Or: Six reasons not to follow civilization out of the plane
(part one of an endless tirade)

MONDAY - My neck hurts like the muscles and bones have rusted together. Happened as I slept. Need a new mattress. My whole life feels that way, like I've been sleeping on a pile of rocks. Can't move without thinking about it. I still believe I'm a good person and I love everybody (in the abstract) but now my life is driven by tedious jealousy and a bitter sense of hedonistic failure. ("I tried living for pleasure once. Wound up in a neck brace.")

Had a dream last night that several bicyclists had gotten flat tires in the middle of the Arctic and were being torn apart by polar bears. We called the bears grizzlies in the dream even though they were white. Dreams are like that.

Haven't gotten enough sleep for several weeks. I'll be busy for the next four nights, meaning I'll be tired until Saturday at least. All evil in modern civilization is nurtured by the fact that It's hard to give a shit about man's inhumanity to man when I know I'll still be exhausted the day after the day after tomorrow. Nobody understands my problems.

TUESDAY - Bitch bitch whine. I'm a swell guy during the day, then at night I write in my journal just before I sleep and so I'm exhausted and the real me comes out and pisses on everything. I hate people who are attractive while they sleep. I hate the vile human phlegm that started a 900 number to "poll" people about their opinions on the OJ case at $1.95 a minute, like taxing the retarded. The wrong people are being punished.

I hate every comedian on cable TV, mistaking nauseated moans for laughs. I watched cable at Evan's for an hour today - I know I was surrendering to the drug of television for this brief experiment, but it all looked so alien and eerie that my hour's viewing felt like the sociological study I'd hoped it was. There was a Spanish-language "Gong Show" with eight-year-old kids as the judges, each proudly speaking with perfect enunciation, like smug, miniature newscasters in bright dresses and suits. The lumbering middle-aged host curled over to speak to them like he'd been dropped through the basement of broadcast television into the pit just below Satan's bathroom, crouching down for fear of bumping his head on the hot floor of some slightly higher plane of Hell.

Watching game shows in a language you don't understand is a good way to jump past the pretense that something relevant is happening and skip right to the realization that you're watching an enactment of our contemporary misinterpretation of human sexuality, all the participants standing far apart and spinning wheels and pushing buttons and screaming with televised excitement and kissing people they've never met before without considering whether any of the insane ritual is necessary because they're convinced it's their only hope of getting the money and cars and washer/dryers and other orgasmic capitalist vibrating pulltoys they need to lift them above the lonely impoverished sewer that is the rest of their lives.

Cable standup-comedy shows are worse. The fact that they're so redundantly unfunny - the suburban audience howling like electrocuted monkeys at yet another masturbation reference, ha ha - makes me suspect that these shows mask some covert hypnotic psychological agenda that's already drugged most of the country. It's the people who never put down the remote control who end up watching the most appalling broadcasts, thinking they can "quit any time they want to." (Most heroin addicts will tell you that after a while, the ritual of injecting the drug is more exciting than the drug itself.)

I used to think I wasn't one of the zombies until a friend told me about the High Expectation Trap: McDonald's knows that if you expect a great hamburger and you get a mediocre hamburger you'll keep coming back forever, still looking for that great hamburger you almost got last time. If you got the great hamburger you expected, you'd experience closure and you wouldn't need to come back. That's why I used to stand two feet from my parents' television watching MTV at three in the morning, waiting to see one good video. That's why I keep buying stale, tasteless chocolate bars. That's why I've always pursued unattainable women - because I haven't completed the experience by ever succeeding with one. Tomorrow's my birthday. I need to grow up.

WEDENSDAY - I turned 28 today, and life is no different. I get furious at those idiots that joke "Today I turned 30 and stopped paying attention to traffic lights. Guess I'm depressed, ha ha." It's only an anniversary, moron. It's a coincidence that we count years in groups of ten. If we counted in base eight, the sixteen-year-olds would be twenty and they wouldn't be happy about it. The twenty-four-year-olds would be thirty and they'd wonder why they were supposed to be so depressed about their age so soon after they were allowed to drink. Adolescents are depressed because their hormones force them to be, while "adults" get depressed because People Magazine says we're failures if we don't each have a miniseries and a triumph over amphetamines to call our own.

