I find myself often pondering the meaning of life. I mean we are all only on this planet a short time unless you are my mother or father who are both in their 90s and going strong. I digress!
At any rate, I’ve asked SIRI, my confidante, many times over what she thinks the meaning of life is, as I’m sure many of you have done. Right? I mean that’s something you do isn’t it? If you have an iPhone or an iPod or an iPad or some other “i” something or other. To Siri’s credit, she always has some thoughtful responses. I think five in total for the meaning of life, but I probably should fact check that one.
“Hey, Siri, What is the meaning of life?” I ask.
To which she replies, “Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.” She says.
My first thought upon seeing her response was “Damn, that’s a long sentence Siri!” But I didn’t want to go off topic, so I read it again and began to analyze each tidbit—because that’s what I often do. I’m a Virgo, what can I say.
1. Try and be nice to people
Well. That seems simple enough. I mean she didn’t say be nice to people did she? She just said TRY and be nice to people. Now, I have a friend who has been known to say that you don’t “TRY” to do something because either you are doing it or you aren’t. I’m inclined to agree with him. For example, he hears people say “I’m trying to be a writer.” “Trying to be a writer?” he asks. “How do you do that?” And, then he goes into one of his famous speeches about writing.
“Are you writing? he asks.
“Then you are a writer! It’s a simple as that.”
So to go back to Siri now, let’s take a look at this first statement. Try and be nice to people. Try and be nice. Try. Can people tell when you are trying to be nice? I hate using the word should because what do I know but Shouldn’t Siri have said “Be Nice to People?” I’m just curious why she chose to add the word TRY? Does that mean it’s hard for us humans to be nice to people, and she wanted to point out that we should remember to try? OK. I can live with that, I guess. But, what does that have to do with the MEANING OF LIFE? The meaning of life is to try and be nice to people? I’m not sure if I’m on board with that, but I like her intention. Don’t you?
2. Avoid eating fat
Okay, now THAT’s one I can relate to. I mean I LOVE FAT just read my poem about how much I LOVE FAT, and you will see. So, I’m thinking, now wait a minute if I avoid eating fat that means no more donuts, no more In and Out Burger, no more CHEESE! No! I can’t do that! I love cheese too much. We have a relationship, cheese and I. But, rather than just moving on to her next statement about the meaning of life, I want to explore her choice of words in this statement as well. Avoid eating fat. Why didn’t she just say “Don’t eat fat.” I mean avoid eating fat is so wish washy. For example, imagine I’m at a restaurant or cocktail party and a server meanders by with one of those fab dessert dishes where I can just grab one. Do I skate across the room to a corner, to avoid him? I mean here I am at a fabulous event, and FAT is staring at me in the face. Did I avoid it long enough? Can I take one now because I tried to avoid eating it? I mean you can only avoid something for so long before it catches up with you right? I don’t want to feel like I’m running away all the time. Is that the meaning of life? To avoid things rather than face them head on. Wouldn’t it be better if I could face my fat? I mean stare it in the face and say, “I don’t want you in my life anymore,” and then walk away. Wouldn’t that be better for both of us in the long run? I don’t like to avoid things; it stresses me out. How about you? Seems like a bad way to go through life.
3. Read a good book every now and then
Yes! I’m down with that. I genuinely believe that a good book really does contribute to the meaning of life. I mean without the brilliant voices of writers where would we be, right? Camus, Dickens, Nabokov, Salinger, Rand, Rollins—to name a few. I’ve learned in life I need to escape. Run. Get the hell out. Jump on the next freight train heading out of Dodge. Put the pedal to the medal. Shoot myself to the moon. Is everyone with me? And a good book is definitely an escape, isn’t it?
BUT, I’m not thrilled with the now and then comment. I know, I’m nitpicking but why now and then? Why not every week? Why not every month? Why not regularly? Why not often? Or why not just “Read good books,” period. Now and then? That doesn’t seem like enough to really contribute to the meaning of life. Does it?
4. Get some walking in
Now this one I agree with wholeheartedly. Walking after all gives you the chance to explore. And what better way than that to give meaning to your life, to explore and observe actual life! I used to run. When I ran life just buzzed by at top speed. I didn’t stop to smell the flowers. I glanced at things and people, but they were gone as quickly as they came. I’ve been known to do yoga. I love that and it is life changing. However, I’ve recently started walking, not because SIRI told me that was a big part of the meaning of life but because I needed to get off my ass. But, you know what? SIRI was right. I’ve really enjoyed my neighborhood walks and in the process, I’ve lost weight, I feel better, I’m less stressed, and my steps are up in that damn iPhone health app. I mean after reading that article on needing 10,000 steps a day to lead a healthy life and then seeing my average was a tenth of that I was like YIKES. Time to get out and experience life on the gritty streets. Now I average about 7,000 steps. I know, not 10,000, but I live in Los Angeles, cut me some slack.
5. Try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.
This is a twofer. First of all, try to live together in peace and harmony with people and then with all creeds and nations. That’s a BIG ONE SIRI. I mean I’m not Ms. Universe. I know you are just saying it’s the meaning of life but really? At first, I got completely stressed out with this statement and poured myself a nice glass of Scotch but then I thought about it. TRY. There was that word again. TRY. Try to. Well, that’s not a big commitment is it? If we just have to try that’s not really doing it, after all. I mean all we have to do is say we tried … but it didn’t work out.
I don’t know about your take on this but one person’s definition of trying isn’t necessarily the same as another person’s definition. Take for example my boys. They TRY to clean up their room. They TRY to find their socks. They TRY to turn in their homework. They TRY to clear the table. They TRY to take a 30 minute break from Minecraft each day. They try. But trying for them is different. Like when I try to find their socks, I go to their sock drawer, open it, and get out a pair. When I try to find their shoes, I go to their closet, open it up and WOOP there they are. You feel me? I’m sure you do. So, like I said, try can mean something different to each person. I wonder why SIRI didn’t say Live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations. I mean we are talking about the MEANING OF LIFE after all. Couldn’t we strive to LIVE together in peace in harmony? Isn’t try inferred?
What about the HUGE pressure to not only to try to live together in peace and harmony with people but people of all creeds and nations. OMG. That means I have to try to live in harmony with racists? Bigots? White supremacists? Conservative extremists? Men who beat their wives? People that think it’s okay to kill your wife if she disobeys you? Really? I get the “try” word in that respect because try would be a stretch, but at least I’m not told I have to. I guess I’d have to believe in the LAW OF KARMA. (I do by the way.) I’d have to believe, there is a natural order of things. I’d have to trust in the Universe that no one escapes without justice. Wow, I just went deep! Let me swim back up to the shallow end.
“So Ms. Universe how would you propose to achieve world peace?”
“Well, I would start by making sure all the children of the world have the basic necessities of food, water, and shelter. And, I would start right here in my hometown where I have the most influence. Then as the problems were solved locally, I would expand and grow our circle of influence and maybe just maybe one day we would achieve peace and harmony throughout the world. Thank you everyone, and God Bless.”
“Well said, Ms. Universe!”
So to sum it up, while I like Siri’s response I think I’d have to edit her response. After analyzing Siri’s response, I have come up with my own definition for the meaning of life (see photo below). Now, if only I could get Siri to tell me what the best title for this post is, I’d be on my way.