A Letter to High School Seniors and Job Hunters

seraching

Dear…You,

Hey there! I’m writing today to update a letter that I wrote to you a number of years ago. I had just graduated high school and wanted to give some key advice to new high school seniors about getting into college.

It’s okay if you don’t remember it

Now that I have much, much, more experience in life, and professionally and personally in the college world, I can offer a lot more. So if you are reading this as a high school senior or someone who is looking for a job I’m reaching out to you. If you know someone who fits into either of those categories, pass it along. Because there are the questions you should ask yourself when you’re looking getting into college. But a disclaimer before we start…

We’re treating college like a job search.

Why? Because there are a lot of similar elements in both areas. In fact, you can use these tips in a job search as well! Consider this the multi-tool advice column you’ve been searching for. (And free!) Without further ado, let’s kick this off.

ARE YOU QUALIFIED?

There are a lot of great options for colleges out there. Some colleges offer great programs for your major, some offer great athletics facilities, and some offer chocolate fountains every other Tuesday! (Citation Needed). The one thing that they all share is they have their own set of qualifications for people who are applying. It is your responsibility to know them.

Yes, the college has to make sure that its searchable on the website or in communications, but you need to find out for yourself. And if this information is not on the website for whatever reason (most likely stolen by Carmen Sandiego), call in and find out what the qualifications are. This is critical, because your time is precious. It’s senior year, so there’s a lot to get done. Similarly, if you’re applying for jobs, you have to budget your time carefully.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying you shouldn’t apply if you don’t believe you could get in based on their qualifications. There will always be “reach schools” and “dream jobs”. But if you’re going to take the time to apply, you shouldn’t go in unaware. This will also help you be realistic about what letters you may get back. There is, after all, a big difference between getting a “No, Thank You” and knowing why and getting a, “Not right now” for no apparent reason.

CAN YOU AFFORD THIS?

(Disclaimer: This will be the scariest section)

Have you ever seen this happen: You’re at the grocery store. A person is all lined up, they’ve swiped their groceries, everything is completely bagged. They hand over their card…and it’s declined. Again and again. They try a different card, but it doesn’t work either. You begin to feel a little uncomfortable. They get frustrated or even teary. Eventually, the person accepts what they can or walks away, empty-handed.

This could happen.

You’ve been accepted into your dream school or have the perfect job, but the expenses associated with it are too high. Whether it be an expensive area to move to or an expensive residence hall on campus, you’re stuck behind dollar signs. So you too may have to walk away empty-handed.

Unless you do some homework.

There are tons of financial aid programs, grants and scholarships that can help out. Go look to see what’s available. And start now. Seriously. Stop reading and go look, then come back.

Great! Good to see you again. As you may have realized, college is expensive. Each institution has to pay a maintenance staff, electric bills and those professor people that help get you that degree. Those costs alone are a small fortune to maintain and are virtually unavoidable…but they can be paid for by outside sources. Look at everything that is available out there, because it’s a whole lot. Ultimately, affordability is a lot like the qualifications I talked about. Sure, you can shoot for more expensive job or college option, but at least be realistic about it from the beginning.*

*Also, call someone in admissions/financial aid if you have questions! They know stuff!

DO YOU HAVE A BACKUP?

In my ideal world, I pump out an award winning-novel, shocking yet poignant new play and big blockbuster screenplay in alternating weeks while directing shows at a reputable theater company. Until then, I have a blog.

As I keep saying, the purpose of this question is not to hold you back. Apply to every dream school you want. The key here, is multiple. I’ve seen many, many instances where a person waits for a job opportunity to open up and then apply. To only that one. The level of disappointment in a person if that one option falls through is another very tough thing to watch. Yes, you may focused on one main target. And that’s great! But having options? Oh, that’s better than great. That’s Robert Downey Jr. Levels of greatness there. Remember, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. In fact, why are you putting eggs in a basket in the first place? There are cartons.

ARE YOU DISTRACTED BY LOVE?

