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The Breakfast of the Immortals Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Diamond, United States Sep 11, 2004
Child & Youth Rights   Opinions
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Imagine having a gun to your head, your life quickly flashing before you. I am using such a grisly image to articulate a very good point - so pay attention. Every single one of the memories of your life, your family, your friends, good times and bad, can be wiped away with one reflex. As your memoirs begin to tear through your conscience mind with rapidity, I want you to ask yourself one question, “Are you happy with what you see?” Is a bullet into your brain going to bring you solace or an eternal anguish?

Recently, I engaged in a conversation with a friend of mine and we were discussing why we did not cry at funerals (as is typically the custom in American society). It is not because we view death as a pleasurable instance, or because we are morbid. The reason why we would not cry at someone’s funeral (considering it was someone that we cared for) is because in our eyes, someone’s death is something that should be celebrated, not frowned upon. Someone’s funeral should be a celebration of their life, not a glorification of their death. Ironically, no matter how important you may be while on this planet, you always become that much more important once you are dead.

These words are not an exercise in some morbid or depressing behaviour (which I can admit to displaying at times) but more of a cautionary tale. I am sure you have already heard millions of times from motivational speakers (those who get paid for it and school counsellors alike) that it is important that you live everyday like it is your last because one of these days it will be. And while we all can attest to the infallibility of that statement, we can also attest to the unlikelihood of us following such sound advice. Consequently, writing such a composition would be an exercise in futility and a complete waste of time to I (the writer) and to you (the reader). The purpose of this composition is to simply make a request, a request that will become more evident as you continue to read. Unlike my brief allegory in the beginning however, no gun will be placed to your head.

As of now (Friday, September 10th, 2004) the average American will watch over ten hours of “reality” television a week. Although my math is slightly fuzzy (I never enjoyed the subject) I happen to have a handy calculator nearby which tells me then that ten (the hours of “reality” television watched) multiplied by fifty-two (the number of weeks in a year) translates into over five hundred and twenty hours (a year) of the average American life is spent watching someone else live. That means that out of the fifty-two weeks that exist in a calendar year, the average American actually spends only forty-nine of those weeks living his own life, and spends the other three weeks eagerly watching someone else live theirs. In many ways, such a fact startled me, but after giving it some thought I am amazed that it is only ten hours a week. If such a figure does astonish you however, I encourage you to take a closer look into the lives of our peers and even the lives of those many years our senior. Watch as they spend their days clutching to their torturous mediocrity and wallow in their obviously uncomfortable comfort.

Why would they allow themselves accept such a fate? I am not bashing those whose lifelong dream is the white picket fence, with the token wife and 3.2 kids. If that is what you want out of life, I encourage you to do everything in your power to achieve that ideal. What saddens me however is that I have had the displeasure far too often to meet people who wanted everything but the aforementioned yet find themselves in such a predicament. Their unconscious is screaming so loudly, that only animals with extrasensory perception can hear them. These are people who dreamt long and hard about various quests and adventures that would span the globe, only to settle for a cookie cutter house in the suburbs, a promiscuous daughter who is on her second abortion, and a wife who nags all of the time. Yet, every morning they wake up with a painted smile on their face; turn up the music for their two hour commute to work with the hopes that the morning show can drown out the expletives resounding in their cerebrums.

Are you not entertained? Is this not the American dream that our forefathers bled and died for us to have? A life filled what society tells us will make us happy, what our society denotes as successful, and what society tells you will make you the envy of all of your friends (and they wonder why wealthy people blow their brains out)? To those who this does not appeal to, the American dream is becoming the American nightmare. There are those of you who may read this and convince yourself that there must be more to your existence than this; that you cannot be living only to have your life to resemble a cubicle: the same as everyone else around, and rather compact. To those who you who do not find pleasure in the American dream, you may be experience a bit of dissonance; you have been force fed the American dream your entire life, yet for some reason or another you have rejected it. You remind yourself that it must be the right path or else you would have never been placed on it to begin with, yet your mind rejects it.

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