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Monday, September 06, 2004

From platter to cocktail napkin

Buzzwords are the bastard sons of the catch phrase.

Perhaps if it weren't for the invention of the computer, we'd have never heard the word "multitasking." That is, after all, what computers do. They multitask.

But, sometime in the last ten years, some marketing genius decided it might be fun to assign "multitasking" to human processes. Screw that guy.

Methinks there was a larger Dr. Phil-ish conspiracy afoot. That is, if we can convince people they should be able to act like computers, then we can sell them more books teaching them how to act like computers. Then, when they fail at that task (one of several the multitasking propoganda machine prescribes), we can sell them books on how to overcome the depression of failing to multitask. Then when they fail at overcoming their depression we can sell them prescription drugs that make them forget about how they couldn't multitask. Then once they get addicted to those drugs we can sell them books on overcoming addiction. Once they overcome addiction, they'll realize they should be multitasking and buy a book on how to do it more effectively.

All of that said, I can do a whole bunch of things at once.

For instance, I can talk on the cell phone, shift a five-speed, drink from a bottle of soda, and search for a new CD under the front seat all at the same time.

What's more, I can work, play, and rest simultaneously.

My, but humans can be cocky.

Perhaps the blue screen of death taught us nothing. If it had, we would know that even computers sometimes just say, "Okay, that's enough. I'm done."

After 30 years of chewing gum and walking at the same time, my internal processor (one that's fluctuated between a P4 and a 386 for some time) finally threw up the blue screen of death. As of 4:45pm, Labor Day 2004, I gave up.

Let's review.

For the past five years, I've worked to be the best at everything I do, or at least, moderately capable. I've put every ounce of effort into being a productive worker, an insatiable player, a successful chip slinger, a great friend, a loyal son, and a decent husband. I did an okay job.

I was multitasking, friends.

As summer reached its zenith, I got cocky. After working for a few years on two blogs, I decided to start a third (a poker news-based rag that I already hate). I started focusing--some might say, obsessing--on the game of poker. I started working on three different writing projects (one of which has already been published, one should be heading to newstands, the other is in its genesis). I continued to focus on my work too much, but started looking for a new job.

And that's just the extracuricular stuff.

Understand, I had a kid on the way at the time. He has since arrived and brought with him a little thing called perspective. He also shut down my internal computer.

Now, it's likely that I'm just a little tired. While I'm sleeping more than my wife, it is irregular sleep that has thrown off my internal clock. I'm not thinking clearly, and as such, I'm not doing anything very well. I suck at work. My poker game is suffering (thank goodness I had a very profitable July and August). My writing is eratic and sporadic.

Beyond that, I'm not enjoying much of any of it. Poker seems like a chore. Writing seems like an obligation. Work is full of passionless motion. And for some reason, food has simply become fuel as opposes to something I enjoy.

Fortunately, good sense tells me I'm just at the nadir of a manic downswing. I'm overjoyed to have a healthy, cute kid. And the rest of it is just stuff.

Still, I think I need to slow down and re-group. I need to trim a little of the fat.

How to do that? I'm not sure exactly, but I have a couple of ideas.

Foremost, though, the plan is to survive until mid-October when I'll return to the mountains for three days of camping and music.

...

Upon re-reading this screed, I decided it read decidedly pessimistic.

That's not right.

I'm acutally optimistic. I'm just trying to figure out how to get there.

Where?

Yeah, I don't know either.

But, we'll figure it out together.

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Rapid Eye Reality is the personal blog of writer Brad Willis, aka Otis.
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