Punching the Red Ranger
I should’ve known I’d grow up to be a jealous person.
In first grade, I punched a kid at recess because he was the Red Ranger. I wanted to be the Red Ranger. I was always the Red Ranger.
But being the Red Ranger meant running around the playground yelling, “Tyrannosaurus Rex!” It was awesome. But — even at that age — I knew it was stupid. However, being the Red Ranger meant being the best Ranger. That mattered to me.
And not much has changed since my mighty morphin’ days.
When I see an accomplished person, I want to be more accomplished. When I see a beautiful piece of art, I want to create something more beautiful. When I see Paris Hilton, I want to be more, uh, famous.
And, now, it’s all coming to the forefront because I’m turning 24. In my twisted mind, that’s the age when people accomplish thing. It’s when they have careers that are better; bank accounts that are fuller; dogs that are peppier. So I’ve often found myself comparing — and feeling bad about my shortcomings.
But I realized I’m being an idiot.
Yesterday, I explained to a friend what I was doing in school. And he said, “So. You spent your day building a fake boat? And creating a virtual world that you can row through — in the fake boat? Damn.
“Today, I opened Microsoft Excel… and closed Microsoft Excel.”
I often judge people’s lives based on numbers or labels — rocket scientist, $100,000, Yellow Ranger (ha!). I know it’s wrong. But I can’t help it. It’s almost as if I’m wearing augmented reality glasses that slap text onto people’s chests. I am, essentially, judging people based on their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles.
But, I’ve learned, there’s a punishment for this: Once I’m done judging other people, I judge myself — superficially. And because I know myself best, life falls apart; the world starts to get ugly. And, sadly, it makes me forget that the world around me is actually quite pretty.
So all this is to say: I’m sorry for punching you, Red Ranger.