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Appreciate Your Imagination

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It’s a gorgeous day in Raleigh, North Carolina. The sun is out, but he appears to be in hiding today. Are we feeling a little shy Mr. Sun? Or could it be that you’re on punishment? It’s almost as if Mother Nature deliberately arranged the clouds to shun the beaming ultraviolet rays from scorching my skin. It was my last day in Raleigh and I was a bit worn from my visit with the rambunctious niece and nephews.

As each cloud sailed by in the bright blue sky like a floating marshmallow wonder, I’d see a bear holding a spear, two goblins riding a dragon and Anne Hathaway wrestling with Michelle Pfeiffer, slowly tearing off each others Catwoman costumes. Then I realized how weird I was, and not because I didn’t include Halle Berry, but because I didn’t pull out my phone to take a picture of random clouds. I didn’t open up my Instagram app. I didn’t pick the Lo-fi Filter. I didn’t share my pictures in hopes of receiving a few likes. There must be something wrong with me. Am I the last person in modern society that hasn’t succumb to the evils of technology?

Does anyone just stop to think anymore? Better yet, when was the last time you just let your mind wander? Yeah, I know. You’re a busy person. Still, I bet you find yourself sitting in front of a laptop watching YouTube videos about how great it all was in the 80’s and 90’s. Trust me, I highly doubt you spent your entire childhood stuck in front of a television. You had some toys and you had time to play. And the best part about playtime was using your imagination to create these absurd scenarios. I know I did. Where else but my living room would Cyclops from the X-Men be fighting side-by-side with the Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles and Batman? These battles went down in my bedroom before they ever appeared on Power Rangers Turbo or in the Marvel vs DC Saga.

When we played Laser Tag we weren’t just in a cool building with arcade games, we were in Uranus—with all types of pun intended. I never danced or bowled in front of a Nintendo Wii, I was too busy trying to get Mario laid, but I always forgot that fucking “P” Wing that would get me out of that never ending castle in the eighth world of Super Mario Bros. 3. What the fuck was that about? And when we played sports we were Jordan, Bonds, Gretzky and Montana. That replica jersey was as authentic as it could be, and when we wore it we were immortal. We embraced the pressure when, in our heads, the game was on the line. In reality, we were playing by ourselves, immersed in the moment.

The playground was our sanctuary. We created a world. We ran from weird creatures with three noses and 15 nipples, and the only way to escape was by climbing the ladder and going down the slide. We were afraid, and so, we moved with urgency. Nowadays we’re late for work and we say fuck it. No more urgency and no more imagination. What happened? You grew up, or rather your responsibilities grew. Time and time again, you were told to get your head out of the clouds. Fuck that, I appreciate my imagination. It will always be there for you, even after you’ve abandoned it and sometimes it’s better than reality. If you ask me, the world is a lot better when your head is in the clouds.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

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