May 16, 2009

Spastic Melodrama from the Great Magnet



I've been getting the shakes lately, and it's starting to kind of freak me out. At first I thought it was just the same old inexorable onset of carpal tunnel that affects all designer-wordsmith-rockstars, but its rapid spread outward from my wrists led me to believe that it was in fact something much worse. My heart began to feel jittery, something lumpy and weird began growing in my right arm, and then I got the sweats and couldn't sleep. I noticed that I was worrying more about what other people thought about me—an impulse that we all suffer from of course‚ but one I thought I'd finally put way behind me. It seemed the daily stresses of life as a Big-Chilling Thirtysomething were starting to pile up like 405 traffic through Sepulveda, physically manifesting themselves in my pudgy suburban physique. A distant howling of melodramatic paranoia began threatening my every waking moment.

Everyone's a little put-upon these days, obviously—but most of them don't live with me everyday like I do, so I thought I should get to the bottom of this, even if it would be ugly. So I did, and ugly it was. Upon consulting several scholarly works of metaphysical genius, I was reminded that "all energy flows from the Great Magnet," and therefore reminded that periodic fits of melodrama are extremely contagious, and that I myself have always been disturbingly susceptible to the teensiest shivers of angst. Were it not for certain recently acquired mitigating influences, I'd be permanently overboard in an ocean of soap operas.

I came of age in the melodramatic 1990s, after all, and for most of my life I'd created spectacular seismic ranges of Himalayas and Andes and Rockies out of the grubbiest molehills. This often resulted in frustration and fear among my friends and family, but thankfully age has blessed me with a burgeoning ability to Not Give A Shit. The recent nervous convulsions nevertheless imply that, for some reason, I Still Do Indeed Give A Shit, perhaps excessively so, and I wondered what could possibly catalyze such symptoms. I mean, aside from the ongoing power trio of Terrorism, Pandemic, and Depression currently topping the bill at the Hope and Change amphitheater.

Because hey, we're all way too used to that crap by now. The CIA tortures people after 9/11 to get false Iraqi WMD evidence? Well, duh. Democratic Presidents reversing liberal campaign policy positions? Double duh. Captains of Capitalism cashing out before their companies implode? So 1980s (and '30s, and 1890s, and...). Lowly truckers extorting casinos—forgetting that the house always wins—and going to federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison? Check. Bloggers getting drafted to become the slavish political party hacks they've always wanted to be? Check. Self-important journalists and Utah governors chasing myths in rural China? Check.

Not to mention the usual corporate-monster rock stars screwing over their fans with half-assed albums and stratospheric ticket prices, or troglodytic Oklahoma senators insisting on displaying the Ten Commandments in federal buildings nationwide, or drugriculture companies manipulating the vegan clones of Jenny McCarthy, or the perpetual hyperventilation over the browning of America (be that of Lou Dobbs over Mexicans or emotionally-stunted white IT workers over hubristic Indian programmers). Minor quibbles about tea bags and taxes and bailouts barely register on the outrage scale in the face of such histrionic tidal waves.

So no, it's not exactly an original piece of wisdom, but I've re-discovered that humanity is a fucking magnet for melodrama, and the pull gets stronger every year. It is amplified, of course, by the increasing interconnected-ness of that devilish Internet and its tools of Social Media, so what in the past would have been minor regional shit-storms are now Global Crises of Epic Craptacularity. That's a lot of shit, and let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, I have never underestimated the human propensity to Take Shit Personally. Personal experience has dictated that, sure, but there is never a vacuum when it comes to melodrama, because Nature abhors vacuums as much as she loves her soaps and craves her novelas. Is there a treatment for Outrage Fatigue? Because hell, I could sure use a few hits of that shit right now.

But enough about all that—we were talking about my extremely personal socio-physiological problems somewhere back there, and the wide world interfered as it so often does. See, I'd been gripped with that awful syndrome of Questioning Oneself At Inopportune Moments: "Is my professional creative output no longer cutting it?" "Am I ever going to catch up to the ever-morphing technical standards of my chosen fictitious industry?" "Will I look fat in this shirt?" "Will my erstwhile colleagues and clients judge me behind my back—or worse, to my face?" "Will my heart explode with failure at the age of 40?" "Will I ever write another song lyric for the band before I go deaf?" "Will I finish the book(s) I'm working on?" "Will my natural shut-in-itude be exacerbated by the vagaries of virtual friendship?" It's the slow drip-drip-drip of mortality creeping up on me again, and I'll be damned if I let that bastard fuck with me when I have Important Stuff To Do, but it's always there. Always.

And yeah, I'd resolved to pool my collective cerebral resources to stave off the inevitable—to reinforce my recent foundations of egomaniacal confidence against the continuing angsty onslaught of Spastic Melodrama from the Great Magnet, to spew forth a truly awesome thesis of clever wordplay and cheap gonzo rip-offs that would garner the requisite worshipful enthusiasm from my adoring pixellated audience—but alas, that was not to be. Because when the "Lost" season finale happened and I sat down to watch it with my lovely wife—herself a rock of mental stability—I promptly forgot all about that silly shit until earlier this morning.

No wonder the human race continues to find new and increasingly severe ways to turn on, tune in, and drop way, way out. They have to adjust for when the outmoded methods of mental distraction become corrupted by the melodramatic shrieks of all the other unstable yoyos attracted by those bright lights of oblivion.

Cross-posted: dkos, dd, mlw

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