Welcome to the inaugural post of my new blog site, dissatisfiedbruce.com. I have been blogging on and off for the past few years, mostly as an exercise to practice my written communication and to offer some “life” reflections. Thanks to all those who have read my posts in the past and encouraged my writing. I am always flattered when I hear of someone reading a post or two. Hope it is worth your while!
So why am I blogging about dissatisfaction? Seems quite contrary, after all, preaching the positive is all we hear about.
Ever see Facebook posts written in the form of 100 Days of <insert positive sentiment>? How do you respond to those? Like them? I sometimes question the need to revel in the fact that someone has a gratitude journal entry of their child picking out a pair of clean underwear for the first time. I guess it may be an important life moment, especially if the kid prefers to go digging in the laundry bin for last week’s pair of Superman briefs. I too would enjoy wearing superhero underwear, and certainly have had my share of these “life moment” posts.
The Shadow knows…
I have been raised on a culture of Monty Python and Mad magazine. My favorite Mad cartoonist, Sergio Aragones, had a segment called “The Shadow Knows“, part of the magazine’s “Light makes Right” department. The humour is simple, and fits in a single frame. There is a scene of something of a typical daily interaction, but the Shadows depict what the players in the scene are truly thinking. There are many examples found on the web, like a solid collection on Pintrest. The Shadow Knows’ reflects the time and the humour of the 70s, and seeing them now made me realize how we have become much more sensitive to certain topics. That said, I believe the concept is inherent to most humans, and I am certainly guilty of that. I try to do what is right, but sometimes my desire is to do something completely different.
I wonder sometimes, what does the Shadow know when he sees a Facebook post about one’s grateful reflection about how a colour of a flower brightened a whole day? Would the Shadow actually be dealing with a basement that is flooding with water, with kids that are sick, and a husband (or wife) that has decided to run off with the plumber?
I am wired in reality. I can take Facebook posts at face value, but sometimes I wonder if there is something lurking beneath the warm fuzzy sentiments I see. My personality, for example, would not focus on the flower. I would see what the Shadow sees, and focus on the plumber draining my bank account (while, hopefully, draining my basement). Note, I will never run off with anyone who will model their hairy butt crack in low hanging jeans.
What is more satisfying and interesting?
Looking at a colourful flower, or a plumber?
Often, when I read gratitude posts that should only be metaphors, I wonder what is the true motivation. The metaphor means something to someone, but I just don’t get it. I would love to hear the “why” the metaphor was posted and “how” it applies to the person posting it. In short, I appreciate the story behind the message, something which gets missed in this 140 character messaged world. The absence of the story sometimes makes the sentiment a bit vapid, and without substance to me. Whether intentional or not, it can come out as insincere. Was the flower truly the inspiration of the day? Was there more going on that meets the eye? Inquiring minds want to know!
Imagine the following scenario.
My car breaks down and I lost a day of work. Definitely not a good thing and my day is ruined, and, perhaps, laced with stress. I post on Facebook “Day 1 of 100 days of loving life. My life is now fulfilled because I had an orgasmic-tasting meal at McDonald’s (personally, I would find McDonald’s more diarrhetic, but that’s just me) .
Why ignore what really happened? For me, the story is not complete. It would be more interesting if McD’s is the only choice of restaurant I had, I was hungry while waiting on a mechanic, and I am a vegetarian (not true, but adding for illustrative purposes). Sad story. Not fun to go through, and if I was a vegan, would struggle with wanting to eat their fries as it is deep fried with their chicken? What if I tried a Big Mac for the first time in 30 years? The meal would not be the best, but the their is more interest and some funny ironies. Remember, I would be waiting on the estimates from the mechanic, which will jack up the price of that McNugget-less lunch to that of a beluga caviar! The Facebook post only shared a small, and slightly untrue, part of the picture. The Shadow knows all, and it is more fun!
Never satisfied by truth…
I do like to hear other people’s stories, and really appreciate it when tools like Facebook are being used in this capacity, as opposed to being an auto-meme generator (and re-generating times 100). In fact, my timeline has more jokes, memes, shares, and videos than actual events of what is going on in people’s lives. It is an important aspect of Facebook, but not very deep and satisfying. They are the McDonald’s of posts.
Fast food can be quite satisfying.
Until you eat more than two bites. I can attest to this with my annual KFC cravings.
