Posts Tagged existential dread
(Whatever you do, when you get up to the counter, do not say the word “antlers”. You want a cup of water. This is McDonald’s. There are people in line behind you. They are anxious to get their McRibs or apple pies or whatever they came here for. Just say “Water, please”. That’s all. Don’t screw this….)
Woman Behind The Counter: Welcome to McDonald’s. How can I help you?
Woman: (with a quizzical, mildly amused look) Uhmm. How can I help you?
Me: (pleadingly) Antlersssssss…
Woman: (in a sacchariney sweet “oh, I get it, your trying to be funny and I’m trying to get through the day without choking a customer” voice) Ha. No sir, we don’t have antlers? Would you like a Quarter Pounder?
Me: (I swear, I’m trying to say “water”) Antlers…antlers, antlers…..aaaaaanttttlers.
Woman: (losing patience) Sir, we do not have antlers? What is it that you….
Me: (I have lost any control of my tone) ANTLERS!!!!!!!!
Woman: (looking frightened) Uhm. Sir, are you okay?
Me: Antlers? Antlers! Antlersantlersantlersantlers!!! ANT-LERS!!!!!
(The people in line behind me are growing more impatient. There is angry mumbling. People behind the counter are starting to pay attention)
Woman: (near tears) Sir, I’m going to have to go get the manager. I don’t understand…..
Me: Antlers!!!!! What part of antlers do you not understand???? ANTLERS!!!!
(The woman behind the counter turns and begins to walk towards the back of the kitchen)
Me: (Turning towards the gathering crowd behind me) Antlers!!!! All I want are some antlers! Antlers! I’m thirsty!!! Don’t you understand! Antlers!!!! Anyone….please!!!!
A large man in the line: (helpfully) Are you okay? Do you need some….assistance??
Me: I asked for antlers! Not a difficult request! Antlers! Antlers! Antlers! Am I not speaking English or something?
An elderly woman behind me in line: (slowly dipping her hand in her purse for either mace or a cellphone) I think that you are confused. Antlers are things that are on a deer’s head?
Her husband: Or an elk. Or a caribou. Or a…..
Me: Listen you ignorant mongrel! I came in here, I asked politely for antlers and these people are acting like I’m crazy. ANTLERS!!! You are trying to confuse me, but I’m not confused. I’m as clearheaded as I have ever been IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. I was born in New Rochelle Hospital! My mom’s maiden name is Czechlowski! I have green eyes! The 18th President was Ulysses S. Grant! ANTLERS!!!!
(The enormous manager comes out from behind the counter with a menacing look. He puts his hand on my shoulder. I spin around and glare at him. His name tag reads “Timothy”)
Manager: Sir, I’m going to have to ask….
Me: ANTLERS! Listen you burger flipping, fry shoveling fascist! I made a simple request. I asked for….
Manager: (sternly) You are going to have to…..
Me: NO!!! I will not be silent in the face of tyranny! I will not wilt in the face of oppression! I will not change my order!!! I will not stand mutely as you ignore my desideratum!!!! You will not press down upon my brow with this crown of French fries!!!! You will not crucify me upon an arch of gold!!!!!!
Manager: (looking towards the kitchen) Somebody needs to call the police. CALL THE POLICE!!!! (looking at me) Sir, if you do not calm down you are going to be arrested. Please…CALM DOWN!!!!
Me: Calm down!!! Don’t tell me to calm down. Don’t you understand!!! Antlers….you mindless chromosome deficient mongoloid! Antlers are all I wanted! ANTLERS!!!!! The world is falling apart! The ice caps are melting! Small microbes are currently circulating through this room AS WE SPEAK that have the power to kill us all! I just want some ANTLERS!!!!
Manager: (trying to hold in his fury) Okay….OKAY….we don’t have any antlers? Is there anything….ANYTHING….else we can get you?
After years of interminable suffering, the human race will finally be put out of its misery tonight at 8 o’clock Eastern Standard Time (5 PM on the West Coast). There will be no giant mushroom clouds, no asteroids unstoppable hurdling towards earth, no lights, no sounds, no music, just the immediate and unexplained termination of all sentient human life on our planet.
