I refer to a phenomena so common, terrible, intriguing and mindless that it not only pegs you down in quick sand, but causes divorce, brain discoloring and smug neighbors? For instance, why do I waste my time writing this blog? Is it the public masturbation shared with all the other jerks writing blogs about subjects no one cares about? Or is it trying to sadistically poke your brain? Perhaps it is the frustration knowing that both of us wasted another day without furthering society, our morality, world peace or truth in advertising? How about the waste of lost dreams? You get it? Do I have a point or not?

“What point”, you ask. The point is the point about waste. Waste such as the leaves floating about in a lifeless desert. Waste such as the rats in your toilet making you flee to your backyard. Waste such as throwing up because today it is yet another day bringing you that much closer to death. Look around and there is plenty of waste to be seen by your yellowed, blood shot eye or smelled by a smashed in nose. But the waste you see, smell or feel is just the tip of the ice berg. The biggest waste is within, below periscope depth, slippery, unseen and without control.

“Within what”? “Within my bread box”? Certainly. “Within my donations to Sudanese kids”? Canceled years ago. “Within that pledge to lose weight”? Don’t remember that one. No, no, the scope is wider than any of those little things. I’m thinking about the waste within you, within all of you, the waste that makes becoming a contributor to humanity very unlikely. The black hole in your soul. The garbage can in your heart.

“Yeas”, you hiss. “I got no black hole. My garbage can is over by the garage, not my heart. They pick up my garbage every Monday.” Well, good for you. I guess I did not make myself clear. I’ve seen you around for years. I’ve seen you bombarded by every worthwhile idea, initiative, law, advance, passion, plea and joke. Nothing brought a reaction of any kind. You seemed to brighten at the tea party crowd but that lasted only a brief moment. Everything went into that black hole you seem unaware of. Gone. Nada. Dead quiet. Not even an echo, splash or ripple. Have another Valium and all will be well.

You could be Scrooge except he’s got initiative and you don’t. He says no but you mumble. It’s much easier to enumerate what you are not than to pinpoint the qualities that you possess. Mention any characteristic and you’ll find it does not quite apply to you. Are you generous? Honest? A good father, wife, mother or child? Are you a party pooper, embezzler, insider trader or shop lifter? A civil rights activist, a recycler, a doctor without borders? Stop crying, you fraud. Get used to the bad news. Pretty much, you’re not really anything. You’re like a playing card without a face. All you know is how to pack it all into the garbage can in you heart. They’ll pick it up on Monday and you are free again, temporarily. Then the smudge starts to accumulate again.

You know the slogan “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste” (1). Perhaps you remember Dan Quayle who contributed an imaginative paraphrase: “What a Waste it is to Lose One’s Mind. Not to Have a Mind is Being Very Wasteful.”(2) Dan hit it right on, didn’t he? Dan may not be the brightest speller but he could cover his tracks with the best of them. Yet the marketing guys know a good thing that they can waste, turn around, plagiarize and destroy. Here’s a few: “A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste”(3), “A Stimulus is a Terrible Thing to Waste”(4),” Intelligence Is a Terrible Thing to Waste”(5), “A Lifestyle Is a Terrible Thing to Waste”(6), “A Kiss is a Terrible Thing to Waste”(7) and “Trash Is a Terrible Thing to Waste”(8). Bush contributed “And There’s no Doubt in My Mind, not One Doubt in My Mind, that We Will Fail” (9) which may be his only insight during eight long years.

In turn, the slogans above refer to (1) educational wake up calls, (2) a politician’s customary fogginess, (3) learning lessons from bad stuff such as the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, (4) experts claiming that Obama’s $837 billion stimulus package was and is gigantically wasted, (5) the TV show Entourage’s fan book, (6) a song title, (8) a Canadian promotion of recycling with the related “Land is a Terrible Thing to Waste” and finally (9) a 2001 Bush pep talk to the Labor Department.

Slogans, one liners, battle cries, jargon, lyrics, catch phrases and mottoes are just words stapled together to penetrate you skull. They are of as little consequence as sand penetrating your shoes, yet are as unavoidable as the baby on the air line seat next to you. Slogans are spam on the way to the black hole of the Delete folder. By now, we perceive almost everything as spam, regardless if the message comes from Sarah Palin, the Pope, the IRS or that poor Nigerian statesman. The Nightly News are spam. Beethoven’s Ninth is spam. Mona Lisa is spam. Your partner’s blabbering are spam. You boss leeks spam like the Mississippi. This blog goes straight to the black spam hole.

Slogans make up 95% of the communications we receive and give (I made up that number). “Have a Nice Day”, “You Look Well”, “I Feel Great”, “I Love My …”, “How’s that…?”, “I Bet …”, “I Hear That …”, “Keep Up the Good Work”, ” My … Says That …”, “Come and Get It”, “Yes We Can”, “Can I Get You Another?”, “Did You Find Everything?”, “Will That Be All?” and “Come Again”. Comfort words fill any gap left open in circular lives without start or finish. They swirl around in our mouths and spit out like mustard gas, filling the air with clouds sticking to your hair and shoes. The clouds wander up your nose, becoming cog web around your brain. No response is ever generated, nor expected. It’s the white noise of loneliness. It is the knee-jerks of empty minds.

“Empty minds?”, you say. “That isn’t me. I see through all of that. Doesn’t bother me. No, Sir. No fog to report”. Excellent, excellent. You are right. There are people who do not suffer from cob web or discolored brains. Frankly, of those, most suffer terrible damage to the inner self. They do not understand the significance of “Have a Nice Day”. No Prozac can bring them to the ranks of the mindless masses because the damage is so severe that not even Dr Phil can sort it out. Which leaves the last crowd for the last.

Some people just don’t get it. They seem unaffected by the slogans. They refuse living the mindless life. They shake off the boredom, loneliness and the brain cob webs. The slogans make up 5% of their reception, not 95% as is the case with the wasted mindless. Who are these people? That is hard to tell. We may all have ideas but, being mindless, it is difficult to be sure and most mindless aren’t likely to even try. Who are the mindful? What made them mindful? What made the difference? You don’t really expect me to answer that, do you? Only the mindful can answer things like that. The mindful have not told me their secrets. Maybe some day.

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