Privilege · 20 January 2018

I saw this video about privilege a couple times that made me think a bit about life. Which is what it was meant to do. (Regardless of what comments were made.)

If you have not seen the video, you ought to. Just for a little perspective. Here is a link to the video so you can check it out. I’ll wait. But here is a little description of the video in case you do not want to watch it yourself now.

There is a race for a one-hundred dollar bill. I am not sure of the distance of the race, but the organizer gives some advantages (two steps each) for people who have had certain things in their lives. Things that they have absolutely no control over. Like whether their parents are still together. The list is fairly long and some people have many advantages making the race shorter for them. One of the most interesting things about the race is when the organizer tells those in front to look back at the others. Or really for everybody to look back to see those who had none of the advantages given in the list. He says that he would put his money on some of the people in the back if there was not a handicapping of the race due to the privileges given. Again, privileges that none of the people had any control over in the first place. They do race, but it does not really matter who won. In fact, the video does not show the face of the winner.

While the video shows a bit about privilege, there is a deeper message for me: You gotta run the race. Regardless.

The video shows some of the people in back before the race begins but after the handicapping is finished. They are discouraged. Some even still have their backpacks on or maybe even put them back on because they are giving up. Which is what some people who have few privileges in life do. They pack it all up before the race even begins. They figure that there is no hope without privilege. But that is the point of the race. It does not matter what privileges other people have. You still need to try. You still need to run the race.

I really liked the video, but I would do it differently.

I would give the directions in such a way that it sounded like the first person to win would be the one who gets the hundred dollars. I would not be deceptive, but I would let people assume only one person would get the money. Then, I would give each person who finished the race a hundred dollars. For while there is indeed just one winner in a footrace, there are many winners in life. And in life, it does not matter where you start. It just matters that you finish. For the race does not just go to the swift.

You just gotta keep on keepin’ on. Finish the race. Keep the faith. There will be a reward. Eventually.

There were those who looked like they were not going to race because they were at the back of the pack. Whether they raced or not, many of them were discouraged because of where they started. But life is not a sprint. It is a marathon, and everybody gets a prize for finishing. And for the most part, you get to decide what that prize is (and each prize is different).

So watch the video. It certainly sheds an interesting light on privilege. And it made me think a bit about life.

© 2018 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Liking Other Writers · 13 January 2018

Botón Me gusta by Enoc vt
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

I like it when other writers comment on my blog or Facebook page or retweet my Twitter posts. It gives some validation that maybe I can write. Not that validation is necessary, but it is always nice when somebody other than a friend or relative says that maybe, just maybe, I can write.

I love that my friends and family like my writing. Or at least say they do. I know not all of them are my Facebook fans or Twitter followers, but I do not expect them to be. And I am not the sort of person to keep inviting them to follow my fan page (or whatever they are called these days). I do not want to be known as that friend or that family member. I just like to be me.

Speaking of Facebook, it used to be that I would look at the number of fans I had on my fan page and compare it to the number of friends that I had. I figured that if they were about the same number, it meant that I had other people following me than just my family and friends because certainly not all of my friends follow me. After all, they probably do not all know that I write stuff. Okay. If they have known me for more than a few days, they probably do know. But even so, I am not that great of a self-promoter.

Which is where this started off in the first place, believe it or not.

I am always amazed when somebody I do not know retweets me or follows me on Twitter. I usually look up the person to find out what might have brought them to do such a thing. Then, I put the person on one of my lists or maybe even follow somebody. Usually a list. At any rate, I still get excited when somebody I do know adds me to a list, follows me, or retweets me. Imagine my excitement when somebody I do not know does any of those things. I get ecstatic and try to find out who the person is.

When I go on a little hunt for the person retweeting me, I check out the person’s Twitter page and web page, if it exists. It is usually fun to see what the person is like. Or at least what the person’s online persona is like. There have been a few unsavory types, but for the most part, the readers I get seem like nice people.

Which brings me back to where I started.

