I’ve identified myself as a Humanist a few times on the blog. Also as an Existentialist. Also as a Christian. As a quick primer… Humanists are interested in Humans. Existentialists are people who believe that you’re responsible for your own happiness and overcoming the obstacles that would rob you of it. Christians believe in the Diety of Jesus Christ and are supposed to be nice to people in His name.
Got to touch on all of that today.
I. My Humanist Experience:
I find people interesting. Whatever their quirks—even if they piss me off—people are always INTERESTING. Today’s interesting person was someone I ran into in the hallway at work. Don’t know her name or anything about her particularly. Don’t even know what office she works for (though I could probably guess). She was trying to balance a Coke, a box from UPS, and an attaché case of some sort while also trying to get a cup of coffee. What interested me was the coffee. She already had a Coke…why the coffee?
“Can I give you a hand with any of that?”
“No…I’ve got it.”
She didn’t. Attaché case hit the floor while she was setting down the UPS box and she got her coffee. She managed to rebalance everything and set off down the hallway. I got my own cup of coffee and went back to work. I never found out why she got the second beverage…should’ve asked.
So there’s no real ending or message to that story…but that was fun to watch.
II. My Existentialist Experience:
(Side-note: “The Existentialist Experience” would be a neat name for an amusement park…with no rides. So…just a park, I guess…)
This one involved comic books. It was new comic book day and I mentioned that at work. One of my co-workers has a 10-year-old son and somehow or another it came up that she thought he might enjoy reading some comic books, and was there anything I could recommend? Hmm… That’s a tough one. Most of the stuff I read is a little bit gritty (or VERY gritty, depending). Even Batman’s gotten kind of violent and graphic in the past few years (I cite Alan Moore’s “Killing Joke” as the transitional story). But there was one thing I knew I could recommend without any doubts. For a half-hour, I raved and praised the work of Jeff Smith. I told her all about “Bone.”
“Bone” is, hands down, THE best comic book I’ve read in my life…and it’s easily in my top five pieces of literature overall. (That’s right. I stack it up there with Salinger, Vonnegut, Hornby, etc, etc…even on par with Tolkien. It’s that good.) It’s innocent, but also epic. It’s cute and funny…but there are moments that have you near tears once you’ve invested in the characters. I think I made Jeff a sale on that one. She seemed like SHE might even read it (and she’s not into comic books at all…like most women, as it happens). I was about the same age as that kid the first time I read an issue of “Bone” and it’s kind of the thing that kept me interested in comic books during the time period that I wasn’t buying comic books. I think it’s a great place to start and I was glad to give the recommendation. (If you get a chance, visit Jeff Smith’s website, at www.boneville.com. I swear it’s not porn.)
Okay…so how is that at ALL an Existentialist story? Well, it’s pretty simple… I was kind of having a bad day up to that point. I’ve got a little bit of a cold—nothing too bad, but my sinuses are a little swollen and I’ve got a bunch of crap in my throat—and on top of that, there was just a LOT of weird stuff at work today. (For the record, none of the work stuff was exactly BAD…it was just complicated and difficult to figure out…which is exactly the kind of thing I get paid for, so there’s no reason to complain.) I wasn’t in the best of moods and I wasn’t feeling well, so I decided to bring up a subject I enjoy and just casually mentioned new comic books day. Then talked about “Bone” for a really long time and ended up making myself feel a LOT better because I got to talk about something I love with enthusiasm and energy and maybe even got someone else interested in it. I made my own happiness. (And did so again at the comic book store, later…but that’s another story.) That was pretty cool.
III. My Christian Experience:
I spoke to a friend of mine on the phone about someone we both know who had recently died. That’s kind of sad…but don’t dwell on it. Better place and all that… (FYI – I’m going to leave out the names because of a few factors…)
During the conversation, I said that the thing that struck me most about the deceased was that, even though he was an elder in his church, he never struck anyone as one of “those” Christians. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones who are just shy of…well…being full-on Glenn-Beck-crazy. (Glenn Beck, of course, is a poor example since he’s both a Mormon and is crazier than a giant bag filled with crazy cat-ladies…but you get my point). The guy who died was NOT that kind of Christian. He shared his faith, yes…but he was much more interested in just being GOOD to people (y’know…like Jesus was).
He was one of the first Christians I’d ever known to express that every person in the world deserves to be treated with kindness, regardless of who or what they call their “god.” He worked with the homeless, worked with youth groups—even in his 70s, and treated everyone the same way. He also enjoyed a drink and/or cigar now and again. (This is why I’m leaving out the names…because even though he’s in Heaven now, a lot of people would use that information to post their thoughts that such things sent him to Hell…and those people, of course, are full of shit.) He was a GOOD man who cared about people. Even though we weren’t very close at the time of his death—we’d just grown apart, there’s no bad story there—it was kind of a bummer to hear he’d died. But it was also a good reminder of who Jesus is…a good guy, doing good, loving things for no reason other than that’s what God does. And that’s probably the nicest thing I can say about him. Or anybody.
…so that’s how my day went. It’s kind of nice when all of the different philosophies I agree with come together like that. Reassuring.
Comic books purchased this week—All of which will be discussed in the inaugural podcast this weekend!
- Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne – Issue #3 of 6
- Sam & Twitch: The Writer – Issue #4 of 4
- Batman: Detective Comics – Issue #866
- Joker’s Asylum: Killer Croc
- (Heroic Age) Avengers – Issue #2
- Justice League: Generation Lost – Issue #4
- The Unwritten – Issue #6 (YAY!)
- Neil Young’s Greendale — YAY AGAIN!!! And as a side note, this is proof of how nice the guys at the store I go to are. The guy I buy from most often remembered I’d asked about it a couple of weeks ago and specifically made sure to let me know about it. I didn’t HAVE to buy it or anything…but the dude remembered and did me a solid. He’d also specifically tracked down a couple of issues of “The Unwritten” for me—like the one above. That’s pretty cool, and I’m glad some stores still treat their customers like that. I’ll probably mention that in the podcast, too…but I wanted to put it here just in case I forget. 🙂