In Case You Haven’t Noticed Yet, I Watched a ‘TED Talk’ Recently
Ladies and gentlemen of this party, I’m a simple man. I have simple needs: food, shelter, flavored water, a nightlight after I watch a scary movie. I’m not going to stand here and regale you with tales from my crazy Saturday night, or my completely batshit insane Tuesday mid-afternoon, or all the places I’ve seen Rick Steves travel, or which American Idol octo-finalist I once saw at the gym, using a hand bike and then refusing to wipe it off.
But now the tables are turned. If you have noticed a certain panache about my demeanor, a certain shimmer in my eye, a certain boner in my pants, then you, my friend, are onto something. And you probably have guessed where this came from.
I watched a TED talk recently.
The day was Wednesday, around 6:00 in the evening, and having just made it home from work, I had some time to myself. So I opened up the Internet, clicked “Yes” on every offer that popped up, got 93 CDs of 700 hours free AOL, and made it to ted.com. At this point, like any normal, unapologetic male, you can bet I unbuttoned my pants button, took off my shoes, took off my socks, ripped off my pants, threw off my shirt, plugged in my headphones, put my cell phone on Airplane Mode, and prepared my opinions to get overthrown.
Immediately my retinas were assaulted by the screenshot of a person who was heavily armed with a totally f-ed up ideas gun capable of bringing this whole mother down. He had a beard. I repeat, he had a beard. And he wasn’t even looking at the camera.
Naturally, I clicked the screenshot. After a few moments, I realized this was no average conference, and no average academic’s talk. The lazer beams shooting out of the speaker’s nipples were a dead giveaway. And instead of standing behind a podium, the speaker was standing behind a veil of ignorance, which he punctured by throwing fifteen stone-cold tridents through the veil and into the shrieking audience.
The staccato, zooming camera-work was operated by a flying squirrel. The flying squirrel perspective made sense because the speaker’s ideas were unpredictable and dangerous. But not to me—to the status quo. In case you’ve been living under a freaking rock, we’ve got some real problems in this country. Education. Finance. Smokin’ hot women dating losers. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Now put your underpants back on and get back out there.
Open your eyes, people. What do you see? Right now: me, spooning dish soap into my pits because I couldn’t find my deodorant. Also, there sure aren’t that many flying pterodactyl educators, are there? All that will change if this visionary’s ideas are taken seriously. Giant pterosaurs will roam the skies, warning children what will happen if they think inside the box (instant death), or if they only do 9,999.999 hours of work (legs fall off). We already have the technology for this.
Ask me about the shock-statistics. Ask me about who in government is holding up this process. Hint: the county clerk who claims he isn’t a lizard alien. Ask me anything in the whole world, and I probably know it. I learned more in eighteen minutes than anyone has ever learned in any amount of time, period. (Obviously not counting time spent watching iTunes U.)
Five minutes in, the speaker unveiled the PowerPoint. Everyone’s face in the audience proceeded to melt off, and janitors are still mopping up people’s exploded brains and napkins. Scholars are currently debating where our society would be without this PowerPoint. Most likely answer: 20,000 leagues under the sea, humping a submarine for emotional comfort after the Goober Apocalypse—caused by no one coming up with any plan whatsoever to properly dispose of our eye goobers—consumed the continents in famine and goobers. Why has no one come up with a plan? Big money, that’s who.
Check it: in order to succeed in any endeavor, you must remember the 15% rule. 15% of the time you spend on any project must be devoted to innovation, and the other 85% to suing your rivals. Related to that of course is the 1-5 Syllogism. Bill Gates once said, “One friend in the mafia is worth five friends in politics.”
The speaker continued by engaging in the classic Water Hand demonstration. Stick your hand in a fishbowl of water. Do you notice how your hand is the same, but it seems transfigured and mangled from the perspective of someone looking through the fishbowl? That’s because the water was actually hydrochloric acid. Dude, you’re totally fucked.
The bar graph was revealed. Then the speaker released the wasps.
I couldn’t stick around to watch the final three minutes, so I put my clothes back on, freshened up, told my neighbor that nothing was going on and that all the screaming was no big deal, and came here.
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Even as I write this now I am debating whether or not to erase it all together.
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I love the story I can tell to my next lover, about my ex-lover, about how beautiful things were, how intense, how storybook, what a couple we were, and how you gradually, inexplicably, painfully, bit by bit, disappeared.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
I was 24 and, while not gay, ever since college I had been getting more attention from gay men than from heterosexual women.