Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Self Help Guide to the Philosophy of Mediocrity

I think my face is melting. What I mean to say is I wish my face was melting. If that were the case there would be nothing I could do about the fact that I am getting older, fatter, and uglier.

If I just got a bit skinnier you might be able to see my jaw line, and see how all the years have only added character to my face. I might be better looking that I was when I was 20 and actually getting pussy.

Instead, all I have is a number of pictures on myspace with me looking like a fat ass. I have no idea when getting fat happened. Though from what people have said to me it has been happening for quite some time and, "I should really think about hitting the gym."

I suppose going to the gym could get me skinny, but then I would have to stop eating ding-dongs, and drinking cola.

Not that any of that matters.

I still have the infection in my toe, and I have to think that all that puss is going somewhere, and that somewhere is showing up as red splotches on my arms. Or maybe those splotches are just the signs that my arms and back are growing hair all the while I am going bald on the top of my head.

I guess all this means is that the period of time I had when I could fool 18 year old girls that I was under 35 is now about gone. I might have a few more weeks, maybe less, and then everyone who meets me will assume that I am over 35, and when that happens everything in my life will be in decline.

Once I was young, and full of potential. Now I am old, and full of regret. I know some of you out there have some kind of strange New Age belief that you never regret anything that happens in life, "because it just sets us up to learn difficult life lessons we could have never learned any other way."

Either that or you never regret anything because you are afraid to admit that you made a mistake. I think the second manner of thinking is false, if not impossible. I think the first way of thinking is magical and silly.

All I can tell you is that I have made tons of mistakes in my life. I am sure there are a millions things I would "do over" if given the chance. Anyone who would tell you different is a liar.

As I wrote this post I figured out the reason I stay "youthfully immature" is that way I can have people view me through the prism of 'potential' rather than 'practice.'

Neither paradigm holds much promise for me anymore. I have done very little with the life that I have. I will most likely do nothing much with what is left. I am in danger of waiting around or "running the clock out" as a good friend of mine once said about another friend of ours.

All I can tell you is that I must lack some element of faith that you believers have. I can't seem to give myself over to the idea that anything I do will matter.

I know when nothing matter to some people they just give in to the impulses. As for that kind of hedonism, my lusting for the good life is quite different from yours. I don't want to go after a lot of material goods, so I can't be bought by the promise of riches. My hedonism is simple. I wish to be left alone. I wish to have time to myself. Though we all know what "time to one's self" eventually does to that self.*

*Does it not just force the focus of our lives too richly on ourselves?

I know if we give in to our darkest desires we tend destroy ourselves. Binging on drugs, sex and rock 'n roll is just too obvious a way to kill yourself:

I know some of you would like to offer me some advice.

You want me to stop dwelling on the big picture. Maybe just look smaller at some of the little things that need adjusting. Like maybe some fine tuning of my life skills would get my heart back in the right place.

I can tell you that concentrating on the smaller things in life is all I do, and I will need a lot of those life skills to practice anything other than the slow ride into death from the joyless existence I now have.

What disgusts me most about myself is my fascination with the minutia of my decaying life. How the body alerts you over the years of where every thing is eventually headed.

I am motionless, like a suicidal. I have any number of small ailments. Many of which could be looked after. The result of which could enable me to live out life more comfortably. Perhaps with some pleasure.

I have insurance, but I do not seek out the help of doctors. I am overwhelmed by the smallest of obstacles and tiniest of stumbling blocks that society and culture set before me.

I can find in the warning of a 250 dollar deductible the death sentence of mortals. Two hundred fifty dollars. I won't go to the doctor. I will allow my toe to rot.

If I were artist, or a philosopher, or a hero I would cut it off to spite the world. But I will not. I am no one like that. I am like you. Only weaker. The struggling minnow in the torrent of the flood. The Ocean swallows me. The maelstrom collision of modern alienation and anomie leaving me rudderless . Set adrift, I follow only the current of my destruction. Unhappy at my lot. I sit at my ship. I keep careful watch for the falls. But I know I will sail over anyway.

None of that is true. It is a waste of poetic imagery. Hacked from better thinkers. Borrowed from the collective unconscious. I just hoped you would follow along with me, simply because you were familiar with the language.

What I am is so much smaller. I am not the hero of this myth. I am alone. I am imperceptible. Unknown by fate. To be mocked by the gods is to be treasured.

But all I have is the smallness of my every day life. What we have now is something that can only be understood by Heidegger's Dasein. His "Being-in-the-world."

I cry out at the hypocrisy of others. At the futility of rage assigned to the blameless. When all my thoughts are consumed by the splinters that effect us all. "How will I pay for this bill? How can I afford this* item? Where will I live?"

*do I need it? what will it do? are there others better. what are the trade offs this purchase will make me endure?... ad infinitum....

My answer to this question is to take my dirty sheets off the bed, if only after a month or two, if only to see them pile up in the dirty clothes pile, if only to tell myself that I will wash them before I go to bed, and wonder at what I will tell myself now that it is 2 am and the sheets are unwashed. Is it o.k. to place the unwashed sheets back on the bed? Do I have time to wash them before bed? I wonder if there are sheets in the pantry that will fit my bed.

Afterward I wonder if I can stop the hemorrhaging of money. I spend money like I earn it, which I do not. I spent 77 cents on a glass when I have cups. 8 purple cups that work just fine. I do not need 4 new glasses. Even if the glasses are just the correct size to pour cold ice tea from the refrigerator into. The correct size and texture and feel to drink from when no ice is required, because the tea is refrigerator cold. Just big enough to drink leisurely from without the contents turning warm. Large enough to consume without going thirsty.

I must have a drink in my hand at all waking hours. If I am awake I have a cold glass of coke, or a tepid cup of Iced Tea ready at hand. I have no idea why. Other than the observation made form a nursing assistant that diabetics drink like that.

Nursing assistants. They only let them change bed pans. But I take his advice to heart. Those words were the last words I heard from a health professional.

My roommate has been asleep all day. I can hear his snoring through two shut doors. I walk to the kitchen and fill my glass full of ice tea. The roommate left the tea out earlier today. It sat between the stove and the refrigerator on the kitchen counter tops getting warm. Not too warm though. Cool enough for me to know this must have been a mistake. That he placed the large plastic gallon pitcher on the counter so that he could rummage through the ice box looking for ding-dongs or pasta or left over bowls of top ramen. All he eats is "top ramen and tuna fish" he reminds me.

I would like to scream at the injustice in the world. But there seems to be no injustice. Life's calloused hands swat away a billion insects in the moment it took me to write this sentence. I am not humbled by this fact, as it exists like every other fact. Connected in a way that makes no difference to me.

It is just a fact. And as a fact, I can ignore it.

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