ground, including slavery, racism, sexism, choice (or lack thereof), family, and different aspects of personal relationships.  The theme that caught my attention was loneliness.

In the book there are two immortal humans, while the rest of humanity is its regular dying self. A man has lived for over 3,000 years. He has done so because he has the ability to move from body to body. When he moves into a body the original owner is killed. The bodies he leaves behind fall to ground, meeting their physical end. A woman has lived for over 300 years. She has the ability to see into her own cells and manipulate them. Thus she can heal all wounds, cure all sickness, and keep her body young.

The woman is a classic “gatherer.” Even though she outlives all of her progeny she prefers to be near family, and continues to hold emotional attachments to all of her decedents.  The man has essentially lost touch with his humanity. He is as unfeeling towards humans as we are to insects. At most he sees humans as a commodity (the book makes many references to humans as livestock). If the woman were to live for thousands of years would she too lose empathy towards other humans?

The idea is put forth that the man has lost his humanity because of loneliness. He has long ago lost any emotional connection. The remedy is for him to accept the woman as some sort of companion, and to not kill her as he would eventually do. He can become human again because of emotional connection through companionship.

It got me thinking about the power of loneliness, and the motivation to avoid loneliness. How often is our behavior dictated by our loneliness? How often do we force, or settle for, a relationship in order to avoid being alone? How often do we accept undesirable situations in a relationships so as not to lose that relationship? How often do we seek out casual sex to get a temporary feeling of acceptance?

If you are unable, or unwilling, to be alone then are you leading an emotionally healthy life? Conversely, what if you have accepted being alone to the point where you are unable, or unwilling, to begin relationships? As usual, the answer lies in-between. Moderation. Balance.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Three W's and Yes/No

The Three W’s can be applied to any type of relationship. The Three W’s are:

What you WANT.
What you are WILLING.
What you WON’T.

Never do a WON’T , and never insist someone else do their WON’T.
You must continually discuss your Three W’s, because they change over time. Your boundaries expand, contact, and move this way and that.

Example. Let’s say you hate going to garage sales. They are a WON’T for you. But your significant other enjoys going to garage sales. Guess what? You never go to them, and your significant other accepts this and never insists you go, nor harbors resentment over this.

In conjunction with this is something I call Yes/No. You should be able to say No without fear of the other becoming angry or building resentment. Consequently you will then say Yes with confidence. You should be able to hear NO without you becoming angry or building resentment. Consequently you will then be able to hear Yes with confidence, knowing that your partner is not building resentment by agreeing to something they don’t want to do.

So simple! Yet for many, so hard to do.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Divorce Recovery

First off, when deciding whether or not to end a relationship I believe there is only one question you need ask yourself: do you want to make it work? Well, do ya? Some would answer yes to that question but then take little action to actually make it work. Making it work means change. It means you change. If you are unwilling to make significant changes, then no, you do not want to make it work. When relationships do fail, what next?

First thing is to not be in a relationship.

It seems the most popular method of divorce recovery is to simply have that next relationship. When I was getting divorced just about everyone was telling me to date, to get a girlfriend. I believe this to be the exact wrong thing to do. For many the solution to a failed relationship is to be with a different person in the next relationship. Nope. YOU need to be a different person in your next relationship.
If you roll from one relationship to the next then, really, it is just like one big relationship. You carry over your habits, behaviors, wants and needs and just transfer them from one person to another. You are the same. You need to take time to consider your contribution, work to improve yourself, and then begin to think about having another relationship.

Understand your contribution to your failed relationship.

Have you ever noticed that when asked about their divorce people invariably tell stories about their former spouse? You hear all the things their former spouse did, or did not do. 99 out of 100 divorces are 50-50. Half the responsibility lies with each spouse. It is important to understand your former spouses contribution, but it is paramount that you understand your contribution. And don’t just focus on the end; review the entire course of the relationship. Attitude? Behavior? When were you selfish? What did you take for granted? What did you ignore? Did you fixate on anything? What caused resentment? Did you hold a grudge?

Envision how you are going to be different in your next relationship.

If only … If only… Have you have said how your life or relationship would be better if only … If only this would happen. If only my spouse would do this, or that. If only my spouse would be this way, or that way. If only … There is one thing in this world you can control: you. (And let’s face it, sometimes you can’t even control yourself!) Take those “if only’s” and apply them to yourself. YOU do this or that. YOU be this way or that way. You make it happen.

