Thursday, October 18, 2007

Existential what??

I was looking up the word 'CON' and happened to run into another, big looking, important sounding word called 'CONUNDRUM'. Since I was looking into a dictionary anyway, I took the time to look the big guy up and found out that he was some kind of puzzle or riddle or some such confusing thing. I thought I understood what it was and decided to use it in my writing some time to sound impressive. Good. I should have stopped there. Instead, I hung around 'CONUNDRUM' for some more time and eventually came across a phrase which had me stumped. Only much later, when I undertook some house keeping and cleaning activities in my mailbox, did I understand what that phrase meant.

Now let me give you a little back ground before I come to the point, because if I directly get to it, it wouldn't be me and I will have trouble sleeping tonight.

I take a lot of pride in the fact that I sleep walk my way through life. It's actually more sleep and less walk but for convenience sake I will just call it sleep walk and leave it at that. In spite of doing my bestest zombie impersonation and 'zombie'ing my way through life, there are times when I am forced to acknowledge something happening around me. One of those somethings is the standard stock of mail forwards that people seem to get. I am not talking here about any forward that anyone might get. I am specifically talking about the kind of mail forwards received by folks who fall under a specific category called the fresh-from-college-campus-into-software-company category.

Once upon a time, I belonged to it. Now-a-days I just come across newer specimens of that species and though, with each passing year, they make me feel positively geriatric and so yesterday (mind, I haven’t touched the big three-oh yet), the one thing I share with them is an inanity called the forwarded mail. To my amusement, I found that they get exactly the same forwards that I got all those years back!! The same old stuff about love, friendship, relationships, man vs woman stuff, best photographs of the year (in this one, the photos remain the same, but the year keeps getting updated!) and the same old jokes.

It's one such joke that explained the aforementioned mysterious sounding phrase. I have come across this one more times than I have hair on my head. It has this guy who is relaxing and watching the idiot box (let's call this one the Idiot) and his dad (let's call this one the Dad) walks in and the following dialogue ensues:

Dad: Why are you relaxing in front of the TV? At your age, you must be working hard.
Idiot: Why?
Dad: You work hard so that you will get recognized for your hard work.
Idiot: So?
Dad: So, you will get rewarded and reach a better position.
Idiot: Hmmm. So?
Dad: A better position means better money. The more money you make now, the more money you can save for your future.
Idiot: (Yawns!) So?
Dad: (Showing signs of irritation!) If you save enough, you don't have to struggle. You can relax and enjoy life.
Idiot: That's exactly what I am doing now! What's your point?
Dad: !!?!?

I am not sure if that caused any muscle in your face to even twitch involuntarily. But it did help me figure out what the phrase - 'EXISTENTIAL CONUNDRUM' - meant.

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