Category Archives: Random Story

Are We Living In A Virtual Reality?

I always like to “try out” all my new theories on my guests at the bar.  Got to talk about something.  Might as well throw something at them, see if it connects.

You ever watch Sci-fi movies?  Yeah, sometimes.  What about this?  You know in space movies, the passengers/crew members get in those hibernation caskets?  I don’t know what the official name is called.  They get in there on long travels through space so that when they arrive, they don’t age, not 150 years.  In 1,000 years, we’ll be traveling to other planets, like Mars, but it’ll take, even with all the new technologies, 100 years to get to the destination, because the planets are so far away.  I’ve read even if we’re able to go at light speed, it’ll take a helluva long time to travel thru space to get to a planet like Mars, or even further.  So you get into that “bed” like a mummy, and sleep for 100 years, and when you arrive, you’re not 150 years old, but the same age as when you left.

Now what happens when you’re in there?  Do you dream?  Perhaps to stave the boredom of 100 years of sleep, you experience a virtual reality.  They hook you up to that, and you live a virtual life for 100 years, before you get to your final destination.  Wouldn’t you rather that, than it be nothingness?  And maybe you can choose your virtual reality experience?  We’re in the year 3,000.  You can choose a reality from the past:  Year 1500 to perhaps hang out with Shakespeare, or maybe 2000, to hang out with a young Britney Spears.  Whatever you want.  The trick would be to NOT KNOW that it is a virtual reality world, because if you knew it was, that might cause you to WAKE UP.  You wake up, like you’d do a bad dream, but in this case, you’d be stuck in space for another 100 years, and obviously, not make it to your destination, because you wouldn’t probably live that old.  Or maybe you’d just get back in, and pick year 2017, to meet Clint Curtis, the forefather and Nostradamus of this future experience.

(See what I did there).

When you die, you wake up in Mars, or wherever your destination, and you live what life that place has to offer.

Now here’s my point, you can probably see where this is going.  What if RIGHT NOW we’re actually in that hibernation, and experiencing 2017. This isn’t actually reality, but a virtual reality we’re experience from the past.  We are experiencing the life of our forefathers.  Again, when we die, we wake up, and we’re actually thousands of years into the future.

I was watching a movie last night, and I loved this beautiful line.  It’s in the future, and one character says to the other character, you’re a bad person.  I’m NOT like you.  And he says,

It doesn’t matter.  You’re here, and I’m here.

So are we actually living a virtual life?

It doesn’t matter.  I’m here, and you’re here, and that’s all we can really prove right now.

-CC

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Dumb Way To Sprain Your Wrist

I’m in the back office with my manager counting my bank. Busy night, I’m exhausted, actually the first time I’ve sat down for seven hours.

We’re talking, I say, God my wrist is hurting. Why?  She says, with a wink. I say, not because of that. It’s actually even more embarrassing. My wrist is actually sprained. She says, how did you do it?

I did it SCOOPING THE DAMN ICE CREAM UPSTAIRS!!!!

I’m thinking she wouldn’t necessarily relate to the cause of this predicament, but she says, yeah!  The ice cream is so hard!!

I’m on my break, I’m thinking, yeah, some ice cream would hit the spot. They have this cheap ass ice cream in the kitchen, it’s in this huge tub, and for some reason, it’s always practically empty. Just not quite empty enough to throw it away. There’s SOME ice cream on the bottom of the bucket, and SOME on the side. There’s a scooper there, but it’s literally IMPOSSIBLE to scoop the ice cream out. And you don’t scoop it. You basically SCRAPE it off. And this time, I was determined. I wanted that ice cream by any means necessary. And I think I sprained my wrist halfway thru. But I kept going. I NEEDED that ice cream. By the end, I barely got two scoops out. And my wrist from it all was totally fucked.

My manager says, I think there’s something wrong with the cooler. It’s too cold, the ice cream’s a frozen block.

I ate my ice cream miserably with a limp, sore wrist.

