Wednesday, November 28, 2012
After long, seemingly endless conversations about the topic of happiness in English class last week, Thanksgiving Break finally rolled around to relieve my classmates and I from awkward “speed-dating” situations. I firmly believe that I, over the course of my teenage years, have justly earned the title of “World’s Worst Small Talker.” Perhaps my peers enjoyed the experience of conversing with a person for a minute or two before whisking away to another individual. I, however, could not help wringing out my sweaty hands, scrambling around my brain for anything that would keep the discussion running, all the while thinking of any tips that Will Smith may have mentioned in his movie, Hitch. In fact, when consultation hit rock bottom, I began reciting Bible verses in my head, praying that I would survive this experience in one piece. Awkwardness kills me. Anyways, as I said earlier, these quick yet numerous interactions with my classmates centered around the idea of happiness. Before I begin a spiel on contentment, I think I must establish my personal thoughts and feelings about thinking and analyzing the term “happiness.” I hope I have not lost you. I believe that thoughts on an abstract thing like joy delve into the psychological world. I do not think such thoughts prove futile; many benefits can arise from analyzing how the brain works. However, in the long run, interpreting these ideas will turn a person in a complete circle, placing an individual back to where they started. Every individual acts in their own, specific way. No two brains operate identically. Therefore, why should we possess the arrogance into thinking that every human shares the same feelings as us in reference to such an abstract idea like happiness? I believe that scraping the surface of this topic can reap results. However, attempting to discover deeper meaning in this psychological area proves inefficient and unnecessary. Now that I finished my rant on psychology (I hope I did not offend any of my readers), let us move to the topic at hand. More specifically, let us turn to Ernest Hemingway, American author and journalist who claimed that “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” While reading this in class, the urge to decapitate a small stuffed animal overcame me, followed by a loathing for this man. The author’s quote offended me because I like to think that I possess a tiny bit of intelligence (when you recover from the fall off your chair, you can keep reading). In many cases, intelligence brings forth worldly possessions. Hemingway depicts the claim that these worldly goods distract people from things that bring true happiness: family, friends and companionship. However, as discussed this past day in English class, winning the lottery and becoming wealthy yields worldly possessions, promoting comfort and relaxation. Truly intelligent people understand the driving forces behind obtaining happiness and have the ability to analyze the dangers that come with intelligence. I think that Ernie should have pondered his statement about such a debatable subject before speaking to the press.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
This past week, I experienced an event in English class unlike anything I have ever encountered in my life. The teacher’s directions seemed straightforward enough. Read a short story, do a SOAPSTone for the passage, and come to class prepared with reactions about the piece of work. Students in AP English read Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Tell-Tale Heart” and, let me assure anyone reading this, Poe’s tale definitely proved itself as a “piece of work.” I think I should establish certain facts about myself before I continue with my experience. To begin with, I scare easily. For example, while in a haunted house this past year, I screamed so loudly that the witch who scared me asked if I…she asked a question that implied I shared numerous feminine qualities (use your imagination). Then the year before that, a certain girl and I shared a crush on each other. However, after a scary movie night get-together with friends, this girl shockingly informed me that she “wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with me anymore,” shortly after the movie night. I understood, and supported, her motives. Certain words definitely describe my personality when it comes to terrifying encounters. Words like sissy, wussy, and wimpy find their way right up my alley. Anyways, in class, we watched a short clip based off Poe’s work, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” adapted by Darrin Walker and Travis Mays. Walker and Mays attempt to dull down the fear-factor in their work by omitting a scene which includes human incapacitation as well as including a celebrity look-alike of Robert Downey Jr. These minor changes however, provided me with absolutely no sources of refuge from the terror that covered the screen. After peeking between my fingers for the majority of the film and turning purple in the face due to valiant efforts to withstand from screaming, I sneak a glimpse at my teacher during the closing credits. What I witness causes my heart to leap. For there, in her chair, some sort of fit seems to overcome my English teacher. I pity her, for I know the embarrassment of such reactions to a horror film. However, after seconds of watching her, I realize that she does not twitch uncontrollably in her chair due to fear, but rather because of laughter. I cannot believe my eyes. There I sit, haunted by an older man’s “vulture eye” and Robert Downey’s unspeakable deeds, while my teacher laughs in hysteria. I ask myself the question, “How could anyone find such enjoyment in a horror film?” After pondering this question for a couple days, I arrive at only one conclusion: certain people actually enjoy the feeling of going into cardiac arrest when their heart stops beating. Similar to riding a roller coaster, particular individuals harness the suspense created in a scary movie and somehow channel this energy into a thrill that leaves them hungry for more. In all honesty, I believe that there resides a bit of jealousy within me towards these people who relish horror movies. Over the next year, I will search for ways that will hopefully allow me to build a tolerance towards these films, and therefore enable me to watch scary movies with people of the opposite sex.