I enjoy seeing other writers retweet me. Or point to a blog post. Or even post a comment on my blog. Sometimes they want to get a link to their own stuff out of the deal, but it usually seems that they genuinely like what I write. I know that is a crazy thought, but it seems like it. One of those commenters and reposters is Lydia Schooch. She has retweeted a few posts of mine and commented on at least a couple of my blog posts. (Which means that she read them within three weeks of when they were posted.) I am not sure if she reads all my stuff, but that does not really matter that much. I am just excited that she reads anything because she is a writer. I have not looked up all her stuff, but I do like what I have read. And did I mention that she has liked my stuff? And retweeted me? Amazing.

Well, I have been meaning to thank Lydia for commenting and retweeting (which is not the same as endorsing me), so hopefully this suffices. Maybe a couple of my friends and followers will like her stuff too. Which is the point of everybody being part of any mutual admiration society, pointing to each other and saying good stuff. (Which is infinitely better than pointing and laughing. Or even just pointing.)

At any rate, thank you Lydia and everybody else out there who likes and comments on Facebook, Twitter, and my blog. I love to see those notifications. Even though I do not need them for validation. Thank you for thinking that I can write. Even if others think that it is silly to keep encouraging me.

© 2018 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Smoke Detector Battery Replacement Time · 6 January 2018

I wonder why it is that the smoke detector battery low indicator (a harsh beep about every thirty seconds or so) always goes off in the middle of the night. Either right after you are settled in and are in that perfect REM state or a couple hours before you get that right amount of sleep.

We usually change out the batteries in our smoke detectors each year. If we remember, right around the time we go off daylight savings time. But if not, right after that annoying battery low indicator tells us that we should have replaced the batteries going off daylight savings time. Which of course happens during the middle of the night. It is an odd phenomenon. That little noise does not interrupt the daylight or evening activities. Only being in dreamland.

It is an odd sound too. That little electronic chirp goes off every thirty seconds to a minute. I have never timed it because I am trying to wake up enough to figure out which one of the sensors is the one chirping. I listen right below one of the sensors. Chirp. Then, I move below the next one. Chirp. Then, I move below the next one. Chirp. Eventually, I figure out which one is the loudest when I am next to it and replace its battery. Or this last time, I just removed the sensor from its mount. I was confident that the other ones in the vicinity would be enough to cover for the missing one until I replaced the battery in the morning.

I figured out this latest routine after the previous time. That time, I changed the battery, then went back to bed only to hear the chirp, chirp, chirp again ten minutes after I had fallen asleep again. I did that routine three times before finally figuring out that I had replaced the battery in the wrong sensor. Or maybe that was the time before. Anyway, it was one of the last two times and the other of those, I had to go through several batteries until I finally found one that worked.

(Incidentally, I tested the battery I removed the other day and found that it is still perfectly good. Unfortunately, I do not have any other non-critical items that use nine-volt batteries or I would use all those perfectly good ones that we remove from smoke detectors in those items. I am not sure exactly why those detectors need to have pristine batteries, but that is okay. I am happy to change them. I just wish it was not always in the middle of the night.)

One of the strangest things about the chirping is that it does not just stop when the battery is removed. It almost always confuses me and makes me wonder if I got the right detector. This time, I almost went through the discovery routine again, but instead just listened closely to make sure I had the right detector. But instead of putting it up to my ear like a dunderhead (which just means that I did that before), I went to a place where no other sensors were and made sure I had the right one. Then, I remembered that there must be a capacitor storing charge and so I pressed the test button and heard the death knell of a digital cricket. Chirrrr… It made me feel good that I could remember something technical in my sleep stupor.

At any rate, I replaced the battery. Which ended the saga of the smoke detectors. But not the wondering. I am sure there are many other unexplained phenomena that could be discussed by experts in a thoughtful forum, but I could not think of any more maddening than why the smoke detector batteries always seem to fail in the middle of the night.

Chirp. Wait for it. Chirp.

All I know about the phenomenon is that regardless of how diligent I am about replacing those smoke detector batteries, one will surely fail. And when it does and that battery indicator starts chirping, I know it will be in the middle of the night.

© 2018 Michael T. Miyoshi

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