The Ghost Theory

Taking advantage of moments of inspiration has to be the most important skill we can acquire.  We can only hope that inspiration comes from the things that excite us but it doesn’t always have to be.  After all there is an entire Goth culture out there that prides itself on recognizing the darker side of life.  Although that isn’t the way I would want to spend my days, the world needs sad poets, too.  I must admit, however, that the level of commitment on their part is astonishing, though.  There is something admirable about a person dedicated enough to wear eighty pounds of black, baggy clothing on a ninety degree summer day.

I find it pretty easy to get excited or worked up about something, but I have a difficult time maintaining it.  I’ve always wanted to live my life as if I were the character in a movie fully equipped with my own background music.  That has always been the ultimate factor in whether or not I like a song.  If I feel something strong enough to imagine some scenario of my life, real or fictional, to fit the mood then it’s usually a keeper.  It may drive me to do something exciting like ask out that girl for a date (before I got married, of course), take that trip I’ve been thinking about, or even just get up and go to the coffee shop to do a little writing.   The only problem is that the song usually ends before I do anything about it.  If I’m lucky the next song will be just as good, but occasionally the next song depresses the hell out of me and makes me commit to staying right where I am and look forward to going to bed.

Experiences are usually a little less fickle in the inspiration department.  Falling in love, being cheered on stage, fighting the good fight.  These things usually drive us to accomplish more, giving us more to talk about.  Sometimes we just experience things that make no sense but are just as conversationally worthy or, at the very least, noteworthy.  For instance, I was driving down a side street in my subdivision.  I had to slow down a bit because there was a group of kids riding their bikes in the middle of the street.  They could not have been more than eight years old and there really was nothing unusual about most of them.  Three of the four kids cleared out of the way relatively quickly, but the fourth decided to stop in the middle of the street.  As I was coming to a stop to wait for this kid, I realized that he was carrying one of the biggest kitchen knives I have ever seen and was wielding it around like some kind of pirate on his two-wheeled Jolly Roger.  Although incredibly dangerous, I chalked it up as a normal yet imaginative kid making a dumb decision.  That is until he started growling at me!  Being twice his size and probably three times this toothpick’s weight, I wasn’t really concerned for my life, but I would not have put it past him to whip the knife at my car.  He had that crazy look in his eye that had early retirement for some poor school teacher written all over it.  In what seemed like eternity but probably only lasted seconds, the kid eventually moved out of the way and I picked up speed immediately.

I got about a block away before I realized that, crazy or not, I should probably go back and find a way of separating the knife from the kid before a doctor has to.  As I returned to the site of the Future Carjackers of America, I found the street completely empty.  No sign of knives, bikes, or growling children.  Fortunately there was also no sign of blood, severed appendages, or distant screaming.  The mysterious part is that they were nowhere to be found on the other side streets.  This led me to believe one of two things: either these kids lived in one of the houses nearby or… they were ghosts.  As much as I would like to dismiss the second of these two hasty explanations I remind you that there was no sign of bikes anywhere and I find it less likely that a knife wielding eight-year-old psychotic’s idea of bicycle care is anything short of simply dumping it on the lawn before going in.  “Pardon me gentlemen. I believe we should adjourn to the enclosed carport to properly retire our bicycles before continuing to startle passersby with mother’s cutlery.” Yeah. Definitely ghosts.

On the other hand, I’ve watched enough television to know that ghosts are supposed to make it very clear after they left that they were, in fact, ghosts.  Maybe you accidentally pass by their graves, or you coincidentally hear a report on the radio shortly after about four boys killed in a candy store explosion, or at their least creative they just vanish before your eyes.  All I have got is that these kids might be very fast on bikes.  Clearly the worst ghosts in recorded history.

My reasoning may seem silly to some but this thirty second event in my life has inspired me to develop a far-fetched theory that life is relatively normal and that ALL strange sightings and unnatural occurrences are simply a case of untrained, amateur ghosts.  The waiter that seems to be ignoring your table?  Ghost.  The girl that says she has no interest in dating you whatsoever?  Ghost.  Yankee fans?  All ghosts.  Inspiration shows up in many places and as long as it doesn’t scratch my car, I will continue to greet it with open arms.  Word of caution…it is best to treat all “ghosts” like real people.  They still have a tendency to call the police when you keep pinching them.

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