Posts Tagged ‘existentialism’
After a while this shit gets ridiculous.
The woman is obviously in her mid-40s, which is fine because she still looks great [but not in this photograph] for a hard-working middle-aged talk show host.
Generally speaking, I don’t care that people lie about their age.
But for someone like Handler who prides herself on coming clean about everything, and then demanding the same of her guests is beyond belief.
Now viewers focus more on the quality of her Botox injections than her performance.
Now she’s the brunt of the joke.
Gene Simmons’ “hair” is no longer a talking point.
Now everyone knows that the routine outing of guests is an effective ploy to deflect attention from herself.
I’d like to someone challenge her on the numbers, but I’m sure their appearance contract prohibits any mention of her age.
In the end, people would have far more respect for her if she just stopped embarrassing herself.
Yes, she can still attract the attention of young men — for a night, which is the crux of this whole thing: waning relevance.
Love the irony.
For many of us, nothing we do is ever enough, which is why we keep searching for something that is.
I learned it from my late father. How to be unhappy with everything no matter how much I had because nothing was enough to fill the emptiness, the void.
I had to keep accomplishing more and more like a rat on a wheel.
But maybe there’s an upside to this syndrome. I do, in fact, keep producing. So that’s good. I’m not on a beach with a hooker and bottle of Jack Daniels until my days run out.
This is what keeps a lot of us alive. The need to produce something consequential — to the world, which is the issue at hand. It isn’t enough to impact people in the vicinity of one’s life. It has to be bigger.
Relatively speaking most of us are doing quite well. But it feels like a cop out because it is. It’s just self talk, cognitive fortification in the face of blinding existential angst. So it’s not enough either, particularly if you’re introspective enough to see your way through the ruse.
You can’t fool yourself on this one. You’re either on top of the human food chain or you aren’t. You either wrote the great American novel, or have your own syndicated talk show, or star in a blockbuster that earns you an Oscar, or have 20 Olympic Gold Medals — or you don’t. It’s that simple and that out of reach for virtually everyone but the 5 or six people you can rattle off in your head. And while a Lotto win might be all she wrote for a tractor driver in the Mid West, a person who grew up with balanced values and reasonable expectations, it wouldn’t begin to cut it for the rest of us. No folks, we’re screwed.
People like us produce people like Madonna. Nothing was ever enough for her. She was “destined” for greatness and she achieved it — if greatness is measured by how many people know your name, recognize you on the street, or listen to your music. In this sense she has impacted the world at large. She climbed to the top and she has fulfilled her “birthright.”
But what if she didn’t succeed? What if she failed David Geffen’s expectations? Would she have killed herself? Who the hell knows, but she was convinced that greatness awaited her and it did.
That’s the way many of us feel — like we have something we have to do that must be done because it has been somehow preordained.
Now imagine how crappy you would feel with expectations in the stratosphere and the probability of achieving them virtually impossible. This is the great set-up. The trap.
Are any of us “destined” for anything? or is there something in our upbringing that make us feel this way, for better or worse?
There is no question that some of us are born with extraordinary talent that no one could possibly deny. A good example of this was my neighbor, Harry Connick, Jr., who was a child prodigy. No one told him he was great, he already knew it.
He didn’t imagine it, like, say, Madonna. And then through sheer force of will make it happen.
I think that people like Madonna grow up empty, and then spent their lives trying to fill the void. Some are successful at this – to the extent that popular culture and/or money are enough – while others simply use their gifts to their advantage and are embraced by the world for sharing them.
One is driven by the need for constant reflection, while the other is taking what one has and simply doing what comes naturally.
And while it may seem like two in the same, it isn’t.
People with narcissistic personality disorder are often successful and dead at the same time because no matter how much there is, it’s never , ever, ever enough…particularly for the people in their lives.
At what stage of life do you stop caring about what people have, or what they think about you in general?
I mean, aside from what they think about your landing on a sex offenders registry,or beating your girlfriend with frying pan?
The other night I was out with friends when suddenly I was hit with a vague sense of waning relevance.
It was like the entire world got a transfusion, and everything that was replaced bore no resemblance to what was originally there, except for me of course, which was the problem.
So I went through this mental process. Self talk. Things you say to yourself so you don’t lose your mind at a restaurant.