I mean, it still tasted good.

-CC

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I Saw A Ghost

I’m laying in bed, it’s exactly 5am, I can’t sleep. That’s not unusual. It’s impossible for me sometimes to fall asleep. Once I fall asleep, I’m good. It’s just getting over the hump from sleep, to dreamland, that’s difficult.

I’m thinking about my day, it was pretty awesome. It was Father’s Day, woke up to presents, kisses and loves from my family. Spent all afternoon with the family, which was great. We went for ice cream, and played Connect Four. My 8 year-old son beat me. Good one.

Had work later, got in about 7:30pm, started setting up, and that’s when I saw a ghost.

I was going to the back room for something, I can’t remember. When I was done, I walked down the hallway, around the stage, and this is how it went, in slow-motion.

I just pass by the black curtain, something flashes in my peripheral vision. Oh I thought I was the only person in the bar. Must be a band member on stage. I turn my head to the right, and follow the movement. The “person” is walking from the middle of the stage, to the back stage. I finally get completely past the curtain, I look around the stage,

And no one is there.

At that point, I kept walking, and said to myself, welp. I just saw a ghost. I finished up opening duties, and didn’t think any more about it.

It’s not that I don’t believe in ghosts. I’ve never even thought about it. I’m mostly pragmatic. If I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist, as far as I know. But what I do have is instinct. And when I think back on the moment, I know what I saw.

I saw a ghost.

Why I saw it, I don’t know, and I don’t care. Did it have meaning?  I’m pretty sure it didn’t. Was I scared?  Not for a second. But I FELT a presence, I SAW SOMETHING.

Now…I’m going to close my eyes, and hope for sleep.

-Clint Curtis

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Under The Overpass

I’m on my way to work, it’s pouring down rain. The kind of rain where your wipers can’t go fast enough.

There are three overpasses I drive under on my way to work. I love it when it’s raining, and you go under one, it’s like

SHHHHHHHHHHHOOOSH-SILENCE-SHHHHHHHHOOOOOSH-SILENCE.

The silence underneath the overpass can be, in itself, so loud. It’s the suddenness of the rain not hitting your car.

It’s like you’re in a surreal movie. The rain is falling down, then you take two steps, and you’re out of it. But in front of you, there is a wall of rain.

Like life, downpour, then silence,

Then the downpour again.

I think I’ll stop under the overpass, imagine I’m like a GOD,

And the rain doesn’t touch me.

-Clint Curtis

Everybody Loves A Magic Trick

I’m at Barnes And Nobles with my son Henry. I’m buying a book on Real Estate, he’s in the toy section. I told him he could get something. Problem is, I have another son, and I can’t just get Henry something. I have to get them ALL something.

Henry’s in the Lego aisle. Yeah. There’s a whole aisle for Lego’s. When the HELL did they start selling toys at bookstores?!?!  

Probably right when people stopped buying actual books.

I’ve got my book, Henry’s looking at Ninjago now, I guess I’ll try to find something for my other son Liam.

25 Magic Tricks!

This looks interesting.

I pick up the box. Apparently it has magic tricks inside.

Magic tricks. Huh. I forgot all about them.

When I was a kid, I went through a magic phase. There was this AMAZING store in Cedar Rapids that sold primarily magic stuff. Every time I’d be in CR, and was at the mall, I’d go to this store.

I inspect the box. 25 bucks. Damn. Better be some good magic tricks. My son Henry says, I want a Ninjago watch!  Whatever kid. Get it, and let’s go.

We get home, Henry runs in, says, look what Dad got me. He rushes to go show Liam. Hey!  He says. You got something for Henry and not for me?!?!?

See. I told you.

I hand him the bag. He opens it, looks a bit confused. I say, it’s magic tricks, open it up, let’s do ’em.

He opens up the package, dumps everything out on the floor. Couple packs of cards, a big card, and a DVD. I look…where’s the directions?  Oh. Must be on the DVD.

Aren’t they cute.

