Me: Hey JR! It's been a while. How's it going?
Me: Ok. Listen, this guy I know - I kind of know - like, we're not friends, but I've seen him around and we have friends in common -
Me: - well, he would like to be president -
JR: HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAA FAR FAR FAAAAAAAA HA HA HA HA!
Me: - wait. He studied political science and history at an ivy league school, and worked for a political NGO, and wrote papers for "the likes of" General Petraeus. Eh? Right? He also worked for the Federal Reserve. That sounds pretty good.
JR: Yeah, it does, actually.
Me: So he has some things going for him. It definitely seems like he's more likely to become president than I am. He's probably, what, in the top ten percent? At least?
Me: But also, he is stoned most of the time and can't remember where he put his pants.
JR: Well, see.
Me: But a lot of politicians start out that way, right? Some of them even end up that way! Heh heh!
Me: Seriously, though, what do you think?
JR: Most presidents 1) Are related to other politicians, 2) Study law, not poli-sci, 3) Start out at the regional level with an aim to hit the state legislature by the age of 40, and 4) KNOW FROM A VERY YOUNG AGE that they want to eventually be the President of the United States of America. This last point may be the most important. It takes enormous drive and determination, not just a good education and loosely relevant work experience.
Me: How young?
JR: Younger than him.
This was Johnny McNulty's dream. Sorry, Johnny.
Me: Hey JR! How was your weekend?
Me: A friend of mine has a dream that he'll find happiness through the four laws of simplicity: 1) Collect everything in one place, 2) Choose the essential, 3) Eliminate the rest, and 4) Organize the remaining stuff neatly and nicely. More on this here: http://zenhabits.net/2008/01/the-four-laws-of-simplicity-and-how-to-apply-them-to-life/
JR: 1) Everything? What does that mean? "Collect everything in one place." What, does, that, mean? 2) If you can already distinguish between essential and non-essential, why do you have so much non-essential crap lying around? 3) ELIMINATE? ELIMINATE THE REST? ELIMINATE IT? 4) FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA FA FA FA FA FA WIEEEEEAARRRROWWWWWWWFRA FRA FROU FOU chka chka durp.
This was Bryce Richardson's dream. Sorry, Bryce.
Me: Hey, JR. How's it going?
Me: A friend of mine has a dream that Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream (about people of all races sitting down together at the table of brotherhood) will come true. I think this has already happened, though! We have a black president now; I know that doesn't automatically fix everything, because people are imperfect and there will always be prejudice, but it definitely speaks to the degree of healing we've been able to achieve in such a relatively short period of time. I think I want to finally use my big, rubber "Dream Come True" stamp on this one.
JR: Cluhhhh. I have to use numbers this time. 1) Towards the end of his life MLK considered the civil rights movement to have failed, and was beginning to consider non-non-violent means of resistance. Then he was shot. 2) We have a mixed-race president. It's weird that we call everyone who has any African genes whatsoever "black." To me this smacks of its own special sort of super-ethnocentrism. It's like saying if you have anything less than 100% pure Caucasian blood, you can't be called "white." Like, "white" is a more difficult status to attain than "black." Do you follow me? I dunno, it's just weird and it makes me sad. My point is that you're weirdly racist without even realizing it. 3) Obama was elected, yeah, but minorities are not suddenly being treated any differently. They're more likely to be hassled by police, less likely to make a fair wage, etc. This is a long-term situation with very slow and unsteady progress. It might not even make sense to call it "long-term," because that implies that eventually the goal will be achieved. It may be that a certain percentage of people are just genetically predisposed to be xenophobic. Who knows? 4) You will never use that rubber stamp, and it breaks my heart to have to be the person to tell you this. 5) BUMP SLICKA BUMP BUMP, chicka-chicka tra-tra, TRALALALA LALALALA DURRRRRRRRRFFF.
This was Dan Chamberlain and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream. Sorry, guys.
Me: My friend wants to be a world-renowned scientist! I think this is great. We need another highly visible scientist of some kind to get out there in case Stephen Hawking dies. It's important to be able to put a face to the field, you know what I mean? Anyhow, she's not good at studying, and doesn't have the right undergrad degree for going into any scientific fields, and she's broke. It sounds like a good underdog story to me - she might have a sudden epiphany and realize she's been a scientist all along, just in ways she didn't know were useful.
