These are the manic ramblings that go through my head at all hours of the day or night.
At 67 years old, Thomas Edison was building a giant laboratory/research center. It was his life’s work and all of the money he had was invested in the building and the things contained therein. One night, a friend ran to his house to say (paraphrasing) “Edison, come quick, your fucking lab is on fucking fire!” Edison and his son ran out immediately, as the lab-in-progress was nearby.
Because of the various chemicals and other science bullshit kept in the lab, the fire was insane; blue, red, and green flames overtook everything and lit up the sky. This was Edison’s future, exploding in front of him in some weird multi-colored nightmare. He turned to his son.
"Get your mother. Get the neighbors. They’ll never see another fire like this in their lives."
I think about that all the time. “Your life’s work is on fire!” “Shut up, that fire is BEAUTIFUL, have you ever seen anything like that?” That’s a level of peace and acceptance to which anyone should aspire.
The epilogue to that story of course is that Edison later took a one million dollar loan from Henry Ford and ended up making more in the next year than he would have made had his lab NOT exploded, but obviously Edison didn’t know that at the time. He didn’t know that the literal fire would light a figurative fire to inspire him to build and create more, at the time. Because at the time he was facing financial and professional ruin. He didn’t know how to proceed with his career or even if he COULD, at his age and at this loss. He wasn’t even thinking about it. He just knew that this fire was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and why not share that with people? What else are you going to do? Complain at the fire? Curse at it? Mope around the house about how mean that fire was? That’s boring, and there’s a sick-ass fire going on.
My advice is that you have no control over whether or not people laugh when you’re on stage. And you have no control over whether or not the boy you like at the coffee shop will reject your advances. And you have no control over whether or not you’ll get a raise or get fired or have your office burned to the ground. But you can control how you react to all of those things.
The most freeing thing in the world is acknowledging the things over which you have no control. Acknowledging that you have no agency over whether or not people will decide to laugh at you. They’re the ones who have decided that they’re the kind of people who laugh at the fly white girl who memorized the entirety of A Tribe Called Quest’s discography, and they’ve already MADE that decision a long time ago. It’s out of your hands. All YOU can control is how hot the fire you spit is and how you handle whatever comes after. Isn’t that cool?
Meanwhile, several thousand miles away, Nikola Tesla sat hunched over his desk scowling. Yes, the death ray had been a success, but the thieving son of a bitch hadn’t been in the lab like he was supposed to be.
Signs you’re possibly becoming an adult: all you want for your birthday is to sleep in, get some BBQ, and have your car detailed.
I guess there’s a Spider-Man movie coming out. It’s been a solid few years since that happened on my B-day. It ain’t Godzilla, but it’ll do.