My speed-reading class, which inhabits my Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, is unique. My professor is a middle-aged gentleman with graying hair and a smile that wrinkles his entire face in a homely and disarming way. He is unnaturally sincere in nature: he will ask how our days have been, then will listen with interest to what you have to say. If you were sick the previous day, he will ask if you're feeling better. This sense of empathy is oddly unsettling, but half of my discomfort stems from my cynical nature.
The fact that he teaches a speed-reading class does not help this case of peculiarity. The class itself is, as you might guess, packed; I'm sure the sarcasm spills over into the hallway. I imagine it is difficult to teach someone how to read quickly. I think he's doing fine. But in my mind, some of the exercises he has given us seem incongruous.
The first was the personal mission statement we had to create. Similar to what you might find at a business, they are designed to invigorate and encourage us as we go about our daily lives. He gave us this formula:
3 Verbs + Core Value (Quality) + Audience = Personal Mission Statement
An example of this would be: "To caress, extrapolate, and objectify idiosyncrasies with every Cajun I meet."
If I ever meet a Cajun, you can bet I will caress idiosyncrasies with them.
Anyhoo, I finished it and trudged on to the next assignment: the bucket list. We had to think of 30 activities we will do before we die, the sister project being influential people we will meet. After I successfully resisted asking questions about the relevancy of this project, I began wondering, Wow. In several decades or so (sooner, factoring the imminent zombie uprising), I'll be dead. What do I really want to achieve in this life? I put pen to paper and came up with this:
The Bucket List: The Director's Cut
- Skydiving. But then I thought, Who the heck doesn't want to skydive? That's like ordering vanilla ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery. Hence, I propose a variation on the theme, something I think will really spice up this activity which, as we all know, needs some added thrill. So here it is; maybe you've heard of it. Ready? Skyfencing. It's exactly like skydiving, but before you deploy your chute, you engage in a violent struggle with rapiers against your skyfencing buddy. If you don't get skewered, or your chute does not get cut, you get an added bonus: you fall into a canyon full of lime-green Jell-O. Skyfencing: coming to a Jell-O filled canyon near you.
- Capture every Pokémon in the world. Well, I take that back. I really just need Articuno, and I will be content. Anybody who knows me knows how much I love Articuno.
- Steal the Declaration of Independence. If Nicolas Cage can do it, why not me? Security around the one of the two most important documents in the country can't be that tight.
- Be a contestant on Jeopardy! and spend the entire time flinging nickels at Alex Trebeck's head.
- Dress like Link and, in Central Park, roll around and begin slicing grass and small shrubberies while shouting, "Yah! Hah! Yah!" Afterward, I'll run to the nearest farm so I can heckle some chickens.
- Punch Will Ferrell in the face.
- Win Flight of the Amazon Queen, and while I'm at it, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Beneath a Steel Sky.
- Construct a cardboard boat. After it is finished, build another one. Don pirate garb. Give pirate garbs to three willing friends. If I am without friends at the time, random strangers will do. Travel to Glen Oak Park, which contains a sizable lake complete with fountain. Do battle on the high seas. After the enemy is vanquished, lead an expedition through the park to where the buried treasure is located.
- Climb the Eiffel Tower dressed like a condor and fly off, preferably landing in a lake (only if it has a fountain).
- Punch Keanu Reeves in the face.
- Hold underground shopping cart drag races in a Kmart.
- Learn how to play the bagpipes, and buy matching kilt and beret. Grow the compulsory accompanying beard. Memorize Scottish clan war cries. At the next football game, infiltrate the cheerleader squad; the tartan should make my subterfuge infallible. Hijack the cheer routine, and lead the fans in ancient Highland ribaldry.
- Using a forklift, lift a crate of forks.
- For one day, replace all the music in a nightclub with Bach. Even for only one day, I'd like to see the philistine denizens of the night life try skank-dancing to his cello suites.
And the last activity on my bucket list?
- Not watching Lost.
As eccentric as this speed-reading course is, I'm actually looking forward to new exercises that reveal my soul, encourage me throughout the day, and maybe even help me read quicker.
Anyway, DREAMS. Had a Star Wars dream the other day. It's a recurring dream, one of several I experience. The dream itself is complex: all I remember is zipping around in an fighter causing havoc amongst the Imperial fleet. Pretty rad.
And that's it for this post, ladies and gents. So long, and thanks for reading.