After dinner, we put on the DVD, learn a trick. After two seconds of learning the basics of the trick, my son says, I’m gonna go show mom.

I say, wait, wait, wait, wait. We gotta work on this before you show anybody. Doing a trick is not just about learning how to do it. It’s about coming up with a performance around it. You don’t just say, boom, there it is. You have to DRAW YOUR AUDIENCE IN with your words, and the story you tell.

I bet I made that kid do it ten times to me.

You gotta say this…don’t fan the cards with your right finger, it’s awkward. You have to smooth it out.

Finally when I felt he was ready, I allowed him to perform the trick. You have to RESPECT THE TRICK.

And do you know what the most important rule is for a magician?

He says, no.

I say, never. NEVER tell them how you do the trick.

He goes upstairs, does the trick for mom, and kills it.

I grab the cards, start coaching him a bit more. You were good with this, but when you show the cards, say something like this…

HEY!!!  I’M GETTING THAT OLD FEELING AGAIN. IT’S MAGIC!!!!

I tell him, you mind if I borrow the cards, do the trick at work?

He says, fine.

I take it to work, do the trick for about fifty people, and they love it. I bet I made more tips because of it too!!!  Hey, bartenders. Learn a magic trick, get more tips.

Because everybody loves a magic trick.

-Clint Curtis

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Being Judged At The Check-Out Line

On Monday nights, my night off, I like to go the grocery store, get my snacks for the week. My wife does most of the shopping for the family. We go to Whole Foods, get the good stuff. But when I go to the grocery store,

I mainly buy junk.

I try to even it out, you know. I grab raisins, then cookies from the ORGANIC SECTION. A good local granola for my cereal, and chips. Newman’s Own Fig Newman’s, and randomly, eggs.

I finish, head up to the front. It’s midnight, not too many shoppers, only one lane open.

And they’re never there! You have to look around. HELLO?!?! NEED HELP.

Looks like cashier’s been stocking, she runs up. She says, how you doin’ tonight? I say, good good.

I place the items on the conveyor belt, and then I look away. OH SHE’S GOING TO JUDGE ME. Well, would you look at this guy, and how UNHEALTHY he eats. Sweet and Sour pretzels, AND chips? I’m surprised this guy’s so skinny.

The final item goes through, I get out my credit card, swipe. I really want to say NO at this point, because I know what she’s going to say to me.

But I let her have her moment.

Do you have a Hy-Vee Fuel Saver card?

I say, no.

-Clint Curtis

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We All Think The Same

I’m preparing to go on a walk. I get dressed, put on a comfortable workout outfit. Sweat jacket, sweat pants, running shoes. I go outside, unfortunately, it’s drizzling out. But not that much. Not enough to not take a walk. I get going, start walking down the street.

Contemplating the rain, I think, well, this’ll be good for my grass. After thinking that, I thought, that might be a universal thought. Especially with homeowners. The reason I think it’s a universal thought is because I’ve thought about it numerous times. It rains, I think, it’ll be good for my grass.

I have kind of a formula when I write. I try to write funny, concise, thought-provoking stories that people will relate to. The formula is simple. If I’m talking to someone, and they make me laugh, out loud (sorry, kids. LOL), I think that could be a universality. The reason I laugh, a lot of times, is because I can relate to what the person said to me. Something funny that I may not have articulated myself before. That’s a lot of what comedy is. Universal thought. The comedian gets up on stage, talks about what subculture they fall under, they’re overweight, they’re a lesbian, they’re black, they’re Jewish, and tell jokes people under that subculture will find relatable. And hopefully, maybe, people outside the subculture will find funny, because maybe they’ve felt the same way, or have a Mexican friend for example that they’ve identified these traits in what the comedian is telling the joke about. The key thing to this is, the comedian tells jokes that people will relate to. Oh my God, the audience member thinks. I’ve thought about which way the toilet paper goes too. I’ve thought about where I should put my nail clippings. I’ve thought about how when it rains, it’ll be good for my grass.

