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Morning Commute

Morning Commute published on 3 Comments on Morning Commute

Many mornings on my way to work I think about the incredibility of the fact that, as a species, we haven’t all killed each other yet. It’s pretty amazing, don’t you think? There’s no better illustration of the inherent selfishness, narcissism and rampant entitlement of the average human being than to watch a large number of them all try to drive to work at the same time. Well, maybe YouTube comments.

Actually, you don’t even need to watch them. You just have to participate, and pay attention to yourself, and your mammalian impulses to scream, honk, bludgeon and fling feces at your fellow commuters. It’s rather enlightening– it’s also terribly depressing, but sometimes the truth, she hurts.

It’s usually at these times I start thinking about getting older– what if I have a stroke, or am struck with dementia, or somehow otherwise lose some of my impulse control? Will I end up dying in a hail of police bullets because I pushed some idiot who doesn’t understand turn signals into a river? I suppose there are worse ways to go.

But I’m thinking about taking the bus instead.

Pushover

Pushover published on No Comments on Pushover

“Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.”
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash

After a man realizes that his one day becoming a badass is pure fantasy, it’s downhill from there. Slowly your potentially-heroic self-image is dismantled, one little illusion at a time. Once you start a family, those illusions evaporate quicker, until what’s left is a guy who, god forbid, enjoys spending time with his significant other and his children, and would choose a less interesting activity that includes them over one that is more engaging, but is done alone. Like watching a movie about hitmen instead of playing a game where you get to be one, for example.

Men who resist this process are the sorts who hit the mid-life crisis really hard. Sports cars, monster trucks, hair transplants, pec implants, etc. You know, unbearable pricks.

But if you don’t resist, if you go with the flow, or even swim with the current– you’re in for a good time. About as close to a meaningful life as is available to us modern, alienated types. At least until your kids are grown. After that, you can go find an obscure monastery on a mountaintop in China, and learn kung fu.