The Dharma Bum

Monday, April 8, 2002

By Jaysen Buterin

"Do I listen to pop music because I'm miserable, or am I miserable because I listen to pop music?" -John Cusack, High Fidelity

In the grand scheme of things boys and girls, you have to ask yourself what really matters?

Do you choose life? Do you choose a job, a career, or a family? Do you choose a flippin' big television? Do you choose washing machines, automobiles, CD players, or electrical tin openers? Do you choose good health, low cholesterol, or dental insurance? What about fixed interest mortgage repayments and a starter home? Do you choose your friends, leisurewear, and matching fabrics? What if you chose to DIY and wonder who the hell you are on a Sunday morning? Or how about choosing to sit on that couch, watching mind-numbing spirit-crushing game shows, shoveling junk food into your mouth all day? What if you chose to hang up and drive? What if you chose not to choose, ergo, by not delineating an exact penchant for one path or the other you have already aligned yourself in motion. Or what if you chose to choose yourself, espousing a didactic agenda that our existence is abandoned and free for the world is indifferent to us? Why then you'd be an existentialist of course and probably one of those 17 year-old haiku writing gits sitting in a Starbucks with your laptop, quoting whatever Sartre or Camus anecdote you've managed to memorise that week in a vain attempt to capture the undivided attention of the lass sitting next to you in her GAP khaki capris complimented by her baby-ringer tee E.T. shirt that you know she didn't buy until last week when Britney Spears and her amazing sentient assets modeled some silly paradigm of retro pop-culture couture that she's too young to have owned the first time it came out, but figured if she washed it 50 times before she wore it, why then she'd look "old school," proving once and for all that: pop music really is a tool of the devil; that pink is the new orange; and that "jerkin" is the new state of cool.

But what's really important superfriends, is to answer that one question that's always reeling and pining and burning away in the back of your mind; that question that will forever gnaw at you - invading your every thought, infecting your every desire, and controlling your every action - reverberating thru your head more times than you found yourself singing along to "Lady Marmalade", and jumping, jiving, and wailing on the tip of your tongue faster than Walt Flanagan's dog. That question is different for every one of us dear readers, as unique as a snowflake, unless the snowflake is of the yellow variety then you may want to seriously reconsider your proclivity for eating snow. Even yours truly is plagued by such an unanswerable quandary and I'll be Jack's raging sense of exhilarating relief if you - the beloved denizens of the OFF! Universe - can answer it for me. My problematic quandary is this: what the hell is the deal with those shirts that are simulacrums of tank tops, but have been heinously emasculated in the most severe of sartorial sufferings? You know, those silly things they sell at the mall that look like tank tops but they only have one sleeve, or strap, or whatever you want to bloody call it. Somebody help me out here because I really don't get it. Did I miss an e-mail or a meeting about the clothes? I mean, I know my fashion sense stops at 1992 and that the only realm I could ever be considered cool in is that of comic book geek chic - but those things look just silly. It's not even a whole shirt. It's like the bastard love child of a wife-beater and a tube-top...a tube beater! Maybe I'm just old. Maybe I should start selling pairs of pants with only one leg - which brings me to another point of contention - why do they call it a "pair of pants" when you really only get one? Shouldn't it simply be called a "pant?" Or perhaps a clever modifier like a "pair of pants legs?" I think I'll add the one-legged pants to my list of ideas and things to copyright. It can take asylum at third place - right after I invent anti-depressant vending machines and I patent my scientifically revolutionary process for solving the energy crisis by harnessing the preservative shelf life of Peeps.

So...have you answered yourself yet? What really matters to you? Because if you have trouble answering yourself or you find yourself grasping at the proverbial straw for an answer you think will be esteemed well by the others, then I don't envy you. For me, what really matters is the hug I'll get from my beautiful Kindal when she walks thru that door; it's the smile I feel over the phone when I talk to my mum or dad and tell them what idiotic thing I've done this week; it's Dorothy's confirmation and epiphanical intimation of well-deserved and long overdue happiness; it's the shining salvation of having the friends and loved ones that I do; it's fifty-five days of sobriety. The question is not one that requires a moment of thought to answer, and if you don't understand why anyone would ask such a trivial thing, then you never will for multiply it by infinity, take it to the depths of forever, and you will still barely have a glimpse of what I'm talking about. So as the sun sets slowly in the West, I bid you a fond farewell, from a manic panic moment of zen-like calmness, where I finally take the well-deserved and long overdue comfort in knowing that in the grand scheme of things, I finally know what matters. Goodnight kids.

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