I ask, you ask, your kid asks, Kanye asks, your creepy uncle asks: What’s the point?
Great question, Kanye and crew – maybe one that when answered in a less-than-magnanimous mood leads to an article like this. The interesting thing, however, is that said somewhat bleaker musings – when confronted and pushed through – lead to encouraging revelations; namely, the obverse of the Mental Illness coin:
Maybe the point of all this is to just have fun.
I don’t mean that in a rah-rah-yay-hooray-we’re-all-gay-like-nineteen-fidday-whaddya-say way, nor even a la pseudointellectual philosophastering pub-with-friends pep talk – I mean logically it makes sense. The immediate defense to this position – that we’re here to have fun, logically – is the (some sarcasm here) oh-I’ve-never-heard-a-teenage-poser-say-that-before argument that we’re all connected, that self-gratification hurts others, that the pursuit of material happiness fucks everyone in the long run…
Maybe the point of all this is to just have fun.
Shit, broski/siski – maybe it does. But you know what? Point if you would to the part of we’re here to have fun that makes the claim any of those selfish pursuits are necessary. Shit-on-shit broski/siski, point if you can to the part that proves false the notion that maybe fun is the very thing we’re missing. Because while I don’t know much aside from I don’t even know that I don’t know all I know is that I know nothing (which makes me what, pi times smarter than Socrates?), I do know that if there’s a purpose to the infernal shit storm of unending, ineffable shitstorm I have to date endured courtesy of mental “illness” it’s that relative to that garbage all it takes these days to put a smile on my face is a moderately yellow dandelion and a fart’s worth of breeze.
Granted, sometimes (when depression strikes, the old dirty bastard) said dandelion can piss me off to Buzz Lightyear style mega-launches of beyond-infinite rage and/or suicidal hopelessness; we look through lenses, fam, and some of them are polarized, opaque, tenebrific layers of assholishness that slink over our eyes unsolicited and make innocuous weeds seem like harbingers of unholy, universal doom.
But – check this out before you wreck yourself out – the embarrassment of ownership over those kinds of childish, ridiculous interpretations of memories can be turned into statements like “Buzz Lightyear style mega-launches of beyond-infinite-rage” and “tenebrific layers of assholishness…”
Maybe it seems like I’m patting myself on the back here. Maybe I fucking am, dick. But for what it’s worth, I’m not all – you see, you do this too, better than I ever could.
Sure, maybe you think you can’t spit this kind of hot gallows humor fire out of your internet finger-mouths; maybe you think I shouldn’t be doing it either; maybe you think “Jee-Zis-H-Christ this guy is manic.” And Maybe you’re right.
Maybe you’re not.
Inside each and every one of our heads exists a universe as awesome (in the awe sense) and awesome (in the hella-fuckin-yeah sense) as the comparatively stupid and boring pile of atoms and neutrino-puke in which our silly meat-sacks reside; in this universe each of us is not king or queen, not God, but straight up David Bowie martian zombie-slaying half-zebra-half-amazing fleeberdeeglopslorps. And while the obverse and reverse of rationality (read: boring) would say that’s either manic or calculated nonsensical neologizing, in my king-dome I make the fucking rules, and that’s my damn label, and nobody can do shit about it except me, who I can assure you won’t…
…because this David Bowie martian zombie-slaying half-zebra-half-amazing fleeberdeeglopslorp is having fun.
Translation: You don’t make the atom-rules and you don’t make the neutrino-rules and you certainly don’t make the rules for your neighbor who dances naked in front of his window smearing Vegemite on his face. You’re not in charge of whether or not the world is fucked up or meaningless or doomed or a masturbatory human futility of Kardashian proportions. If you really want to get real about the quantity of things you can’t control and what qualifies methods of control and how to quintessentialize philosophically or legally or lawfully or legitimately the inalienable right or mathematical reason to control, let me save you the suspense:
Here’s what you can control: Regardless of what all this is, whether or not you’re going to enjoy the ride.
Ever scare the shit out of yourself on a roller coaster?
Of course, sometimes the thrills and chills go beyond theme-park levels – hell, if you’re anything like me, you know seventeen adjectives for what gun metal tastes like. You know the lethal doses of substances most people think are best purposed in Martha Stewart recipes. You have forearm anatomy down better than the world’s best doctor in his sixth year of his tenth-time-for-fun trip to medical school. But, as you may have noticed, those experiences and the memories thereof can and do become funny inside your own head.
Sometimes – I’ve done this personally many times – we make the mistake of sharing our gallows humor to the wrong crowd. Let me save you the suspense here as well – not a lot of people think this kind of shit is funny. And I hope I’m being clear that suicide is not in and of itself funny, that self-harm and depression are for-real god-awful shitty things to go through and I wish them upon no one; that “mental illness” isn’t as a thing just another punchline for walking punchlines like Amy Schumer (sp? don’t care)…
But you’re damn right they’re punchlines for a David Bowie martian zombie-slaying half-zebra-half-amazing fleeberdeeglopslorp, supreme dictator of the universe in my head. And there’s something encouraging in the notion that what I perceive as gallows humor must seem like naught but plain old humor to this upstanding gentleman inside me, laughing at me not mockingly, but good-naturedly at the ridiculousness not of being depressed by a simple weed, but by the ridiculousness of the peon John Ward being so buttheaded as to allow himself to get away with that kind of thinking.
So often we get consumed by the implicit, unrecognized sense that we are the center of the universe – how could we not? To pirate my most-pillaged bro David Foster Wallace:
“There is no experience you’ve had that you were not at the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is right there in front of you, or behind you, to the left or right of you, on your TV, or your monitor, or whatever. Other people’s thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real — you get the idea. But please don’t worry that I’m getting ready to preach to you about compassion or other-directedness or the so-called “virtues.” This is not a matter of virtue — it’s a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default-setting, which is to be deeply and literally self-centered, and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self.”
I encourage you to remember the following two Truths: First, that it still makes sense logically to be a decent damn person, so don’t go running around being a dick; and second, in spite of what I just said (and not “in spite” at all, because it’s a separate domain) you are not only allowed to have fun, but so too is it the one, singular thing you are in control of.
If you want to debate whether or not “fun” itself is truly fun, you’re probably shit out of luck.