For the record, this is not about maintaining relationships in college. If you want my advice then that, I’ll be more than willing to tackle that, because it can be a huge, hulk-sized beast.

But I digress.

The love I mention here can be love for any aspect of the college/job. Do you love that program they have with those crazy incentives? Do you love the sports team or team aspect? Do you love the way the quad catches the sunlight? Each love is equally valid. The important thing is that the love for one aspect does not overrule everything else. Don’t ignore the school’s yearly cost just for an awesome major program. Don’t ignore the miserable work environment just for a chance to work in your favorite career field. Yes, everyone will have their negatives and positives. But if their worst aspect far exceeds their best aspect, you need to reconsider.

For example, I’ll give you what I think one of the worst sentences in the English language. “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve at my best.” If a person says this to you, slowly back away. Keep your eyes on them, you don’t know what their worst is. You get the phrase is trying to say. If you love somebody or something, you have to accept all of who they are. But don’t trap yourself into thinking that whatever they have to offer is worth enduring unpredictable and terrible hardships. Hey, maybe this did turn into a relationship advice thing.

ARE YOU READY?

Now that you’ve asked the essential questions, are you ready to begin? Not gonna lie, it’s hard. There’s going to be a lot of info to comb through and a lot of tough choices to make. You’re going to have to put yourself out there one way or another. But if you know what you want and it comes at a price you’re willing to pay, then go for it! Just stay realistic. It’s been said that every dream begun as a reality that had yet to occur.

Are you ready to begin?

The Tyler Perry Problem

tyler perrry

It was just around 11:00 and the party was still raging. Some guys exchanged weak pickup lines to disinterested girls. Another friend, Pamela, was taking a shot of bacardi 151 to celebrate her loss of good judgment. Admist all of this, I stood in a circle of friends, discussing movies.

“Did you see Star Trek?”-Friend A says with more enthusiasm than a 12 year old girl at a One Direction concert. “I tried, but I didn’t see past the lens flares!” Friend B says, with more wit than the eyebrow of John Oliver. Friend C rolled her eyes and said, “I was distracted by Tyler Perry showing up in the middle.”

The music stops. People drop their drinks. Pamela takes another swig of bacardi 151. Friend C widens her eyes, realizing that she’s said the two words that are never to be mentioned in a social setting. All at once, arguments break out. “MADEA IS HILARIOUS!” “I’M TIRED OF HIM!” “HE REPRESENTS OUR VOICE!” “HE SUCKED IN ALEX CROSS!” Within moments, punches are thrown and glass shatters. The chandelier falls from the ceiling, and Dementors emerge from the chimney. I barely escape through the front door with my drink. Gasping for breath, I shake my fist at the sky and yell, “TYLER PERRY!”

This night didn’t have to happen.

Tyler Perry is a divisive figure in some communities, and arguably Hollywood itself. If you are not familiar with his work, allow me to take you through it. After some years of failure and obscurity, New Orleans born Perry found success with his originally written and directed musical, I Know I’ve Been Changed. From then on, he found success releasing these plays onto video and then eventually turning them into Hollywood movies. Tyler Perry is now worth about 400 million dollars today.
So what’s the problem?

As you knew/could guess from the title picture, Tyler Perry is black. That is not the issue that most take with him. The issue lies in Perry’s body of work. Most of his stories revolve around characters, often black men and women, go through extremely adverse situations and overcome them with faith and hard work. Although that doesn’t sound too controversial, there are certain trends that are repeated. One of the main characters is usually poor, struggling to pay the bills. There are single mothers and fathers left and right with kids as well. And abusive relationships, physically and verbally often make an appearance in these films. Although these films are usually critically hated (Rotten Tomatoes gave his first Hollywood outing a 15% out of 100), they continue to make tons of money. Why is this?

Most people believe this is all about the content of his movies. A large number of the black community in America may have grown up in households similar to the ones that Perry depicts. And if they didn’t, they may know or be aware of what it’s like. The humor also has a lot to do with black and Christian culture, another common thread with the audience. While not 100 percent of Perry’s audience is black, his repeated use of the above formula has got people thinking that he caters to the wants and desires of the black community in order to make his money.

