Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Letter To My Unborn Child
Dear Whoever You Are,
Humans are not inherently special; not a single one of ‘em.
Whether it’s the prime minister or your neighbour. Basically, we’re all the same tub full of guts, however basically sad that is. What I really mean is that no one possesses any special powers. L. Ron Hubbard was schizophrenic and Jesus Christ was a carpenter. Be wary of anybody who claims to know or converse with God. They’re always lying, or at the very least are untruthful in the sense that they have convinced themselves of the veracity of their lies, but any way you slice it, it’s not true--remember that.
Like someone’s father once said: “The reason for living is to get ready to stay dead a long time.”
You don’t need religion to construct a set of moral ethics. It’s really not all that complicated. The rub is empathy. Some may not believe it but it’s true. You can never say the phrase, “put yourself in their shoes” enough. Say it at least five times a day and you’ll understand why people are the way they are. Sure it’s a cliché, but you will eventually find out that no amount of ironic detachment can slay the inherent truth’s in most clichés.
The put yourself in their shoes adage is also equally applicable to oneself. Imagine the other person is in my shoes, hearing what I just said, taking in my position. It’s really an invaluable phrase to live by. How can we be assaulted by modern reality and not constantly remind ourselves of this? It’s what keeps us sane. The things we pay attention to, our emotional responses, are so manipulated and commodified from the moment we emerge screaming from our mothers’ piss flaps, the first curtains we see peeled back on the world stage, how can we even know we’re doing the right thing? All I know is, I’ll do my best to show you the right path, but you’ll have to machete chop your way through the unchartered areas.
Occam’s Razor is a remarkable tool. The simplest explanation generally really is the truth. 9/11 conspiracy theories and UFO’s, however salacious, are sliced up by the O.R. Avoid getting caught up in all the blustery rhetoric. You’ll be coaxed into ponzi scheme’s and robo-call scams, and Shamwow’s, and timeshare’s, and marriage, and joint accounts, and 48 hour murder mysteries, and enough already! Stay away from it all! It’s all lies! If you want to live in a cabin in the woods that’s fine by me; you can’t get far away enough from these humans.
I certainly don’t hold out much hope for unvarnished truth in the political sphere, and I have never identified myself outright with any dichotomous political party. Labels are for cans, dude, not people. Politicians tend to screw the electorate behind closed doors and in mundane ways, ways that are muddled in needless complexity so as to detract attention--it’s too boring--rather than in sexy conspiratorial ways. Makes for a great movie though. The grand systems we are born into are maintained through networks and kickbacks and last minute insertions that the plebeian masses can only catch the smallest glimpses of and are seemingly powerless to control. The maddening thing about politicians is that even when they’re being genuine you just don’t know if they’re genuinely being genuine or if that’s simply part of their whole persona . . . to seem more genuine. God, I hope you don’t become like that, where every word that comes out of your mouth is mediated and considered for full emotional effect.
Simply be you and you’ll find that others are drawn into your orbit. Try your best to speak the truth. I mean, you’ll end up telling some lies, it’s inevitable. If your boss tells you to tell a customer the shipment that never left the dock was caught up at a UPS terminal, well that’s your call. It really doesn’t matter what party you vote for, that part of the show is an illusion of democracy. All the important things that keep the cash flowing for the plutocrats who control industries and influence national policies will continue to be implemented in clandestinely immense ways regardless of which party controls the House, Senate, Duma, etc. It doesn’t mean I don’t want you to care about social issues, I just wanted to sound kind of smart and include it in my letter to you. If you need to know what a letter is all you have to do is ask.
Help others on a communal level instead of worrying too much about the big picture. The big picture is far too daunting; too much white noise.
Have a sense of humour about yourself. There’s nothing more annoying than a vegan feminist lesbian or a white supremacist who obsessively collects Nazi memorabilia and shines his guns every night, or a narcissistic actor who is a Scientologist. These people have no senses of humour about themselves and are not much fun to be around. Not that fun is the be all and end all to human experience. My culture is very much addicted to entertainment and fun. We’re continually sliding down the fun continuum, scrambling our sense of what’s truly important. Attention spans have been co-opted to consume the most stimulating experiences in quicker and quicker doses. It’s what the audience demands! Not much time for much else.
