The Good Old Days

I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you’ve already left them.” — Andy Bernard

Everyone can relate to this feeling — this longing for the good old days that we are sure have passed us by. For some of us, it was high school, where we lived like kings and queens as big fish in small ponds or maybe we didn’t blossom until college where that tinge of awkwardness that kept potential suitors away floated into the ether and we came into our own. Late night parties and staying up until 4 in the morning just to talk because we could.

In my mid-30’s, it’s easy for me to look back on those times and reminisce about that one time we packed 9 people into my green Dodge Avenger (3 in the front, 4 in the back, 2 in the trunk) for the 10-minute drive from our small Iowa college town to the only place that was open that time of night — the truck stop diner that never closed across the state line.

I like to think that I enjoyed those times of my capricious youth to the fullest, but even then I remember the times where I found myself sad and longing for the past or for the future.

What is it about us as humans that keeps us from savoring the moments of our life like we would each morsel of a 9-course meal prepared by a master chef?

When we are in our lives, we’re often sidetracked by just that: life. Life sometimes gets in the way of us finding beauty in ordinary. The one person who I never saw this in was Michael Scott, played so brilliantly for 7 seasons by Steve Carell. Everyone has had a Michael Scott in their life: that bad boss who just doesn’t understand the line between friendship and management. The guy who inevitably says the wrong thing, not out of malice, but out of a desperate attempt to be liked.

(Michael was always the heart and soul of The Office and why they continued the show after he left is beyond me.)

The thing about Carell’s portrayal of Michael that was so damn endearing despite his many peccadilloes was that he was one person who seemed to live in the now…to enjoy his life at every aspect. Sure, he got depressed at times, but his zest for life and the people around him made him such a likable character who, despite his obvious flaws, was just good. He believed he was an amazing basketball player and the World’s Best Boss (according to Spencer Gifts) and he fell head over heels in love with a woman who WAS THE MODEL IN AN OFFICE FURNITURE MAGAZINE.

When the executive producers decided to make Andy the boss after Michael left, I think that they hoped that he would find that same wide-eyed appreciation for his life, but even in his relationship with the adorable Erin Hannon, he couldn’t see past the end of his nose.

In the finale of the show, seeing Andy say this quote resonated with a lot of people. I remember watching the episode live accompanied by Twitter (an irony that is not lost on me) and seeing so many people tweet out that quote over and over and over again. We all have that same longing for understanding what is good about our lives and appreciating it in its time rather than six months or years or decades after the fact.

But what I’ve found in my life is that you just need to make a decision to start enjoying the mundane. Find beauty in the normal. And embrace your life wherever you might find yourself. Sure, it might not be the place you thought you’d be at 36, but it sure hasn’t sucked up to this point either.

“I went to the woods to live deep and suck the marrow out of life.” — Henry David Thoreau, as quoted by Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society

So live deep and recognize that even at the worst, you are alive in the most amazing time mankind has ever seen.

Here’s to the Good Old Days that are yet to come. May we find ourselves enjoying them.

Is it time for The Office to close?

NBC’s American version of Ricky Gervais’ The Office is now in its sixth hilarious season. For the people that follow the show, most would agree it is one of their “can’t miss” shows week after week.

Steve Carell’s Michael Scott and Rainn Wilson’s Dwight Schrutte are two of the best characters on TV right now and Jim and Pam are a couple that are difficult to dislike.

However, outside of Michael finally finding love and Dwight and Angela rekindling their relationship, I kind of feel like the show has really run its course.

It hasn’t ceased to be funny by any means, but the narrative seems to have stalled a bit. I’m predicting that the delivery of Pam & Jim’s baby is going to be the final nail in the coffin.

Let’s be honest, The Office has lasted considerably longer than anyone predicted, even NBC. Remember back when it almost got cancelled after its first 6-episode season, but was saved its popularity in the iTunes Store? These days, it is still consistently funny, but I get the feeling that we are one season away from the start of regurgitated content from other popular sitcoms.

BJ Novak and Mindy Kaling have been EPIC over the course of the six seasons it has been on, entertaining us and making us uncomfortable in ways that we never expected, but could always relate to. Most of us, after all, can relate to many of the characters who make up the Dunder-Mifflin Scranton office. We’ve worked for a Michael, or with a Dwight. We’ve always wondered what it would be like to put someone’s stapler in Jell-o.

I don’t want to see The Office become overdone. I want it to be always remembered as one of the funniest shows on TV, a great reimagining of a critically-acclaimed British show that managed to make its own mark on the landscape of the small screen.

Maybe I’m crazy here. It still is one of my favorite shows on TV. Who would ever ask for one of their favorite shows on TV to go off the air? Maybe I’m misguided. It’s really just one guy’s opinion. I highly doubt that NBC will let it slink away easily. It’s one of the 4th-place network’s only success stories.

I just want it to go out on top. Maybe we’ll see how the rest of the season goes. I might be wrong.

Dear The Office,

When referencing a graphic design program, please do not – under any circumstances – EVER use the following dialogue:

Jim: “I thought you were good at Flash.”

Pam: “I was. And then they changed to Acrobat and now it’s Quark and I’m just not good at this computer stuff.”

Unacceptable. UNACCEPTABLE!!!! There are so many things wrong with that statement. Graphic designers and people who work on the Web should share my outrage.

I expect a full written apology from Pam Beesley, Jim Halpert, Dunder-Mifflin, Ricky Gervais, Greg Daniels, Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski, B.J. Novak, NBC Universal, and Reveille Productions.

You have 48 hours to meet my demands.

Pre-empted by rain

Unfortunately, due to heavy rain and “the conditions for tornadic activity”, The Office was pre-empted tonight. I wouldn’t mind so much if NBC’s streaming video site didn’t suck so much.

Note to NBC: I would have bought the show tonight from iTunes, but you burned that bridge long ago.

Oh yeah, and don’t bother updating your site after the show has aired. I already saw last week’s show, thanks.

How about you put it on Hulu? Nope.

I would have tried to download directly from your site, but you don’t support Macs. Fail.

I would have paid to download it from Amazon Unbox. Wait, what’s that? It’s not updated either? Fail again.

Live TV stinks, but the Internet’s not much better, Tony…not yet at least. Lost is pre-empted as well. Stupid weather.

What CENTURY is this?

The Office has been nails this season.

I don’t know about you, but I’m loving the extra 30 minutes of the Dunder Mifflin crew, if only for the extra Creed time. Tonight’s episode had everything you could ask for in a situation comedy. It had situations and they were all comedic.

Seriously, who thinks up this stuff? Dwight and Mose running a B&B! Michael with a second job! You know how you laugh so hard sometimes that you start to cough? No? Well I did tonight. What a great episode.

Some awesome Office links:

Dwight’s Blog, Schrute Space
Creed’s Blog,\creedthoughts
Dunder Mifflin Infinity