I had a somewhat surreal online encounter with a stranger today. We disagreed and it quickly became personal. This person had the oddest desire to show that he was better than me – which, I suppose is normal in that situation – but it was the weird way he went about it that lingers in my head and made me feel really good about my life and who I am. First he tried to tell me that he was in better shape than me, more physically fit. It struck me as really bizarre – I guess he was basing it on a handful of public pictures I have on Facebook, which, honestly, aren’t all that flattering – but which are also pretty old – but that wasn’t the bizarre part – it was bizarre to see how much that seemed to mean to him. I mean, it’s great to be in good shape, and I suppose it is good if you can win physical competitions with other people – but is that really any way to measure your life? Is that the first thing you weigh when you look at your existence? For this guy it was – but then it went on – he bragged how he was better than me because he had more advanced degrees and owned more real estate and even threw girlfriends into the pot – which again – it’s great if you have an education, it’s great if you have some success in business, and it’s great if you date the kind of woman you are attracted to – but is that the actual measure of your life? As he was throwing all this stuff at me, I was exploiting weaknesses I saw him expose – I wasn’t being nice. I’m not a saint. And, worse – actually, I was enjoying it. It was fun. It was like a martial arts – find the weakness and then hit it. I know – I’m not a good person – a good person wouldn’t have enjoyed that so much – or have become as good at it as I’ve become – but that’s not what this is about. This is about the weirdness of being a human being that will live 60-80 years if you are lucky and measuring the meaning of that with degrees, deeds, sexual conquests, wealth, or power – that’s really fucking weird. I mean, is that all your life is? Just this paper trail mixed with ejaculated sperm? I’ve got great paper too – I have title to 2000 acres on the moon and I’m a hereditary Baron of Sealand – seriously, it’s legit, and it’s worth about the same as this guys advanced degrees and property deeds – turn both our bodies to ashes and the paper is worthless to us. There are things that are worthwhile, things that are a measure of this life we live, things that perhaps make us better or make this life more meaningful when we have gone from it. Love. How much love have you given? Smiles. How many smiles have you shared? Awareness. How many moments have you reveled in the wind blowing through leaves? Respect. Have you ever moved an ant, a fly, a spider, or another living thing out of harms way? Have you saved a life? Respected a life? Have you done something kind just because you could? Anyway, the exchange went on for a while and like I said, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed winning this exchange, but then I started feeling all these conflicting emotions – while this guy was calling me all kinds of offensive names and saying all kinds of ridiculous things in an attempt to make me feel bad about myself or whatever his motivation was (I think he may have been trying to get me to see he was better than me, but it was a bizarre way to go about it which didn’t work – quite the opposite) – while that was going on, I just started feeling very lucky. I’m so happy to be – to actually be – to not be trapped in fog so thick that I don’t know I’m even in fog. I stumble and life is challenging and things change minute to minute and day to day – but it is very nice to be awake – and it’s so weird that more people are not.