How a Microwave Fire Taught Me to Ask Questions

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There is an episode of “The Simpsons” that Mr. Burns has bought all of the media outlets in town so that he can shed a positive light on himself.  The only one he isn’t able to convince to sell is a small paper, “The Red Dress Press”, that Lisa had started shortly before Mr. Burns went on his buying spree.  Near the end of the episode Lisa has given up on her paper after numerous attacks from Mr. Burns as he attempts to ruin her.   That’s when Homer comes to the rescue.  He publishes his own paper with a story about how he wants to be like Lisa because she told people to think for themselves.  Lisa is thankful for her dad’s article but has concluded that one little paper can’t make a difference.  That’s when they learn that they’ve inspired “a thousand freaks xeroxing their worthless opinion” as  Homer put it and that together they can make a difference.

That’s what this blog is.  It’s one voice.  It’s my voice.  In a world that’s ever increasingly noisy I think it’s more important than ever for us to each have our own voice, to ask questions, to find answers and to look at things beyond what we are told to believe.

An example of challenging cultural norms would be the time I had a group of friends over watching a movie and one of them, who will remain nameless unless someone asks, had brought some microwave popcorn.  In an effort to save time he thought that it would be smart to put three bags in the microwave at the same time and increase the time they were in the microwave.  I of course thought this was a great idea.  Well it didn’t turn out so great.  Not long into the cooking process one of the bags started on fire.  My apartment filled with black smoke and all three bags of popcorn were ruined.  If you’ve ever smelt burnt popcorn you know how bad it smells, this was 10 times worse.  You could smell it well down the hall and the smell lingered in my apartment for days after.  Nothing was damaged except for our pride (my pride takes a major hit almost everyday it seems) and our three bags of microwave popcorn, but we learned two important lessons that day.

The first, don’t microwave three bags of popcorn at the same time.  We never did try two bags, maybe that’ll work.  The second lesson, ask questions, push the boundaries, turn things upside down and look at it a different way.  I had a philosophy professor who when told something would reply “Prove it”.  He didn’t say it because he didn’t believe you, he said it because he wanted you to think about why you believed what you just told him, for you to take ownership of what you were saying and for you to be able to back up your point.  Let’s start turning things upside to see them from a different perspective.

What can you turn upside down?

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