"I thought my life was right on schedule until I figured out I'm a complete failure in dog years."

THURSDAY - The 1944 Boy Scout Manual has a section on masturbation. It takes sixteen sentences to describe what it is, then it says not to do it about five times, then it says to take a cold "hip bath" every night before bed, then it says "Seek advice from wise, clean, strong men." I looked for comforting advice about homosexuality, but I couldn't find any. Maybe that's what the "wise, clean, strong men" thing was about.

Every male American should be required to tongue-kiss another guy before graduating high school. Taste his saliva or repeat your senior year. Accept that just because you haven't done it doesn't mean it's not worth doing. The Boy Scout pledge says every scout should be loyal and honest and courteous, etc., and the only scout I ever knew who managed to completely uphold that pledge was gay. We must learn from this.

Went to Club Bondage-A-Go-Go last night. (Nothing about that in the Boy Scout Manual either, and so I faced this new experience without proper moral guidance.) I dunno, maybe I have a gift for looking at people in patent-leather leotards getting spanked in public and seeing goofy smiling folks roasting marshmallows. The illusion of an enveloping world of sin and sensuality was not complete. The problem is, that "world of sin and sensuality" is the "reality" I'm so afraid of losing touch with...the "illusion" is that the inarticulate, flaccid civilization of our everyday lives should be considered our "natural state". And yet real excitement and emotions only come out when we're on camera, gleefully accepting the fabulous prizes we've just snatched away from the other contestants. I hope I'm making all this up.

FRIDAY - Thought about Christine for over an hour, how stupid our breakup was and she's the only person I could ever have a relationship with and my life is a lonely pit and I blame her for my suffering and all that. I won't call her again - if I've learned anything in the last seven months, it's that this breakup was permanent.

Saw Lara's play. She was supposed to set me up with a friend who didn't show up. "Be warned", Lara said, "she's gorgeous...scorching." She said it like she was warning a blind man not to drive. "I'm not saying she's too attractive for you, Marty. I'm just saying she might not appreciate the real you until you're trapped together in a filthy prison where no one else speaks English."

Dreamed last night that they was asking for brave volunteers to be declared beloved and popular, torn to pieces by the adoring crowd and reassembled by modern surgical technology. Only a strong, healthy volunteer could hope to survive having legs torn off and ribs pulled apart, whole body chopped into cold pieces and sewn back together. It would be passing through the eye of the needle, through the portal no living mortal could successfully navigate.

There's got to be an easier way to find fulfillment.

SATURDAY - I didn't buy the custom kickass stereo I saw for $40 at a garage sale today and I'm an idiot. I wasted $60 last month on speakers I'll never use because I don't have the right stereo and now I could have bought the perfect stereo but I didn't want to spend the money and I'm an idiot. For the rest of my life I'm going to think of that stereo, how I could have not bought the speakers and bought the stereo and I'd still have twenty bucks left. Whenever I need twenty bucks I'm going to think of that stereo and those speakers and I'll decide never to have children because I wouldn't want to pass my bitterness on to them.

"I felt bad because I had no shoes, then I met a man who paid $40 for the stereo I knew I wanted but I was saving for some shoes so I didn't buy it and now I don't have a stereo or shoes. Pity me."

Later realized, scrambling across Geary Boulevard, that getting hit by a car would put all this in perspective. There's something really stupid in human nature dictating that we need a constant stream of increasingly monumentous disasters to make us realize how great life was last week. Human beings are the dumbfucks of the universe. Unsatisfied with life, we leave the places we know and the people we love to go out and cross the Earth in search of wisdom, wisdom we could have gained in simply getting hit by a car. Lying broken on the street, we'd gain sudden insight: life is the process of falling out of bed onto a greasy block of ice, over and over and over. To understand life is to enjoy the comfort of the bed, not the comfort of the fact that you'll still be in bed next week. Tomorrow, you may be lying bloody and broken on Geary boulevard, abandoned and unloved, wishing you owned a stereo.

Copyright 1996 Martin Azevedo

ej@templeofdominoes dot com

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