Saturday, April 21, 2012

Day 11: Enjoy Your Burrito

One of the things I've recently discovered on the Internet and have loved is the work that Chris Hardwick has been doing with his Nerdist empire (also here).   The flagship of that empire is the Nerdist Podcast where Hardwick and his band of merry-men interview nerd and entertainment culture luminaries about whatever comes to mind.  It's quite entertaining if you ask me.

At the end of each podcast Hardwick signs off with the following: "Enjoy your burrito, everybody!"  Now, I like Mexican cuisine just as much as anybody and more than most, but it seems an odd thing to say out of the blue, and odder as an identifying quotation.

My curiosity about this was immediately piqued so I went to the oracle of the Internet, Google, and typed in the quizzical term.  The following is the definition that can be found at the urban dictionary (a whole site dedicated to letting old, out of touch fogies like me translate from "cool kid" back to 1990's english). 

enjoy your burrito - Advice to a person who ignores happiness by focusing on the misery or boredom that will follow when it's over (e.g. a person eating a delicious burrito from his favorite Mexican restaurant becomes depressed halfway through upon realising that soon there will be none left to savor).

I like that.  I feel like there are a lot of people , myself included, who fall into the trap of worrying so much about what's to come next that they can not enjoy, or really even experience, the things they have right in front of them.

A friend was telling me that she was purchasing some luggage that was built substantially enough to survive a cross pacific flight to Hawaii that she and her husband would need for their pending vacation.  Her husband was not fond of the idea of getting the luggage, and even after they'd picked out the perfect set for a good price when they got to the checkout he said aloud to himself, "I can't believe we're just going to have to do this again in about eight or ten years!"

If you can't see the humor in that then it can only because you too aren't enjoying your burrito.  The same friend's husband also doesn't want to buy a new car for just about the same reason.  I have to shamefully admit I'm right there with him; I hate (HATE) the notion that my car is going to break down, regardless.  It's going to happen.  I feel about cars the way some people feel about computers, I guess.  But the difference is I don't like, and am not good at working on cars.

I'm not suggesting that people shouldn't prepare for the future, or think about it; to say otherwise is terrible advice.  But, if you've got no room to enjoy the present, then you're equally doing it wrong.

Just this morning I was at the UVa-Wise 360 event, the open house for our college, manning a table for the Mathematics and Computer Science Department.  I can more or less guess what the questions I'm going to get are going to be.  One I almost always get is "how many years is it going to take to finish the degree and how can I expedite that process".  The answer I give is correct; it commonly takes four years for really motivated students and more like five years on average; and it is possible to take classes either in the summer or at other colleges... as long as they are approved for transfer credit ahead of time.  But, what I want to say to them above all else (especially to parents) is, enjoy your burrito.

So, I'll close with this: an example of what it means to enjoy your burrito, courtesy of my son for whom, at his age, it just comes naturally.


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