Want (not need) a relationship.

Do you need a relationship? Or do you want a relationship? Can you appreciate the difference between need and want? You should remain on your own, without a relationship, until you realize you don’t need one. You are capable of being perfectly content without a relationship. Now, want a relationship. If you want.

Be a different person in your next relationship.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Shame the movie

This entry will most definitely include spoilers.

The movie Shame is supposedly about a man with sex addiction. I am not so sure, and I certainly see problems with the story, writing, and casting. Let’s just take my thoughts as I had them during the movie.

You get to see Michael Fassbender fully nude. So if that is on your list of things to do then see the movie. He was walking around his apartment naked, and you even get to see him use the toilet. That might be on some people’s list, too! Speaking of toilets, he left the seat down. Not only that, but later in the movie he goes into a bathroom stall at work, wipes down the seat, and begins to masturbate (while facing the toilet). But he doesn’t lift the seat. Really? You are gonna leave the seat down for that? And why wipe it down beforehand? And even later he was doing some two-way live internet sex video thing and then again went to the bathroom to masturbate (where his sister entered the apartment and walked in on him). Of course, this scene has Judge Reinhold and Phoebe Cates, from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, written all over it.

Anyway. The first thing that pops into my mind, when you see him walking around naked, is the Seinfeld episode about shrinkage (“It Shrinks?” asks Elaine), not that he was shrunk. I wonder if he had a fluffer, or if he self-fluffed? Any man doing a nude scene where his tally-whacker is tallying about on screen is sure to have some prep work in advance. He doesn’t want to be short-changed as George Costanza was.

Now to the meat of the matter … I don’t see that the character is addicted to sex. He is completely incapable of intimacy of any kind with any person.  He has no wife, no kids, no pets, no girlfriend, he wishes his sister would butt out of his life, and he has no friends outside of work. His apartment is stark, with little decoration. What he does have is a job and one hobby. His hobby is sex, but I am not sure I see addiction. I see loneliness, and despair. I see a possible toilet fetish. I see the aforementioned inability to relate and connect with people

Case in point. He has his eye on a woman at work. They go out to dinner. Have a real conversation. No kiss goodnight. Later he makes a move on her, she is receptive, and they go to a hotel. He can’t get it up. Why? Because he knows her, and she knows him. He can’t have sex with someone he knows! She leaves and then later in that same hotel room he has some random woman (assumed hooker) up against the window. He doesn’t know her, and so can get it up. The problem is not that he is addicted to sex, the problem is he is incapable of intimacy.

Here is my issue with the story. He has nothing to lose, and he doesn’t lose anything. His sister does attempt suicide, but not so much because of him. There is a vague reference to some family problem, and she has a history of self-mutilation, but she only ATTEMPTS suicide, so he doesn’t lose her. At work they find all sorts of porn on his computer but they suspect some intern instead. Besides, his desk is out in the open, not at all conducive to surfing porn at work! With nothing to lose, no wife or kids, he has no double life. Who is he hiding his “addiction” from? What is he risking?

Here is my issue with the casting and the writing. Michael Fassbender is too good looking. Simple as that. He goes to bars and attractive women are making eyes at him. Why do men have sex? Because they can! It is too easy for him. The character should have been older, heavier, and less attractive. He should be having sex with all sorts of “less desirable” women, so audiences cringe, and question his behavior.

Finally, the ending sucks. The ending is the second of book-end scenes. Early in the movie he is riding a subway and staring down a pretty woman. He just keeps looking at her with a mostly impassive expression. She notices, smiles some, but then gets uncomfortable. She stands to exit the subway, with her wedding ring right in the camera’s lens. He stands behind her. The doors open and she moves quickly away and through the crowd, he loses her. The story progresses. His sister attempts suicide, he walks to the end of some pier and breaks down crying. One would suspect he is calling his lifestyle into question. The last scene in the movie he is riding a subway. The same pretty woman is there. Now she is staring him down, smiling and all. She stands and she still has a wedding ring, right in the camera’s lens. He looks back impassively and the movies ends.

Ooo-ooo. I get it. Open-ended. Does he pursue her? Or is he really going to change? Who cares! Because he is a good looking man, and a pretty woman is putting it out there for him. She is married but so what? He is unattached and a quick romp is not the same as an affair. Besides, her marriage is her concern. What man (especially single) doesn’t want to have sex with a pretty girl? How can he be blamed? It’s not his fault! All is well! Whatever.