…and they say I’m crazy!

Masked To Protect The Innocent!

Minnesota has a reputation of being the icebox of the nation. Winter brings about unique challenges for the inhabitants here: staying warm, surviving, staying warm, keeping healthy, and staying warm! Since a primary goal throughout winter is keeping ourselves warm, why would people purposefully shun that duty, expose bare skin to the natural elements and immerse themselves into a frozen lake?  Because it’s there!

Each year, Minnesotans gather at frozen lakes, cut holes in said frozen lakes, strip down to (almost) bare skin, and jump! What? It’s not some weird fad. No, this is Polar Plunging! I have to believe that  jumping into a frozen lake is not a new activity (probably been around since the beginning of….well, I guess the ice age!). Yet, what may have started as a rite of passage or some pseudo-holistic healing practice, has now turned into a money-maker.  Fortunately for justification sake, it’s making money for a great cause! The Minnesota Special Olympics!

Minnesota law enforcement agencies have sponsored this unique event at multiple lakes for the last 15 years in Minnesota and the popularity increases every year.  Last year was my first “jump”. I didn’t know what to expect, became apprehensive (rational?) right before they yelled jump, but came out the other side (of the water) like a victorious warrior! I was a-hootin’ and a-hollerin’! Frozen to the very core of my soul, but very much alive! I accomplished that short 10 second burst of extreme exposure and wanted more! Well, more has come again!

Welcome the 2012 Polar Plunge in Minnesota! The warrior within has surged! Well, the costume might be a bit misleading. Not very warrior-like. Did I tell you that many of the participants like to dress in costumes? No? Oh, they sure do! Groups of people will often dress alike or follow a theme, such as the folks that become Smurfs or the couple dressed like Batman and Robin. Too fun! Costume and all right into the frigid waters! Just for the record, the feetie-pajamas are not straight out of my dresser! (Though they are sure comfortable!)

Once in, you are surrounded by a sudden shock of chill.  The real fun begins when you break the water’s surface. The winter air pokes at you like a thousand needles in every direction. Under normal circumstances, this would cause distress….but not today. Today is warrior day! Today is the day I’ve overcome rational fears and ideas. People don’t jump in a lake in the middle of winter, especially with water-retaining adult footie pajamas on! Ah, but they do! When everyone else says you shouldn’t because it isn’t normal…you do it because…..

Because there are some people who face challenges everyday that are beyond what you and I can comprehend. Tasks that we take for granted are uphill battles for some. My 10 second uphill battle is just a blip on life’s radar compared to what our Olympians face each day.  The Special Olympics participants are going against the grain of society…doing amazing feats of strength, stamina, and skill that they were once told they could not do. And, thanks to their inspiration, truly wonderful people have stepped up to donate time and money to ensure that these Olympians can continue to show us how to overcome!

Sure, some have told me how crazy I am because I jumped in a frozen lake in the middle of winter.  It’s really the motivation behind the jump that makes it perfectly clear to me.  That jump is the most sane thing I’ve done all year. I’ve been fortunate to have helped some of the greatest inspiration the world should be watching! It really makes sense…Common Sense, to be more precise! Keep focused on success, not failure. More mountains (and frozen lakes) can be conquered with a warrior zeal within!

Plunge! Jammies and all....

Will The Real You Please Stand Up?

Who's Behind The Mask?

I am a doctor. I am a detective. I am an athlete. I am a scientist. I am a rock star. I am a comedian. I am all this and more.

I am a talentless whiner. I am a user of people. I am a deceiver of businesses. I am an attention junkie. I am all this and more.

After I turn off the television, I sit in isolation. Quiet surrounds me I’m left with my thoughts. The mind scrambles to register all that it witnessed.  Who am I? Can I heal? Do I solve? Am I famous? Do I need accolades? Where’s my mansion? Who am I?

Filled with inexplicable amounts of make-believe, we find ourselves not ourselves. The constant watcher of others, we soon lose identity and believe ourselves someone else. Reality is scripted and fiction is true-to-life. Separating ourself from the box becomes too painful and we elect to base life upon the results of edited production. The need to immerse our comings and goings on what someone else is takes over. Who am I?

Why is there such a fascination with living vicariously through others, whether fact or fiction? Have we become so dissolution with ourselves, our potential, that we abandon the future we can make all for the fantasy of another? We are so entrenched in emulating that ‘original’ is becoming archaic. Gene Roddenberry may have discovered our futures by the creation of an alien race called the Borg for the Star Trek franchises. They are a fictional race of cybernetic organisms that “assimilate” other beings into their “collective”. In other word, much like the content on our t.v.’s, they absorb people and make us a part of themselves.