Here goes: It’s normal to seek recognition for whatever contributions we’ve made to the world. Most of us want to be recognized for something. It makes us feel connected, and yes, relevant. But it doesn’t last forever, the fuel, so we have to keep producing to keep the machine running.
This need for recognition is hard-wired into me. I’ll speak for myself. Some of you don’t give a shit and I admire that.
For the rest of us, as we age and our lives are not as professionally active as they once were, the withdrawals start.
Ask any retired athlete to tell you what irrelevance feels like. One day you’re famous, respected, valued, indispensable… and the next day you don’t even exist.
If we’re no longer valued the way we once were, then what’s the point of going on?
Why aren’t we dead?
Are we dead?
Maybe this is what death feels like, which begs the question: How can we not feel dead? How can we recapture relevance? How can we recreate the feelings we once had?
Mankind will be hammering itself with existential struggles like this until there is no more mankind to think about.
Is there a mankind to think about?
Okay, I don’t usually write about colds, but this one takes it to a whole new level of hell.
This is the first time in my life I can recall being knocked completely out of commission by a cold for more than a day or two.
At this writing, I’m looking at 4 days straight of unrelenting snot, sinus pressure, headache, face ache, sore throat, sneezing, itchy eyes and a vague sense that I’m not going to get through this without some kind of related complication.
It all started at the Apple store.
Something was off, as things often are at the Apple store.
Anyway, I felt a little clammy while waiting for the Genius dude to fix my Iphone 5.
But I was surprisingly mellow for someone whose always two steps ahead of himself.
My throat wasn’t sore, but it was definitely speaking to me in some indefinable way.
Whatever was going on was asserting itself; planning something.
I tried to forget about it. It had to be “allergies.” You know, those things people say they have when they have no idea what they have, so they use a term that sounds like cold or flu “lite.”
But there was nothing “lite” about what, by the minute, was beginning to feel like a downward spiral.
They say cold viruses mutate all the time, so maybe I was the victim of something unknown to science. This is how my mind works. But it’s also true because science still calls this thing a cold in spite of the fact that they don’t know what the hell it is.
By the time I got home I could feel it settling in to my organs. I have no idea what that means, but I can tell you that everything inside my body ached, while everything above it burned.
Then there was the exhaustion.
How can anyone be exhausted after 9 hours of sleep?
I could feel my white blood cells going berserk, trying to figure out why they’d been summoned. These are things you can actually feel when you’re a hypochondriac like me.
You do this body-scanning thing I’m told not to do, like surf Webmd, because it takes things to a whole new level of catastrophic. But I did it anyway because this time I wasn’t out of my mind. And by 10 o’clock, IT hit.
Sinus eruptus like Armageddon with all the angels and demons and parting of the seas. I was completely and utterly screwed.
Snot building a fortress around my head was just the beginning of the end.
Soon my head felt like an over-inflated basketball, and all the veins running to and from it felt like they were going to explode every time I coughed. My right eye felt like it was going to fill up with air every time I blew my nose.
At 7 o’clock the next morning I was still awake from 10 o’clock the night before. You try to sleep through this and see how well you do. Without a morphine drip and breathing apparatus you’re not going to sleep.
By that afternoon I was running a fever of 100.8, which was the good part, actually, because it didn’t get any higher. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the flu. But whatever was going on needed it’s own classification. If this is what a cold is supposed to feel like these days, people are a lot tougher than I give them credit for.
It’s been four days now and the Z-pack is beginning to kick in. But I know damn well I won’t be on my feet until the weekend, which puts this bullshit thing at 7 days!
But see, that’s the other thing. Doctors tell you to get a Z-pack because they don’t know what else to tell you. And while this one seems to be working, it’s still a crapshoot.
How the hell do people with normal jobs work through this? If I had to go to an office, I’d have to quit.
It would be nice if someone, somewhere could just tell me what I have.
Does it not strike you as unsettling that the medical community is clueless?
“Oh, that’s a cold.”
“That’s the flu.”
Are they stupid? Nobody knows what the hell any of this is.
And yes, Webmd mentioned cancer, as usual. No surprises there.
At last count I have been through 37 TV shows on Itunes, and read two books on my Ipad. I have also lost 5 pounds and still feel like my body belongs to IT. When this will stop I don’t know. I think the weekend sounds about right, but that won’t be the end of it because it will take another week to feel like I did the day before I was in the Apple store last Saturday.