“I, for one, am thrilled to see the human race ending in such a bloodless and efficient fashion,” said Charles Guiteau, a car insurance salesman from Provo, Utah. “To be honest, the next week was going to be hell. Now, I’m free to spend the day catching up on the episodes of Game of Thrones that I missed.”
“It was going to happen at some point,” exclaimed Mark Chapman, a traveling pudding salesman from Denver, “why not just get it over with?”
“I mean, honestly, I’m tired of worrying about all the different ways the human race could end. This way, we are free of the fear of terrorism, of global warming, of viruses, of nuclear bombs, of bacteria from spoiled meat, of the federal debt, of running out of oil and of endless war. We were all going to die at some point anyway, might as well do it quickly.”
“If you think about it, it’s probably for the best,” announced Leon Czolgosz, a professional juggler from Memphis. “We’ve been around for thousands of years and what have we really done with our time? Create more humans. Create machines that make humans live longer. Create devices to make our time on earth more bearable. Create stories about afterlives and vengeful, jealous gods. Create reasons to love each other. Create reasons to hate each other. Create reasons and methods to kill each other. To what end? It’s all wasted motion.”
Some people, however, are not taking the news as well. “As a Nationals fan, I’m disappointed to think that I’ll never get to see Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg develop into the superstar caliber players I know they can be,” said longtime Washington resident Gavrilo Princip. “I really thought the World Series was ours this year.”
Meanwhile, some Americans are upset about the timing and details of this extinction level event. “America is the greatest country on earth. The idea that we are going to die at the exact same time and in the exact same way as all other countries boggles the mind. We give millions of dollars in foreign aid to countries like Somalia. We should at least be granted a few extra hours. Fair is fair,” said John Booth, Mississippi treasurer for the Tea Party Patriots for Freedom and The Avoidance of Responsibility for Others.
In Washington, the news has brought a halt to the constant bickering between Congress and President Obama. In the spirit of bipartisanship, both sides have promised to pass legislation to end the impasse over the federal budget within the next few weeks.
Regardless of how people feel, the end is coming. It will be quick and painless. You won’t even know what hit you. There will be a flash and it will be done. There is nothing you can do about it.
(Inspired by the Ray Bradbury story Last Night of The World)
(Washington)-In stunning pessimism, America forward never back truth without honesty is the medium of true messiness. Socialist polarized mobs running outward not outwitting death. Free to choose everything except what matters, no matter what the rules are. Debt beyond parents life as rebellious war against nothingness consuming reduced to pattern. Things explained are things forgotten against the backdrop of inhaled ignorance. “Wandering, wondering as their lives slowly slip through their greedy little fingers,” accordion to White House Repeater of Cliches Jay Carney.
They are as much a part of this disaster as we are. Stand up for the privilage of not sitting down. Anxiety as a rational response to unconscionable conditions. As it repeats over and over and we confuse action for motion and motion for freedom. And freedom for immortality. And immortality for meaning. And meaning for action. In a recent Gallup poll nearly two-thirds of buffalos have no wings and nearly one hundred percent of Americans are doomed to the terms of mortality. No matter what they’d like you to believe. Accordion to So and So Jones, person on the street and representative of the Zeitgeist, “I don’t even know what’s real anymore as I look into a world where I am bombarded with the constant flow of answers to questions that I wouldn’t have even bothered to ask. Drowning in a river of useless actions. Amused to death by the 24 hour 7 day a week carnival of unmeaning. Sweat my only solace.”
Now, here’s the paragraph about possible solutions and potential mystery. So and So who wants you to like him or her and maybe even vote that way proposes solutions that either serve the purpose of taking our eyes off the existential ball or promising something they hope we forget about in twenty minutes (which we probably will because crisis is a great substitution for crisis). So and So complains about something hoping to give us hope, or comfort, or something new to hate, or something to talk about with the other doomed fools that we are chained to, or something to buy, or something to bury. We all rally around because a recent Gallup Poll has stated, in no uncertain terms, that 51 percent of us share the same delusion.