And that’s absolutely true.

Look at a movie that’s in theaters right now. Seriously, any one. Guardians, The Giver, Grey:The Fifty Shades of, whatever. Each caters specifically to an audience. Comic book enthusiasts, nostalgic readers and people who haven’t discovered that there are websites that do what fifty shades does but much better are the target audiences respectively. And they need to be targeted. No matter how good a director makes a movie, it needs to make money. Otherwise the Director can’t make more movies. In the art world, if they don’t produce, they die. So yes, let’s face the fact that Tyler Perry makes his so-called “Madea” movies for a black audience.

Unfortunately, some members of the black audience have rejected that. They have a case. When your culture is consistently depicted in the same way, people outside of your culture can start to assume that you will look and act a certain way. There’s also the notion of escapism. We don’t go to the movies to watch a guy at his 9-5 job punch in and out while doing simple tasks (although I’m sure there are some movies that could do this well), we go to see a guy punch out gangsters from 9-5. So some members of that black audience see Madea movies less as an escape and more as something that looks like home. Of course, there are still many who love Perry’s movies for the exact same reasons they are hated. It seems as if you have to choose a side.

But you really don’t.

I”m a fan of Perry’s “Daddy’s little girls”. Idris Elba and Gabrielle Union? Yes please! Sure, some of the acting was a little hokey, and some jokes fell flat, but it was all over enjoyable. I don’t care for a lot of his other films. Mostly, it’s because he keeps making similar movies over and over again. Sure, the situations are a little different, and the characters often change, but overall, there’s romance, abuse and Madea over and over again. I want to see something new! And I know Perry is capable of that.

Probably.

The house becomes quiet. I peek into the window, curious to see what has transpired. Unconscious bodies litter the floor. One hand twitches slowly, holding up Madea’s Family Reunion on DVD. Tyler Perry walks through the living room (I forgot to mention that he usually comes to these parties), looking at the results of the chaos. He stops and stands in the middle of it all. After surveying the room, his eyes lock with mine. I can’t resist the words that fall out of my mouth, tumbling to the floor like Pamela after the third shot of Bacardi 151?

“Are you going to keep making movies like you have been?-I ask, “Cause this will keep happening if you do.”

Perry smiles and says, “And If I don’t?”

The words slowly come to me, “Then no one else will. No one else can. Madea will cease to exist in Hollywood. We will cease-“

Perry kneels down and begins to pray. He is a reverent man, after all. I say nothing, letting his prayer continue. I can’t make out the words, or see his expression, but I know that whatever he’s saying must be important. To Tyler Perry, they may be all that keeps him going. 

Bitter Ness, A Slightly Off Tale for Children

bitternesseverywhere

A while back, I started a project called, “Slightly off Children’s Stories”. They were meant to be simple stories with straightforward messages that  children could pick up easily could also appeal to an adult crowd.

Sometimes I would get carried away with appealing to the adults.

So, without further ado, I present:

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Bitter Ness

There was once a young man named Ness who lived for the comfort of food. His friend that was a girl, Beth, (who bares no relation to any persons living at all, especially not anybody whom the author would know) also liked the comfort of food, so they were always ate together.

One day, Beth decided that she had enough of the comfort of food and stopped going to dinner with Ness.

Sad and lonely, Ness went to a restaurant with an electric sign called Shopelessi. (Unfortunately neither the s or I in the sign were on)

When he got inside, a waiter told him, “We only serve one dish here. It’s a rough fruit.”

Ness shrugged and said, “It doesn’t matter. Give me one.”

He bit into the fruit and found that it was very bitter.

The waiter shook his head and said, “Told you.” The waiter also asked, “Where is my tip?”

Needless to say, this restaurant left Ness with a bad taste in his mouth.

Also a literal one. Everything he ate, no matter where he went, tasted bitter.

He tried and again and again and again but in the end there wasn’t a happy Ness to be found at any restaurant in town.