Real understanding takes time, though. That’s the problem. Sometimes a message needs to be fleshed out over five hundred pages for the nuances to be understood and fully enjoyed, not one hundred forty characters. I’ll tell ya right know, kiddo, there’s no Coles Notes to this thing.
In my culture it’s very easy to be courageous. All you have to do is be in the right place at the right time and be famous enough to draw attention. Angelina Jolie is unanimously being hailed as a courageous woman for pre-empting her potentially cancerous genes by having a double mastectomy. She has roughly an 87% chance of getting breast cancer. A mastectomy seems like a common sense approach to eliminating the threat of a serious disease. Some say she is courageous because she is a famous actress and her identity is integral to her physical beauty. I will concede that point on the surface. However, Angelina is not a young woman trying to gain traction in Hollywood (I’m aware that not many young actresses have double mastectomies), she’s one of the most powerful and established women in show business, married to the hunk of all hunks and her doctor is going to more or less replicate her formerly beautiful, buoyant chesticles, perhaps in an even more lascivious shape and heft than the originals, so she can still play milfy sex pots and the audience has the added bonus of catching glimpses of her new breasts and thinking how odd it is that science made those! I can certainly empathize with the pain of the whole ordeal of adjusting to her new body, and I realize it is life altering, but I fail to see what is courageous about this. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. She and/or her publicity machine knew she would be hailed as courageous so it was a very low risk, non courageous decision to gain/maintain publicity and relevance. I don’t get it. I’m not singling her out because I have some white hot hatred towards her. Her op-ed in the New York Times was a nice piece, but even she noted that aside from the surgery and the small scars there are not many lasting effects.
Real courage, for the most part, happens outside the encompassing gaze of Sauron’s eye.
Real courage is a woman living in Brampton with two kids and an ex-husband, and a receptionist job, and she was too tired and busy to check out that lump in her right breast, tried to will its corporeality out of existence, because her youngest has a recital tonight and she has to be there; then finally, after months of this ungodly lump growing slowly until it could no longer be ignored, she goes to her doctor and sits in a waiting room with the rest of the diseased hordes, until her name is called and her test results come back a week later to confirm that she has breast cancer and she goes home and doesn’t even cry, or think about it all, she makes dinner for her kids because they have to eat, and doesn’t say anything about going to the doctors office, she’s still in shock and it’s just way too sad and unreal so she loses herself in the routines of family maintenance, and her kids don’t suspect a thing. They eat macaroni and cheese and get tucked in at night by mommy who tries to figure out the right thing to do.
The world abounds with delicious contradictions. You’ll find out that some of the funniest people you will ever meet are also the saddest.
You can always come to me with anything. That’s not to say our relationship will always be seashells and butterflies. I am simply a man, a human just like you, and sometimes my emotions swell up and I’m overcome with hatred, spite, jealousy. I can be a passive aggressive asshole. I don’t like confrontations and go to great lengths to avoid them, and act nonchalant in social battles though inside I’m forever scheming and plotting to outsmart and upstage my opponents.
I hate that about myself and anyone else.
I don’t address serious problems directly and grow cold and distant for reasons that perhaps I’ll work out and correct by the time you’re older. Let’s hope so. If I ever act like a passive aggressive asshole by all means let me know. Two passive aggressive people equal a non-operational union. I’m not good at many things, but no matter how narcissistically self-obsessed my persona is, don’t let that fool you--I’m a really good listener. The kind that, after a long, emotion-purging one-sided conversation, you wonder if the other person is even still on the line. I’m that strong silent type. Spill your guts out, it’s all good, I have two ears and a heart ready for you.
Even if you want to rape little boys, or blow up tall buildings, or both, at the same time, however awful that is, I’ll be there for you, and we’ll try to work through it together. I can’t promise the authorities won’t be notified. However, I’d always be early for our prison visits.
Drugs really aren’t as bad as they’re made out to be. Especially ones like pot and coke and booze. Maybe some Mdma and Adderall too. Don’t mess around with meth, bath salts, glue, and opiates. They destroy your life more so than the other aforementioned drugs; easier to get carried away and addicted to. Tobacco’s not really worth it either, it’s worse for you than coke, pot, et al., and there isn’t much of a payoff. Avoid that one. The main thing is don’t over indulge and keep it recreational. If you’re drinking a twelver everyday, you’ll have some ’splaining to do. That goes for pretty much anything, though. My eyebrow would raise if you only ate bananas every day for a week, too. There’s absolutely nothing wrong--morally, spiritually, physically--with sniffing a few lines of blow while you’re out with some friends. It’ll ring your cherries. I don’t know why it is that any substance that brings relief or pleasure is automatically categorized as evil. The main thing is respect. You must respect the power of these substances. And they are powerful. All of them. Cocaine is a helluva drug.
