Friends, Family, and Others


The people in your life are in your life for one or more of the following reasons:

  • You admire them as a person. Their words, values, and actions are those which you model your life after or are motivated by. You derive joy from interactions with the person.
  • You are taking advantage of the person, and to continue your parasitic relationship, you must do all that is necessary for them to perceive this as Bullet #1. (It can also very well be a symbiotic relationship whereby you are mutually leeching off each other in peace and harmony.)
  • By no will of your own, the person is transplanted in your life, e.g., he is your colleague, brother’s friend, doorman, dry cleaner. You can exterminate said person from your life, but the act of moving to a new apartment or finding a new dry cleaner in your neighborhood is too great a hassle; you’ve thought about it, conducted a cost-benefit analysis, and arrived at the logical conclusion to let said person stay in your life.
  • You are related to the person, and regardless of the relevance of Bullets #1 or #2, you are obligated to prolong the relationship with said person. This is different from Bullet #3 because even if the CBA results in favor of removing said person from your life, you are still bounded by natural forces to remain in relationship with them.


32 Reasons to be Happy

32 is too many, so I’ll just list 3.

3. You not only have a roof over your head but a ceiling before that as well. And that means your computer will remain dry.

2. You are not running or hiding from zombies. Though fear of other things may exist, rational or irrational as they may be, you for the most part don’t live everyday fearing sudden death.

1. You are not a goldfish. You have the capacity to think, to hold long-term memory, the ability to strategize and change yourself or your circumstances.

Goldfish in a Lightbulb

[image from here]

My Superpower

I was in a subway elevator the other day. There were 3 people in there with me. Two business-people behind me, let’s call them Sally and Victor. To my left is a homeless guy, Jacques.

Jacques announces, “Man, I just made 17 bucks in 8 minutes. Why would I get a job when I can make 17 bucks in 8 minutes soliciting from people? Ha. Ha.”

To which, I thought, “Am I hearing this man’s internal thoughts?” Surely, he’s not saying this aloud. Victor and I exchanged glances. “Nope, you heard it,” his gaze seems to say.

I looked at Sally, “Good to know, right?” I lifted my left eyebrow.

“Yup,” grinned Sally. “I know never to give anything to homeless people again,” she added with a saddened yet relieved look.

“Hey, don’t say that. Some of them do need it.” Victor and I telepathically pleaded with her.

“You’re right,” she agreed with a nod that actually wasn’t a nod at all.

At the end of the elevator ride, Sally, Victor and I were as close as blood-brothers and sisters. Then, we parted ways. No emails exchanged, no numbers shared. Only fate will tell if we are to cross paths again.

Weight Loss & Horror Films

There are very few things I like more than listening to the sound of water, gazing at the night sky, and being in good company. In the rare instances when they come together, I envision the metaphorical stars aligning in my literal night sky. The place is Surf City. A bar and restaurant on the coast of Jersey City. With a huge outdoor space of chairs and beach umbrellas and firepits and sand, things felt right. What truly touched my heart was that they had their own parking lot. Gone are the days where hours (maybe not hours) were spent circling the town looking for parking.

The night flew by. Being a weekend night, the parking lot was packed when we arrived, consequently, the car was parked quite a distance from the entrance. That 5 minute walk in the near-empty, questionably-lighted parking lot felt like an eternity and a week. Scenes from horror films flashed in my mind. The wind in the trees was a young girl’s scream for help. The rustle was the footsteps of a stalker moments away from landing his shank through my right lung, silencing my screams. Though it was in the 70s that night, I was sweating. Sweating from fear of being stabbed. Sweating from fear of being decapitated. Sweating from fear of being thrown into the water.

I learned something that night: sweating from fear is an effective way of losing weight.

[image from here)

Table Manners

Sitting at a cafe. Engrossed in an article about startups while serenaded by Backstreet Boys’ All I Have to Give. Ah, life. I sip the overly-foamy, intensely-bland cappuccino, read and listened and pondered. Out of the blue, a middle-aged woman approaches me. A bit startled and somewhat annoyed, “Yes?” I inquire, after she waves her arms in my face.

“Are you going to be using this seat for long?” asks the middle-aged, crazy-eyed woman as she checks out my table like a piece of meat. I look around. 2…4…7. Seven seats within a reasonable radius, empty and very much sit-able. “Why are you doing this, woman?” I ask with my eyes.

With my mouth, I respond, “Yes, I’ll be here for a while.”

