In case you haven’t read this poem by Jonathan Reed before:
I am part of a lost generation
and I refuse to believe that
I can change the world
I realize this may be a shock but
“Happiness comes from within”
is a lie, and
“Money will make me happy.”
So in 30 years I will tell my child
she is not the most important thing in my life
My employer will know that
I have my priorities straight because
is more important than
I tell you this
I will live in a country of my own making
In the future
Environmental destruction will be the norm
No longer can it be said that
My peers and I care about this earth
It will be evident that
My generation is apathetic and lethargic
It is foolish to presume that
There is hope.
And now read it backwards line by line. Ultimately, everybody chooses if they are version A or version B. In the New Year, let’s make the resolution to read the poem backwards more often than not.
So this Bill Cosby fellow has been arrested. I never saw him perform and have zero interest in him but the story attracts my attention because it reminds me that I’m very culturally different. When I read the linked article, it’s like it is written in a language I don’t speak.
I understand that definitions are a matter of cultural consensus but I can’t get myself to a place where rape can be defined as taking unidentified pills, chasing them with booze and then relinquishing responsibility for the consequences. This is a consensus that I can’t access on the level of either logic or feeling. And I haven’t even considered doubting the alleged victim’s story. I believe everything she says (except for the part where Cosby is a narcissist for not reading the “clues” that she’s gay.)
This is one more reason why nobody should ever involve me in prosecuting campus sexual assault.
Imagine you need to carry a heavy sack of flour. When you first grab it and start carrying, it’s not that bad because you still have a lot of energy. You might not even mind the sack a whole lot at the beginning. It might even be an invigorating, challenging experience that is not unpleasant.
Gradually, though, your back begins to hurt, your energy starts to run out, you lose breath, the straps rub your back raw, and here you begin to notice the sack. A few miles later, the sack begins to make it very hard for you to walk. It’s the same sack as before but you no longer have the strength to carry it as well.
Psychological problems function like this sack of flour. They hit people especially badly when their bodies are weakened. The infamous midlife crisis, for instance, is such a time. The body is weakened by the hormonal storm it experiences and can no longer keep the problems inside. So people act out in weird ways. But the problems have been there this entire time. We often ask ourselves, “God, what’s happened to him? He’s like a different person now that the midlife crisis hit.” But he’s not a different person. He’s simply no longer managing to hide who he really is behind the socially acceptable behaviors. The poor fellow has been carrying this sack of flour for decades and can no longer pretend that it isn’t there.
This is why it’s important to start tossing things out of the sack as we age. What was easy to carry 10 years ago, might prove an impossible burden in a few years. It’s also crucial not to fixate on the current moment in time when trying to figure out what you are feeling and why. Often people wonder, “Why do I feel so shitty? My life has never been as comfortable and as secure as now, yet I’m exhausted, sad, depressed, nothing makes me happy.” The reason for the misery lies in the things one put in the sack decades ago but one is so used to the sack that it doesn’t even occur to one to look and see what’s inside.
This is the last long quote for today, I promise, but it’s really great and the whole post is great, and I want to have it here:
I have realized of late that reading articles on social media, etc., about microaggressions, trigger warnings, how terrible academia is, the doom and gloom in America, helicopter parenting, coddling the middle class, taxing (or not) the middle class, defining the middle class by income, the economy, victimization, activism, etc., etc., has made me one uptight, unhappy, constantly stressed out person. It occurred to me today that I could just walk away from all that. I don’t have to read about the imminent apocalypse, and/or the secular equivalents, every. single. day.
I wasn’t going to make any New Year’s resolutions this year but the quoted blogger suggested such a great resolution that I will adopt it. I’m really tired of the masturbatory gloominess and showy self-flagellation of the folks who only too often pass for Liberals. They obviously derive tons of pleasure from all the apocalyptic melodrama but for any person with at least a degree of psychological health they are poisonous.
I say, let them unload their shit onto somebody who is not me. And that’s my resolution.