I should start a blog for cold sufferers as a public service, because this is total bullshit. I would love to catch the little fucker who damn well knew they were sick, but still went out in public and contaminated half the city.
Be back soon. I hope.
Am I the only person who remembers the past?
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, the “past” refers to what came before you got here.
If you’re middle aged, high school would be a good example. Do you remember where you attended?
Okay. Good. You’re not as far gone as most.
But can you tell me with any degree of accuracy what the inside of a given classroom looked like? or whether or not you were generally depressed? or what led to the break up of your relationship?
I’m here to tell you that my high school girlfriend has no recollection whatsoever that we ever broke up! This in spite of the fact that I remember every single solitary detail of it — 38 years ago!
“I walked back to my dorm room and found you and the captain of the football team on the steps together. You didn’t look at me and I knew.”
This actually happened no matter what she doesn’t recall, in the same sense that a tree is a tree no matter what your depth of psychosis.
Another friend has no idea that she and her parents lived around the corner from me for ten years. She only recalls living alone after her parents divorced — in another part of town! Are you kidding me?!?
This is not your WORLD! You don’t make things up and there they are.
I remember what happened and then go from there whether I like it or not.
History is about context. I get it.
This is what a particular president did while in office. Kind of like what my father left behind: a book of accolades.
The books former presidents pen after leaving office are supposed to fill in the blanks. Clarify things, feelings, etc.
But they never really do because people are never completely honest. They tell you what they want you to hear, knowing that you can’t counter it.
So this is what stands as the past.
For someone like me, it’s where I spend a lot of my time because I think explains a lot.
This is what therapy’s all about. It’s also why many people never graduate.
Ya hear all the middle age boredom beating down the doors?
Ya feel the emptiness? The search for meaning elusive as faith?
Run to yoga! Go find yourselves! Then pop out of the machine with those self-righteous stares that bore holes into anyone daring to challenge your sanity.
Run and run and run more miles in a week than most people cover in their daily commutes to and from Suburbia, miles and miles and miles away.
Then there are the semi-functioning drunks who run to the wine bars and hotel bars and bars in general that cater to older men and women — and the young who feed on them.
It’s like a traveling road show that’s always open for business no matter where you are. In every metropolis you see the same demographics, the same broken few plying the haunts with a drink in one hand and fading relevance in the other.
I lived most of my life in these pits of delusion: In the furrows alongside the human detritus. I was always up for a good conversation. Intellectual voyeurism was my thing, to escape the boredom and emptiness of everything else.
I didn’t come from a 25 year marriage with kids in college and family vacations and Suburban’s and carpools and soccer matches at a local high schools… and then step into the line of fire like a child in a rocket assault. I created an arsenal over time and experience.
You have to to survive.
Last night I had dinner at a restaurant bar. As usual, the human food chain was active. A hooker worked one end of the bar before heading up north for her other job, which she hoped to avoid with enough upfront cash from a married conventioneer.
Nope. Not enough.
Then it was three married, middle age men in golf shirts on an overnight from the Louisiana oil patch entertained by what appeared to be a marginally passable tranny.
Another dead end, though. The three of them couldn’t cough up enough to save their lives, much less hers.
Then there was big daddy Boris to my left, all three hundred pounds of him coated in a pasty white shade of grizzly flesh stuffed in a suit, with big bloated fingers waving and pointing at the staff here and there like an oligarch from some foreign kingdom ruled by mustard gas and nerve agent.
With him was a maudlin middle age “girlfriend experience” hooker in his rolls and heady aftershave, like a rag doll in Playdough, with whom he hoped to spin a web elaborate enough to trap her.
And from the looks of it, old Boris may have won this round.
Any stripper will tell you their best targets dress for the occasion.
Big daddy studied carefully and walked into the world fully loaded.
Yes, the woman on the far left is the grandmother.
Yes, the tall guy in the middle is the son of the woman to his left.
See how it works?
I wish I could be more encouraging to you average, middle age, single studs who continue to mine the bars like rats still working the Chernobyl area before heading over to Tunguska.
