In a land not much unlike our own there is an ether that comes from a rare fruit. Those who consume this ether are consumed by it, as its effect is total regurgitation of one’s mental faculties, and, by this I mean mental faculties one doesn’t know one has, like memories long forgotten but embedded in the neurofabric, or epiphanies waiting to happen or not happen that get suddenly thrown outwards into the world. Depending on the brain, the consumption of this ether can either work in favor of the user or against, but all must pay the price of consumption, which is that they have to walk around like mindless vegetables for the rest of their lives. Or perhaps they are just indifferent to the world’s struggles.
Suffering occurs all around us. Think about the people you went to high school with, that is, provided you didn’t go to Phillips Exeter or somewhere like that with only rich kids or poor kids who are smart enough to know they should be pretending to be rich. All of these people are doing something now. How many have you kept up with? Chances are, the people you’ve kept up with are the people who are doing the best, since they have time to keep up with you, even though you weren’t particularly close bosom buddies with them and neither of you derives much utility from these efforts to let each other know what’s been going on in your lives. So, why do you do it? Because you’re bored, and you don’t particularly need anything.
Consider now the people you don’t keep in touch with. What are they doing? Well, some of them are working day and night towards a goal: some of them may be back in school, trying to correct for some failing of their youth; some of them may be climbing the corporate ladder; some may be busy with families or new circles of friends; but some of them, a larger segment than you think, are in deep shit. Some of them are in mountains of debt, or have drug problems, or want to kill themselves, or are out on the streets. For some of them things will get better, but for some of them they won’t.
I saw a pregnant homeless lady last week. She once went to high school with people. Into what kind of world will that child be born? Into what kind of family?
Your parents are okay, she said.
No they’re not, I retorted with the truth. My parents are fucked. Nor, like, was my mom ever a homeless pregnant woman.
But your dad’s a lawyer and your mom’s a teacher and you live in a nice big house by the water,,,
Yeah, someone else’s nice big house. Who the fuck rents when they’re sixty? No, seriously, I’m asking you: who the fuck rents when they’re sixty?
A lot of people.
No. No people. People who are manual laborers or whatever have small-ass houses in nice towns that they own or they have big-ass houses in shitty towns that they own. People who can’t even do manual labor who have like drug problems or schizophrenia or whatever live on the streets with the pregnant ladies.
Dude, stop talking about the pregnant homeless lady. I’m tryin’ to be high, a’ight, and imagining this pregnant homeless lady is like that time your dad walked in on all of us with you mid-gravity-bong-rip in your basement with Murk and I playing pingpong and Jenny making out with Mark in the corner and all of us listening to Pink fucking Floyd like characters out of some stoner flick and that hard, concrete floor that just doesn’t belong in the same room as a couch as comfortable as the one with all the holes in it man.
Dude, remember when you called 867-5309?
Haha, oh yeah, that was awesome.
He kept getting distracted by the flickering of the fan’s reflection on the keyboard of his laptop as he continued to delve deeper and deeper into the realm of Internet pornography. Like the great statues of Buddha in the temples of Pagan, Internet pornography was safe precisely because it was so large as to be immovable. Everyone he knew looked at porn. One of his friends even admitted to girls that he liked to look at porn. This particular friend was slightly nerdy, but otherwise not particularly disgusting and certainly not considered a sexist by anyone, a fate which he greatly feared.
This particular video involved double penetration, when one man puts his penis inside the woman’s vagina and one man puts his penis inside the woman’s asshole. He didn’t really understand the whole asshole thing. What was the point? And there was the possibility of getting shit all over your dick, right? Unless there is some kind of suction mechanism or something at work that sucks all the poo up the large intestine and away from the rectum or wherever the penis might penetrate to.
Anyways, these chicks are always cleanshaven (he loved that word, even as, especially as, misapplied here.) or neatly trimmed. There is seldom any wildness, which is strange considering the wild behavior going on, the elephant in the room, figuratively speaking. And the videos always end with the dudes coming on the chicks faces. What’s that all about? Is there some kind of demeaning behavior going on, or is this what everyone else but me does to end any sexual encounter?
The mundane and the shocking have married each other, given birth to a thousand offspring, and are now fornicating still, DP-ing still in the minds of the most ambitious young men and women of this nation. Everything has been done, time and again, and the written word has been exhausted by the hands of the world’s seven billion. It’s like that Kafka story where the Emperor dies and there are so many people spread out over the empire all doing their own thing that the event ceases to take on any significance, and the messenger that is sent out of the imperial palace to tell the people cannot even make it out of the innermost courtyard before dying of old age. In more hucksterish parlance, TMI.
So how do we go about giving things significance? I’ll tell you how, through bullshit. Through activities specifically directed towards giving things significance – marketing, sales, religion is the older, least-bullshitty form. And it’s not like there’s some evil conspiracy pushing us all towards believing in false significance so it can make us fat and then eat us, although it’s done a bang up job of the former –
Dude, there you go on talking about my parents again.
-although it’s done a bang-up job of the former. So, umm, anyways, it’s not like there’s some evil conspiracy against us making us all stupid and fat. We want to be stupid and fat, and some sort of – we’ll call it a “force” for now – although it’s not like gravity or electromagnetism-
Get on with it!
We’ll call it a force for now, suffice it to say. So, we want to be stupid and fat, and we don’t want to be stupid and fat.
Allright, I gotta call bullshit on this, but, this shit is hilarious, so go on.
So, we want to be stupid and fat, but we don’t want to be stupid and fat. What I’m getting at is that we don’t want to be stupid and fat, but we accept it when it comes and we look around us at all the stupid and fat people and see that we’re not so bad compared to them or. Or, we can join like an online community or an MMORPG and pretend to be whatever and that shit is awesome. Like, if I didn’t care at all about first life, I’d totally be the awesomest mage or wizard or whatever in the entire MMORPG world.
Um, so I think you had a good point that was about to come out, but you’ve gotten totally off topic.
Oh! Yeah! That’s right. So, you know how “nitrates” are bad for you and you’re not supposed to buy “nitrates” at the store and they advertise all these hot dogs as being “nitrate free” and with “no added nitrates” as if food chemists are going around sprinkling “nitrates” on miscellaneous food (at this, Mark began laughing uncontrollably.) So I guess what they’ve done is that they’ve gotten these Mad Men types and smooth lawyers and Walter White types to come in for mad cash and fool us all into thinking that all these foods have only “celery salts” and no nitrates but really just “celery salts” are the same exact thing as “nitrates” they just sound a lot healthier. So that’s just like one story about how complex and pervasive all these modern problems are and how unlikely it seems we’ll ever be able to do anything about them.