Friday, August 08, 2008

They Run Away

The day, chopped into little pieces by all these sympathetic diversions, had in fact crumbled in his hands, and turned to dust - and he would notice it now, either in cheerful amazement or, at worst, with a little pensiveness, since to shudder at the thought would have been inappropriate to his young years. It seemed to him that he was simply gazing, 'on and on.'

- The Magic Mountain

Holiness is a sense. The same as taste and smell. Holiness is sense of plot - assembling mosaics from the disparate fragments of life events. The sense of joy is intimately correlated to the sense of tragedy; they are essentially the same feeling, which is acknowledgment of the world's potential for beauty, whether in regards to its fulfillment or its abandonment.

But it doesn't stick. The fragments are mutually, magnetically repellant. Dwelling in holiness requires all of our faculties - it is exhausting. When was the last time you cried for more than ten minutes?

So what is left when my grip loosens is static, a severe ringing in the ears. What is left is feeling like a droswy, beached whale. I look around and I see slow suffocation - the neighbor who constantly has some van in his driveway, some piece of wood or marble set atop wooden horses being ground down to its appropriate shape, to be wielded against the degeneration of his perfectly-fine house in whatever new fit of rennovative zeal he has caught himself up in; the eternal shortening of the lawns; the slow breeze of lives passed in tedious routine.

The part of me that travels into mosaic land complains, like an old man with cataracts bent over some small province of a puzzle with infinite pieces. He knows that these assessments are wrong, are in fact an offense, because there is holiness in absolutely everything.

And so I trudge around feeling like my head is filled with farts and ghosts, fists full of cardboard.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Never Write Fan Letters

Dear Patton Oswalt,

Last night I had a dream about recruiting William Shatner, my neighbor, to combat a murderous cult that lived on our street. We rained righteous fury on them for hours while Satan drove around in a semi. Then I was exploring catacombs beneath Reed College, where I saved this girl from a giant lizard that spit poison. She thought I was a werewolf and we were totally about to do it when my alarm went off.

That was a pretty good dream. One I thought you could appreciate. But I have another dream you might be interested in (awesome segue). Keep reading, even if your psycho-fan-spider-sense tingles.

I am about to be a senior at a college where people have spent whole quarters studying Buffy the Vampire Slayer and making elaborate installation art pieces that allow you to stare at your own asshole while sitting down. Not hyperbole. A professor last quarter was telling me about a study contract proposal that had come his way from a girl who wanted to obtain a baby rabbit, raise the rabbit, and write nice things about the rabbit. For credit.

This morning I woke up and lay in bed for half an hour, gripped in a panic over what to do after graduation. With the economy being what it is today, the anal periscope market will probably have a grim outlook for the next few decades. So what am I supposed to do? Write papers about German existentialist literature and neoliberal reform in China for the rest of my life? Listen to Wu-Tang and eat Taco Bell until Judd Apatow gives me a job?

I feel like the options are to start listening to Sting and find some job that barely dovetails with my interests, go hitch-hiking and get raped and killed, or pursue one-in-a-million chances that will make for warm hearts, broadened horizons and fat Disney film options. I'm going to try the last one before packing my bindle.

What would I do if I had total license over the events of my life and the wills of others? Living in a house made of Scarlet Johansson vaginas is kind of beyond the realm of feasibility, so the next best thing I could think of was apprenticing myself to Werner Herzog. But he might shoot me, or declare war on my decadent images, or eat my shoes.

The fantasy that immediately followed was interning for the Comedians of Comedy. Yes, that's how high of a regard I hold you in: scraping your drunken, vomit-and-semen-caked carcasses off hotel room floors, fetching Mountain Dew and dressing up as a Kobold for you and Posehn to beat senseless in your LARPing manias is at the top of my list of life goals right now.

I don't know if you're looking for help, now or ever. But imagine the things I can do for you:

• Filing
• Data entry
• Chakra cleansing
• Read the 4.0 rule books so you don't have to
• Mail Carlos Mencia cash-on-delivery bricks
• Fetch you Christmas turkeys
• Paperwork
• Enforcement

And what qualifies me to do it?

• I am an aspiring creative something-or-other and am too diminutive to prevent you from appropriating my ideas
• Anal periscope
• I have a car with leather interiors
• Beard
• I own Turkish Star Wars, Turkish Spider Man, Turkish Superman, Turkish The Wizard of Oz and Turkish Star Trek
• I know this guy who knows Patrick Stewart

This is a serious offer, because I admire your work above all other standup, it's made a positive impact on my life and I would love to contribute my energies in your benefit in whatever way I can. I'm responsible, professional-minded and I write good. I would even consider taking some time off of school if it interfered, because I can't think of many adventures I'd rather have.

Like I said, one in a million. But the risk of embarrassment and rejection is far, far less dire than the risk of coming to enjoy "Desert Rose."

Horatio Alger

He read it and did not respond, which I expected but which has also been emotionally distressing enough to prevent me from viewing myself as anything but weird, gracelessly needy and over-sincere. This is the feeling that arises after writing in a congratulatory way to anyone I admire. I get the impression people look at me and think, "What the hell am I supposed to do with this guy with all the pathos? Go eat an ice cream sandwich and a Xanax."

I wrote earlier, "I feel foolish for searching for a way out. But is that what aspiration is? Looking for an exit until you finally escape?"

Just trying to find the right ladder to climb.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Exactly Why I Am So Viscerally Frustrated by College, the Dire Intellectual Presuppositions of the Liberal First-World in General

A human being lives out not only his personal life as an individual, but also, consciously or subconsciously, the lives of his epoch and contemporaries; and although he may regard the general and impersonal foundations of his existence as unequivocal givens and take them for granted, having as little intention of ever subjecting them to critique as our good Hans Castorp himself had, it is nevertheless quite possible that he senses his own moral well-being to be somehow impaired by the lack of critique. All sorts of personal goals, purposes, hopes, prospects may float before the eyes of a given individual, from which he may then glean the impulse for exerting himself for great deeds; if the impersonal world around him, however, if the times themselves, despite all their hustle and bustle, provide him with neither hopes nor prospects, if they secretly supply him with evidence that things are in fact hopeless, without prospect or remedy, if the times respond with hollow silence to every conscious or subconscious question, however it may be posed, about the ultimate, unequivocal meaning of all exertions and deeds that are more than exclusively personal - then it is almost inevitable, particularly if the personal involved is a more honest sort, that the situation will have a crippling effect, which, following moral and spiritual paths, may even spread to that individual's physical and organic life. For a person to be disposed to more significant deeds that go beyond what is simply required of him - even when his own times may provide no satisfactory answer to the question of why - he needs either a rare, heroic personality that exists in a kind of moral isolation and immediacy, or one characterized by exceptionally robust vitality.

- Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain