overhaul / undertow

Friday, March 07, 2003

Culled from latenite depressed docs. Oh, what fun!!!

...I have read all those books, those self-aware, self-conscious books, where you are supposedly the proverbial onion of yourself, peeling yourself apart layer by bitumous layer, traveling inward towards a center of sorts that you imagine is there, beneath all the translucent bits; through the external parts to the inner, through the Jungian parts and then into the Freudian parts, the ego and id and superego and deeper and deeper, hitting each one as you plan to penetrate further; and then you are supposed to land at an end, an epiphany to end all epiphanies, and that is It. There you are. The world is solved. Right?

I cannot get over the fact that I can’t seem to reach that center; and I worry that if I already have at some point it wasn’t impressive enough for me to even notice, or if it’s one of those bullshit things that “you’ve known all along, in your bones.” Intuitive--right? Well, intuition schmintuition. No "intuition" of existential significance is going to help me get through the night. Why can’t I escape the feeling that there should be more? Further inward to go? A bigger better answer than what I’ve gotten so far?

Maybe there is nothing bigger or better. Maybe I’ve reached the end of the introspection rail line, and the tracks hit a flat wall here like some Road Runner cartoon. Maybe I have plumbed the depths. I have mapped the unmappable, and found it is not so large, not so vast after all, it is a known value, and my story of myself is now reduced to a required-reading book from tenth grade that you read and re-read and analyzed over and over ‘til you found every clue, studied every nuance, analyzed and debated every literary device, allusion, metaphor and possible theme or patterns; and the book has now been wrung dry, meaningless, to bare bones and powdery teeth, moth’s wing-brittle and dusty and so, so so incredibly sorrowful; it will never hold a mystery again, not a single one, reduced to a childhood map where the treasure’s been found—and you now know years later that your treasure, once so brilliant and depthless and deep green, was really just some pennies and rusty old paperclips and faded candy wrappers.

I hate books for that reason.

They are wordlessly lovely, those worlds built of words--and then they cease to mean a thing, a mirage melting before your eyes, leaving you with the dull and faded day-to-day life you really live.

I harbor a strong distaste for postmodern ironic scenesters, and here's why.

I hate that.
How the homeostasis of the world remains and remains and remains, but I never do. Mold is always creeping back into my shower. The floor is always getting filthy again, the dust always building up again. I hate it. I want to eliminate it from my life.

I thought living halfass was going to be so glamorous.

You know, and we bank ourselves up with irony so we don't collapse. We pile our ironic trash around us. Things like kitschy memerobilia, blow-up dolls, slightly-smaller-than-life-size cardboard cutouts promoting football games by teams we don’t like, things with fish on them, kids’ toys, corporate-synergy cross-marketed crap we pick up at fast-food chains, disturbing religious tracts, non-sequiturs, goofy books like “Chincilla Farming,” horribly dated audio equipment, sexist/racist flotsam from years past, stuff from Japan we can’t understand. And we laugh. Like we’re having fun.

But we’re not. We laugh like they’re toys, we tell ourselves we are being playful, wide-eyed and childlike.

We’re actually angry.

We are anything but wide-eyed and childlike. We are so lost, burnt out and cynical that if something genuine came up and slapped us across the face we would be unable to recognize it as anything more than a laughable twist of fate. We are old, old, old, because all this crap we gather into us, all the useless trash, is the sick relics, the flotsam and jetsam of a culture pasted together poorly with things that don’t matter. A small, petty, bitter little culture, where we are tiny and can do nothing large. We are nursed on childhood stories of epics and dragon-slayings, and then loosed into the workaday world to sit down all day long, to buy a house, to scoop out litter boxes. We can’t even become rock stars. We can’t even become football players. We can’t be presidents.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I got asked ten million fucking times.

We can’t even be astronauts. We will never be doctors, or firemen. Those dreams of glory die. We work in offices, get 401K’s, tell our friends that the health benefits make the lower pay worth it. We pay bills. We refinance and make dinner plans. We research CARS, for fuck's sake.

So if we do gather that ironic trash in around ourselves, understand. Understand that we are shell-shocked victims, we’re lost our minds, rattling there in the cage: we sit amid the shards of our madhouse, imagining we build an epic and lovely castle, and stare lovingly at our meaningless treasures all day.


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