We are not too far from that, actually. Lacking the flying spaceships and science fiction effects, we have this continual desire to “be like” this person or that. The old days of boys wanting to grow up and be like their hero’s such as the Lone Ranger and brave knights, or the little girls wanting to become princesses and movie stars, has evolved into obsessions that are suffered even by adults. We seek to replace our doldrums for excitement…our meanial for fame!  The power to be living in our skin, but as someone else.

So we sit day after day, seeking to be someone else, somewhere else. We look inward and want to change outward. We feel a lacking inside and reach for transformation, even if it is only a fantasy.  At the cost of being accusatory, I suggest we are all, to some degree or another, under this urge. We start out as ourselves, become disillusioned with who we are due to pressure to conform, and eventually all but abandon who we are.  Who we become depends on who we covet.

Not that being inspired by others’ achievements to become better is a bad thing. On the contrary, it can be a great thing!  Isn’t it said that imitation is the highest form of flattery?  Sure!  But what on television is there that is worth imitation?

May I direct the audience to reality t.v.? No, it’s ok…you can shake your head in disbelief. A very understandable reaction when you look at the characters on there through your Common Sense Glasses!  Come on folks! These people are out there! Be afraid, be very afraid! 

The fact that many are loose in the world without a good pair of Common Sense Glasses is scary! They cannot see the shallow and conceited manners of many on television. They are blinded to the arrogance of the actors, (…and yes, reality t.v. is nothing but actors).  But because of the flamboyant and over-the-top nature of the characters, some think that the make-believe is a better existence and want to do the same. 

With a good fitting of Common Sense, you start to see through the fake and fluff.  You understand that life isn’t an everyday party without consequences.  You see that accountability is on the individual, not the production staff. Directors and camera crews don’t alter your life by edits and filters…you are you, right to the very end!

If science fiction has taught us anything, it’s that you need to have your guard up at all times.  Aliens from far and near are trying to absorb you into their world, and unless you see them for who they really are, you will fall prey and lose self. Wear your Common Sense Glasses, see the world as it really is, and protect yourself from the lure of illusion. Stand on your own two feet and be who you are! You can still enjoy life, and I believe life will enjoy the real you!

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Purse Spelunking

Be Afraid!

At this point, I need to step forward for all men and convey a concern. Actually, it is a deep-seeded worry, (some would say fear).  I talking about purses. You all know what they are. The over-the-shoulder tote that allows women (and sadly, some men…just sayin’…) to have ready access to necessities for the day.  Everyone has seen them.  They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, materials, and designs.  The trend these days leans toward the luggage-sized variety. No matter what style or type, it is the one accessory that rarely seems to be left behind.

As for the contents of said purses, that remains purely individual choice.  Cell phones, keys, tissues, make-up, pictures, and wallets seem to comprise the more common items likely found within.  There are also the coin collectors, the junk junkies, the dirt delighters, and the toy toters.  Now, add larger bags to the equation and you have ample room to include so much more that the term ‘heavy hauler’ takes on a new meaning!

Back to my initial statement of concern and worry for men.  Most men understand the old embarrassment of having to be seen in public holding the purse while the lady is trying on clothes or in need of both hands for one thing or another. Uncomfortable and awkward are the descriptors here.  But a deeper horror begins to take shape when we are asked– nay, told,  to retrieve something from the caverns of The Purse! (Cue dramatic, scary music!)  Before you begin the adventure of Purse Spelunking, let me share some important do’s and don’t’s that could just save you from intense dangers!

Some people are adept at exploring wild caves as a recreation. This is called spelunking or caving.  Going into a woman’s purse is not too different from that, with the main difference being the objects one might encounter.  You see, deep within the well that makes up The Purse, lies a myriad of tunnels and pitfalls where darkness consumes unsuspecting objects.  Many have entered, few have returned.  Trust me when I tell you that preparation could save a hand…or more!

The foremost thing that must be understood is that the outside of the purse is deceiving as to its true depth and width inside.  Never underestimate, as that is the folly of man!  Prepare as if you were entering the largest cave system in the world!  Rappelling gear, rope (as much as you can carry), survival gear (in case you find yourself in there longer than anticipated), a good pair of shoes to keep your footing (you might find a pair or two in the purse, but beware that heels don’t make good climbing shoes), a good light source with plenty of back up power (the last thing you want to lose is light down there), and protective eye wear (Lord knows what sharp objects you could run into).

Upon entering the cavern, you may initially be frightened by the many pockets that lead into darkness. Stay strong! The sight of large winged creatures soaring from side to side could easily lead you to believe that you stepped into a land that time forgot, but rest assured…you are only in a purse!  This is not to say that all you encounter will be new. No, things will appear that entered in a long time ago. Don’t be startled by stale gum, half eaten cough drops, hardened lip balm, corroded hair clips, or coins that contain images of Caesar.  These are all just ghosts of travels-past.  Spelunking in a purse will dredge these up!