One day, while eating chicken at the Parakeet restaurant, Ness noticed a happy couple of guys enjoying a steak dish.

Then he got a mean idea.

Ness went over to the couple while they were in between bites and yelled, “Wow! Isn’t this terrible? This steak is tough, hard to swallow and not even close to perfect!”

The couple just laughed and smiled. One of the men said, “We’re enjoying our meat just fine.”

The other man at the table said, “Yeah, it takes some getting used to, but it’s worth it.”

Feeling defeated, Ness skulked away.

The next night, Ness travelled to a sushi restaurant.

While finding the wasabi bitter, he noticed a couple of joyous women sitting at a table. Their food hadn’t arrived yet.

Ness got another mean idea.

He went over to the table and said, “I’m sorry you decided to commit to this. I hear it takes pretty long to be satisfied over here.”

The two women laughed and smiled.

One of the women said, “Yeah, this sort of thing takes some getting used to, but it’s okay.”

The other woman said, “Even if it doesn’t work out in the end, it’s still worth trying at least once.”

Feeling defeated once more, Ness stomped off.

The next night, Ness was devising a new plan at a standard, plain looking restaurant.

This time he’d talk to a couple after they had eaten!

Ness waited for a while, but the guy and the girl sitting at the table seemed to go on eating forever.

He turned away, ready to stomp out again, until he noticed a girl glaring at this duo of diners.

Ness went over to the girl and asked, “Why are you glaring at them?”

The girl turned to him and said, “Look at them. They’re so satisfied, having their perfect little meal, pretending that food always tastes wonderful and new…ugh, they’re idiots!”

A smile crept onto Ness’ face. “They’re absolute imebiciles!” he declared.

The girl smiled as well.

“Here you go, ma’am!” the waiter said, bringing the girl some fries.

“Do you want these?” the girl asked.

Ness tilted his head and said, “You’d share your food with me? Why?”

The girl sighed and said, “Ever since I ate this one fruit, everything has tasted bitter.”

Ness and this new friend that was a girl would end up talking until the restaurant closed that night.

Just before they each went home, the girl told him that her name was Carol, (Again, no relation to anyone dead).

The next night, they made fun of another couple enjoying their food at a fast food restaurant.

It became kind of their thing.

And although neither of them noticed…

Over time…

Like three and a half weeks…

The bitterness in their mouths both went away.

As a matter of fact, if you happened to catch Ness and Carol at a restaurant and asked them how the food is…

They might just say that it’s actually pretty sweet.

Outstretched Hands for Ferguson

protests

The Ferguson protests are not about one person.

Michael Brown was a young man with a lot of promise. His death is tragic and my heart goes out to his affected family and friends. Michael was gone far too early.

But now with news flooding in every day about protests, arrests and even the arrival of national guard, is clear that the shooting on August 9th has transcended one person. Everything that you’ll see happening in Ferguson is not about Brown-

It’s about the next young black person.

This is far from an irrational worry. You don’t need to look far to see past evidence of incidents just like what happened in Ferguson. Trayvon Martin was two years ago, and the confusion and tragedy still ring fresh in our minds. And this is not to mention years and years of injustice suffered during and before last century’s civil rights movement. If you believe the adage that “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”, than America is doomed into a cycle where a large number of its citizens fear that they will not get the same justice as everyone else.

Let’s put this another way:

Imagine there was only one car dealership in America. Let’s call this dealership “USAOA”. You go to this dealership when you are young. The salesman promises you a great car. You will always be safe in this car. It will go just as far up the highway as anyone else’s. And most importantly, this car will be seen just as important and valued as anyone else’s. You buy the car.

As you grow up, you see incidents. They may happen right in front of you or to others you know. Other people’s cars are going faster. They are traveling further than yours is able to. And they seem to have special pathways open to them. You would complain, but there is a no return policy. The car you have is the one you keep for life.

