Illustration of a light switch.

How To Turn Yourself On

For some time now I’ve been working on turning things off in my life. I’ve turned off junk food, turned off my phone, I even threw my television out the window. Okay, maybe I exaggerate, I’m not Led Zeppelin … To be more exact, I’ve turned off all the advertising I possibly can. Because it’s all sugar isn’t it? Candy for the mind. These things we often consume without realising we consume them, or that we have the option to turn these things off. But believe me – yes, you can delete Facebook off your phone and you will survive. Yes, you can cut sugar from your life and actually feel better. Yes, you can turn the television off and you won’t really miss anything. Nothing major anyway. In my case, I haven’t just stopped at turning the “candy” off, I’ve turned off the slimy yucky bitter things too that sometimes, like young kids chewing on garden snails, we consume inadvertently out of sheer boredom, just because they’re “there” … negative news, toxic people, gossip. I’ve worked diligently on shutting out all those slugs from my life. And I’m proud of myself. It’s taken a long time to break my addiction to this mental fairy floss, and yet, for some time I’ve been naive in thinking that turning all of these things off will automatically lead to productivity.

It doesn’t quite work like that.

Well, actually it does. But it also doesn’t. There is no magical rule, that says turning off distraction will lead to productivity. Productivity isn’t the exact opposite of distraction is it? Attention is. It’s what you do with that attention that will make you productive. Turning things off is half the battle. The next phase is turning things on. I now realise that if you’re really going to achieve what you want to achieve in life, you have to know yourself. Turning off the television, cutting out the mental fairy floss will get you time, space, and maybe some quiet. The question is, what do you do with that time, space, and quiet once you’ve got it? I don’t want to be a struggling, miserable, starving artist burning my manuscripts in the fireplace just to keep warm. I want to step out into the world like a juggernaut. I want to roll down streets and take life on. On. That’s the operative word here.

How do you turn yourself on?

No, no, no. Not like that. I mean, how do you turn on your passions, your personality, your purpose? I’m pretty sure I know these things in myself. My passion is writing theatre and comedy, my personality … well, I’m still working on it, and my purpose? I’m starting to realise my purpose is not only to make people laugh but to make people think, about philosophy, about the world we live, and to perhaps help others along this ever-twisting path to a meaningful happy life.

I’m now starting to realise that all the goods things in life that we want: productivity, motivation, happiness, enlightenment are all switches. All too often though, we can fall into the trap though of thinking that if we can just get the magic recipe right in our lives we might be able to flip one or more of those switches for good, that if we cover them with enough araldite the lights will just keep on shining. That’s how Buddha reached nirvana, right? Not quite. The problem is, no matter how much superglue you cover those switches in, they will always find a way to turn back off, because that’s life. It surges backwards and forwards, up and down, like an endless Kanagawa wave. Somedays you feel enlightened, somedays you feel miserable. Nothing is infinitely solid. Instead, everything is infinitely changing. And that’s the way it should be because if things didn’t move up and down we couldn’t surf the waves. Instead of glueing the switches, what we really need to focus on is what makes us want to turn on the light in the first place, that bigger, more elusive invisible switch within ourselves that says “Yes!” The fuse box. The more productive people are just betting at getting back up when the lights cut out and flicking that fuse on again. Sometimes it’s only when we turn all the switches off – the on button on the television, the on button on your computer, the Facebook button on your phone – that we can start to question if these things are really turning us on at all, and to see in the dark what really motivates us and what we truly want to spend our time doing.

What turns you off?

What turns you on?

An illustration of a civet.

You Musk Try It!

[A well-dressed man walks into a large department store. He looks a little lost. A shop attendant approaches him with a beaming smile.]

Woman: Hello, how may I help you today?

[The man checks a list of paper in his hand.]

Man: I’m looking for … rotten whale vomit, the fossilised urine of a prairie dog, the anal excretions of a tropical cat, and preferably some prehistoric tree tears please.

Woman: I have just the thing! [She sprays a a little perfume bottle at the man but gets him right in the eyes.] How’s that?

Man [blinded, fumbling]: Coffee?

Woman: I’ve only just met you.

[The man takes a good sniff of a jar of coffee beans.]

