A bitter screed

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By Shane Dingman 

She died in a senseless tragedy, snuffed out, soon to be buried, weighted down by a $5,000 polished limestone marker.  Her parents cry for her, her friends’ hearts tear out and beat weezingly on their heaving chests.  Mine does too.  But they will MOVE ON!!!  They will grow, and forget because that’s all you can do.  But it will be an inner death, and inner death with no ceremony no outpouring of emotion and affection, it’s like a dull wet thud in your mind, and you feel all your emotional organs slide down half an inch from where they rested before and it all seems so very very very very WONG!!  Semper Procedure… always continue.  What kind of a motto is that anyways?  We do that naturally and by forcing ourselves into reverse we commit the ultimate suicide — a death unmourned, a death without pity or mercy.

The woman was a character on the television drama program Law and Order.  I guess I fell for the idea of a woman like that rather than the actual woman, a woman with pretention but not falsehood.  It appealed to the smallest fuzzy thoughts within my romantic soul.  Joy is a pretty thing BUT don’t let your kids look for too long.  Be brusque with them and sweep them along blaring the message, “I’m pretending not to be annoyed at you, by pretending to be annoyed at something else, but I’m pretending I’m not annoyed, ashamed, hurt and weeping for all the things I can’t do!!!”  If your little children look too long then they’ll want it.  If they sit to close to the TV, then they’ll BELIEVE life is clean and orderly, with witty remarks an and sexy people bouncing from every corner, and issues are for late night and midday, but entertainment, first and foremost, is the only way to live.  But TV is poison.  It’s real poison because its jarring unreality forces us to notice ever more how life isn’t a bed of roses and its not getting touch ups every five seconds and there are no retakes.  And because we know it in our hearts and minds it BECOMES REAL!!  It stays real and gets even worse because of the human tendency to exaggerate and to think the worse of every situation.

Existentialism says I perceive, and then reality is.    I perceive a wonderful world, of light and gaiety.  Things always go well in that world, and if they don’t then there is a hidden point to make us all seem worthwhile if not happy.  Then the power fails, and no one is holding a cue card with witty lines and you haven’t read the script so you don’t know you’re supposed to hold up and make the best of things.  So you go outside and the light is so bright, that all the colours look washed out.  An unshaven man with skinny legs and an obvious lack of culture (note the “I finished with Bob Izumi” threadbare T) and he stares sullenly at you and spits.  Then you are still there in your driveway when you should have slid sideways into the next scene and now your feet hurt and GOD HELP US ALL it’s SO MUNDANE!!!  There is no accurate frame of reference for how stutteringly dull and normal 97 per cent of our waking lives are… it’s not an early-years Cheers episode, and it’s not Coppola’s gritty reality because even then it’s noble in its scariness.  It’s just life.  And the fact that TV is also life, but a concentrated version of thirty to forty different lives in a day on any one given major broadcast station reinforces how shitty your life is.  IT’S A TRAGEDY TO BE HUMAN!!  IT’S NOT FAIR!!!

And TV, shiny glittering and YES sometimes DULL makes us make our world worse by making us disbelieve it’s good anywhere off that fucking sound stage.

Sibilant sycophantics, and zany pinwheels rolling through the air, I struggle for the funny words because if you aren’t “on” in this life, then somebody’s reaching to turn you off.  I really question if that is so, that we have lost our attention span, or if we have simply turned from the true grace in our society — our art — and instead embraced the all-fulfilling emptiness of fast food culture.  Because of the quick success of some junkfood, all of us have seemingly abandoned the harsh truer sense of ourselves.

Once we laughed and cried at epic tales of joy and fear, reaching into the fears and loves of a mythology sometimes older than ideas like democracy, or economy, and some newer than the carbon dioxide stains on our monuments and castles.  Now we stand in front of the TV our socks drooping, sitting in our bodies, knees and hips locked in a standing slouch.  We stare blankly, eyes racing to devour all the information on the screen before jumping over to the next one, our brains serving us a tempting array of colours and memories.  We zap the sitcoms until we hit the one we like the most, whether it be the boundary pushing Seinfield, or the banal yet beautiful Friends.  Eyes blinking, we cream onwards, maybe City TV has a movie on…

Speed is there.  We know it.  We feel it.  We hear it with the pops and creaks in our bodies and the brusque whispers of calloused fingers.  Life dissolves faster than death starts.  Sometimes you end up dead but still here on earth, you’ll just be.  Have.  Don’t.  And cease to find a higher dialogue for these things.

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