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Pushover

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“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.

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