"Existentialism as a Way of Passing Time"
by Josh Danger
I think I was at the grocery store buying a Pepsi, when I realized that my life held no meaning.
Or perhaps I was buying a Mr. Green outside of my local We-Have-It-All-And-Will-Drown-Local-Busi
Anyways, I'm not entirely certain where I was, to be honest, but it really doesn't matter. Here I was, eighteen years old, just graduated high school, no future and no prospects, and already I had no story. Certainly by now I should be writing my first novel or making my first feature film. Orsen Welles made "Citizen Kane" before he was twenty-five. I live in the age of non-stop technological progress; according to the math, I should have made my "defining work" about a year ago.
But there I was, standing outside of Wal-Mart, or inside of Kroger (Fuck it, who knows) clutching desperatly to some kind of carbonated drink, whenby now I should be arguing with RKO Studios, battling over whether or not my film will see the light of day, just cause it is loosely based on the life of the guy who created Starbucks Coffee.
So I decided to make a legacy for myself. I'd write about it, and what I write will be some kind of defining landmark work, representative of an entire generation. That would be cool. It would be one of those "immense unadaptables" screenwriters always talk about (and somehow always end up adapting them, anyway). A work so baffling in scope and style that any attempt to effectively transpose it onto the big screen would be for naught, because the narrative and the language is such a major part of what makes it so eloquent, even though the words are really just too fancy for anyone in Hollywood to properly decipher.
it would be seemingly filled with errors, but would be, in truth, flawless. Ironic, but critical of its own irony, because irony is, after all, a dying mainstream scene, which in and of itself is ironic. it would be minimalist, almost mediocre looking, but every word would be of utmost importance in understanding the true meaning that underlies the complex simplicity of its structure. Every word, every sentence would be part of the emmence hyperbole that ultimately stands for much greater ideas than a book could ever truly convey; the sentiment of an entire generation and time.
This would be brilliant. I am a syntax God. The potential prodigal son of the book with literary merit. But to begin, I would need a story. I need a means by which to get across the sentiment of an entire national mood among American youth of this time. This book would be a beacon for future generations, so they will see what it was like. It will represent the general ambience of the period.
Fuck, man, I'm halfway finished writing the damn thing already, I thought.
But then it occured to me, that perhaps the lack of dramatic struggle and the ever-looming shadow of over-powering apathy is what would define my masterpiece as a pillar of the times. A generation of watered down mindsthat want nothing more than to be entertained, rather than mentally stimulated, would be far better represented by a lack of dramatic exaggeration.
But then I thought, Nah, that would suck some serious fucking ass. Too boring.
So I decided to begin my legacy by calling my friend Patrick. When he answered his phone, I asked, "Do you want to do something?"
"I guess," he said precautiously. "What do you want to do?"
"I dunno," I responded with relative ease. "I figured this whole creating a legacy would be more of a stream of consciousness thing. I'm making this up as I go along."
"Oh," he said precautiously. "Okay."
There was an awkward pause.
"Okay," he said precautiously. Patrick is a predictably precautious person, on the phone.
"I'm writing the defining novel of our generation," I explained.
"How's that working out for you?" he asked.
"So far I've thought about it extensively, but have yet to write a single word."
Another awkward pause. We cherish moments like these, I assure you.
"Why?" he asked warily, in what I feel was most certainly an attempt at throwing me for a complete loop, as I was completely expecting him to say something precautiously. "I thought you were a filmmaker?"
"I am. But I like to write, too. And I want to write a landmark novel that is representative of our life and times that everyone will admire and adore and praise for years to come."
"But . . . why? he asked, clearly now either just trying to fuck with my head by asking cautiously instead of a full precautiously, or he was just too lazy to put in that extra bit of effort to ask me precautously. Bastard. "No one in our generation reads," he continued. "We are trained to produce and consume, fueling and feeding the machine that forces mediocrity upon us and convinces us that it is contentment. We settle for mediocrity in every aspect of our lives, from government to our own personal standards, compromising our happiness for a fictional 'greater good.' We search, not for meaning in our lives, but for a niche, a place in a society so that we can buy and consume and watch our T.V.'s that just make us want to buy and consume more and then we let our sitcoms laugh for us on the laugh track. On top of all that, that education system that we spent twelve years of our lives convincing ourselves that it was so important and crucial, when all it taught us was how to successfully settle for less, how to get a job that will allow us to be contributing members to a mediocre way of life that discourages individual thought and keeps people in their places, all the while convincing us that this is what we need in our lives to be happy, and there's no other way, and if we don't comply we're doomed to a life of being unable to buy shit we don't need and thus unable to be happy. We're a generation of complacent trained dogs."
I opened whatever fucking drink I had in my hand, and if I was in Kroger, this means that I probably payed for it by now.
"Well shit," I said, taking a big swig. I don't need to write a book to represent a generation of apathy. Not writing one seems a lot more effective."
But fuck, man, I thought. I started out writing a book, and I didn't want all that introspection going to waste, so I decided to write an article, instead. But I put it off for a real long time and just used a shitty cop-out of an ending. But it could be worse, I guess. it was a fairly accurate, if somewhat anti-climactic representation of modern society.
Though, come to think of it, that last part didn't have much hyperbole to it. It was fairly literal and straight-forward . . .
Well fuck, there wasn't much point to any of this shit, then, was there.
But maybe that's the point.
Which makes this either the worst article I've ever written, or the very best.
My head hurts. Fuck this.
Oh, and hey, yeah, it was Kroger, cause I walked down to Patrick's house, after that.