JR: ERZZZZZZZZZ, it almost sounds like you're setting up a "person who's great at something was really bad at it in their youth" situation, or a "person who has genius-level theories was previously just a non-scientist with untapped potential"-type story, both of which are modern fiction tropes based on myths about Albert Einstein. As a child he was at the top of his class, and not bad at math, as the myth goes. Also, though he was a patent clerk while he did some of his earliest groundbreaking work, he had already studied mathematics and physics in Zurich. So it's not like he was just sitting around one day filing papers and suddenly a flash of lightning filled his head with all these great ideas. Ok? Do you understand that? Your friend isn't going to suddenly become a scientist without YEARS AND YEARS of hard work and discipline. IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. IT WILL NOT, NOT, NOT, NOT, NOT, NOT FA-FA-FA-FA GALUNKADUNKA CHIN CHIN DURRRRRRRRRR BUH BUH BUH BUH DURR!!!
This was Anna Rubanova's dream. Sorry, Anna.
Me: A friend of mine would like to be able to download knowledge into her brain like in the Matrix. Just the other day I read an article about Brain-Computer Interfaces, or BCIs, which are currently in the primitive stages of development, but already basically work! So I'm optimistic that she'll be able to do this some day.
JR: BADADADUMMMMMM, hm let me check something real quick, uh, THE MATRIX. IS. FICTION. GET IT FICTIONFCIFFICIFFIIFIFIFFFFFFIIIIIIIIIIIII blinking at a camera isn't the same as downloading karate FIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCKKKKKKXXX XXSSSSHHHHUNNNNNNN LA LA LA DURRRR.
This was Stephanie Streisand's dream. Sorry, Stephanie.
Me: A friend of mine wants to get married someday. She has a boyfriend so she's already about halfway there! She's pretty sweet, so I want her to be happy. I hope it works out.
JR: RNNNN-CH-CH! Over half of all marriages end in divorce and over 100x the marriages that do exist DON'T EVEN EVER HAPPEN ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME HERE IT'S NOT GOING TO WORK OUT, GOOD LUCK KNITTING YARN SOCKS SINGLE WOMAN MMMMMMMMMMMMMFA FA FA FA THRONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN.
This was Nicole Drespel's dream. Sorry, Nicole.
Me: A friend of mine would really like for you to ruin his dream. That's his dream! I don't want his dream to be ruined but I want him to have what he wants. I hope you can help.
JR: The problem with his dream is that it's self-referential in a way which removes it from the realm of properly falsifiable truth-claims. This doesn't make the statement true or false, but what you might call "linearly re-expressible," in the sense that the evaluation of the claim actually changes its value, at least in the mind of the evaluator, and eventually the process repeats in an endless loop! The truth-claim is therefore not any claim at all, but an empty set of words. So really your friend has no dream to ruin, and that is the saddest thing of all. UMMMMMMMMMMMM, CHUF CHUF CHUF CHICKA CHA CHA CHOO CHICKA DURRRRRRRRRRRR.
This was Kirk Damato's dream. Sorry/welcome, Kirk.
Me: Last night I dreamed I was flying! I've had this dream many times over the years, and I always believe believe it's really happening this time, even though in the back of my mind I know it's not. I have a lot of confidence in the power of positive thinking, and also the abilities of the subconscious mind, and I think my subconscious is trying to tell me that it somehow knows that before I get too old and frail to enjoy it, someone will invent flying.
JR: MMBRRRRRRR, FUFF FUFF FUFF HA HA HA HA HA HA CHK CHK CHKAW DURRRRRRRRRR.
Me: A friend of mine is interested in teaching math to his dog. I know some horses have learned it, and also there are dog shows where they compete in various activities, so I'm thinking it's not far off to think he could make his dog a champion mathematician. He'd be very, very proud. I hope he does it.
JR: WUWUWUWWWWWW, testing 1 2 3, is this on? The horse you're talking about is "Clever Hans" and that turned out to be a hoax so good luck with that DOGS ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO TUTOR IN ANYTHING FA FA FA BLERRRRRRR KACHUNK BLER BLERRRRRRR.
This was Will Storie's dream. Sorry, Will.