Lessons From…How I Met Your Mother

I know, I know, I just wrote a piece on this show last week, but it really is one of my favorite shows. As well, I warned you last time that it would come up again at some point and this will probably not be the last time I discuss this program in this context. Furthermore, the long awaited series finale is airing so it is only apropos that I write through my emotions. (I really am going to miss this show)

Which brings us to this week’s lesson: all things come to an end. I have been watching How I Met Your Mother since its premier episode in 2005. It was an enjoyable escape into a fictional world that made me care about the characters and narrative presented. Even when it devolved into the absurd at times, the show managed to keep me engaged and interested. Unfortunately, the series finale will be airing tonight, and it will, essentially, be like losing a close friend.

Still, this is a necessary lesson to keep in mind. All things come to an end. Friendships will dissipate. Romances will turn sour. Loved ones will, someday, leave us behind. These situations may have a reason or simply be a matter of circumstance, but they are all a part of life and, for the most part, out of our control. Happiness, like most things, has a cycle and thus it will begin and end and at some point begin again, usually in another form.

On the upside, this means that bad things also end. The pain of a break up, the sadness of a loss, the sunken feeling of disappointment; these too will also end. Someday something will happen that shows the light at the end of the tunnel, even if it is just the passage of time.

So, this week’s lesson from How I Met Your Mother is all things, both good and bad, will end. Learn what you can from it. Acknowledge your emotions/feelings toward this conclusion. Eventually, move on and be ready for what comes next because remember that every ending is really just a beginning in disguise.

Keeping with the theme, here is a list of other possible lessons. I agree with the last one mostly.

 

Image

Cosmos, Science, and Perpetual Learning

I feel bad posting that title considering this will be a comparatively short post. It feels like it should hold more gravitas.

Anyhow, my cousin came down to visit this week and I had the opportunity to talk with him. Conversations with him tend to make me feel a bit simpleminded. See, he is a semester away from graduating from MIT with a degree in some sort of applied computing, smart person degree. Before him, I was considered the intelligent one in the family and am now securely tied for second with another cousin. Suffice to say the boy has an understanding of the universe that I can barely comprehend.

Yet, this is what I enjoy about conversing with him and other such individuals. Every time I do engage with him, I come away a tad smarter and far more curious. With this new found inquisitiveness, I devour as much information and read as many new articles and books as I can find. I don’t always understand what I am reading or what my cousin is saying, but I listen, engage, and eventually am able to learn and have at least some understanding.

It is these moments that force me out of my comfort zone and push me to continue to learn and engage with as much as possible. Which brings me to the show “Cosmos” (from the title). I never saw the first “Cosmos with Carl Sagan” but am thoroughly enjoying the new incarnation with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Like the talks with my cousin, “Cosmos” makes me want to learn more and as much as I can. Whatever else I may or may not accomplish, I pray that my pursuit of learning never ends and will do everything to ensure that it doesn’t. And it should be an endeavor that we all share and strive to achieve.

Sorry, I swear I tried to make it short.

TL;DR: Learning is good. Keep doing it regardless your age. Also, maybe watch Cosmos

Lessons From…HIMYM

So, it’s been awhile with this whole blogging thing and am still experimenting with the genre and what it is I am trying to do with it. The following post is such an experiment. As much as I love reading and writing, I have always been an observer and student of media and have equated television, film, comics, etc. to a new form of dispersing the myths and narratives of old. With this in mind, I decided to try some posts on the lessons that can be derived from contemporary (and maybe not so contemporary) media and see how that goes. I will be calling these “Lessons From…” and hopefully they will be both entertaining and slightly educational. Alright, the inaugural post of this series will be on one of my favorite television series, How I Met Your Mother. Quick note, you can expect this show to come up again from time to time. It is awesome, full of intentional/unintentional wisdom, and, like I said, one of my favorite shows.

The preceding clip is from the Season 3 Episode 5 titled “How I Met Everyone Else”. Now, let me get this out of the way: Yes, the clip, as well as the Barney character, can be seen as sexist in it/his explanation. Trust me, it isn’t. Watch the whole episode, really the whole show, and you’ll see why such a simple characterization of Barney doesn’t really work. Also, the show is just good and you should watch it. Anyhow, I will take your choice to read this far as an assumption that you are giving me the benefit of the doubt and will continue to read…alright, moving on.

So, what can this clip from HIMYM teach us besides the often touted and stereotypical message that men are shallow and will put up with quite a bit of “crazy” to be with a “hot” woman? Well, big reveal time…that is the takeaway lesson from this clip. No, seriously, that is the lesson. Men will put up with a certain level of crazy to be with hot and yes it does function on a scale.

To be fair, every individual man’s definition of hot and crazy will differ, but each one has their limits and set ideas of what each constitutes. Essentially, what I consider to be hot (red hair, freckles, etc.) and crazy (liking 1D and Justin Beiber, mostly kidding) might be slightly different than your definitions, but they are present and functional; as well, we will both adhere to our scales based on our preferences. The scale might not even be “hot/crazy”. It could just as easily be “hot/dumb”, “hot/boring”, or “hot” and any other undesirable characteristic.

