Continuation.

I can remember my youth, it was a much different time. I crawled around, listlessly. The world was full of tall structures and bright colors that were seemingly inaccessible had it not been for my  penchant for adventure. I would climb those tall stalks of buildings just to see the setting sun with greater clarity. If I wasn’t testing the boundaries of gravity I was slinking from venue to venue looking for another good time, another good conversation, or another experience worth the danger.

Eventually, that sentiment passed. My foolhardy ways began to cause me more grief than excitement. I cloistered myself away for… a very long time. Nothing could disturb my slow transformation, there could be no distractions. I cocooned myself off from society, from everything, so that I could explore what I was at the core. It was a trying time of transformation, but it was informative. I broke out of my seclusion a new being, a new man. Purpose wasn’t found in adventure, it was found in creating a world further generations could appreciate.

This change wasn’t just a rewiring of my mind, it was physical. I no longer slowly crawl, I speed. I fly great distances to procure the fundamentals of a sustained existence for me and whomever may follow when my time is done on this earth. I find the best to germinate life, for me and my environment. This burden pulls at me, constantly. But I will rest, relax, and enjoy once I have gathered enough to—

 

Splat.

 

“I can barely see out of my windshield with all these damn bugs flying into it! Christ, I’ll never make it to the meeting on time with this traffic. Let me call you back Joe, I’ve got the boss calling me and I can only assume he’s pissed.”

 

The simple life.

I have lived an ordinary life for the entirety of my life. This is a simplification, but it isn’t too far of a stretch from the truth. The footpath in front of me has been visible for miles, I have never faced a fog or an incline that could have let me next step bring my demise.

Your early years allow you no deviation. You are regulated by societal norms, and government ordinances to go to a qualifying school. You take your tests and generally move on past high school (although with this years FCAT scores you may soon see that graduates of high school are in the minority), and if you are credibly smart enough and can find enough money you go to college. There you find your first taste of choice.

Or, illusion of choice. You find yourself (eventually) into a major which requires the same classes for all. Your registration booklet may have thousands of available classes, but if you find your way into an advisors office, or if you manage to navigate the booklet yourself (you are a better person than I) you find a half dozen classes that are necessary. Of those six half will fall within the time when you need to take another required class. Eventually you find you have the choice of a coin flip: the outcome is set between two variables.

I’m sure I am excluding millions of decisions you face every moment, but while this word processor and the server it will be hosted on have statistically infinite space for text, my fingers cannot write that much without eventual shut down. I hope it sufficient to say that choice is a guise in youth, or at least in mine.

Now my youth has ended, and I face legitimate choice. The outcomes are unknown entirely, variables are well beyond the scope of my understanding. Choices and decisions that affect myself, and others in ways I haven’t had influence over before. The unknown is before me and it is a ledge above a mist filled gorge. My questions will go unanswered no matter how long I stare downward: no insight will surface above the haze.

This gorge has millions of variables, and none can be reasonably dismissed, as my senses are hindered. My only known is that I am compelled to discover, to know and explore. So, standing on this ledge I step to jump. Below me could be gutting spires and spike ready  to tear life from flesh and bone, or there could be a lake of clear water beckoning me to an embracing peace.

The only known is the need to discover, explore. I take my steps without hesitation. Without hindrance, or fear.

Overfill.

Overfill. Perhaps you have never used the market term before, but you know what it is. Overfill is the massive amount of air in every bag of chips. There are numerous youtube clips exclaiming how egregious this practice is (in fact, there are thousands of such videos all aghast that their bags only have a few chips in them. Here is one such clip.) and wondering how frito-lay gets away with such surreptitious schemes. Surely they shouldn’t be spared from severity.

But chips are only one of millions of products that now contain an increasing amount of overfill, the practice is seeping into every product you find on your grocers shelves. Cereal boxes are half air (I have a mad-mans theory that cereals today are being shaped to take up more size in the box, and more size in a measuring cup. Since calorie counts are done with volumetric amounts (e.g. 1/2 cup) it would appear that a serving size has fewer calories than a competitor, and they sell you less cereal for a usually equal price to other products.) as is nearly anything that you cannot directly see. Frozen pizzas are a third smaller than their boxes, and there is a juice (whose name escapes me right now) that has a punt (the depression on the bottom of the bottle) that deceptively shows you juice when in reality it is just a sleeve of plastic with a drop or two of juice.

I thought this phenomenon could be isolated to food, I was entirely wrong. I have found overfill in toothpaste, shampoo, and any number of other bathroom related products concealed in a tube or bottle. We look at a package without noticing that what we grab is ever-increasingly part air. This is infuriating. I open a new tube of toothpaste and out sputters a blog of gel, and a fart(the only appropriate word to describe this release of overfill) of air on my first use. I am left with a depressed tube that looks a month old.

Naturally I cannot leave overfill as it is, I have to assume it is indicative of a larger problem. A small minority of people open complain about overfill, and even fewer do anything about it, we are all complacent. We no longer expect value, nor do we care to even search for it. We purchase products because of external appearance over all other factors. Our overwhelming facet of value is appearance, what has happened?

I’m not sure why we find the surface to hold more promise than the expansive ocean that is below it. What makes our small brains find shiny rims and loud exhaust more important that a fuel efficient engine? Why do developers still create full flash websites with obnoxious music and extraordinarily long introductions? There are millions of other examples that I know we can all think of, but I pose this question to you : why? What about humanity makes us find value almost entirely based on outward appearance. I know I can presently ask these questions, but I will still go to the store tomorrow and buy products based on their packaging without engaging any higher brain activity- impulse and repetition. We have the ability to think, but we (seemingly) choose not to.