Writers that understand people, see universals, see trends, and realize the things that haven’t been spoken, and speak them, follow a set formula. Another formula writers/comedians follow is self-deprecating humor. But this also ties into relatable material. I sit on my couch all day, smoke weed, and eat tons of junk food. We’ve all been there on the couch with a pint of Haagen-Dazs, and a bong. If you haven’t, you haven’t lived.

Many writers will write material that is non-specific. They stray away from the now, material that is hot in the moment. I’m talking pop culture. The great writers imagine their book being read in 100 years, and not want it to be dated. Who the hell is Johnny Carson, and why should I care about him? It’s very simple. A great rule should be to not talk about famous people, or material taken from the news, unless it has to do with universals, and you can make it non-specific. Did you hear about Kim Kardashian, and the stupid things she says on her show? No. Instead, talk about how TV shows nowadays are… Maybe, perhaps, you want to be generational specific. Art is like that. Get out a book featuring artists of the 20th century. You’ll see a progression. In the 1960’s, art was like this. Warhol was at the forefront of a movement called Pop Art. These are artists who fell under that category. This is art that represent the times.

Ah, but the geniuses in art, in music, in writing, capture universal, timeless, non-specific thought. A perfect example would be Shakespeare, a man who wrote plays hundreds of years ago that can be relatable today. That is an extraordinary feat. He was able to capture universal thought, action, perception, emotion, on a GRAND SCALE almost like no one has ever achieved. The Beatles are another example of material I believe will be listened to for centuries to come. It is that timeless, no matter how out of date the production value is. The Beatles, with their words, and their music, produced material that will be relatable to everyone on the planet. All you need is love. I want to hold your hand. Songs about loneliness. Masterpieces that will hang in the great museums to come.

This is where I’m going to. What is universal thought, and why is it prevalent? What does it say about us? I don’t want to sound conspiracy-like here, but I believe we are all programmed, on a base level, to think the same way. We feel the exact same emotions as everyone else. Why are our brains programmed like that? Let’s think about the opposite for a moment. What if everyone thought differently, what would life be like? One possibility would be that the world would be in chaos. In society, their needs to be some sort of cohesion. That’s why laws exist. Everyone basically has to follow one primary law. If not, you won’t fit in society, and may be incarcerated for it. So by everyone thinking the same thing, perhaps, it creates ORDER. It creates civilization, civility. Which I believe is a good thing. And getting back, what would we laugh about, if none of us shared a similar mind-set? And humor, in the end, is what gets us through today, and to tomorrow. If none of has any humor, there would be no happiness. We would just be like drones going through our day. So the programming we experience, may not be such a negative thing.

To end on a personal note, when I’m watching a movie let’s say, I’ll give the example of Toy Story 3, and I find myself at the end of the movie, crying my eyes out, I get embarrassed, and a bit angry, that someone created something that was able to manipulate my emotions so much, that I would act like a child. The ending was all about the end of innocence, going off into the real world, and putting away your toys. Growing up. EVERYONE goes through that, that is one of the biggest universal experiences, even though I fight against it every day. I mean, look at me. I’m 43 years old, and I’m still working a 20-something job.

I get really angry when I hear the phrase, everything has been done before. It really bends me out of shape. No, we haven’t even scratched the surface about what original things mankind can accomplish. This is what I want to do in life. Produce something that is TRULY ORIGINAL. Maybe realize the universal thought, and keep on going beyond and beyond and beyond that. To go to a place in the mind that no man or woman has ever gone before, and then put it into some kind of work. Something tangible. Or maybe not. Maybe that’s where I need to go. To create something that’s actually intangible. I don’t know what that might be.

You’ve heard of the phrase, thinking outside the box, and that’s a good start. But what is the box? What is actually the box, and what are we doing with it? It’s about realization. It’s about seeing what REALLY IS,and what we’re doing with our life.

And on that note, I think I’ll go outside again,

And watch my grass grow.

-Clint Curtis

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