OVER: Turning Everything into a “Journey”

fitnessjourney
Don’t take the kid along, she’s on her own journey, to fill her diaper.

In the face of an overwhelming dystopia of normality, soul crushing conformity, and bleak banal sameness, we all fear becoming lost in the grand narrative of history. One way to battle, however fultiley, against this eventuality is to try and frame every little daily effort or tiny life challenge as some form of epic journey. The “journey” analogy has been with human-kind for generations, so it has some merit. After Lao Tzu wrote “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” in The Tao Te Ching, it should have stopped right there! Such an awesome truth, so deep and meaningful, that even a gazillion meme gifs showing a mountain in the distance with the quote overlaid in fuzzy papyrus font can’t kill it.

Life tends to be an accumulation of a lot of mundane decisions, which often gets ignored.
-David Byrne

So no, Terri from HR, your latest quilting efforts aren’t a “Textile Journey.”  Hauling silk and peppercorns overland from Beijing to Belgrade by dromedary in the middle-ages was an F’ing “textile journey!” No, no, no! This self-aggrandisement and wonton importance seeking has to stop. We’re going to puke the next time someone talks about learning to make decorated cupcakes as their “Baking Journey.” Our lives are not supposed to be some Jason-and-the-Argonauts level sojourn to be dramatically re-told in an amphitheater, our daily existence is JUST THAT, existing … every day!

HOWTOHAWT: You’re going to have to #TROPEBUST this hard! Everyone and their uncle are on some form of feckless “journey.” So we suggest that you go deep into the heart of darkness, community education classes.

If you aren’t already, get qualified to teach community education classes. Once you’ve done that, create a class called “Life Journeys: Getting from there to here.” You’ll get two lonely old guys, a wiccan coffee roaster and several retired librarians. Perfect, these are the “life journey” thought leaders. Remember, cut the head off and the body will die. Start with journaling, another trend that’s better left to the dust heap of hipsterism as well. A “Journey Journal” is just stupid enough to work as a focus for their questions. Do about 4 sessions where you do a lot of sharing, interpretive dance, and rock stacking. Pepper a bunch of lyrics from the band Journey in the lectures, ending each night with “…don’t stop believing.” Then it’s time for the “capstone,” an unannounced and grueling 25 “klick” hike through the swamp outside town. Ideally, the weather is super inclement and they’re not dressed for a hike. Have the IT Guy from your work, the one who wears a kilt, set up at “klick” 22 on a hillock in the middle of the dankest part of the bog.  He should be shirtless and painted blue with his hair all sticking on end with lye. He’s going to be super thankful you invited him here to do this btw, so he’ll owe you. As you all trudge up, the wiccan coffee roaster probably carrying one of the old guys, he begins to sing the song “Where My Heart Will Take Me” (originally performed by Russell Watson).

It’s been a long road

Gettin’ from there to here
It’s been a long time
But my time is finally here

And I will see my dreams come alive at night
I will touch the sky
And they’re not gonna hold me down no more
No they’re not gonna change my mind

(Chorus — MAKE THEM SING THE CHORUS OR THEY’LL FAIL THE COURSE!)
‘Cause I’ve got faith of the heart
I’m going where my heart will take me
I’ve got faith to believe
I can do anything
I’ve got strength of the soul
No one’s going to bend nor break me
I can reach any star
I’ve got faith
I’ve got faith
Faith of the heart

Soon, leeches, dehydration, hypothermia and insipid pop music lyrics will cure them of needing to take any more asinine “journeys.” You can be assured that the ripple effects of your work will be felt for many grateful generations, and that’s HAWT!

Climbing Up: Shelf Elfing

Shelf elfing
Hold the pose or fail!

Admit it, there’s nothing cuter than those cheeky little felt elves that your Grandmother half-hides throughout her condo. Like most bizarre anthropomorphic reinterpretations of humanoids, reports indicate that the shelf elf got it’s start in Japan. Very little is actually known about the origin of these creepy-cute Christmas sprites. For the holiday hip, this is perfect. Also referred to as “Japan Knee Hugging Elves,” they are owning Etsy and Pintrest right now, a sure harbinger of hip. In fact, check the chart below. Shelf elf interest has doubled each Christmas. So what to do, throw a couple of them around your studio apartment? No way! The only way to fully exploit this trend is to become a shelf elf yourself!