Then one day, it is time to get a car for your own child. You go there knowing that you may not get a fair deal, but at least they’ll be safe. Then you hear that Sybrina’s Fulton’s child passed away in a car accident. The accident wasn’t caused by a faulty car part or a drunk driver. It just happened. At the end of the day, some justice was served-but not nearly enough to replace what was lost. You stand at the dealership, your child’s hand in yours. Sybrina’s case is not unique. In fact there are hundreds, thousands of examples of this same thing happening. If you buy that car, will your child be safe?

This is the question that many African-American men and women are forced to think about every time a news report like Ferguson gets out. And yes, anger is a part of it. It’s not hard to imagine why. But again, the bigger emotion here is fear. Fear that their child will be the next face plastered on boards as a reminder that sometimes in America, your life may depend on the color of your skin.

Of course, most people understand all of the above. And hell, anyone may have experienced this even if they aren’t black because of their sexual orientation, gender, weight, ethnicity, religion and many, many, many more invisible lines drawn in America’s sands. What some people don’t understand is why Ferguson is full of protesters, ready to fight if necessary to be heard. And that’s quite simple too.

The media won’t speak for them.

Oh yes, the media does often highlight African-Americans in a positive light. Seriously! We hear every development about Beyonce and Jay-Z’s relationship. We know right away what Will Smith’s next movie will be like. And even if you didn’t know anything about Lebron James, his move from one state to another dominated sports coverage for at least a week. These men and women have done great things that inspire and encourage us their community to shoot for their own dreams. But at the same time, these are rare cases, statistically at least. The media needs to highlight these people so that the 99 percent who never get that far in a system stacked against them think, “Maybe I can get there too.”

The above is by no means unique to the African-American community. Turn on the E channel for a minute. There’s now even a luxury channel devoted to rich people showing off their rich things. It’s insane! (Unless one of them has a batmobile. Then I’ll tune in). The media is fantastic at balancing tragedy with distraction. And sure, they’ll cover stories of social injustice like Occupy Wall Street or Casey Anthony or Ferguson…until the rage dies down. Until the outrage becomes another moment of quiet acceptance. A cautionary tale, but never a constant reality.

This is why the people in Ferguson are hefting up their arms in protest. They know they take the action to put their arms down, it may be mistaken as acceptance. An acceptance that this is the way that this country will operate, that this can happen again with the same result. This is something that the protestors will not accept.

No matter what race, religion, gender and many other types of identity that you have chosen to be, there is one universal truth here: You do not have to agree with the “raised arm protests” or the exact words that the protestors in Ferguson use. But please understand why this is so important. Why this story can’t be simply cycled out of public consciousness after the sentencing. Why this story is about race.

The Ferguson protests are not about one person.

The raised arms you see are people trying to shield their children from the next bullet.

Fill Another Bucket List

Since it is Throwback Thursday, I thought I would revisit an old topic of mine. This week, as a whole has been filled with terrible news. Michael Brown, NASCAR crashes and of course the loss of a great entertainer have all seized the headlines. Instead of going into more analysis (today, at least), I wanted to pull out this list again.

You may have seen those “30 before 30” lists before. And though I like the concept, I’m not a fan of the time limit, (I haven’t mastered airbending yet, and I want to do that before a bucket list) So to slightly tweak that concept, here are 15 items on my “Fill Another Bucket List”  You have your whole lifetime, so feel free to alter, modify or add to it as necessary. And if you do any of these, I’d love to see pics, videos or the police report!

FILL ANOTHER BUCKET LIST

bucket lists

  1. Find a funeral picketing by the WBC. Go there with double the amount of people. Hold up signs of love.*

*(Since this entry was made, I’ve seen one incidence of this happening!)

2. Have two chefs compete at s homeless shelter to mass produce their best dish. The winning plates go to the homeless. The losing plates go to the homeless.

3. Find a brick wall. Fill balloons with paint. On the outside people write words that have hurt them. They will use these balloons to break those words and make something beautiful out of their pain.

4. Find the oldest married couple in the world and have them attend a wedding with newlyweds. The old couple will renew their vows.

5. I believe in oxygen keeping us alive day: so all people finally have something to agree on. Make some stickers that say “Go Oxygen” on one side, and an uplifting message on the other.

