ExtraordinaryTimes

XTimes 1.15-TheCall

rooster
Ever since roosters started crowing in threes, denial has been the first stage of acceptance. Each adventure worthy of the label begins with a good, old-fashioned denial of the call, for without rejecting the premise, no real adventure could ever ensue. Willing volunteers need not apply. Conscripts must go AWOL. True adventure requires denial.

The premise always proves faulty; there are no true pretenses, only false ones. Questioning any premise makes logical sense even if it renders the questioner into a huge pain in the butt. Small misconceptions explode adventure. Questioning premise produces the preconditions necessary for relationship, and adventuring is always a relational experience, even if it seems like it’s just a transaction involving nobody but me, myself, and I. Slip over here for more ...

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XTimes-1.14-Premise

premise
A BriefConsultant walks into a bar. That’s a premise. What’s the punchline?

It’s one thing to pose a premise and quite another to bring down the house with a punchy punchline. Too late, once I’ve posed the premise, to change it to match the punch line. Punchline follows premise, so perhaps I’d better write the punchline first.

My favorite punchline: I would have but I needed the wool. What premise works with that?

A Client walks into a bar, announcing that he’s thought he was a sheep for thirty years. “Why didn’t you mention this before?” the bartender asks.

”I would have, but the consultant I hired to help needed the wool.” (Insert rim shot here.) Slip over here for more ...

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XTimes-1.13-Brilliance

brilliance
It hurts my eyes to think about it, my mind casts around for shadows to hide behind. My own brilliance blinds me sometimes and blindsides me the rest of the time. I have no control over it. No will or volition, no intention guides it. It gooshes around the gaskets, often unnoticed in the moment it appears. Later, when I’m cleaning up some crusty mess, I might glimpse its presence, its past presence, for it’s never present for me, just past. Like light finally washing across a familiar landscape, light that left its source light-millenia ago; far, far from home by the time it finally arrives.

It feels used up, pull-dated, expired, never inspiring. I shove through disbelief into ragged acceptance of mere possibilities. It’s never enough to suspend my unwavering disbelief, I must rough my way deep into it and struggle slime-covered back out again before any magic seems possible, let alone manifesting. Nobody’s in control of anything, really, except for some intermittent illusion almost resembling control. Slip over here for more ...

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XTimes-1.12-Poison

poison
I suppose every language contains poison words, ones best avoided. These words twist back on themselves, biting their own butt, flipping their intended meaning; poisoning.

My poison word list remains gratefully short, though I constantly catch myself teetering on the edge of invoking every one of them. My list?
Should
Must
Do
Can
Is

You must read what follows because it should help you do all you can. It is the truth. Slip over here for more ...

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Xtimes-1.11-Fone

phone
It always starts with a phone call. Not the sort of call prompted by any email barrage advertisement because ads don’t apply to this sort of work. Nobody consults the yellow pages or any of the multitude of social media equivalents to find a BriefConsultant, either. Nobody would ever believe the claims such an ad would have to make to accurately represent the proposed service. This Brief Consultant could never really describe what he might do, anyway.

It follows, then, that there will be no response drafted to any Request For Proposal. This work doesn’t work that way, either. This limits the domains within which I might operate, but gratefully so. This is no retail trade. Slip over here for more ...

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XTimes 1.10-InhabitingStory

noir
I love listening to the radio because it projects better pictures than television or movies. I rarely feel a part of television or a movie because the roles are too finely cast—I can never escape being merely an observer. Books are better, but they demand my active participation as translator. Radio seems the perfect medium to fuzz the separation between here and there. Piped directly into my head, I simply close my eyes to close the distance between the story and me. I can inhabit a radio drama’s story almost as if it were my own.

When I hear you telling your story, I sometimes experience a taste of story envy. I want to inhabit your story. Your adventure might have been mine, if only I’d been there at the time. Slip over here for more ...

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XTimes 1.09-Chainge

chainge
As a veteran presenter of The Changing Change Management Conference, I could be mistaken for a master change agent. I’m not. I’m more of a skilled foot-dragger, quite sensitive to even minor disruptions in my routine. I do not warmly embrace difference. I am not hankering to champion any kind of improvement, more prepared to cope with what seems to be than sculpt something different.

I recently read a book written a little over a hundred years ago. The author complained about the mind-numbing pace of change in these modern times. We, today, feel ourselves especially vulnerable to shifting perspectives. I suspect this sense has always been a feature of modern life, modern being defined as any moment any human has been present and alive. Slip over here for more ...

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XTimes 1.08-Stalemate

stalemate
Push comes to shove before achieving stasis; an anticipated pushover stalls. No bully in the world ever expects anything but dominion. No schlemiel ever expected to stem any tide, but here we are, head-to-head, stalemated. Your will subtracted from my will equals equilibrium. My zero sum game combines with your zero sum game to yield exactly zero.

Few, head to head, reconsider the game. The strategy’s failed, the tactics moot, yet the sticky residue of win and lose holds those opposing foreheads in place. Neither can see any alternative space from there: eyes locked, imagination seized up, too. We still believe we might bull through. Relenting can’t even qualify as unthinkable because it’s unimaginable from there. Slip over here for more ...