You should write a letter to your Congressman. Because they will listen. Because they care. Because you have a solution no one else has thought of. Because democracy guarantees us the right to go on and on about absolutely nothing and replace one empty vessel with another every four years. Write that letter. Seriously. Do it. That will make everything all better. That’ll solve the issue of the sheer absurdity of the world. That’ll take the sting out of that nagging death problem that everyone seems to be conveniently not mentioning. That’ll make lions into lambs and lambs into citizens. And citizens into vampires. The world is probably in the shape that it’s in because you haven’t written that letter yet. When you do, all of your troubles will go away. You’ll see. Write the letter. Save us all.
In conclusion, eventually everything you do, every action you take will be forgotten. Everyone around you will be gone. Take comfort in the fact that you are nothing, or at least, that’s how you’ll be remembered. Besides, in a recent Fox News poll a full 105 percent of people surveyed think it’s someone else’s fault. “The solution is complete ignorance,” accordion to President Barack Obama, “that or an endless cycle of misery and fear, depression and alienation. Or government spending. Or complaining about government spending. Or endless blame. Or endless blamelessness. It’s up to you. After all, isn’t this what democracy is all about?”
“A Grandma is at the shore in Florida with her little Grandson. The grandson is playing on the beach when a big wave comes and washes the kid out to sea. The lifeguards swim out, bring him back to the shore, the paramedics work on him for a long time, pumping the water out, reviving him. They turn to the Grandma and say, “We saved your grandson!” The Grandma says, “He had a hat!””
Bobby Gold was born to die a thousand slow deaths. His is the pain of a man without a country. Homicide is his confession. The confession of the man that can never be whole. He is the first through the door, the last to leave the gym. His mistakes must be rationalized or his coat of armor will become tin foil. He has an answer to every question even before you ask it, because he cannot afford to show an ounce of skin. He must convince them of his worth. He must be more than human or else they will see him. Then, they will know.
Bobby Gold, set to wander the desert into eternity. He must be exceptional or he is lost. He is the map of human misery. Bobby the Nomad. Every time he finds a river he drinks a mouthful of sand. He knows that you see him and he thinks you won’t let him forget it.
His is the story of the self-made man. What becomes of the self-made man when he stops creating? What if he gets tired? What if hasn’t the strength to work at the rate to which he has become accustomed? No one will catch him if his arms and legs cramp up. He knows this as surely as he knows how much time it will take him to get there 15 minutes early.
He looks around at people and instead sees the ocean. The ocean is still and never needs anything more than what is given. The ocean is a mystery to him. Who built it? How does it hide its shame? In his hands are a set of tools from which he must construct himself. From nothing. From the ground up. He must explain himself over and over. He recoils, overwhelmed by the fear that they’ll recognize the sadness in him. He explains and explains and explains never making the point that is so obvious to anyone who takes a moment to look. And he hopes his explanations will blind them to the truth. And he hopes they’ll see him and forgive his existence.
He looks enviously at those who have never had to work a day in their life to exist. Some people just wake up and “are”. He must invent. He must create. All of his actions reek of existential survival. Bobby is a reminder of how fast a man must run to not fall down. The faster he runs, the closer the oblivion he gets. It is gaining on him, always.
Bobby Gold, never to know the stillness and quiet of a dreamless sleep. Haunted by his visions of wholeness. Mocked by his own creations and talents. Bobby hears with a third ear. He is haunted by the stumbling footsteps of those who do not belong. The flesh on his neck stands at attention when he is near them. He doesn’t need files and he doesn’t need a map. He knows the look. He is blessed with the curse of understanding. As like is drawn to like, as “a dog goes back to its own vomit”, as pain seeks out pain. He is them and they are he. Outcasts. Alone in a crowded universe.
Bobby Gold, born to see what people pray to have the strength to ignore. Bobby the Outcast. Bobby the Obscure. Bobby the Stranger Among Strangers. Bobby the Donkey. Capable of so much, but unable to hide the absurdity of his being. Imploring the world to see him for what he does and not what he is. Doomed by the pain of the man who can never be more than he can build.