Bars are about 1] youth and beauty, 2] celebrity appearances, and 3] older men with deep pockets. Period. The rest is just backwash in the scheme of things.
I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve said this, but like your therapist, I’ll just keep repeating it until we’re both blue in the face.
Once a man hits his 50’s he needs something to leverage. And the first line in the sand is money. Then he needs other things if he wants more than a street prostitute, which I’ll cover in a minute.
At every stage of life men leverage assets. When they’re young, they have youth, but not necessarily beauty. So they go to a gym, or join a rock band or sell pot to cheerleaders.
You do what you have to do to compete.
But eventually, even the guys with “everything” need a good family with enduring assets and unlimited future potential, and god knows what else to keep the fires on the beach alive.
And while some just have game [great deception with a short fuse], they can only pull that shit for so long before it stops working for any woman with an I.Q. above 100.
This is called foreshadowing, which is not a spoiler since everyone already knows the punchline.
Back to the middle-aged guys.
They are well educated, have reasonably successful careers, and are physically fit.
But none of this works because they’re judged on a scale that’s way over their heads.
In other words, by Topeka standards, they’re a-listers with the potential to date anyone.
By Los Angeles standards, they’re paying a dancer.
But quite honestly, this is the way things are supposed to be.
Men at this stage of life are supposed to be out of the game…or in it with someone resembling a matron from a cable ad for the Arthritis Foundation. But, of course, this is not what they’re looking for, which is why they’re always and forever looking.
If you expect more from life than you can deliver, you’re going to be disappointed.
However, you could just shut the hell up about it and wait for the meat pigeons over a joint, a Pink Floyd album…and a third finger in the air.
This is what a man sees when he thinks about reproductive rights.
If this goes over your head, just dangle a bloody chicken over a swamp and see what happens.
On the other hand, women see things like broken homes, institutionalized daycare, sociopathic sex, and deep regrets over abortion.
So stop feeding the men and you get your lives back.
Common sense and feminism are like trying to get men to say Madonna and whore in the same sentence.
Okay, I’ll shut up.
I’m on another project at the moment.
Feminism to men means sex on the house,
Ya know, there are flares on the surface of the sun flying around at 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and I’m sitting here thinking about property taxes.
Are you kidding me?
How the hell can anybody take anything seriously when this shit is going on around them?
I have to finish a book on a computer while entire galaxies are being swallowed up by black holes.
But most people don’t think about these things, which is why books and eating and property taxes do, in fact, matter, and why I need to stop procrastinating.
I’d love to tell the IRS that all of us are just minuscule dots on a blinding canvas of nothingness, and therefore, I don’t owe them a dime because they don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
But I’d still end up in prison which is a much bigger deal than the sun flares.
Guys. Please. Listen up.
If there are rules at all, one of them has to be something along the lines of don’t be idiots.
Never hit on a couple of 30-something women in an upscale steakhouse, unless they’re in red 6-inch patent leather stilettos with chrome toes.
The rest have an agenda, and they’ll let you know if they have any interest in bringing you into the deal.
I know it’s frustrating.
I know you think they’re just being coy and that it’s your responsibility to be the man and step up to the plate.
I also know about all the stories you’ve heard that contradict what I’m saying.
But you’re going to end up on the plate if you try to pull this maneuver.
If you still insist on giving it a shot, at least offer some form of barter, like goats, for example.
Say something like, “I have six good goats I am willing to barter in exchange for an evening of pleasure with you.”
Women can respect this.
It’s honest. It’s direct. It’s non-confrontational.
Of course, you’re suggesting that they’re prostitutes, but so what?
You’re also putting yourself in the subordinate position of having to present a dowry to boost your subprime value. The self-deprecation will be appreciated. You’re willing to openly admit that their value is greater than yours, which they already know based your behavior.
Okay. Not bad. So you’re not delusional. That’s good. There’s promise here.
This is one way to avoid being perceived as a complete idiot.
The other is to enjoy your steak, mind your own business and leave a 20% tip.
If a woman is interested, she’ll let you know, believe me. She’ll even follow you out the door.
In the end, she’s the hunter until you get her into bed. Then, for an hour or two, you can lay waste to her before dealing with the stalking for the next three months as you try and have an actual relationship with someone else.
Understand that a man never conquers a woman. He just forces her to shift strategies at his expense.