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September 6, 2013 / TeknoKai

All I Really Need to Know in Life I Learned from Futurama…

Hello again, fellow Netizens.  I hope you are all doing well.  It is *almost* the weekend, so I hope everyone is ready for some fun and relaxation as the summer of 2013 finally starts to wind down.  I have been noticing the days aren’t quite so hot, and the nights are starting to cool off, and that means that another year is just about to be over.

I am writing you today, having just viewed the final episode of Futurama, and it is with heavy heart that I think about that.  Futurama isn’t just a TV show – it is a staple of life for some of us.  I have been watching it for as long as it has been on the air.  One of the things I remember most about the show is that during it’s *first* run on Adult Swim, it was replayed so often that I knew I could watch it every night.  Back in my younger days when I was often traveling, flying all around the country to do IT Installations or Support jobs, I could always feel like I had a connection to home, because before I went to sleep in whatever hotel room I was currently in, I could spend the last few minutes of my day with Fry, Leela, the Professor, and the rest of the Planet Express crew.  When you are immersed in something so much that it becomes part of your daily routine, it is hard to let go.

And then the show was cancelled.  I remember thinking – “I hate that, but everything comes to an end.”  I remember that I still got to enjoy reruns almost nightly.  Like a child, I really didn’t care how familiar I was with each episode – it didn’t matter if I could follow the verbal dialog along verbatim because I had seen it 1000 times before.  It was Futurama.  It was always exciting, and fun, even if it wasn’t always new.

We got a couple of years worth of new movies after that.  Each one was a little bit bigger, a little bit more daring, and always funnier that we thought they could be.  And then, it seemed like the Media Moguls finally took notice of we, the fans, and decided that we were worth listening to.  The show got renewed, picked up by the Comedy Central channel, and we were slotted for a whole new world of Futurama adventures!  I can remember the giddy feeling I got when I first heard the news.  It was an exciting time.  Even if it meant the show would not be replayed over and over continuously on the Adult Swim slot, well, we had the DVD’s – and we could replay them whenever we wanted.  And we were getting fresh material!

Futurama has never failed to impress me.  It has always had a way of poking fun at some of the most critical situation in real life, situations that could have been considered atrocities, and making it something that was, if not acceptable, at least comprehensible to the human mind.  Things are always going on out in the world.  A lot of things we as human beings shouldn’t be capable of dealing with, they are so bad, but they happen, and 90% of the time there is nothing the “common man” like me could do, even if I wanted to with all my heart.  Futurama kinda made sense in that the issues it laughingly discussed are important to us as a species, and a society on Earth, but because we are each individual and have fragmented ideas of how we want things to happen, we don’t always get the results that we want – and sometimes the bad things happen.  And we rebel against the thought of the bad things, but we have to keep going, as a species, and a society, if we ever want to achieve what we truly want.

I realize that I have just delved deeply into human philosophy and theology, but that is that kind of thing that Futurama is great at – it brought us timely ideas about issues that a lot of people thought about, that maybe no one wanted to talk about.  And it gave us the venue to see the “fictional” results of what we do if we take one plan of actipon over another.  Futurama is kind of like a roadmap of human possibility saying – “we think we’d like to do this, but if we do, then this happens, so what will we do instead?”  I’m not trying to say that Futurama is by any means grounded in reality, but the issues it took on were very real issues sometimes, and they made us think, even if they did nothing else.

And that is why I mourn the loss *again* of such a wonderful show.  I think I mourn it more now than I did the first time it was cancelled, because when it was revived, it faced a whole new, and more current set of issues, than it did in it’s previous lifetime.  And the interaction of the characters on the show have bled (at least, in my experience) into my own life – and when I am with a group of people, I will often think, when I hear someone take a stance on something, “that’s very Zoidberg”, or “That’s very Fry and Leela”.  It takes a lot to make me compare my own life to characters in a show, and yet, I do it with Futurama almost subconsciously.

That is why I decided to write this blog today.  There are a few really special moments from this wonderful animated TV comedy that stick out to me, and they actually have shaped the way I live my life and interact with others.  You may be experiencing something like this, and not realize it till now, but the things we watch and care about do influence our personal spheres of influence.  So here are some of the really important life lessons that I learned from this misfit cartoon family of friends and frenemies.

1) Don’t take life too seriously.  If you do, then you become someone who is so wrapped up in what they want life to be that they rarely have time to enjoy what is happening to them as it happens.  Sometimes they don’t even notice.  Credit this to the Head of Nixon, and his “body” guard Agnew.  He is always so serious that he eclipses everything else.

2)Don’t take life too flippantly.  On the other end of the spectrum, there are some important things in life.  You can’t take what happens so lightly that it doesn’t affect you at all.  This is like being “Fry”‘d – nothing is as important as exactly what happens to you in the moment it happens.  Love life, and enjoy it to the fullest, but take responsibility for the things that you can do to change the world.

3) You have to find that medium ground – be just serious enough to know what’s going on, and selfish enough to want to make the world better for you and the ones you care about.  Yes, there is a time when you can be selfish in a good way.  Like Bender, you can rattle off about how badly everything in the world is, and you can say what you like, but even as you are chanting your discourses you are actually doing things that will make the world better.  This is really an interesting thing I learned, because Bender shouldn’t have as much humanity as he does – since he’s a robot – yet most times he’s the most human acting of the entire crew.

4) Like the people you’re with.  Even if you can’t love them, you have to like and respect them.  You have to give them the same courtesies that they give you – People are often in our lives for a distinct reason – and even if we don’t know what that reason is, we have to be open to the fact that fundamentally, we can all benefit by caring for each other.  This is a big Zoidberg label.  Even if you have absolutely nothing in common, there’s no room for haters in this world.

5) Make the most of the time you have.  You never know exactly when it’ll be up, and you don’t want to have unfinished business or regrets when it is.  Live your life so that even if you are given the possibility of a “do-over”, there’s nothing in it that you actually would change.

6) Unique people make the best friends.  Like the sewer mutants, everybody is different.  Not every is gifted with a great voice or a flashy body, but everyone has something special that can make your life better, if you give them a chance.

7) And lastly, and possibly most importantly, never put your garbage out into space. It will come back to smack you in the face before you ever know it.  This goes for every meaning of the word “garbage” – anything you don’t like, can’t use, or just discard out of hand.  Don’t throw it away – don’t post it on Twitter, don’t timeline it on Facebook – you will be staring it back in the face before you know it.  If you are going to send something out into the universe, let it be something you are proud of, that you believe in, not something you are trying to get rid of.

Well, I guess that’s about all I have to say for today.  I will be back, before long, because I hope that my sharing my thoughts and feelings will help at least someone else to be able to share theirs.  I am always contemplating life, and being, and the “hard questions” – and sometimes I find solace in the most likely of places, like Futurama.

Peace to everyone, I’ll see you soon.

Terry

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