Not so Fast. Not so Fast: The LAGuide to Coping with Change
Who among us hasn’t stepped outside on the first crisp day of autumn, taken a deep woodsy breath, coughed, and exclaimed that “change is in the air.” And, I’m sure that many of us grew up with a “philosopher uncle.” In my case it was great Uncle Mulliner, who would as he sat by the fire in every weather, place his paper down, scratch his balding head, take a sip of his cold tea and a puff on his dead pipe and wisely proclaim, “The more things change the more they stay the same.”
Make no mistake about it, change is coming. It is even coming to the Centre region, where it has been 1954 since, well 1954. And although, humankind, particularly Americans, find it difficult to accept, change did not start with Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. Philosophers, poets and politicians have been commenting on the causes and effects of change for thousands of years. Heraclitus even argued that “there is nothing permanent except change.” While to Confucius, “Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.” A subtle Lao Tzu states, “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” And C.S. Lewis helpfully adds, “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg.” We even know where change happens, thanks to Ronnie Reagan who said, “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.” And where it doesn’t, thanks to George Carlin who said, “I put a dollar in a change machine. Nothing changed.”
Strangely, it was my young cousin, Charley, who summed up how most of us feel about change. Charley is an evolutionary biologist with three Ph.D.’s, an MD and a habit of entertaining friends and family in his basement laboratory. His face reflects the strain of a lifetime of staring at really, really small things and fighting for government grants by writing around the word evolution. Charley’s favorite expression, usually uttered while staring at who-knows-what in a high powered microscope is a resigned “all change is bad.” Many in the family find these outbursts disturbing. Some have been forced to seek counseling, while others—like Cousin Jerry, may be found most days in a bedroom closet gibbering things like, “the end in nigh.”
Here at Stevieslaw, we feel that the real problem in dealing with change is not that change is happening but that it appears to be happening faster and faster. Wasn’t it Paris Hilton who famously said when discussing Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity on the last Oprah, “More than 98% of the change that has ever affected mankind has happened since last Wednesday?” And that is the reason we are pleased to publish, “Not so Fast, Not so Fast: The Less-intelligent-than-average-American Guide to dealing with change.” In the guide, we will instruct you in great detail about the three strategies of dealing with change (or for that matter most problems):
1. Embrace it1—Be the first person on your block for every new endeavor. Start with a continuous contract with Virgin Galactic to explore the Universe and beyond. Have technical updates from companies on the forefront of “the new” delivered instantly through a novel implant to your brain, and then have your people test each new idea at once. Develop a fleet of drones for communication and defense. Generate your power needs by processing invasive species of plants, animals, and people using a new technique that has as its single waste product, a dollop of anti-cancer vaccine. And more and more…
2. Accept it: Sure change is going to turn everything on its head, but what can you do? Abject resignation and blind submission are things we have all learned to do well—witness the results of the recent mid-term elections. In the guide, you will not only learn the best techniques for molding yourself into an emotional fetal position, but also where to buy the buttons and tee shirts that best express your decline. We will show you how you can at least become cognizant of the changes that are clobbering you by passively studying them. Why not arrange for an eight year old and an eighteen year old to lecture you and your neighbors on what’s current once or twice a day?
3. Run and Hide: Here in Central Pennsylvania, we often encounter Amish and Mennonite horses and buggies on our major roads. More often than not, we brake or swerve around them in time. I suspect most residents have wondered, when the pace of life seems just too much, about showing up at a Sunday service and asking, sincerely “Can I live with you?” In the guide, we will teach you why that just won’t work—you have no skills, they have actual rules, etc. The answer is to form your very own religious group that won’t accept change in any form. In the guide, we introduce you to a host of American locations where no one lives or wants to live. Learn to live off the land by accepting government subsidies for not growing alfalfa! You can do that the old fashioned way2.
Buy the guide and use December and January to study it. Hurry or the world will have completely changed before you are finished.
1This may require substantial resources. If you are not already fabulously wealthy, see the LAGuide: Rags to Riches in America: The power of inherited wealth. 2Instruction may be found in Catch-22.