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XTimes 1.07-UpGrade

upgrade
I innocently downloaded the iOS 7 upgrade. I claim innocence because I had no idea that I was undermining my mobile experience. Like every upgrade in the history of the world so far, this one degraded pretty much everything. I suppose some user experience expert had determined just what I needed. Like always, their expertise translated into cluelessness.

I make it a policy to always stay as far behind current as possible with everything. I have a hundred year-old lawnmower. I use a ten year old version of Adobe Acrobat®. I used a 1992 version of MS Word until I could no longer find a machine it ran on, then did not purchase the snazzy unusable more modern version. Looking at the more modern Word was enough for me to decide to be forever MicroSoft-free. Slip over here for more ...

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XTimes 1.06-Fear

fear
Fear begins as a lie then feeds on itself. Given that initiating, crystalline falsehood, fear’s the only self-sustaining emotion. Like a boulder shoved off a cliff, its own mass amplifies its momentum. Like any story rooted in a false premise, fear employs logic to defy logic. The fearful seem crazy because they are crazed. Fear itself might be the only thing really worth fearing.

What, then, of those who trade in fear; those who seize every opportunity to seize others up with it? They must be liars; not mere slanderers, but false prophets. They trade in what seem to be cautionary tales but they elicit responses beyond caution into blindness and aphasia. We avoid in response, cordoning off possibilities. The subtle, skilled fear monger can persuade me to willingly construct my own box and to insist that I remain inside while he ravages my neighborhood. Slip over here for more ...

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XTimes 1.05-Poll-Ticks

poll
I don’t remember the part of American history where the Founding Fathers ran daily polls to determine the up-to-the-moment opinion of the nascent electorate. Polls in those days would have taken months, results out-dated long before they could be tallied and summarized, let alone interpreted. So, the Founding Citizens selected Founding Fathers by a radically different process than popular election. Our country was founded upon representative selection instead.

In a representative government, individuals use popular voting to select individuals to represent their interests at the time. Interests could and did shift over time, so elections were based upon something different from fleeting partisan perspectives. In those days, character mattered. One chose their representatives more based upon how they thought rather than what they thought. This one principle might explain how a rabble of an electorate managed to select such timelessly thoughtful individuals. Slip over here for more ...

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XTimes 1.04-Righter

ah
I’m dismayed by how easily I get sucked into right/wrong reasoning, even though I probably know better. My admission qualifies as roughly equivalent to a junk food junkie confessing to his Chunky Monkey jones. Few questions meaningfully distill into black or white, wrong or right; they seem to require a broader palette to hold enough perspectives. I know this in my bones yet still find myself taking sides.

Perhaps this bi-polar perspective holds some hypnotic or addictive quality, over-riding knowledge and understanding, eliciting something akin to fight or flight responses: right or wrong. Curious behaviors emerge whenever I convince myself I’m right. My confidence and sense of certainty expands. Being right feels right, even when—perhaps especially when—only a minority share my opinion. It’s gets even weirder when I conclude I’m wrong. Then, my self-esteem seems to plummet and my very identity springs a leak. I can watch myself deflate until I disappear. Marginalized. Loser. Slip over here for more ...

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XTimes 1.02-BallGame

ballgame
My father was one heck of a baseball fan, much more than I. He remembered players’ names and stats, and understood the bones of the game at least as well as any seasoned major league scout. I love to watch the game, not because I understand very much of what I’m watching, but because I do not. I appreciate the mysterious rhythms and rituals, satisfied that the players and the coaches and many of the fans understand these like my father did. I’m more the gape-mouthed sort of fan.

I can be mistaken for a wizened watcher, especially now that my hair is turning mostly grey. I can sometimes see the difference between a fastball and a change-up, but I usually blink as the pitch passes over the plate. I doubt that I’ve ever seen a bat connect with a ball, startled awake instead by the resounding crack. I rather chase the game around the field, arriving just after every play, still deeply appreciative of the game. Slip over here for more ...

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XTimes 1.01-ScaringMyself

scaringMyself
I’m scared out of my wits most of the time. What emotion besides fear could so reliably shove me into that space beyond wits’ end? Wits sanitize and stabilize, but this crazy, changing world requires neither much sanity nor stability.

The energy that appears when moving through my terror seems the best suited for manifesting. Cowering energy never results in much, and though I generate plenty of cowering energy, even the occasional moving through energy seems to counterbalance. Neither can be stored and must be expended in the moment, in trembles or transformation; small beer or fine wine. Slip over here for more ...

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XTimes 1.00- RescueFantasies

rescue
Judging from the many, many come-ons I receive from consultants, their business depends upon rescue fantasies. A proper prospective client must firmly believe they need rescuing and their proper consultant must shamelessly tout a solid track record of doing exactly that. Why else exist?

If I have a problem, somebody’s ready to claim that they have its solution. Their material reads like Johnny Burke’s old swing tune Swinging On A Star: “you could be better than you are, you could be swinging on a star.” Under the Extended Satisfaction Plan®, I could even learn how to carry moonbeams home in a jar. I didn’t even aspire to carry moonbeams until you suggested I could. Slip over here for more ...

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