Irony and Angry Birds

In recent months, Lee and I have discovered both Angry Birds and Words With Friends. Perhaps you’ve heard of them? Well, I am hereby going on record and predicting that Angry Birds and Words With Friends will be the death of life as we know it. They will be the final nails in society’s coffin. They will finish the job that reality TV, YouTube and Facebook started years ago. Maybe those Mayans were onto something after all. The following scenario played out at my house just last night…

“I can’t believe people actually live this way!” I expressed in horror as the latest episode of Hoarders got underway. “I mean, what in the world is so wrong with them that they are incapable of disposing of their own waste!?! Then again… if there wasn’t something wrong with this behavior there would be no TV show, so…” My voice trailed off as I grew ever more transfixed by the strange and severe mental incapacitations of others.

“This is so gross and yet I cannot look away. I am fascinated by this show!” I said for about the fourth time while Lee just shook his head and laughed. He is not a Hoarders-watcher like me. But I did occasionally catch him getting slightly drawn in by the unique drama as he sat on the couch hypnotized by Angry Birds. All the while cursing me for suggesting that he play it in the first place when he got his new smartphone last month. 

We sat in the living room, like bumps on logs, through two whole episodes talking trash about these people and feeling all superior because we had running water, functionable plumbing and could still see the floors in our home.

It didn’t occur to me until a few hours later (after we traded technology and therefore possession of YouTube, Facebook and Words With Friends for Angry Birds for probably the third time) that if we weren’t careful — our floor just might begin to disappear from neglect too. They would find us surrounded by laundry and garbage… glued to the TV, smartphone or computer… utterly unable to function in normal society… passing judgement on a bunch of other people for being lazy slobs.

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A New Year: Gifts Within a Gift

Nearly everyone is familiar with the idea of a gift within a gift within a gift. A large, beautifully-wrapped box that when opened, contains another smaller wrapped box that when opened, contains yet another even-smaller wrapped box and so on.

This came to mind today as I considered the notion of a new year and all of the unopened surprises it contains. As we put to bed the events of 2011, we cannot help but reflect upon them. Mulling over its unique highs and lows, celebrations and horrors we ponder both things that happened to us individually as well as collectively.

Each of our “gifts” looks different and of course contains entire sets of varying surprises. Some of the boxes will contain wonders and joys beyond belief while still others may hold heartbreaking secrets and life-altering circumstances.

In the grand scheme of things, it really is best not to know… until the moment has come to open each one in its own time. Naturally, in the dawn of early January we will ask ourselves the question: What does 2012 have in store for me, my family, my friends, my country and my world?

And I realized that if time is one of the most precious gifts (and I truly believe that it is) then the days of another year—a gift unto itself—is not unlike the concept of that beautifully-wrapped parcel. There are gifts within a gift within a gift. Each day intended to be unwrapped and fully experienced one by one… in the order in which they are presented to us.