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That does a pretty good job of summing it up. “Kindness” covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.
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You know about the Big Bang, right? They believe that the universe was born in a tremendous explosion twenty billion years ago. I can mathematically express the form of the universe, from its birth to the present. It’s all about differential equations. Most phenomena in the universe can be expressed with differential equations, you know. Using them, you can figure out what the universe looked like a hundred million years ago, ten billion years ago, even a second or a tenth of a second after that initial explosion. But. But. No matter how far we go back, no matter how we try to express it, we just can’t know what it looked like at zero, at the very moment of the explosion. And there’s another thing. How is our universe going to end? Is the universe expanding or contracting? See, we don’t know the beginning and we don’t know the end; all we can know about is the in-between stuff. And that, my friend, is what life is like.
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Here’s a story about me that you probably don’t know.
When I got the news: It was the summer before I turned 18, and I was in a trailer at the county fair. My on-again, off-again high school girlfriend did horse shows at the fair, but she had finished for the day. We were most assuredly on again at this point, even as she was preparing to head off to college in a couple months, leaving me alone in my despised hometown to finish my senior year of high school.
“Are you ready for this?” she asked me.
No, neither of us was. But sometimes life doesn’t particularly care if you’re ready.
My then-girlfriend took a test that confirmed what both of us already suspected: She was pregnant.
In the long, confusing, emotional discussions that followed over the course of the next week or two, we came to two major conclusions: first, that we were not prepared to raise a child; second, that even though both of us considered ourselves pro-choice, we weren’t comfortable having an abortion. It’s strange to think that I even had an opinion on that stuff so long ago; stranger still to realize it wasn’t that long ago at all.
As we talked things out with our parents, my girlfriend’s mom had a suggestion that had never even crossed my mind as a possibility: adoption. They knew friends of the family – a warm, wonderful couple that couldn’t conceive and had been working through the depressingly slow adoption process for years.
The strange thing about adoption is that everyone’s first response is “That must have been so difficult!” I’ve even had some friends go so far as to tell me how they’re proud of me for making that choice. Certainly it was something we spent a considerable amount of time thinking about and talking about…but I wouldn’t call it difficult.
My girlfriend and I knew that we weren’t ready to raise a child. We knew that we didn’t have the maturity, the stability, nor the intelligence to build a good home. And I’m sure somewhere deep inside we had an inkling that there was a good chance we wouldn’t end up staying together (as it is, we broke up amicably around a year-and-a-half later).
But we had an opportunity to give our child the life we knew he deserved. We had the chance to give him a caring, established family. And we could give a loving husband and wife the chance to raise a child that they had been seeking for years.
So…it wasn’t that difficult. It was pretty clearly the best choice for everyone involved.
His name is Matthew. I get pictures and a letter updating me once a year. He’s an adorable kid who has this strange, wonderful mix of traits from me – my love of superheroes, my dark hair – my ex-girlfriend – a fondness for horses – and his parents – a love of sports that certainly couldn’t have come from our genetic pool.
This lengthy story is really just preface to the heart of this post, the point of which is to say: I’ve answered “Are you ready for this?” before.
When I got the news: It was a dark winter night not too long ago right in this very apartment where I’m typing these very words. There’s this amazing girl, Jenessa. We met in college. We dated for a while a couple years ago, but it didn’t work out. More recently, we decided to try stuff again and…it’s kind of clicked into this perfect thing.
She had been feeling sick for a few weeks and finally went to the doctor. Returning from her appointment, she walked in the door and asked:
“Are you ready for this?”
I paused to consider.
I think I surprised myself as much as I surprised her with the answer: Yes.
Jenessa and I are having a boy. He will be born in August. And I’m happier and more excited – and yeah, okay, also more terrified – than I ever have been. But for the first time in my life, I’m totally ready.
My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer In Court
I’ve been sending out some impertinent tweets about Progressive Insurance lately, but I haven’t explained how they pissed me off. So I will do that here as succinctly as possible. There’s a general understanding that says, “insurance companies— oh they’re awful,” but since Progressive turned their shit hose on my late sister and my parents, I’ve learned some things that really surprised me.
I’ll try to cleave to the facts. On June 19, 2010, my sister was driving in Baltimore when her car was struck by another car and she was killed. The other driver had run a red light and hit my sister as she crossed the intersection on the green light.
People worried about our passing over into some robotic state, but we were so much like robots already, programmed and easy to manipulate. We had buttons, we had circuits, and it could all be mapped and explained, reprogrammed and calibrated. The utter mechanical simplicity of being able to move this oddity, the clitoris, up and down and around, to provoke the greatest pleasure, seemed laughably easy. And so we did it, because it created happiness of some kind. We push the buttons that provide the rewards. Again the greatest use of a human was to be useful. Not to consume, not to watch, but to do something for someone else that improved their life, even for a minute.
It’s important to know that with adults, though there is continual development, there is not always improvement. There is change, but not necessarily growth.
We’re not going to work together. No harm no foul. We can just walk away.
You know why we can do that now? Because of these. (Oswalt holds up an iPhone)
In my hand right now I’m holding more filmmaking technology than Orson Welles had when he filmed Citizen Kane.
I’m holding almost the same amount of cinematography, post-editing, sound editing, and broadcast capabilities as you have at your tv network.
In a couple of years it’s going to be fucking equal. I see what’s fucking coming. This isn’t a threat, this is an offer. We like to create. We’re the ones who love to make shit all the time. You’re the ones who like to discover it and patronize it support it and nurture it and broadcast it. Just get out of our way when we do it.
Alan had never checked or known his credit score but was told, by every bank and even a few venture capital firms, that his score made him untouchable. His score, 698, was 50 or so points below what would qualify him as trustworthy or even human.
Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.
The only story that seems worth writing is a cry, a shot, a scream. A story should break the reader’s heart.
It is not every day that we are needed.
Alan had not slept. A circus of worries kept his mind darting all night long, taking in the action. By the end it was almost funny. When the sun broke over the sea, his face heavy on the pillow, he’d chuckled to himself. Goddamn, goddamn, goddamn.
I really just want to be this warm yellow light that pours over everyone that I love.
Suddenly Alan had the same feeling he had while watching a hypnotist or magician - that there were people in the world for whom the world and its people were subjects on which to cast spells.
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