HIMYM, through Barney, eloquently put this notion into actual words and presented it in a comprehensible and, more importantly, non-judgmental way. Let’s be honest, we all have, at the very least, had a crush on, an individual simply because of how they looked in spite of other traits. It is not something to be ashamed of, but instead a fact that should be acknowledged and even perhaps embraced.

HIMYM also acknowledged that this was not simply a male performance; women also adhered to such a scale, though theirs might function a bit differently. I prefer to call the female version of the “hot/crazy” scale the “cute/creepy” scale. It works in the same way as the male version, but this video might best articulate it:

Apparently, women can be just as shallow as men and that is the real takeaway lesson from How I Met Your Mother. What?! Surprise moment? Oh Yeah! For all the literature, films, television, and music that tries to create these weird diverse boundaries between men and women, ultimately, we are really just the same and sometimes those similarities are found in the level of shallowness both sexes can have.

So, in conclusion or TL;DR, men and women can both be a bit shallow and selfish at times and that isn’t always a bad thing. It just depends on the circumstances and that is a Lesson From…How I Met Your Mother.

 

 

A Memory

Traces of a nonexistent past. Shadows paint the walls with scenes tinged of nostalgia. Moments of joy and of tears jumbled together.

I can still hear the sweet melody of your laughter as we huddled under the blankets in our bed. The scent of your hair fills my nose while your tears stain my shirt as I try to comfort your pain and grief. Of course, not all was so serene.

Our screams trying to claim strength over the other while unsure of what was being discussed to begin with. The uncertainty of what each of these fight’s resolution would actually bring.

You fill up every corner and crevice of this place. Your very image is etched so deep into my mind that no substance can wash it away. Distance has helped and you have begun to fade.

I no longer reach out to you in my sleep nor expect to wake up to the sound of your voice. Your visage does not haunt the faces of the women I see.

With more time, you will be nothing more than a memory, and eventually less than that.

Another YA Post

The Giver is one of my favorite books. I read it when I was in middle school and was enthralled by the narrative found within its pages. I believe it was also one of the first books to have a dystopian setting in a young adult novel, or at the least one of the first to win an award and have had some mass appeal.

With the current deluge of YA adaptations in Hollywood, it is no surprise that The Giver is being made into a film. Admittedly, it took fifteen years of development hell, but whatever it is coming to theaters near you at some point in the near future. In fact here is a trailer:

Now, those of you who have read this fine piece of literature might find this trailer a bit odd for some indiscernible reason. You are not wrong; this trailer is off for one main reason. Whoever green-lit this project is trying to get a large cut of that sweet, sweet YA money and is competing with other properties like Hunger Games, Maze Runner, and Divergent. Thus, because Hollywood seems to be capable of intelligent thought less and less with each passing year, the apparent way to compete with these popular juggernauts is to imitate them. I mean that is the only logical thing to do, right?

Don’t get me wrong. I am a fan of the previously mentioned titles in both literary and motion picture form. However, Giver is most definitely not like these other YA stories. I will try to not include any spoilers for those who have yet to experience the pleasure of reading the book, but unlike Hunger Games and Divergent the central conflict and story in Giver does not really have to do with a major looming war or mass rebellion. The main protagonist is not some secret leader, rebel, or figure head. In fact, while there is some violent acts within the book they are not anywhere near on the scale of other dystopian YA fiction.

Instead, the central focus of Giver is about rediscovering life and understanding what it means to be human in all its capacity. It is about small forms of rebellion and making a choice as to which path to take as opposed to it being thrust upon you. In short, it is seemingly the exact opposite of what the trailer is showing. I know this film has to compete with other popular titles, but I wish the people in charge would give their audience some credit and understand that not every film has to be Hunger Games in order to find an audience. After all, in a field where everything is the same, it will be the few standouts that will draw attention.

St. Patrick’s Day

For the last few years, I have enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day mainly because of the company and not quite the day. I know that there is an actual history and meaning to the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, but like most holidays appropriated by America it is now, essentially, another excuse to get insanely drunk without too much of a social stigma (looking at you Cinco de Mayo and Mardi Gras).

I never cared about that, though, because if I wanted to drink to a stupid amount, I would without reservation. Thankfully, I  have outgrown that phase, for now. What I looked forward to was spending a free night with friends. Somehow during my time in college, recent graduate, St. Patrick’s Day fell on a day that I had a vacation or a weekend.

There as much drinking involved, but there was also the sublime pleasure of having the nearby area of the town pretty much to ourselves. Instead of dealing with a plethora of undergrads, we freely roamed from venue to venue and enjoyed the local music, art scenes, and brew joints to our heart’s content. We also made sure to have at least one Depth Charge and do one embarrassing dance for the memories.

And that is what I cherish most of all, the memories that will stay with me long after I may part ways with friends. I’ll remember the stories we created that will inspire and entertain me and those lucky enough I eventually share them with for years to come. There are some pretty good ones that I look forward to reminiscing on over a cold, or room temperature I am not picky, Guinness. Till then, to all Sláinte!