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Tuesday, August 22, 2000

Life's Too Short to be Afraid of Dying

My web-o-meter spiked heavily today due to the Jaffo Effect. [NOTE try HERE if the previous link fails] It's not quite the Slashdot effect, but hey, fifteen hits is fifteen hits.

The responsible page was his August 20'th [Alternate] journal entry which had this to say about me (and others):

But he has, by my standards, a wonderful life. A good job, a healthy lifestyle, a fantastic mind, and the adoration of two of the most magnificent women I have encountered in cyberspace. Am I missing some details? Sure. But if I had what this guy has, I would be thrilled.

The same thing is happening with two more of Andrew*'s friends. I don't know either of these people very well, but these are bright young intellectuals with all their superficial ducks in a row. It's like I know how to live, but don't have the equipment. I get frustrated when I see people who have the equipment, but don't know how to live!

Maybe I should write a book telling all these confused studs what to do.

I always love these "if I had what he has" things, partly because they're never what they seem, and partly because there's usually something good to learn from the situation in both directions. So, bring it on--I want to hear it!

It reminds me of about fifteen years ago when I worked at the San Diego Supercomputer Center and every hacker salivated at the idea of having their own Cray. Imagine what you could do with it! Ask any one of them, and they'd have been able to spew forth a grand list of wonderful things they would have done.

Well guess what! I have my very own Cray now, here in my lap, and aside from making me sterile the only thing it has over an old Apple-II is I can see more of what I type at a time, and it does a better job of displaying pornography. Where the hell did all those grand ideas go? Nobody I ask can remember--they all remember having them, but nobody can remember what they were. Bloatware has put the industry into a rolling stasis.

So, bring it on. Let's pass some knowledge through this inter-world wormhole.

For my part, let me tell you how I got where I am, because believe you me none of it fell in my lap! (To play the game of Simon's life: Start Here)

Whatever "success" I have--past, present, or future--I pretty much entirely attribute to my unevading awareness of my own mortality. It's the grounding anchor in every decision, and the fire that fuels my tired engines and keeps my heart from freezing solid. It seems such a trivial thing, an obvious truth, something that shouldn't distinguish me from anyone else, but to my eyes most people evade it with the ironic consequence that they never truly live at all. This awareness is a choice, and it is the choice to feel the pain that comes with the reward--all of it, all the time.

There's a chain of dominos that leads from there, and number two in line is that most anything is malleable under the power of thought--there are few problems which no invention could solve. For instance, Loneliness is not something I have conquered, but nor do I wait for time to kill me in that state. For your reference, I am 5'10" and weigh about 115 pounds wet--our handicaps when it comes to meeting women are not so different. One in a thousand women selected at random do I think I would like to spend any time with at all, and one in thirty of those would I find attractive physically, and of those maybe one in fifty would find beauty in my scrawny physique. Now given that I meet one or two women a year in my natural lifestyle.... Do the math! Time for the power of thought, for the problem is obvious and there are any number of inventions which will improve the odds by bringing you more introductions, more exposure, more observations, more pre-filtering, etc.. Apply them all! It's a game of chance and winning doesn't mean "getting lucky" with some random woman, it means finding that woman who's been there all along if only you'd known (and her finding you)!

Dominos One and Two handily defeat number Three, the question of career, life's pursuits, finance, what have you. Life is too short to donate it to other people's causes or credit card interest. Don't buy shit you don't need, and take all the energy you would force yourself to put into a sustenance Job and put it into doing what you love instead. You can earn a living doing what you love, almost no matter what it is, and if you compromise make sure you're getting as close as you can, explore your options, remember Rule One and don't settle with your fleeting life's time. Every raise I've ever had has been a direct result of quitting, and every success a result of doing things my way despite the protests of others. You get what you expect in this life, nothing more and nothing less, because you keep looking until you find what you expect. (!)

So there's my pitch. It's how I feel, it's what makes me tick, and it's what I have to offer others. Your mileage may vary. I look forward to your pitch, because I openly admit to flaws in my life and I'm eager to invent or discover solutions.

Life is short, after all.

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com