The Damned

Once upon a time, in a land far away, I played a text-based adventure game.  Younger readers should understand that we engaged in such activities between riding dinosaurs and banging rocks together to communicate with distant communities.  In this game, there was a phrase that appeared with a frequency evidently designed to unhitch even the soundest mind from its moorings: “you are surrounded by many passages, all alike.  N, E, S, W?”  With the aid of graph paper, it was possible to sketch out the labyrinthine nightmare which one sought to navigate, stopping only when it became clear that the sketch actually culminated in a satanic rune which, upon completion, would suck the player’s soul screaming into the abyss.

Suburbia is much like that.

I’m convinced that if one drew out the many twisting roads, cul-de-sacs, and parks on a piece of parchment using an appropriate medium–say, the blood of virgins–it would reveal unto humanity the dark language in which the Damned will sing the song that ends the world.  Never have I been so cognisant of the swirling mass of mediocrity that inhabits these wood-and-plastic dwellings as I was when I chose to walk through such an area some days ago.   When the Damned sing their song, it will be to the refrains of minivan honks, ESPN commentary, the sobs of alcoholic wives, and the crystalline tinkle of shattered dreams.  Too harsh, you feel?

Know Your Role

Our society is sick.

More and more, I notice that people seem unable to break beyond the traditional roles and boundaries of society.  People have roles, we’re told, and to not fit into that nice little package is to be strange, untrustworthy, immature, or deviant.

Are you thirty and want to dye your hair some interesting colour?  You’re immature!   Grow up, and stop pretending you’re a kid.  Like animated movies?  Those are for children!  Don’t want children?  You’re selfish!  After all, everyone knows that the key to happiness is a house in the suburbs with a large mortgage, two or three children, and a steady 9-5 job that pays the bills.  Ignore that hollow gnawing inside as what’s left of your soul begs for the final mercy of a bullet’s oblivion; that’s just what it is to be a grown-up!

Bullshit.

There’s an excellent comic over at xkcd.org that rather eloquently supports my point: we should get to decide what adulthood is, not the people who come before.  Each generation has its own identity, and each generation before it tries to smash the newer generation into a shape that fits the prejudices of the old.  For some reason, the Boomer generation (which, as you all know, I hold in the highest esteem) has decided that their youthful activities were folly and happiness lies only in the most rigid conformity.  This is a lesson they have passed on to my generation, who are paying the price for so pestilent an idea.

Witness the endless sea of over-priced identical houses writhing through what was pristine farmland or wildland.  The curves, ostensibly to create a feeling of neighbourhood, are utterly wasted on individuals who gaze mindlessly out of their air-conditioned SUVs, ferrying their offspring to mandatory piano lessons and sporting activities.  There’s no sense of community, because a community requires individuals and everyone who lives there is a goddamned robot.  This is not a community, it’s a hive-mind.

A Young Boy’s Tale

Watch carefully as the little boy tries to run around, shout, and revel in his juvenile masculinity.  Once, he would have grown up and had his exuberance tempered by life experience and the responsibilities of manhood.  Despite this, he would have been a man and all that entails.  Today, he is drugged into oblivion.

Tired from working incessantly to afford the empty paraphenalia of a materialistic existance, his parents have no energy to deal with his antics.  Hoping to raise his grades upon which rests the desperate hope that vicarious success through their son (look how far little Timmy went!) will silence the bleak emptiness of their own failures, they drag him to whatever physician will diagnose ADHD.  Drugged into a compliant stupour, the spark of creativity and zest for life lost, the child will doubtless grow into the next generation of people who believe that a quiet life and fitting-in are appropriate long-term goals.

Or Not

What the hell happened?  When did we decide to surrender our individuality?  Sure, living in a community requires a bit of compromise here and there, but why the hell are you so threatened by the guy with green hair?  Why do you feel the need to scoff at someone being “so different”?  Is it really so scary that a young woman has no desire to have children, instead choosing to travel the world and work in a global effort for some cause?  Why is “childless” an acceptable term, but you get so pissed off at “childfree“?  Why does dancing in public embarrass you?  Why are you so afraid of others witnessing you taking an almost childlike joy in something?

You don’t really need that SUV.  Let’s face it, that thing will never leave hard pavement and the snowy days you invariably bring up are, what, a few times a year?  Odd, most non-SUVs seem to do just fine on those days.  Did you really need that big of a house, crippling yourself financially?  How is that adjustable-rate mortgage working out for you?

What about your dreams?  What happened to them?  That thing you always imagined yourself doing, why aren’t you pursuing it?  Having kids isn’t an excuse; it’s not a social duty and you won’t always be at their beck and call.

Go Be Magnificent

Our lives are so ridiculously short that it’s a tragedy to not make the most of them.  Stop being safe, secure, and mundane.  Take a risk: do something scary, or new, or thrilling.  Screw getting that new giant TV; use the money to visit somewhere you’ve never been, invent something new, or fund something beautiful.  Compose a song or poem, and then go perform it in your local park.  Get out of the damned vehicle and try walking to the store, even if it’s miles away.  Wear daring clothes, walk along walls, and make those around you laugh just for the hell of it.

You’re beautiful, passionate, and bursting with potential.

Sod the Damned, go sing the song that moves the world.

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