Shelf elfing is an offshoot of planking and owling so this is familiar turf. You’ll love this because with second Hobbit movie coming out, elves are Sammath Naur hot right now. The first thing you need to do is get a pointy red and white Christmas hat (no brim). Then ask the util-a-kilt wearing geek from IT to loan you his fake Spock ears. If he hesitates for more than 37 seconds, tell him that as far as you’re concerned, “Vulcans are the elves of space” and flash him the “live long and prosper” gang sign. This genre-blending and hand waving will stun him. (BTW, if this is successful, you’ve leveled up to hipster-mage status). Now put on the hat and ears and find a perch. The higher and just a bit out of view the better. Now, it’s all about the tuck! Pull those knees up to your chin as best you can, here’s where your yogalaties will come in good use. Crunch that core and wait! Soon your co-workers will begin to filter past on their way to the midday social media scrum. If you’ve found a good spot some of them won’t even see you sitting there with an insane cheeky grin going. Don’t worry, that means the ones who do will be totally surprised. If someone spits up their soy chai tea, you’ve succeeded.

Remember to adhere to proper shelf elf lore! Move to a new place every day, be totally silent, blankly staring at a spot on the floor and keep that bizzaro-chipper smile going. If done correctly this is going to hurt, but it’s totally worth it because you’re a mutha-effing SHELF ELF now, and you talk directly to Santa. If any of your co-workers try to talk to you or worse yet touch you, HOLD OUT! Later, after elfing, find them in the break room and chew their normal ass out. Start swearing at them in Quenya, the language of Elrond and Legolas from Lord of the Rings. Angrily assert “Iston i nîf gîn!” (I know your face) and “Boe? BOE?!” (for what purpose?) After the ear thing you’re already in huge standing with IT kilt guy (who is munching on steamed soy beans with a nice ginger sauce in the corner table), but upon witnessing this Elvish bereavement his adoration of you will go through the roof! Finish your holiday tirade with “Úcarnet nin!” (you betrayed me), pull on your hat, climb up and sit on top of the vending machine and resume your eerie shelf elfing. You’re a shelf elf now, even if you don’t know why.

Trending Up: Turning Everything into a Frickin Game

pawn
We’re all just pawns

They call it “Gamiification“, and if you ask your MBA buddy Theo, that means “the application of game methods and elements to traditionally non-game activities.” You know it as the progress bar on your favorite professional connections website, or getting a digital badge for making digital badges.

Gamifiication is fire bolt hot right now. Go to any uber-borg CRM conference and mention Gamification and they’ll give you a fist full of drink tickets and let you party with Green Day. The root of it is that hipsters don’t mind working if they can pretend it’s actually playing. How else would you be interested in getting more “fit” unless you were also actually, and by actually we mean virtually, doing a cholesterol destroying trek on the great wall of China? This all dovetails with the hipster-illennial desire to have everything be super-epic-awesome. Nothing says “I’m a warrior hero” like total dominance of the terrifying “Quest to Print Only Double Sided Paper / Attack of the Ink Goblins” scenario that the printer admin in IT (the one who wears a utili-kilt) came up with to encourage workers to print less. You can beam with glory when he perches the Yoda plush toy on your cubicle wall and, handing you a can of unicorn meat, proclaims “Savior of the Trees you are!”

So to bring this to the next level, which you LIVE for, go find a copy of Milton Bradley’s The Game of Life. One from the 70’s will be at the next estate sale you hit up this Sunday (half price because it’s under $50) when you’re out with Cedric and Jasmine. Now it’s time to get all artsy-crafty. Change EVERYTHING to represent your co-workers and office situations. Re-write all the event cards to be about the most uncomfortable office politics you can imagine. Faithfully recreate the ups and downs of work day in your collab. Make it AS TRUE AS POSSIBLE, this is going to have to hurt or the irony of playing Life, about work, at work just wont be bittersweet enough. Now, at Monday morning’s needless scrum, reach into your re-purposed blue plastic Ikea tote – now messenger bag – and throw down your “The Game of Work.” Your friends will love this. At first they’ll see the little 3D playing pieces (made from re-purposed tiny cheese wax) and coo … “Cute” and “Hey you got my handlebar mustache just right!” (they wont even get the waxed mustache made of wax subtleties but that’s okay, some irony is best left to enjoy alone, in silence) … then start playing. Each person gets one turn every half an hour … this way it kind of folds into the day. Watch as things get really tense as Life-Work-Game all blend into a tepid tapioca of reality and illusion. Award “workpoints” for mundane stuff like answering emails and cleaning the tea pot. Everyone will go home engaged and confused, laying in their futons at night, strategizing on how to win at the game of their life, at work. You will love this.