Born to be Something or Other

I saw a sneak preview today of a Hulu Plus original series called “Behind the Mask“, about the secret lives of several sports mascots. I quite enjoyed it. The show premieres next week and Roku owners will be able to watch it free (if not already Hulu Plus subscribers). It’s well in line with the age old theme of people “following their dreams” and finding their place in the world. It’s a lot of pressure, when you think about it, having to have some dream to follow, having to have some place in the world to find. We’re supposed to be here for a reason, born to be something or other, and on top of that we have to figure it out for ourselves.

Religious people have even more pressure, as they are supposed to discover God’s plan for them, as if God had gone about setting up some kind of elaborate treasure hunt for every single soul. I heard an ad on the radio for some Christian Singles website the other day, which invited me to discover God’s match for me. Those mysterious ways He works in are continually being updated to work with the latest technology!

Finding one’s place, following one’s dream, being who you were meant to be … Even public television is getting into the act. The new slogan at PBS is “Be More”. It’s not enough to be who you already are. Nothing is ever enough in this world we live in today! This all came to mind last week when I was asked if I were interested and available to do a presentation at a local incarnation of the Sunday Assembly – the so-called Atheist Church which started in the UK and is now doing a stateside tour of sorts. I told them yes and yes, and now I’m waiting to see if I make the final cut. I’m sure there are many more interesting atheists than myself in the area!

What I love about the idea is that I would have the opportunity to channel one of my very own – and one of my very favorite – fictional characters: Alan Musted from Missy Tonight. Alan desperately wants to become an official atheist pundit on the Missy Tonight Show, a nightly talk show a la Larry King which specializes in mocking a variety of religious guests. “Who knew there was money to be made in atheism!” Alan says. His only qualification for the job is that he has always been an atheist. Otherwise, he is merely a portable-toilet dispatcher for American Toilets (“when you think toilets, think American!”). He has zero experience with television or public speaking or anything, really, involving the world-at-large. His quest is hopeless, but hey, you’re supposed to follow your dreams, be all that you can be, discover your place in the world and all that, so why not?

I’m biased, of course, but I have to say that Missy Tonight is a pretty good read. It’s funny and it even has a thing or two to say about a thing or two. Recommended! (it’s also free and fairly short).

If I do get the gig, I’ll follow the line of the Happy Atheist, as opposed to the Angry Atheist. The Happy Atheist is not a threat to anyone. He (or she) doesn’t “lord it over” anyone (so to speak!), doesn’t go on and on about Science, doesn’t go in for mockery or ridicule of others, and doesn’t preach, but is open and affirming, accepting and displays good manners and respect. He (or she) also knows a money-making opportunity when he (or she) sees one, and that’s what Atheism is on the cusp of becoming. Much like the brand new industries around gay weddings and honeymoons, there is cash to be had in that there non-belief. As more and more people “come out” as Atheists (it sounds silly, I know) there will be more and more of an audience, a market, a potential consumer grouping. Imagine the possibilities! I would try to imagine some in my presentation, as I did in Missy Tonight (and its companion volume Orange Car with Stripes). In other words, comedy.

I don’t get the whole “born to be” this or that. It sounds kind of crazy to me. This world, as far as I can tell, is not some kind of board game, and we people are not particular pieces. It’s not a puzzle and it’s not a story. It’s not a game and it’s not a joke. It only makes sense to treat each other with the same respect and common courtesy we’d like to receive on our end. It doesn’t take a religion to understand that much.

 

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3 thoughts on “Born to be Something or Other

  1. Kudos Tom. I love this post. I know in my younger years, I really did feel I needed to “find” my mission in life, but these days I’ve kind of said the hell with it. The time I don’t spend earning a living, I’m going to spend doing things I enjoy instead of trying to live up to some strange expectation that got stuck in my head. I hope you get the gig. I think you’ll make a lot of people laugh and smile. 🙂

    Like

    • Well put. Like your Facebook post the other day about politics, we get brainwashed with certain ideas. As if paying attention to DC accomplishes anything other than divert our attention and energy away from actually doing something.

      Like

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