She does not take it well. She parks herself in an adjacent seat. I can smell her pungent furiosity. I can feel her laser-sharp gaze. I can’t forgo this table, I can’t let that middle-aged, crazy-eyed, oddly uniquely-dressed woman take it. If war is what she wants, I’ll go all in. I won’t relent, I won’t yield. I am ready to fight for my right no matter how long it takes! Hm, I do actually have to leave soon.

Lesson of the day: in life you have to choose what battles are worth your time, otherwise you may find yourself waging psychological warfare against middle-aged, crazy-eyed, uniquely-dressed, pungently furious women instead of having dinner with your friends.


Table Manners

Is life too short?

At least 3 times a week (and sometimes as much as 3 times a day, but never really 5 times a day, though who’s recording it aside from the NSA but I don’t even know how to get in touch with them to ascertain this piece of info), I breathe the famous “life is short.” Often accompanied by a sigh of a hundred years of hardship, I utter with solemnity “life is short.” To be sure it is heard (because a falling tree in a forest is you know…), I turn to the person closest to me and I express the brevity that is life, “life is short, Sam, life is too short.”

Now that I have the time to ponder this much-frequented phrase, I’m beginning to question its validity. Is life indeed too short or has it become one of those things people say out of habit, like “I love you” or “These pretzels are making me thirsty.” What if life is too long? The average life expectancy of an American, in 2011, was 78.64 years (source). (That’s 1.36 years less than what I had expected but those pretzels will do that to you.)

There are people who dream relentlessly, but for one reason or another, never get to implementation. To them, life is too short. If I had more time. If for A, I would have done B. If only.

There are people who, for one reason or another, live the life they are told. They don’t question, they don’t fantasize. They are practical and realistic. Life is a routine; they live life as if rehearsing for some play at life’s end. To them, life is too long.

Life is too short

[image from IMGUR)

A Poem About Phlegm.


Cognitive Dissonance

A grain of hope and a drop of will;
In this void, a thousand distractions fill.
Three dimensions, they push and pull.
The heart never as glee and full
As when in mind the dream once dwelled.
Of hope and will, the heart once swelled.
In three dimensions, they pulled and pushed
Till the dream and all hope were hushed.
To live for self or to live for them
The thought that clogs the mind with phlegm.
And to think in Mucinex freedom lies.
Must expel the phlegm ‘fore the dream dies.

Chewing glass, a new hobby.

Life, in one sense, is a collection of events. In another, it is a compilation of the highs and lows of emotions. It, too, is a library of thoughts. Then, the Northern wind came and planted a seed. Why do humans desire to live? Nurtured by curiosity, this single seed grew and from it sprung offspring: is happiness the goal of life? A goal of life? How does one attain true, sustainable happiness? Or is it for the betterment of mankind that we persist on living? The first inquiry perturbed the once benign mass. The second came along and prodded at this mass. The third pushed it out of dormancy. Each thought metastasized into a mass greater than itself, sprouting vessels that fed the starving mind, spread and infected until the very core of its being was never to be the same again. From then, she knew there was more to life than a collection of events, a compilation of emotions, or a library of thoughts. From then, she willed to discover the more that life in all of its preciousness had to offer. From then, she decided she would eat glass.

“Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death…”

Elon Musk


Lesson from Watermelon

I recall that day as vividly as I recall the color of my skin tone. It was a Saturday, much like any other Saturday. But it was a Saturday, too, unlike any other. Below chronicles the events of that morning which I will not soon forget because it is published here:


Got craving for watermelon. Do I want it or do I need it? I need it. Made it a mission to acquire watermelon before end of day.


United with brother. Bonded over similar craving. We will go grocery shopping at HMart (Asian supermarket).


Arrived at HMart. Spotted mountain of luminescent green, perfectly-shaped watermelons. Victory dance! In my head, that is. Don’t want people to think I’m weird now. $11.99 each. Ran number against mental database of historical prices of watermelon. Too high. What, brother? We have to go to the fruit market anyway?


Arrived at local fruit market. Focused, scanned store for large, green melons. Spotted. Walked briskly over to pile of watermelons in corner. $12.99. Preposterous! This is robbery! No worries, Shoprite is right next door.


Entered Shoprite. Couldn’t find these exotic fruits. Delusional by now, circled the fruit section 3.5 times. Finally spotted them. Half the size of the ones at HMart with a price tag of $10.99. Universe, what game are you playing?

No choice but to lug that baby home, knowing it was the biggest mistake of my morning.

I learned an important life lesson that day. I learned that in the search for a better, you may lose out on the best.

Stats, stat.

Stats, stat_Comic2