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Ramblin’ Joe: Avoid Overthinking

Bison Blinds

by Joe Baxter

Living The Life, folks. It was a great weekend. Hope you had one, too. The trick to good living is to avoid overthinking everything.

Do you have income? Check. Food? Check. Place to live? Check. Friends? Check.  Music and art or other hobby and/or distractions? Check. Love? Well, love is sort of a bonus, but it’s also a Basic Need, so …Check.

The #1 way that humans have found to totally screw things up, is to make them too damned complicated. If we were all to find a way to stick to the basics, we wouldn’t be so worried about obtaining all the bells and whistles,  ya know? The class divides in society would not be quite so, uh…critical.  But we’ve set strange and mostly unattainable standards for each other;  many of us forget that if we have too much, the RIGHT thing to do is to share. Society itself sets us up, almost from birth. There’s invariably a point when classic Greed and Envy peek their 2-of-7 Deadly Sin heads out from under that dark rock … it’s inevitable. Happens to us ALL. We want what everyone else has. We see it; we gotta have it. Half of the reality shows on Trash TV are about how rich people live their lives. Though I  honestly don’t give a hoot about such things, or those insipid, spoiled,  stupid people, I understand the allure, from both the entertainment and psychological points of view, but I’ve always found that whole media phenomenon rather sad, and very telling of our sick society. Remember back when it seemed like the parents, (or more likely, the grandparents,) were perfectly satisfied with that 20-year-old car, that old 1960 Monkey Wards lawnmower, that B&W TV, and the daily supper menu that always included leftover night(s), and ubiquitous beans and taters? To those folks, who never even heard the term “conspicuous consumption,” waste was a sin. It was unthinkable. They were scornful of ostentatious displays. It’s because they knew how to keep life simple. It was important to them.

READ ALSO: Joe’s Birthday Concert | June 26

The Big Overthink

It’s not just our personal lives, either. The Big Overthink involves every corner of our world; medicine, transportation, government, recreation, etc.  It’s all gotten out of hand, and as the earth’s population surges toward critical mass, it just gets worse. Case in point – ever been on an urban super-slab highway mixmaster? THAT is a prime example of over-thinking.  Ever programmed a PLC? Navigated a government website? We’ve made modern monstrosities a necessity, when, way back when there was an opportunity to steer things along at a more sedate, logical, and efficient pace. If we’d kept it simple, we’d have realized that someday, that type of traffic manipulation would be obsolete, and abandoned that entire culture at the outset in favor of mass transportation. See? Sounds simplistic, but have you priced a new Ford pickup, lately? A gallon of gas?  Checked the climate change statistics? Have you looked at the cost of equipping and maintaining a high-speed thoroughfare? Break it down from there. Have you ever done a task three times, because you tried to do too much the first two times? Humans are so silly. Who are we trying to impress? There’s often MUCH more to finding the simple solution than meets the eye, but that’s the quandary in which we find ourselves these days. It’s basic cause and effect. From how we make our political decisions, to how we choose our personal relationships, right down to how we tie our shoes and fold our clothes, everything we do can be boiled down to the simplest, easiest, most sustainable terms. It’s NEVER perfect, but we can at least try, and maybe we’ll reach the place in life where everything actually WORKS.

I never read the book on Feng Shui, but I understand the concept. My living space and my daily ergonomics remain extremely important to me,  especially as I slow down in my old age. On a macro-human scale, out in the world? Not so much. Whoopie-Gee-Whiz bright shiny things don’t much interest me. We are prodded by our survival instincts to “keep up” – adapt to the natural coloration and movements of The Herd. Silly us, because in  2022, our survival is not really what’s at stake. Nope, for so many humans,  Americans especially, the only thing on the table is our own IDEA of  “happiness.”

In all my life, a fairly constant truth is that my first inclination is usually the correct one. (Not always. Ahem.) There’s a knack to being able to weed out the unneeded, extraneous crap and do what is best and most efficient,  for myself and for my world. I like to think that I do my best, and be happy as I can be. 

“Good enough” is sometimes just that. Love y’all – jb  

RESIST – Wasting time and effort on unneeded change. Go be happy. Be satisfied. Be good livers. Oh, yeah – TCB, but be cool. 

Dawn Shelton and Joe Baxter

EDITOR’S NOTE. Joe Baxter is one of my favorite people. He loves music, the Arcadia Round Barn, his wife Jean, a club sandwich from Farmstead Cafe, Route 66, and America (not in that order). A songwriter and musician, he has a way with words and can turn a phrase such that you want to listen, or in this case, read for a while. If you are one of his “face friends” on social media, you know he can get you thinking with his posts and musings. Let’s insert here that Joe’s comments might not “reflect the views of staff and management,” or they might. All views, musings, and submissions are welcome here on these digital pages where we don’t kill trees or buy ink by the barrel! Find Joe at the Arcadia Round Barn where he is the head conversation aficionado catching stories from Route 66 travelers from all over the world, and getting the band together eight days a week! Thanks Ramblin’ Joe! Y’all ENJOY! – dawn

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