We’re Not So Different, You and I

I am not a good person. I’ve known this for a long time now, but for some reason people insist on disbelieving me. It’s true, though—I’m a bad man, and I work in an evil business, full of bitchy little plastic people with humorless agendas and fearful, envious hearts. It absolutely sucks, and yet conversely I feel right at home being a judgmental jerk among my peers and colleagues. Admitting that took a little while, but I’ve always felt inherently bad—or at least “not good”—and I think that is one of the reasons why I’ve lasted so long in this wretched industry. I’ve dispensed with the illusion that I’m a well-intentioned, vaguely friendly person full of good will toward all humanity.

All my best, most creative schemes are foiled by humanity, you see. My creative energy has always been negative, and for some reason this makes people uncomfortable. They keep insisting that I have patience for their wide variety of hang-ups, and they gripe bitterly when I don’t—throwing around meaningless words like “empathy” and “trust” and “feelings” as if those concepts still carried currency with anyone over the age of five. I guess just don’t really care what other people think, but I am in the hilarious position of working in a business where that is the central (perhaps even the only) commandment in this self-obsessed age: Thou Shalt Give A Shit About Everything.

Except I don’t—the pathetic, insecure projections of positively-thinking people; the knee-jerk, reactionary humorlessness of self-gratifyingly serious people; the willful, fantasyland ignorance of delusional people; the smug sneering of hopelessly righteous people—I’m bored with it all. Humanity’s emotional convulsions perennially fail to affect me. Or at least it all would affect me, if I bothered to take any of it personally, See, that’s the key: I refuse to take any of it personally. Everyone always takes life, the universe, and everything too personally, and that’s where the trouble starts. They are unnerved by the universe’s inherent absurdity, and vehemently deny that any creation so awesome could be based on such a simple, contradictory concept. I mean, if God accidentally sneezes, are Her boogers not divine? Is Her snot-rag not a receptacle of genius? If I believed in God, that would be worth pursuing, but I don’t really care either way, so fuck it.

Simple apathy isn’t a viable engine of evil, though—no matter how many times people cite that “bad shit happens when good men do nothing” idea. That’s flogging a wretched undead nag for sure. No, active badness is definitely where it’s at. Nice guys not only finish last—they finish forgotten, if they even finish at all—and I do not intend to be forgotten, dude. Not for a few generations, at least. The best way to accomplish that, of course, is to selfishly inflict my DNA on the future via procreation, but the ensuing eighteen years of dedicated, loving parental care would be wholly unattractive to my egomaniacal sensibilities, even if beholding my new-born progeny would induce a flood of sympathetic brain chemistry. I am a creative thinker, though, and I do get that feeling from the things I create—be they for business or personal or mucus-expelling reasons—and since divinity complexes can be central traits of evil people, that’s another check-swing, foul-tip strike against me.

A further failing is simple: I am a liar, and I’ve learned to accept that I will continue to lie, just like Henry Rollins. Indeed, I’m not really concerned with the morality of lying anymore—I don’t mind lying to people, as long as the lie has a solid foundation beneath it and I won’t be hurting anyone by doing so. So yes, I am a liar, but I am a very bad liar. Not a big liar—I’ve never brought down corporations or ruined marriages or cheated the IRS—but I couldn’t be a successful big, sociopathic liar even if I wanted to, because I am lazy. Yes, I am a slave to sloth—as I’ve previously stated ad nauseam—and getting away with whopping lies is not a job for slackers. No, skillful prevarication is not the province of chronically tardy people with poor attitudes, and my attitude is very poor indeed—or rather it would be if it showed up on time. Now, that is not the way to claw your way up the ladder of service-oriented, self-affirming corporate culture, my friends, but it has long been my chosen path.

But that path is also no way to politely disengage oneself from political discourse at any level, and I have been hopelessly mired in American politics since the age of eleven. As one great contemporary philosopher describes it, “people who follow politics closely cannot comprehend people who aren’t partially lying. They are intellectually paralyzed by literal messages.” Yeah, as if “there’s always got to be something else going on, man!” But there isn’t. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel and there’s no secret cabal pulling the strings, let alone a capriciously benevolent divine being. Just the continual dull roar of humanity—boring, but to me, true. Whereas people who casually follow politics—or who are only beginning to follow politics—are singularly incapable of accepting figuratively-based thought. Face value is the only currency, and deliberative debate for its own sake is as suspicious and evil as black magic.

And that’s absurd—a universal virtue if ever there was one—but since the most interesting place to be is always right in the middle of a contradiction, I’m okay with that, too. I am not a Christian, and hopefully I never will be, but I recognize a central fallacy of their belief system: “we are all sinners.” Indeed we are, but only because the idea of “sin” and “evil” is a reality of our existence. Whether or not that even matters is another question entirely, but I refuse to get bummed out by that. Life in general is much better than the alternative, especially if it’s spiced with the occasional spasms of self-indulgent behavior. And I am almost totally fueled by that, dude. After all, I currently enjoy a comfortable happy existence, in a pretty place, full of nice people—and I am supposed to feel guilty about this? I’m gonna be judged because of that? Really? Really? Now that, that is absurd. That’s skipping the decline and going straight to the fall, man.

Since I want to accept chaotic absurdity, however, I’ll deal. I’m not so anxious to push the reset button yet. I’m not so preoccupied with wasting my time and love and energy on the accomplishments of people I’ll never meet, or with martyring myself for their immutable, pristine, and lifeless principles. I’ll let that which does not matter truly slide, because the posturing bores are not worth engaging. Someone else can grapple with illogical contradictions and try to curve the sharp corners of the surrounding, resolutely square reality.