Creativity

Creativity. For most people, it dies out after middle school when kids start realizing it’s un-cool to be original. Un-cool. Meaning it’s cool to be average, normal, boring. As people reach adulthood, they fear creativity more and more. Have you ever seen an adult try to draw something? It’s usually stick figures. What do adults wear? Kahkis and bland-colored collared shirts. Do they have Mohawks or dreadlocks? No. Do adults build sand castles? No. Do they try to invent things in the garage? No. Have you heard adult conversations? Not “adult” conversations but adult’s conversations. They’re boring. They’re about the weather. Two people meeting each other at a dinner party for the first time after introductions are made:

Person 1: So, what do you do?
Person 2: Oh, I work at a bank, yeah…
Person 1: Oh ok cool, my friend’s neighbor’s daughter works at a bank. US bank. It’s a good job, she’s been there three years now I think.
Person 2: Yeah I like it. It pays the bills. So, what do you do?
Person 1: Oh, I’m a real estate agent. Not quite the business to be in right now if you know what I mean!
Person 2: Yeah, tell me about it. My sister just lost her house. This whole thing is such a mess.
Person 1: Well hopefully Obama can get things turned around.
Person 2: We’ll see, so far he hasn’t done much.
Person 1: Has there been a president who has? Hahahaha.
Person 2: Hahahahah.

*Awkward pause

Person 1: I’m going to go shoot myself in the face because I’ve had this conversation about 211,000 times already. Want to join me? My gun is fully loaded. You can go first so the barrel isn’t messy.
Person 2: Why not.

Social pressures squeeze creativity out of most people like the juice from an orange, leaving only a dry pulp and peel that gets tossed out in the trash (or hopefully compost bin). Except in this case, it’s the juice that gets tossed out and the pulp and peel remain. Most people are normal. It’s rare to meet someone who hasn’t been juiced. Especially in pro cycling–a thank you!!! Pun intended.

After getting back from a dinner at a friend’s house tonight, where some of the people were cool and hadn’t been juiced, while some had been, I came home and the kid who lives here at the house showed me his notebook of drawings. The notebook had a bunch of colored pencil drawings of action-figure type characters for different books he was planning on making. They all had back-stories and special powers that he explained to me, and he wasn’t at all embarrassed or shy about showing them off. He hasn’t started middle school yet.

Why is it that we spend our free time watching something someone else has created?—poorly created and dumbed-down like most TV shows and movies are. And speaking of those, the weird person is usually the main character. What does that tell you? People don’t want to see a bunch of normal people on TV. Of course not, who would? They’re boring. But in real life, they don’t want to be that weird person. And they wouldn’t want that person as a friend either.

One thing I’ve always wondered, and I expect everyone else has wondered about too, is what other people spend their time thinking and daydreaming about. I think of the usual things you’d expect me to think about: fantasizing about bike races, how I’m going to train next week, next winter, what I’m going to eat when I get home…etc. But I also think about completely weird things all the time—I think everyone does. I might spend an entire day thinking about what it would be like to walk across the country, sleeping in farm fields, getting invited in once and a while to someone’s home, moving on and working at a coal mine or pig-farmer, basically being a traveling hobo—not the kind that stand at the street corner with a sign asking for help—but a romanticized bum (a hobo) who carries a stick with a red and white hanker chief bundle tied to it. A bum who travels the country finding out what it’s like to be a human in this country. Finding the true American experience. A hobo who then writes a best selling novel about his adventures and what he’s learned—that people are generally good, but evil when formed into a society. He then becomes rich and famous and goes on talk shows, but then gets depressed with his newfound wealth and the soul-less socialite lifestyle and decides to go live off the land in Canada. But he can’t re-create what he had before. He’s lonely and lost. Nothing seems to satisfy him and he becomes more and more depressed until he just gets fed up with it all and walks into the ocean and swims out as far as he can and drowns. I’ll spend a day thinking about what it might be like to be a smoke jumper—and I’ll think up a whole life story for myself if I happened to be a smokejumper. A day where I spend the entire day asking myself: “What am I thinking about now?” With the answer always being: “I’m trying to think about what I’m thinking about—so I’m not really thinking about anything.” These are usually frustrating days. Maybe I’ll spend an hour in a complete stupor, thinking about electricity or magnets or black holes or gravity or molecules and not understanding how anyone can understand any of those things. Or about suction cups on an octopus. How the hell did those evolve??? My question is, if we’re all thinking about super weird things, why is it that the world is so non-weird? I mean weird things happen, but weird people don’t exist in great numbers like you’d expect. Are we all just keeping it suppressed? Maybe we haven’t been juiced after all. Maybe it’s still inside us, just behind a lot of locked doors. A better metaphor than the orange juice would be…uhhhh…..actually, I can’t think of a good one. I guess I’m not creative enough.

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