Monday, August 24, 2009

An Epiphany Unlike Any Other

There are countless quizzes that one can take online which can be used to divulge the innermost traits of any person. With a click, I can discover whether my ideal vacation is a day on the beach or a hike through the mountains. I can find out whether my superhero power is super-strength (yeah, right) or flying, what my favorite color says about me, what my shoes mean, or what punctuation mark best represents me. These quizzes are very popular, but I’m not entirely sure why. I already know what my ideal vacation is, and it is neither a day on the beach nor a hike through the mountains. (I’m just saying that to prove a point… a day on the beach wouldn’t be so bad.) I have no superhero powers, except maybe elasticity; I discovered recently that I can bring my arms from behind my back over my head to my front with my hands clasped. Yet I’m not double-jointed! Although I’ve considered throwing on a bright-colored costume and jumping from building to building fighting crime, I decided that the publicity would be too much for me. I’ve resigned myself to making friends say, “Eww that’s gross!” (female) or “Dude that’s awesome! I’m gonna try! … OWWW!!!” (male.) My favorite color says nothing about me, as it can’t speak. Or if it can, it’s never talked to me. The only quiz I took was a personality test, with the discovery that I am an ENTJ, a Fieldmarshal, which means that I have the same personality type as Napoleon. Great.

These quizzes prompted me to consider whether a person ever can be summed up in a single color, shoe size, or constellation. How about me? The answer hit me today as my family left a nearby bike trail after going for a lengthy walk and headed towards a nearby ice cream place that had a variety of delicious flavors. It was truly a Facebook Quiz Moment; what ice cream flavor was I? In the face of countless choices, would I go for Death by Chocolate or Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Extravaganza? Nope. Neither. I had a small vanilla in a cup. Not even a cone. I realized that I actually couldn’t remember the last time I had gotten a flavor other than vanilla. Earlier in the day, my parents had offered to take me out to eat and asked me which restaurant I would prefer should we go out. I replied that I didn’t care; since the only thing I get when we go out is chicken fingers, all restaurants are pretty much the same to me.

In a moment of horror, a lightning bolt of inspired revelation, I realized that when it came to preferences… I was vanilla ice cream. I like my spaghetti with very little sauce. My favorite shirts are plain T-shirts or plain hooded sweatshirts. I dislike flashy cars or expensive excess. I eat the rolls put out at restaurants plain, without butter. There I was under the assumption that I was a complicated, developed human being. There’s no way one word could describe me! Ha, it would take days of probing, philosophical questioning for a person to really understand me. Then my illusions collapsed before me in an epiphany. Yes, I had an epiphany.  Most epiphanies are related to matters of great importance, possibly altering the course of mankind. When Socrates (I think it was him… either that it was Plato… some Greek dude) had an epiphany, he ran from his bathtub into the streets naked, shouting “Eureka!” This story changed the world, inspiring a Sci-Fi series with the title “Eureka.” All the fans of this show have someone who lived a looong time ago to thank for their evenings of viewing pleasure.  I think he also might have done something with density or volume and water… not sure though. Then, of course, there was the guy who realized one day that the Earth was not flat. His epiphany may not have been great enough for me to remember his name, but it was definitely important enough for him to be ridiculed for the rest of his life and thrown in prison. I think. I also really want to say it was Galileo, but I’m not sure. He might have been the one who had the epiphany that the earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around. But the point is, he still had an epiphany. There is also the nameless man who worked in a factory that was using microwave technology. This nameless man was hungry and had a candy bar in his pocket to sneak later on, but when he took it out… IT WAS MELTED!!! Although I’m sure he was somewhat unhappy, as his fingers were sure to be covered in chocolate, we have him to thank for microwave ovens! Then there’s Bill Gates, who got kicked out of college for the epiphany known as Windows. A few decades later, he doesn’t even blink when his company lost $20 billion in a single day. Why? Because he’s got another $192 billion where that came from! (I kind of made those numbers up, but you get the picture.)

Sadly, my epiphany is unlikely to earn me a television series, billions and billions of dollars, or a jail cell. No. My epiphany is a somewhat sad one that pales in comparison to the other great epiphanies of history. If I was an ice cream, I would be vanilla. I have a feeling that the America is not going to start celebrating a day for me, although I think that maybe they should. I mean, we celebrate Columbus Day, and all he did was sail his boat in the wrong direction, get lost, think he found India, and then wipe out thousands of Native Americans whom he thought were Native Indians. He should have figured something was wrong when they didn’t speak Indian. Duh. And then it comes out that Columbus Day is a fraud because both the Chinese and Norse found America before him! Sorry. Vanilla ice cream. Right. That was my epiphany of the day, so I figured it at least merited a blog.

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