Man: I dare say, it smells a little … mossy.

Woman: I’ll make a note of it.

THE END.
Illustration of a woman floating across the sky like a cloud.

On Cloud Nineteen

[Two fluffy white clouds are laying on their backs atop a hill, arms behind their heads, looking up at the clear blue sky. One cloud chews on a long piece of wheat while the other suddenly points upwards.]
CLOUD 1: Hey, that cloud looks like a …
[Cloud 2 squints. Slowly, a human woman suspended in the air far above them slowly drifts across the face of the sky, arms and legs spread out, otherwise completely motionless.]
CLOUD 1: … rabbit.
CLOUD 2: I’m not seeing it.
THE END.
Illustration of a shrub.

Shrub It Off

A woman, wearing overalls and a sun hat, hacks away at a large bushy shrub in her front yard in the midday sunshine, with a large pair of shears and an ever bigger smile on her face. The camera should ever so gradually zoom in on the shrub.

SHRUB [VOICEOVER]: That’s it, a little bit to the left. The pain feels so good. Yes! Yes! There! Right there. That’s soooooo hot. Yes! Cut me! Make me feel it! I wanna FEEL it! Yeah! Cut me more. Deeper! Harder! I like it when you cut me. Let me feel the sunshine on my bare trunk! Oh yeah! Who’s your naughty boy? Who wants the gardener when you can have the garden, right? Yeah, I’m standing out here in the hot sun all day. I know you see me. I’ve seen you looking at me through the open window. Take me! Take me further! Now Mrs. Mortensen! The time is now! You, me! Yes, yes, yes … YES! [The shrub is looking a little worse for wear now, perhaps the woman has gotten a bit carried away. Alas, the camera continues to gradually zoom in on the shrub, while we will continue to hear the mad clicking of the shears.] Brrrr … You know what, it’s getting kinda breezy. You feel that? Maybe a cold change is coming through. Might rain later. Actually, can we pause for a second? Linda? No, seriously. It’s freaking cold. Can you? Please? Do you hear me? Linda? Linda! LINDA! You’re taking it too far lady! God, what are you doing? Are you out of your mind! Look at me! I’m gonna have nothing left! You trying to kill me? Capsicum! CAPSICUM! Cucumber? Oh God, what did we agree the safe word would be? Pickle! Gherkin? Can you even hear me? Linda? LINDA? [Audibly sobbing] Please … stop … LINDA!

THE END.
Illustration of Prince Charles.

Prince Charles considers plastic surgery

[Prince Charles sits patiently in a chair beside a doctor’s desk as the doctor sitting on a swivel chair with wheels shines a torch down his left ear, then spins around to check out the right.]

DOCTOR: Well, I must say, your ears are outstanding.
PRINCE CHARLES: Why, thank you!
DOCTOR: Out standing from your head.
PRINCE CHARLES: Oh.
DOCTOR: We can pin the ears back here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and yes ... [The doctor spins around the back of Prince Charles] … here.
PRINCE CHARLES: Well, they tell me you’re the best otoplasty surgeon in the world. I have complete confidence in your abilities. Now, this might sound like a rather stupid question, but will it affect my hearing?
DOCTOR: No more than your sense of balance.
PRINCE CHARLES: But I can hear perfectly fine, even standing on one leg.
DOCTOR [Back beside Prince Charles now]: Ah, no. Common misconception that. Our ears actually help us to balance. [He picks up a small anatomical learning device of the inner ear] You see, in the inner ear, there are three small loops above the cochlea called semicircular canals. Like the cochlea, they are also filled with liquid and have thousands of microscopic hairs. It is this system that tells us whether we have our feet firmly on the ground. Upset these hairs or the liquid and you start to feel nauseous.
PRINCE CHARLES: I thought you were simply folding them back?
DOCTOR: Couldn’t you carry around a long pole?
PRINCE CHARLES: For navigating high-wires?
DOCTOR: For hitting people over the head who make fun of your ears?
PRINCE CHARLES [A REVELATION]: Indeed.

[THE END.]
An illustration of an origami crane.

