Ripples

Something I would have Tweeted today:

I saw a wild turkey in flight today.  Not really relevant to anything, just something that I have never seen before.

Pretty groundbreaking stuff.

So you may or may not have noticed, but I have quit social media. I had a long standing belief that it is poison, and I still believe that. I didn’t like the way that it made me feel about others, people that I would normally like and forgive I was judging harshly. I didn’t like that it drove divisions between people.  I didn’t like that I had pretty much stopped reading books in favor of looking at trash on my phone.

Listen.  The things you do and say, even through the anonymity of the internet, matter.  You affect people’s lives every day whether you mean to or not.  When you hold the door open for someone or don’t hold the elevator, whether you smile to the clerk at the grocery store, it all matters.  We create ripples when we move in the water. Some become nothing, but some become crashing waves.

When you are interacting with people, are you making the world better or worse?

Something I would have Tweeted:

I beat my kid in Battleship yesterday.  The old man’s still got it! Take that, you nine-year-old punk!

A number of years ago, I was having some drinks in a hotel bar in Phoenix with my former boss and my friend.  My boss was trying to come up with a plan to monetize my writing, because that was the lens that he saw the world through; that it was only worth doing if you would get paid for it.  I was not convinced.  I don’t care about money, I blabbed (feel free to fill in my voice, more than slightly drunk, on a self righteous rant as I have been known to get upon from time to time here), what I really want is to touch people. (fill in a joke about studying massage therapy here, haha) I wanted I insisted, to reach someone, for something I have created to change someones life, to move someone.  I wanted, I said, to have an impact, on even just one person.  “You already have had an impact on me,” my friend said.  “I’m better for having known you.” (fill in an embarrassed silence here, where three grown men are faced with a moment of unexpected emotional honesty)

This was a moment, something that gave me pause, and we went on to different subjects, probably about how godawful Phoenix is, and in time, we all went our separate ways, my friend, last I heard, was living in Switzerland (love you, Jordi), and I have not a damn clue what my former boss got up to, but I think about it sometimes, even now, so many years later.  Just existing in this world, just moving around, just interacting even a little it all means something.  My friend was right; even without my mostly ignored efforts, I have already changed people for the better, and regrettably, sometimes for the worse.

This is something I would have Tweeted:

Top 5 drivers, ranked:

1. Baby
2. screw
3. Minnie
4. pile
5. Taxi (Robert De Niro, 1976)

I had a friend come down to visit me, and potentially stay, when I was living in California.  I had just had a terrible day at work, and was stressed and just wanted to get out of my food smelling clothes, and pour about a dozen beers in my face.  When I was walking up the driveway, he came out, he had something he wanted to say to me, but I didn’t have the space for that, I just didn’t have the capacity to care right then, and when he came out to speak to me, I just walked past him, and when he said my name, I made some loud negative noise with my stupid mouth and just walked in the house.  I put my plan in action and got changed out of my work clothes, and pounded an unhealthy quantity of beer, and faded out.  But when I woke up, he was gone.  He hopped a bus and went back home, and I never got to find out what he wanted to say to me.

And it is fine, okay, I get it.  I’m fine, he’s fine, we still occasionally message each other, but still, I think about that sometimes too, when I didn’t have time for a conversation with a friend.

These things matter, see?

These moments matter.

So make time for a friend, don’t burn down family members over garbage politics, hold the door for strangers.  If you are going to be on social media, be kind, be cool, because it may not seem like you are having an impact, but you are.  It matters.  Stop being such a dick, in other words. Make the world a better place if you can.

Books I have read since quitting social media:

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch,  Phillip K Dick
I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
Steelheart, Brandon Sanderson

…and I am currently reading Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Reading is good for the soul.  Yelling at strangers online? Not so much.

Still Writing,

RP

My writer friend Dori Ann Dupre’ wrote recently on a similar subject, and inspired my writing of this piece. You should check it out: https://dorianndupre.com/2017/10/30/legacy/  Also, I am off social media for the foreseeable future, so really the best way to reach me is to comment here or send me an email: dissent.within (at) gmail.com  Or hell, just text me.  You’ve got my number, don’t you?  No? That’s probably because you smell funny.  Not bad, per se, but… earthy, you know?  Like you’ve just come from working in the garden, but, like, always.  Anyways… Be cool with one another can you? Be kind; God knows there’s enough anger in this world as it is. Peace, y’all.

One thought on “Ripples

  1. Sheri

    Awesome post!!! It’s funny after all these years I can still hear a story I haven’t heard before… you’ll have to tell me about that friend you left high and dry I love getting to know you Ralph !! You are such a cool dude!!

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