Saturday, May 21, 2011

I Don't Care If I Never Probe Another Anus

I never thought I'd be this way, Gene. Burnt-out. Bitter. Just going through the motions... snatching hillbillies and plugging their whale-eyes without even caring whether I'm doing the job right anymore. A clock-watcher -- that's what I am now.

I don't want to make excuses, but the whole industry has collapsed around us. Being a Rectal Technician used to mean something. There was a level of professionalism, of dignity. People expected us to do our job efficiently and thoroughly, and they compensated us for it. Now they're sending out saucer crews packed with unpaid interns and kids who've barely graduated. No one cares whether they're following the sampling procedures. Just grab 'em and stab 'em so they can meet their quota at headquarters. And if something goes wrong -- if we hit too many subjects in the same area, and those Air Force guys start shutting us down again... do you think anyone back home is going to take some responsibility? Do you think that douchebag Ted will step up and say, "Yeah, I'm the one who told them they had to pop 56 backyard cherries a week or they'd be fired"? I don't think so.

Nobody probes anuses for the money. You do it out of love. You do it because you're passionate about scientific discovery. You get excited by the field work, because every time you go out on a mission you think, "Maybe today I will peer into an anus and see something that's never been discovered before."

I used to have that feeling, and these people took it away from me. That's the worst part. It's not the cash. It's that now when I look into the mirror, I see a guy who doesn't care about rectal probing. I don't even recognize that guy, Gene. And I don't like him.

I knew I'd be working with anuses. I just didn't think I'd be working with assholes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I'm Going To Run Into The Street And End This

Every day. Every goddamn day.

We wake up. We sit here on our haunches by the side of the road while the rush hour clears out. Then after that last blue minivan passes we make a run for it. We eat some nuts, crap in the flower bed, freak a few neighbor dogs out... and tomorrow we're going to do exactly the same thing. I mate with females I don't even like. I have 36 kids I never see. Look at me, Jerry. I'm eight years old but I look ten. Ten, Jerry.

There is no point to any of this.

I'm not depressed. It goes deeper than that. For the longest time I'd lie there at night in my tree-hole and wonder about the purpose of my life. And then one morning it hit me: That's not even the question I should be asking. The real question, Jerry, is who am I? And I don't have an answer.

Some might say you're defined by what you do. You lose a chess piece, and you can easily replace it with a coin or a button. Because a chess piece isn't really a chunk of carved wood. It's a representation of an actor within a system of other actors and the rules of how they move. Look at it that way, and I'm just one of the guys who makes sure the old lady's bird feeder doesn't ever feed any birds. I'm doing a job, a cog in a great big machine nobody can understand. The fat guy with the Vietnam vet bumper sticker who yells at kids. The ice cream truck driver who deals a little pot to the teenagers. And me, chewing things and tearing up screen doors. Is that worth a life?

I've been thinking of the way Steve died when he jumped onto that power line. How all his hair fell out, and he kind of looked like a little baby squirrel. I remember staring at him and thinking: That's not Steve. That's what's left of him. But you know what? It also reminded me of Steve the baby -- I mean, we grew up together. And suddenly I realized that Steve the baby had died a long time ago and I didn't even know it. Steve the baby turned into Steve the young adult, who turned into Steve the guy with three legs after he tangled with that raccoon. Then came Steve the corpse.

You don't get it, do you Jerry? You're just an illusion to yourself. There's no single, permanent you at the center of all this running around and chattering at kids with BB guns. There's a brain and a body -- some chemicals, some electrical impulses. And all of it is constantly changing. And it's held together by this fantasy of some unitary personality that you are trying desperately to maintain. But someday the whole damn thing is gonna fly apart. For you it will be when you finally duck under that automatic garage door you seem obsessed with.

And behind this fantasy of ourselves? Fear. The fear of dying. Every car, every cat. The fear of dying is the cause and the effect of my own illusion that I'm real. They reinforce each other. Unless you just... let go.

The next time that blue Odyssey comes down the street I am darting out under the wheels. Don't try to talk me out of it. Don't you understand?! Camus said the primary philosophical problem was suicide. He didn't understand what I do. It's not a problem. That goddamn minivan is a solution.

Here comes that poor bastard driving his kids to preschool. Goodbye, Jerry. Don't mourn me. I feel sorry for the rest of you, gnawing on trees and running from strollers. Because I'm free.

(Photo by; Reprinted under Creative Commons 3.0 license)

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Creepy Image From Finland

This is a painting called "Lemminkäinen's Mother" by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, and I found it over at Wikimedia. According to the description it portrays a scene from Kalevala, a Finnish epic poem:

The warrior Lemminkainen had been killed, his body hacked to pieces and thrown into the dark river that flows through the underworld, Tuonela. His mother, having collected the parts from the river and sewing them back together, looks up to see a single bee bringing back honey from the halls of the god Ukko, a wondrous ointment that would bring her son to life.

That sounds like one determined mom. And also -- I'll say it -- maybe a little mentally warped. Probably called the teacher at home demanding an explanation whenever Lemi got anything lower than a B in class. Took him shopping for all his clothes and asked "How's it feel in the crotch?" way, way too loudly. So the poor guy is dead, just chilling in the Underworld. Sure, it's a little boring. But he probably thinks he finally has a chance for some peace and quiet. I mean, he's been chopped up. No way you're coming back from that. Until...

A Short Film Inspired By HP Lovecraft

If I were Oprah this would be one of my favorite things. I love the paper cut-out style of animation. Also, the rain of eyeballs. Gotta dig that.
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