“Brock, can I ask you what is the secret to life?” The midget asked me on our ride out to Staheli Farms.
“Hmm… I would have to say the number 42.” I replied.
For full effect, download “Start Shootin’” by Little People and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. Coincidentally, this song started playing on my Pandora account seconds after I came up with the catchy title. Add that to the list of little things that keeps a smile on my face every day.
I’ve been asked repeatedly what the secret to life is by a whole slew of people, and the majority of the time I respond back quickly with a reference to Douglas Adams’ epic “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Why people are asking a 28-year old Swamp Thing who still plays the penis game in public with his best friends what the secret to life is I have no idea. But when a midget in a cowboy hat posed the question to me on Monday night, I had to take the high road and come to a conclusion of what my true secret to life is.
The secret to life must be completely different if you’re a midget. Your goals, your ambitions, the things you set your sights on are probably polar opposite from someone who stands taller than five feet. I mean that both figuratively, and literally. For example, my goal as a 6 foot 5 behemoth may not be to finally reach the height limit and be able to ride Space Mountain. Whereas, someone who can be a stunt double for an Oompa Loompa is probably not looking to slam dunk a basketball on a regular size hoop without using a trampoline any time in their immediate future.
But regardless of our size, I think every one of us has mid-life crisis moments where we repeatedly question the lessons we have learned thus far, and wonder about what sage pieces of advice we want to have engraved on our tombstones. And as the midget stared back at me, flexing his pointy ears and licking his buck teeth, I gave him one of the most monumental strings of counsel to have ever fallen from my own lips.
“The secret to life is being uncomfortable.” I said.
Cue puzzled look from the midget’s face as the oversized cowboy hat dwarfed his skull.
“Uncomfortable? What do you mean by uncomfortable?” He asked me. “I’d rather be comfortable.”
“No, that’s the thing.” I replied. “Everyone is comfortable. Comfortable with their jobs, with their education, with their bodies, with their entire lives altogether. And that’s what messes them up. When people are comfortable, they are lazy. When they are lazy, they don’t grow. When they don’t grow, they waste away into nothing, plain and simple. If you want to end up on top in this life, you need to be uncomfortable.”
Cue “mind=blown” look come across his face as he took his hat off and scratched his avocado-sized noggin. Followed by the famous airheads Bill & Ted doing their simultaneous “Whoa, dude” in my own head as our truck came to a stop.
Yeah, I can’t believe a kid who was once chased down a set of railroad tracks buck naked by the cops could say something as profound as that.
Every single day of our lives we look to get to the point where things aren’t uncomfortable anymore. We starve to find out what our “norms” will be in every given circumstance, and we push ourselves to reach the point where we fit in with the rest of the world. Well you know what? I don’t want to fit in. I don’t want to be “ok” or “fine” or “average” with the way my life is going. I don’t want to turn into a lethargic vegetable wearing wife beaters and sweat pants who isn’t growing at all. I want to do things I don’t know how to do, and continue to push myself to the point where my self-esteem takes a hit and only keeps on rebuilding. I want to be uncomfortable every single day for the rest of my life.
And so should you.