In art, it's called Trompe L'oeil, or Fool the Eye. In real life, it's, well, just real life. It's an optical illusion. Sometimes it's an intentional trick other times just a happenstance. Is that a car jammed full of palm fronds or the reflection of a tree? Is that woman really hanging on to the outside of the building about to plummet to her death, or just a particular clever bit of interactive chalk art?
Haven't you ever bent down to pick up a bit of schmutz off the carpet only to have it move? Holy Crap it's a bug! Or grabbed a tube of toothpaste to brush your teeth early in the morning only to learn that it was actually a tube of hemorrhoid cream? (I thought it tasted funny) Or maybe you just saw something in the distance as you were driving along, something that just didn't seem right somehow, and it turned out to be a car mistakenly driving toward you in your lane! Yikes!
Yep. Life is tricky for sure. And the trickier part of life often, are the people in it.
Comedian David Steinberg, famously said, "One kind of person who always fools me is every woman I meet". He of course said it just to be funny. An important element for successful comedy is relatability. Everyone has been fooled by someone at some point so the entire audience got it. Everyone laughed. Change the word "woman" to "everyone" and I think that covers the vast majority of us. At least once in our lives we have been completely fooled by someone.
Maybe it was just the Santa Claus/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy sleight of hand. Or maybe it was that girl in the second grade who swore she was your best friend forever and then told mean and untrue stories about you behind your back. Or maybe it was that first person who broke your heart. Or the salesman who guaranteed his product was the finest of it's kind and of course it was utter crapola.
There are people who make their livings fooling others. Actors for example. It's not mean spirited. It's an art form. An actor at least tries to convince you that they are an entirely different person. If they are very good at what they do, we believe them. Magicians fool us with our permission. The expectation is that they will fool us into believing that what they are doing is in fact, magic. We go willingly, we want to be fooled, we are "in" on the con.
And then there are the people who trick us without our permission. The heartbreakers who are just racking up conquests, the thieves who convince a sweet old man that they are going to put a new roof on his house if only he gives them a whole lot of money up front and of course once the money shows up, they are long gone and there is no new roof. It seems that there are people whose entire goal in life is to find new ways to take advantage of other people, to hack our computers, steal our identities, our money and our reputations. Some of these criminals work very hard at their endeavors to ruin our lives. In fact, if they worked that hard at real jobs, they would be very successful. Usually they have no remorse and no regrets about what they have done when they are caught, except of course, about being caught.
We all know that these sorts of people exist and try to be on guard and take steps to protect ourselves. But some people who take it too far. There are people trust no one. Everyone is suspect, everyone is a potential criminal and the entire world is plotting against them. The man who cannot commit in a relationship because he says he cannot fully trust a woman, the woman who doesn't leave her home because of her fear of what exists out in the world beyond her own four walls, the child who doesn't try out for the baseball team because he is sure he is going to fail and everyone will laugh at him.
There is a middle ground. We need to be cautious, of course, we need to take reasonable precautions, absolutely but we cannot let fear rule our lives. Are we going to get hurt in our lives? You betcha. It's going to happen. It's part of life. Start out knowing that it is a possibility But, when it happens, if we learn from it, we get smarter and move forward. There are wonderful people and amazing experiences to be had as long as you don't allow fear to hold you back.
I hear a lot of fear in people's voices these days. Fear for the future. Fear of War. Fear of Disease. Will there be enough water? Enough food? Too many people? The doom-mongers love it. Every single day there is someone telling you what else you are doing every single day that is slowly killing you. That this group or that group is trying to take over the world. That these books are a bad influence. That this music is corrupting your children. Balderdash! What a bunch of nonsense. Do not give them that power. Don't let other people think for you. You have a perfectly good brain of your own. Make up your own mind about things.
Should you be smart? Yes. Should you be cautious? Or course. Should you enjoy the heck out of your life? Absofreakin'lutely!
If your life it ruled by fear, it's not living, it's existing. And that is a damned shame. Don't let anyone fool your eye.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.