6. Write a note on a Chinese lantern day of everything holding you back. Go to the shore of a beach. Let it go. The lantern too.

7. Find your favorite book of all time. Give it to someone who’s never read it. Preferably someone that doesn’t have a lot of books.

8. Find something to love. Two catches: a. It has to be legal. B. You have to mean it.

9. Show up to a friend’s house for a suprise 22nd birthday. Have a big rager. Film it all. Catch: the person has to say that life continues after 21.

10. Walking around shoeless for a day is great. Spreads the message. Let’s take those shoes and actually send them to people without shoes. Sends a better message.

11. Make a penpal and do it old school. Yes, letters and everything. And if you can, go visit them, wherever they are.

12. Get two professional golfers to play mini-golf for charity. The details are up to you!

13. Fund a kickstarter that will honestly make a difference in the world. The amount is inconsequential. (Sorry potato salad kickstarter fans)

14. Get together with five people and exchange your favorite movies. Rotate until you have your original movie again. You’ll either see great movies again, see a great movie for the first time, or laugh at a movie you don’t really like. Remember, this is a judgment-free zone.

15. Dig through your computer and find the oldest photos, files and videos that you never watch. Put them on a special flash drive with a note to yourself. Open it in five years and see what you remember. Repeat until…forever. If you feel courageous, show someone else.

16-Think about something you’ve always wanted to do, whether it will help you or someone close to you. Write it down. What’s next is up to you. Good luck, and fill up that bucket!

 

What Wishes May Come-Inspired by Robin Williams

Genie2

Robin Williams has passed away.

There’s no getting around such a heavy, monumental moment, so there it is. I write this to provide no new insight or theories about the method or cause of death. It is far beyond my understanding to say what the man was going through, what he had seen. What I do offer today is what I would say to an internet genie if I had three wishes.

I know that sounds completely unrelated, maybe even flip. But I assure you, this post, in part inspired by the charismatic Genie that enraptured us all as children. It is also inspired by a truly funny man.

So although I may not find myself in Agrabah, these are my three wishes to the internet genie:

1. Stay informed.
You probably have seen something like this in the last 24 hours.

robin b

Yes, similarly to the Maya Angelou/Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela/Morgan Freeman mixups (Search twitter, both really happened), people have mixed up the two Robins. It’s very easy to dismiss this people as dumb, but the real problem is a lack of information. We live in an age with huge access to information. As such, it’s becoming harder and harder to determine what is real, not, and the blurred lines* (*I couldn’t help myself) in between. So we can’t write this people off just yet.

After all, many others were subject to being uninformed before. Does KONY 2012 ring a bell? How about Occupy Wall Street? Both movements were meant to bring long-lasting change. But since the masses were largely uninformed, it was impossible to move forward, however unified people were. Yes, there were some that knew what was going on, but far from enough to be effective. If you want to make a long-lasting impact on the world, you have got to look around and see what’s going on. And you don’t have to start outside of the country.

Look to your city. Down the block. The seat next to you. More likely than not, there’s somebody there that could use your help. The only thing that is separating you from doing that:

Information.

2. Don’t Fight Negativity with Cruelty

Behold the next type of tweet you’ve been seeing in the last 24 hours:

robin

robin 4

Put aside any thought of your personal opinion of Robin Thicke. Yes, even though he blurred the lines** (**again!) with a song that had a undeniably catchy tune and undeniable sexism, I want that to go away (like Robin Thicke will eventually. Have you heard his album Paula? Yikes) for a moment. Gone? Good. Now read the above again.

Those people above called for a person’s death for no reason.

Death, along with other negative events, has a way of clouding things, particularly our judgment. It is my sincere wish that these people misspoke while attempting to cope for a dark incident. But it seriously needs to stop. It is never funny, no matter how much time has passed. If you’re close to someone who made a status or tweet like those above, please call them out. “But it’s just a joke!” They might say, “I don’t mean it!”. Counter them with this:

“For this exercise, your name will be Alex (or any other unisex name) Imagine if you were a famous firebreather. The one that everybody gets soooooo excited about. But your significant other leaves you because of all the attention you get…and because you always smell like smoke. In order to cope, you breathe a fire dragon right outside of her house. Unfortunately, you accidentally light her cat on fire. No worries! The cat is okay! (The tail is a little singed though) Now the whole world knows you as the guy who committed cat arson.