It’s not much fun to sniff a line if you’re doing it every night. When drug use is needed simply for the maintenance of sobriety than something is long gone wrong. You won’t get that great rush of anticipation before the physical intake of the drug. For example: if I’m constipated, all I have to do is pour out some sugar and cut up a thick line, whip out my wallet, roll up a fiver, and come this close to sniffing it up the schnozola to jog the old memory bank.
Respect drugs and they’ll reward you with pleasure and something resembling enlightenment. You can learn about addiction either directly or indirectly. It’ll be damn near impossible once you become a teenager or young adult for me to actually make you stop using drugs by punishing you. What am I gonna do? Lock you up in a cage and watch you 24/7/365? I hope you don’t learn the hard way, because it’s bleak--a soul-sapping type of suicidal bleakness, and I don’t want you to go through that. I’m not even sure it builds character in the long run. Only digs a grave, really. All I can do is light the way and hope you don’t wander off into the dark. All I can do is give you a pair of steel toed boots to kick at the darkness.
Sometimes I can’t escape the thought that once we’re born into this world our sincerest, deepest bed rock emotions, our attention, our money, our entire sense of being and our beliefs, is only a potentially viable commodity to be bled dry and co-opted and manipulated to further the agendas of massive corporations. It’s a very sad and empty and helpless way of approaching the world, and though it doesn’t prevent me from pursuing the things I love and feel strongly about, it’s a constant kind of nipping at my heels. A niggling voice in the back of my mind; such is our modern world. By bringing you into it I will have ostensibly surrendered to the fact that you, too, will be subsumed by this, and all I can do is make you aware of The Matrix, let you know it’s there, lingering beneath every decision you make, even though being aware of it doesn’t really change anything, cannot change anything.
Don’t let that extinguish your passions. It still takes everything I have not to get all pissy-eyed when I listen to And I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues by Elton John. It’s one of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard. Difficult to even put into words why--I might need five hundred and forty pages. It’s the timbre of Elton’s voice, the poignancy of Bernie Taupin’s lyrics, the wonderful chord progression (a killer B7 in the verse). It‘s about the direction love should have went and didn’t.
Really, though, please don’t become a Scientologist. I spent a few weeks in a YouTube vortex watching ‘bull-baiting’ protests and creepy minions confronting ex-church members at their homes; scary, scary mind-controlling stuff. Some of Scientology’s official videos, like the fifteen minute one criticizing the integrity of The New Yorker, and some of their fundraiser commercials are unintentionally hilarious.
That’s another thing: unintentional hilarity is perhaps the greatest subset of comedy. It’s incredibly funny on an abstract plane knowing that unintentional, purely non-comedic actions are, in actual fact, sometimes completely hilarious.
One of the best feelings a human can have is trying to suppress laughter in a socially inappropriate setting--classroom, job site, courtroom, etc. Where you’re trying with every ounce of strength to keep those facial muscles slack and those guffaws way down in the hole. Then the damn bursts and tears are streaming down your face and your cheeks ache from smiling.
When I used to paint houses, my partner in crime, Jamie, and myself began mimicking our bosses idiosyncrasies, making fun of his habit of starting off sentences with, “Get a . . .” As in, “ Once I get a good meal in me I’ll finish the lower windows in no time.” Furthermore, he would end sentences with, “Or . . .” just letting it trail off into the ether. “You guys gonna finish the lower windows, or . . .”
Or what!? Suck each other’s dicks and do our taxes!?
To this day, it’s one of the most grating speech tics, worse even than ‘like’. So don’t do that.
In closing, please don’t become one of those religious nuts who believes the world is six thousand years old and that all the evolutionary and geological evidence to the contrary is only gods way of testing your faith. Oh, brother. Hey god, why not just a written, huh?
P.S. I simply love you more than I love life itself.