How To Stop Kim

[A North Korean military officer marches down a long bright sterile-looking hallway, flanked by two lieutenants. They stop and come to ease at the open doorway of a small mostly bare room with only a small desk and a closet along one wall, to see Kim-Jong-Un sitting on the ground, amidst a pile of bright squares of paper and folded origami cranes, folding yet another to add to it. The officer takes a step into the room, followed by his two lieutenants.]

OFFICER: Supreme Commander, we are ready for the next nuclear test.
KIM JONG-UN [NOT LOOKING UP]: I’ve decided to make origami today.
OFFICER: Young master, everything is going to plan. We have the U.S. reeling. Today is the scheduled day.
KIM JONG-UN [SIGHS]: I don’t know. I’m just … bored, I guess.
OFFICER: But, when shall we launch the new ICBM?
KIM JONG-UN: Sometime soon, I guess. Maybe not, ever?
OFFICER: Great comrade, are you okay? You haven’t been reading the international press have you? You must pay no attention to them. Your people love you. Dennis Rodman loves you. We are ready for phase two.

[NO REPLY.]

OFFICER: You seemed so excited about the ICBM just yesterday?
KIM JONG-UN [STILL NOT LOOKING UP, CONCENTRATING HARD ON THE CRANE]: I’m fine. I’ve just changed my mind is all. Something has come up. Look, I just need to make these cranes, alright?
OFFICER: [TENTATIVELY] Why?
KIM JONG-UN [HE FINALLY LOOKS UP. HIS FACE IS AS BRIGHT RED AS HIS FINGERS. IT ALMOST SEEMS HE’S BEEN CRYING]: Because the supreme commander commands it! I want to make origami cranes today, not launch a nuclear missile, alright? I just don’t feel like it!
OFFICER [TAKING OFF HIS HAT, SWEATING]: Of course, your excellency. You are perfect, you are our beloved master, supreme wise person, our brilliant leader! The nuclear test shall be delayed, your excellency. We would never question your decisions, your excellency.

[NO REPLY. THE OFFICER LOOKS TO HIS TWO LIEUTENANTS WHO LOOK BACK AT HIM HELPLESSLY. HE PUTS HIS HAT BACK ON. TOGETHER THEY BACK OUT OF THE ROOM, PERFORM A SYNCHRONISED TURN, AND MARCH BACK DOWN THE LONG STERILE-LOOKING HALLWAY OUT OF SIGHT.]

[Back in the room, the closet door opens and the ghost of a young Japanese girl, the spitting image of Sadako Sasaki to be exact, steps out of the closet, with a pistol held at Kim Jong-Un, a wave of origami cranes spilling out onto the ground at her feet.]

SASAKI: Good, six hundred and sixty-four … Only three hundred and thirty-six to go. And then we’re going to watch a nice little documentary about Hiroshima, aren’t we?

[STILL NO ANSWER]

SASAKI: Aren’t we?
KIM JONG-UN [SNIFFLING, LOOKING UP]: Yes. Yes, we are.
[SASAKI GESTURES THE GUN AS IF THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH.]
KIM JONG-UN [EYES CAST DOWN]: Please?

[SASAKI GESTURES THE GUN AGAIN.]

KIM JONG-UN: Your loveliness?
SASAKI [SMILING]: That’s a good little Kimmy.

[KIM JONG-UN BREAKS INTO TEARS.]

[THE END.]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadako_Sasaki

 

Hollywood Superman

Hollywood Superman

EXT. DAY - HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD
[Two blonde starlets walk down Hollywood boulevard teetering on high heels, large Gucci and Prada bags draped over their shoulders when they spot something moving far off in the sky.]
STARLET #1: OMG. Is that like a bird, or like, a plane or like, something like, I don’t know. What is it?
STARLET #2: It’s like, super flying though.
STARLET #1: Totally.
[The two women shrug their shoulders and walk into a Louis Vuitton.]
THE END.
An illustration of two dancers.