A week later, famous musician Alex dies of mysterious causes. Immediately after, your ex, holding a slightly singed cat, puts on social media “Why couldn’t they take firebreather Alex instead!!!??” You see the tweet, and it hurts. You knew your ex didn’t like you, but that’s a little extreme.

Now multiple that one tweet by a thousand. How much does that hurt?

Because maybe you’ll get close to the people requesting the deaths of Justin Beiber. Or Robin Thicke. Just like you, they made mistakes. For that, people call for them to die every day. Still funny?”***

(***If your friend still says yes, and they are over the age of 12, reconsider the friendship. Just a thought.)

3. Either Help People or Let Them Pass

The below is a comment that someone made after a person confused Robin Williams with Robin Thicke. They have a point, but can you spot what’s wrong here?

robin90

Didn’t catch it? It actually relates to wish number 2. This facebook commenter is correct in saying that it is right to be angry over people “Milking” someone’s death. But in the same breath, the commenter says that these hundreds of fan pages are just for likes. And again, this person could be correct. But every single page? Is it so hard to believe that there are  a lot of people that honestly loved Robin Williams and wish to pay their respects the only way they know how? This is a problem we often run into on social media. People offer a solution or try to promote activism (e.g. KONY 2012) but don’t get any further than the like/share buttons. As a result, commenters like these arise to tell them they’re wrong.

But where does that get us?

Look at it this way: You’re walking down the street from that awesome firebreather show. You see an old lady on a mac book that is trying to send an email. You look over and notice that she’s not connected to the internet, but is holding up her laptop in the air. “Whatcha doin there?” you ask casually, being from the south. “Getting Internet by holding it up in the air. All my friends say that this works.” The old lady says in a British accent. You now have a choice. Tell her that she’s wrong or maybe even dumb for holding up that laptop, or help her get on the wi-fi. What’s it going to be?

I hope most of you go for stealing wi-fi from the unsecured Starbucks. But those who chose option one are essentially being that commenter from above. Yes, people may be misguided in thinking that a “like” is enough to change the world. But if you don’t help them to understand what needs to be done, how can they change? I know that every issue isn’t that simple. Go back to the old lady. Instead of Wifi being the problem, it was a DNS blue screen malware virus bug error cache. Unless you understood what I just described (and I don’t even understand what I just described) you don’t have a solution. So, since you can’t help the old lady, you have two choices:

A. Yell at her.
B. Let it go and walk away.

Again, I hope people go with the second option. Maybe some of you went for C and will still try to help the old lady. B or C are great answers, and hard as hell. But imagine how much better the i-net would be if people always chose B or C. Another great example is the ice water challenge. I for one have no intention of dousing myself with ice water (such a waste of ice!) but I’m totally down for donating to charity. And numbers show that most people agree, as donations have gone up for ALS.

Yes, some people are doing the challenge in order to save 100 bucks (Ice is 2 bucks top). But why waste energy complaining about them? Instead, either help them try to donate or let them douse themselves with ice.

Also consider that they may be doing both.

Got that all, Internet Genie? Good! I now release you to spread cats and youtube trends around the world.

I’m out of firebreathers and old ladies: now we return to reality. Here people are sometimes cold, bitter and all around negative. For now. As I said before, death and other negative events in our lives have a way of clouding things, inducing a haze that spreads and covers everything around it. We can move through it and become stronger or get lost in the fog. If we get better, we can help others too. If not, I hope that my third wish will come true and someone will help you. Maybe it will be hard. Maybe it’s not as easy a writing a single blog post. Maybe we don’t have a genie in the world that we can see in front of us right now.

But we did.

Rest in peace, Robin Williams.