Happiness Is Not Needing More

10/01/21

Today I took my truck to Jiffy Lube to get serviced. It's a 2001 GMC Yukon with 215,000 miles on it. I bought it from my father-in-law for $1000 earlier this year. It's the car I drive 80% of the time. I really like driving it.

I asked one of the guys how long he thinks the Yukon might last. He said he's seen GMC and Chevys come through with 300,000 miles, but once he saw a Honda with 700,000 miles. He said its owner took very good care of it, always taking it in for maintenance at the right time.

He also told me about an Audi owner who came in once, whose car was in terrible shape. He had been neglecting it. The guy goes, "dude, you have a $90,000 car."

When I drove my humble Yukon home, I felt deeply satisfied that I had spent the time and money to take care of my car and help it last longer. I felt content and secure.

Sometimes I see a Porsche or Audi on the road and get seduced, thinking "man that would be a nice car to have." And indeed, I could go buy one tomorrow, and the engine would sound awesome... but would I be any happier?

I think there's a very important life lesson in this conversation I had with Danny, and it's not about car maintenance; it's about happiness. I can pretty much guarantee that the lady who owned that Honda was enjoying her life more than the Audi driver.

Happiness is hard to universally define, but to me it's the feeling of satisfaction with one's life: appreciating what you have and always looking forward to tomorrow. Another word for it is fulfillment.

There's some point between poverty and wealth where all of one's needs are met, and one can be satisfied with that. There's joyful stability in reaching that point and staying there, wherever that may be for you.

Happiness is the state of mind where you don't need more.

I'm Part Neanderthal

08/08/21

When I was 18 my dad walked up behind me, put his hand on the back of my head, and audibly freaked out. He felt a protrusion on my skull. To feel a strange bump on your child's head is understandbly concerning, but I'd had it my whole life and assumed everyone else did too.

To explain, he let me feel his skull, and so did my mom. They were smooth.

As a kid this thing always kind of pissed me off because I couldn't rest my head on flat surfaces like the floor, or the window on the school bus. The pressure of my weight all on that point is painful. It made a lot of sense to learn this was uncommon, because I'd never heard anyone else complaining about it.

Turns out it's called an Occipital bun, a bulge at the back of the skull characteristic of the Neanderthal genome. The Neanderthal subspecies is extinct in certain terms, but some of its genetics survive in humans.

I definitely seem to be a mix, because on the other hand I'm just over six feet tall. I don't know my exact genetic breakdown because I refuse to give my DNA to the glowies a testing firm like 23andMe, but I also have deep set eyes, an unusually hairy neck, and my wife complains I have a thick skull. So I've got a few giveaways.

I've made peace with my cave-dwelling ancenstry, and still identify as homo sapien. Over time though, I've observed I have tendencies in addition to my physical traits.

For one, I love cooking food over a fire. I don't mean a propane grill - I'm talking charcoal at least but even better just a dirty fucking fire pit. Meat, root vegetables, chilli peppers, blistered and charred. This is my happy place. I enjoy few things as much as just sitting next to an open fire and babysitting some food I have cooking over it.

I also am very fond of cozy cave-like settings in harsh environments. I really like video games where you are trying to shelter and survive near a fire like Minecraft and The Forest. And I also like living in places with a harsh winter. I enjoy the feeling of "surviving" in my cave (house). I can't imagine living somewhere with 70deg weather year-around, I would go crazy.

Finally, I really love sticks. I like to hold them and wave them around and shit.

How To Fix American Politics

07/27/21

I have some ideas which I think will fix America's political system and make it work better for everyone.

1. Compensate politicians like CEOs

Politicians have the management responsibility of a CEO but the salary of a low-level employee. In turn, they sell their influence to the highest bidder and earn most of their money through shady deal-making and IOUs they can cash in after they leave office. For some reason this is considered normal and okay...?

Gavin Newsom is the highest paid governor in America with a salary of $210,000. That is shit pay for running a giant state like California, even badly.

We should pay politicians based on their performance, and their pay ceiling should be in the millions. This kills three birds:

  1. reduces pressure to sell political influence (can't avoid this completely)
  2. keeps the fuckers busy with actual measurable objectives
  3. attracts smart, hard-working people to run for office
Their constituents should vote on what metrics they are evaluated on, such as homeless per capita, median income, etc.

2. Campaign contributions = Sponsorships

Should they still seek out bribes, politicians must wear NASCAR-style jackets when appearing in congress, embroidered with the logos of every company they took money from (patch size proportional to size of donation)

3. Term limits for Congress

If you grew up using a rotary phone you shouldn't be regulating crypto.

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"Dream only a dream if work don't follow it"