As much as I like to read about the day-to-day stuff, it is sometimes hard and sobering to be reminded of what you don’t have. Not everyone can go on a family trip to Europe, not everyone has the cash to buy a Mercedes Benz each month like I would buy a bus pass. That can be a source of dissatisfaction. The whole notion of being able to “keep up with the Jones'” is present, no matter how much I deny it. I think that is a bi-product of living in a world that defines a normal on what I own, the title of my job, how far I travel, the size of my family, the depth of my swimming pool, the fur lining in my slippers, the price of my breakfast cereal, and how green and evenly trimmed my grass is. The moment I put my satisfaction in materialism, it becomes very easy to become dissatisfied. Reminders of how the material brings (what seems to be) satisfaction to those around me can bring about dissatisfaction. Got to remember to be satisfied with my ripped jeans and socks with holes in them, and my cedar hedge that is growing wildly and taking up three quarters of my yard, not to mention that I have yet to find a gluten-free cereal that resembles the taste of Lucky Charms.
What is your favorite cereal?
Alpen. Only one that fills me up. Gluten-free nightmare!
I find it even harder to understand how material “blessings” gets wrapped up under the “God” banner, which sometimes gets proclaimed by certain extreme religious folk. The irony is religion does not normally preach materialism (though I understand some sects do). They will be thankful to God for answering prayers that they got a job with a huge salary increase, wonderful house with swimming pool, and healthy family. They post religious platitudes on social media which are totally meaningless, and frankly, insulting, to people like me who are not engaged in these circles. These platitudes are just blanket faith statements like “Leave your problems at the foot of the cross”. I have no idea what that means, especially without any substantiation like I mentioned above. On an aside, I have never seen anyone thanking God directly for an amputated limb, loss of job, family getting involved in organized crime, or for making Disco suits fashionable. I get that does not seem right, but you do hear, for example, UFC fighters thanking Jesus for blessing them with the ability to kick the crap out of someone; or wealthy families thankful for their financial income. That too, sounds wrong.
The 100 Days series…
With all these thoughts jumbled in my head, I took on the challenge last year of writing my 100 Days of Dissatisfaction on Facebook. They somewhat expressed my Shadow. All I did was track a thought in my mind each day that annoyed me. It could be my reaction to the odd neighbour, or someone who smelled like they slept with their dog. I found that writing about them was humourous and cathartic. Further, people who knew me got the humour of it. What amazed me was that I was able to keep this going for 100 days. It was not difficult. I have supported a football team that has struggled for years. I have never seen my baseball team win a World Series. I am well off, but I can never seem to keep up with the Jones’ (not that I want to). I have seen 5 year olds on youtube play guitar better than me despite my having over 30 years of experience. I see people smiling doing the mundane, or smile when I know they really want to cut off someone’s head. Not to mention, I can write a book about my perceptions of my OCTranspo (Ottawa bus service) experiences.
What amazes me more is that there are some people who took some of my posts very seriously, and to heart. I can laugh at my “dissatisfaction”. I am revealing “my Shadow”, which some may appreciate to be something resembling a truth, and I hope, not too many are offended.
Seeing all this dissatisfaction through a homourous lens actually opened my eyes to the good stuff in life. By making light of the stuff that annoys you, it is easier not to be brought down by them. You learn just laugh it off.
Wifey survived my 100 Days of Dissatisfaction. She would groan in pain each day when she read my Facebook feed. So what did she do?
And now for something completely different…
She registered the domain dissatisfiedbruce.com to help me continue the tradition! That action in itself was one of the ironies that is a foundation to this blog. The Web site is dedicated to her (I am sure, to her chagrin), as she is the person I have spent the last 25 years complaining to about all this stuff. She is the one that puts up with my cynical and cantankerous ways – but most importantly, we have spent most of this time laughing with, through all the ups and downs of life, and finding irony and sarcasm to cope with the tough stuff. It is the tradition I hope to continue through the writings in future.
Dissatisfied with marriage?
Not me! I got the best wifey in the world!
I posted the original 100 Days of Dissatisfaction done in 2015 as the official first post of the site. I am in the process of compiling another one this year. I am finding that each post could be a story in themselves, which I will share every now and again.
Let me know what disatissfies you (apart from this blog!). It can make for a great entry!