The Dance

Every now and then I hear people talk about the idea of “a soul mate” one might be “fated” to meet. But if you are one hundred percent destined to meet a soul mate, this to me is a horrible fate. For it would mean being trapped into a predetermined reality and forced to follow a script to live by. Instead, I choose to believe in this beautiful yet tragic “truth”: that everyone at some point in their lives, whether they are thirteen, thirty-five, or ninety-years old, will meet someone. Not just anyone. Someone. This person will walk into your life, suddenly, usually without warning. And yet you will feel you know them immediately. Indeed, maybe you have met them already, you will wonder? They will make the stars shine ten times brighter, they will seem to make Heaven and Earth fuse and make you question if anything was ever apart? They will make the coldest rain sweet, and the world glow as if it were always the sun. Through a simple look in their eyes, or a single world, they will convey to you one day something so grand, some nugget of eternal wisdom, that you will feel every hair on your body stand on end, every “pixel” of your being resonate so beautifully as if to sing ‘This is why I’m here! This is it!’ And while some people will be lucky enough to grab hold of this person and hold them tight as if falling on two separate bungee chords, others will discover something more tragic. That you were never destined to be with this person. Or perhaps even you were, but something went wrong. Perhaps you were only ever destined to brush fingers in the eternal dance of the universe while dancing accidentally with someone else. For a while. And although, that sounds tragic, it is actually beautiful. For anyone who has lost the grasp of another’s fingers soon realises that yes, the universe is a dance, but a dance made of many steps. And losing love makes finding love all the more magical.

An illustration of a daisy with one petal left.

Loves Me Not

EXT. LUSH GARDEN - DAY

[A YOUNG MAN KNEELS DOWN BEFORE A YOUNG WOMAN IN A BEAUTIFUL GARDEN JUST AS THE SUN HITS THE LEAVES OF THE TREES AND BUTTERFLIES FLUTTER IN GENTLE SWARMS.]

AYDEN: Eve, I've waited for this day for so long, and I can't wait any long. [HE TAKES OUT A SMALL BOX FROM HIS POCKET, OPENS IT, AND REVEALS A DIAMOND RING] Will you do me the honour of marrying me?
EVE: [SHE PICKS UP THE RING WITH A BEAMING SMILE] Oh, Ayden! You know I adore you! But wait, have you asked my ...
AYDEN: Your father? Yes, I have. He has given us his complete approval. He is overjoyed and, assured of your answer, already arranging the wedding as we speak! We'll be married by the end of the month!
EVE: No, my flower.
AYDEN: Flower?
EVE: You should know by now, Ayden. I am rather traditional. I hope you understand. My flower would be so angry if he weren't asked.
AYDEN: [NOW STANDING] What?

[EVE PLUCKS A SMALL DAISY FROM THE GROUND AND BEGINS TO GENTLY PLUCK THE PETALS.]

EVE: He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me ... Oh no! He loves me ... [SHE PLUCKS THE LAST PETAL] ... NOT. I'm so sorry Ayden, the daisy has spoken. I could never go against my flower! I must do what he asks of me.
AYDEN: What the? Are you insane?
EVE: I'm sorry Ayden, but you must go. You must! Before flower gets angry!
AYDEN: But I love you Eve. Eve?

[EVE HANDS BACK THE RING TO AYDEN, TEARS STREAMING DOWN HER FACE.]

EVE: Go. Please. [SHE TURNS HER BACK ON AYDEN, WITH THE BACK OF HER HAND AGAINST HER BROW, AS THE CLOUDS CONCEAL THE SUN AND THE BUTTERFLIES FLUTTER AWAY INTO THE DARKNESS OF A NEARBY TREE] Just. GO.

THE END.
An illustration of a monkey tapping at a typewriter.

The Typist

MAN: Yes, that’s right, the complete works. No, that’s the thing. We want it typed out again. All of it. Word by word. Remember, no mistakes. You get to the end of King Lear, muck it up, you’ll have to start all over again. Control C? Control V? That would be cheating wouldn’t it? Anyway, we like to do things the old fashioned way here. That’s right, typewriters. Plagiarism? Ha! It’s Shakespeare! Hardly The Beatles is it? So anyway, this is your cubicle here. One other thing, do you have any samples of your work? No, that’s good. We’re looking for inexperienced monkeys. English? Won’t need it. Alright, I think you're all set. Just tap away at the keys however you like. Yes, that’s it. Make noise. Hit it with your feet. Do whatever you feel like basically. What’s that? Duration? We will require your services on an ongoing basis. Hourly rate? I’m afraid not. Bananas? Yes.

THE END.