Remember to focus on the task at hand. Don’t be swayed and distracted by the curiosities that pop out of different annexes within.  What looks like a food item could, in reality, be a carefully wrapped napkin holding the remnants of a meal long forgotten!  It’s important to know the item you seek intimately.  You don’t want to mistake something down here for something else!  Retrieving some Tylenol? Don’t touch items that are not in a protective container.  Contamination is a prevalent problem down here.  You might think that the loose M&M’s look good, but could actually be ibuprofen with lip gloss melt on them! 

Time is of the essence! The longer you remain inside, the greater the chance of getting lost and being added to the curios that remain behind.  Don’t put yourself in that position.  Keep a “get in, get out” motto coursing through your brain at all times. Keep your eyes open and be aware of what your hands are near.  There are objects in here that will break skin and lead to infections.  That nail file may be rounded on one end but could easily hide mini scissors on the other! Take no chances!

Above all, always have an exit strategy! If you feel something isn’t right, get out! Guys, you are not trained experts in Purse Spelunking. You don’t just thrust your arm into a dark, potentially hazardous pocket without doing your research first. Narrow down your quest by having the instigator give you specifics: which pocket? front or back? left, right, or center? zipper or snap? If the item isn’t in plain view upon approach, now is the time to decide if you truly need it right now. Is this something that can wait for a more experienced spelunkers, such as the owner of the purse?

Preparation is key and keeping your guard is imperative. There are dangers at every turn and unless you are ready to face them in the purse, it may be best to avoid it for your safety.

Looking For The Car Keys......

Do Not Shelve 2012!

Ah, yes....2012

So, 80 million T.V, radio, and news agencies are spending the last day of 2011 doing their “recap” of the year before heading into the new year. Great. So as not to scare you away, I will not be doing that! I think that we already know what happened. After all, you were there, right? I sure hope so, because if you weren’t, I don’t have a good explanation for you!!!

What I want to focus on is 2012. No, not the end-of-the-world predictions from the Mayan calendar. Everyone has already done that one to death! (Pun intended!).  The new year is coming and you might want to prepare yourself for what’s ahead.  The downward spiral of common sense continues in our present society.  This is evident by the fact that the majority of what you are seeing now in the “stupidity” department doesn’t have a plan to cease and desist!

If the future of our society scared you in 2011, hang on to something solid! 2012 is going to be a mess! I’m not trying to make some Nostradamus type of futuristic predictions. On the contrary, I’m simply pointing out the obvious continuing trends.  We’ve seen the decline of political common sense, the decimation of the english language by today’s youth, the degradation of social respect, and rampant violence unanswered!  I don’t need a crystal ball to know that these issues are still raging like a tsunami…blotting out the elements of a turn-around anytime soon!

So, is this where we just throw our hands up in the air and walk away shaking our heads?  Oh no! This is where we begin our stance! The easy road is to continue our giving in to social decay and allow the stupidity to be an accepted norm. But, I’m sure I don’t want to live with that!  I can only handle so many times a day, every day of every week, shaking my head in disbelief at the insanity that is allowed to be accepted!  I’m going to end up with a neck brace at that rate!

2012 promises many events.  Politics are going to be thrust into the spotlight at every turn, causing a greater level of nausea than ever before.  The continued social garbage will still be on our media boxes 24/7, absorbing us even deeper than before, so much so that we will forget there are other people in the same room with us.  News agencies will still build their agenda priorities on nonsensical trash like “famous” people without a shred of talent, glorifying them as ‘wonderful’ (can you say Kardashians?).  Narcissism as a disease will continue to spread deeper into the hearts of people, so much so that things like compassion and empathy will fade further and further away.

As our societies’ callous heart thickens more and more, along with the increasing desensitization to what some might deem pure evil, our realization of the decline of decency that is happening all around us fades. Sad.  But, we have a fix…Common Sense! We have clear vision…History! We are an intelligent enough species and are able to be taught, right? We just have to be willing, and I believe that many still are.  It’s just going to take all our strength and effort to avoid the delusions many are buying in to!  Time to quit pandering to those things that we know to be a plague.

So, how do we survive the new year?  Be observant.  Be strong.  Stand up against what you know to be wrong.  Do not compromise!  This is a time for renewal, for regeneration, and for redemption!  Shed the norms around us and begin the u-turn! You don’t have to be accepting of lunacy that you know is wrong! You don’t have to accept stupidity because everyone else is doing it! I raise the old question “if everyone else jumped off the bridge….?”  Common Sense, people!!  It’s there, pushed to the background, waiting to be set free!  So?  Set it free!  Let it run!  Use it!

My hope in the new year is to continue the push for Common Sense to re-emerge into society!  Stand firm against the destructive tide!

May you and yours have a blessed, happy, and common sense filled new year!

Sincerely,

Cannon (for hire)!