Saturday, August 1, 2015

'Could you just not breathe?'

*inhales* *exhales* *inhales*

I won't say that my life is in free fall right now, because there's nothing "free" about the way I'm currently living. On the contrary, I'm like a caged animal, endlessly pacing the same few square feet of space. The days are endless. The nights unfathomable. I cannot remember feeling worse. It all seems clear to me now that I've made a series of terrible life choices. Or, rather, I've failed to take ownership of my existence and have just let the world do with me as it pleases. And now, here I am: staring down 40, stuck in a job I loathe (yet which I fear losing), and totally out of options. I don't know what I'm going to do. It's like I'm stuck in the most boring nightmare ever, and it cannot and will not end. I'd love to fake my own death and start over with a fake name. Maybe I'd resurface as a monk or a riverboat card sharp. Ahhhhh.

Lately, I've been taking solace in dark comedy. I don't have much time for watching movies these days, but I can listen to the audio from them at my desk, so that's what I've been doing. George Axelrod's Lord Love a Duck (1966) and Bob Zemeckis' Death Becomes Her (1992) -- both scathing critiques of humanity -- have been particular favorites in this regard. And during my morning and evening train rides, I've just reread Nathanael West's A Cool Million (1934) for what must be the twentieth time. I think I'll start the twenty-first time on Monday morning. Nowadays, it seems that I only respond to stories in which the characters are cruel, shallow, and selfish and go out their way to hurt one another. It's so much better, too, when the cruelty is played for laughs and we are allowed, expected even, to relish the suffering of others. West takes obvious glee in torturing and humiliating the naive protagonist of his novel, and I share his glee.

ADDENDUM: Please do not take blog posts like this too seriously. Occasionally, I am in a dark mood and feel the need to vent. What can I say? I'm a dramatic guy. That's what these posts are for. I hope the little tirade above did not ruin anyone's day. I'm fine. I was just tired and grumpy when I wrote those paragraphs up there. Thanks for understanding. J.B.

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