Everywhere we go we see people optimizing their lives. They swing left and right trying to make sense of this life while playing the optimist, telling themselves they’ll see the silver linings and that there really is no reason to life other than to enjoy it and to be happy. They live one day at a time and with plastered smiles behind deep lipstick and bright rouge. They say to forgive and forget and to move on. That the best revenge is happiness. These are the people who enjoy the monotonous hum of inevitable death doing nothing memorable to anyone but themselves. These are the people who don’t strive towards any goal other than personal happiness. These are the people who don’t struggle. These are the selfish ones who think that being happy in their own lives will make the world a better place. These are the people who never raise the bar or their voice, but sit on it like flies on sticky paper. Their own happiness and self gratification take precedence over the world. They say things like “what a shame” and “someone should say or do something” yet they are the ones with squeaky clean hands and manicured nails. These are the people who believe that Thoreau and Blake changed history while never putting significance on the fact that people like them were considered crazy. They were miserable, depressed, users and abusers who wrote for people to do something and show the colors of the world as gray and black and white and not this rainbow fantasy that has been spewed on our impressionable young generations. They never remember that the people who changed the world forever where upset and disregarded in this life as nothing more than miserable nobodies, yet they changed more in a day than these happy-go-lucky zombies could do in a lifetime.
If history has taught us anything, it’s that the educated and happy may move the world, but the sick and twisted will outright shake it. They died young and horrible deaths but their time was spent making a change. The debate is not on the quality or personal opinion of the change, but the fact that the change occurred and will forever be remembered.
So ask this: if horrible people make history, as Stalin and Hitler have shown, and create change, for better or worse, why would anyone ever want to be stagnant and happy? Life is motion so move or get run over.
On that note I ask myself: do I want to be happy, stupid, blissfully ignorant, and stagnant or passionate, challenged and in motion? I could be the change I want to see, or I could create the change in the world around me. Move or get run over by those who will. As some famous guy once said, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Although falling is technically a form of motion, I’d rather be angry and hated for creating a change in the world than loved and happy and not change a thing, because sometimes those around you cannot be forgiven and events not forgotten and because of that you must move. Not move on, but move through and if the stagnant won’t get out of the way, you may just have to run them over.
As those around me have preached for years and decades and millennia’s, and in not so many words, good vibes bring good vibes. But whose idea of a “good vibe”? I’d never say I wouldn’t want to be confortable. It would be a farce if I said I wouldn’t want a Bugatti. And I’d be destined to Hell by the Christians if I said I wasn’t lying about it all. The truth of the matter is that we all want the same thing in our hearts and souls. We want bad things to die and good things to survive. The only difference between you and I is that what might be bad to you is only the beginning to me. If Hitler hadn’t starting burning the Jews, how many people with pyrotechnic expertise would have been without a job? And yes, I know that wasn’t a degree, but honestly, a few hundred thousand Jews, who’s counting? And if we hadn’t bought slaves from around the world, what would have happened to our plantations and crops without the added manpower? Would we have felt as strongly about the issue if we had enslaved whites? Or even people who had been pre-determined to be an “untouchable”? I don’t see anyone in American protesting the Indian Caste system, but anytime something seems unfair in our own backyard we play the race card, the gender card, the age card. Where is the untouchable card? We as a society are optimists in our own lives, but when travesties occur across the globe, we sit back and say “what a shame”.
Am I a pessimist when it comes to life? Some would argue I am while others may say that I see the world for all the disreputable features it holds. Some would say I’m an anti-sematic, racist, foul mouthed angst-y person with a bad attitude. Some might even go so far to say that I’m just speaking my mind and that if the whole world did what I am doing, maybe we wouldn’t have had 2 world wars, a civil war, a revolutionary war, numerous mass murders, bombings, killings, rapes, school shootings, and the list goes on and on. Maybe if we all spoke what we thought without fear of retaliation for merely saying what is on our minds then the world would be a rainbow fantasy. Yet pride and personal gain have ruined that dream, along with the dreams of 8 out of ten Americans according to recent studies.
I work in Advertising. My job is to make companies and businesses that, in some cases, have horrible reputations look good. My job is to sell a product with no verifiable results to people who don’t inquire about it or even think about it before I walk through their door. I sell them something that puts them in a good light for consumers to spend their hard earned money on products that, in most cases, aren’t useful or necessary. I spin stories into beautiful master pieces to gain a percentage of the income of others who then in turn do the same to consumers. I am part of a vicious cycle that causes poverty, inflation, and death. But then again, aren’t we all?
I profit on big businesses trying to kill mom and pops. As a Marketer I benefit from rising costs and business politics, yet as a consumer I fall like the rest. I prey on new businesses like a used car salesman, except car salesmen make a higher commission than me. I tell them about Coke and Pepsi and what Advertising has done for them. I tell them when to have sales and what to promote. I tell them who to sell to, and who to prey on themselves. I show them brilliant copy production that mirrors the blindfolded people in those Frebreeze commercials prior to taking off the blindfolds. I tell them how big their business could be. I tell them how to structure their business. I tell them how to handle their customers, all for 60 seconds of pretty little lies. I am part of the problem and nowhere near the solution. I am a hypocrite.
I dislike most of those around me, yet in my line of work, everyone is my friend. I smile at other Account Executives, shake hands and pretend that I don’t want to slit their wrists. I joke and laugh all while making mental notes on everything they say. I sympathize about the accounts they have lost all while counting each loss as my potential gain, all while they do the same. I downplay my commissions, my accounts, my businesses all while mentally dissecting these people, finding their weaknesses, the faults to exploit to future business. I mention to the gunsmith about their liberal views, the bar owner about their DUI, and the churches about their illegitimate children, multiple divorces, and what they really do on Sundays. I destroy them, all for 10%.
It’s a cutthroat business being in Sales in little ol’ Cheyenne, Wyoming. A total of 80,000 people with, at most, a 12% small and local business selection and over a hundred salesmen. Newspaper, television, radio, print, and digital media all attacking a man who just hated his boss to the point of entrepreneurship. As I said, we lie, cheat, and steal from one another to make a buck at someone’s expense. It’s the beauty of capitalism and greed all molding together as one burning coal in a single person. It’s what America was founded upon and by god don’t we all want a piece of it.
It’s not unlike those with children. They make an eighteen year mistake and name it. They attempt to prove to other parents, sometimes their own, and educators how their child is special. Their child will be on the Wheaties box. They try to prove to the government why their child should learn more, have more, be more. Why their child should get the star until every child has a star because heaven forbid the child knows it’s a failure. It’s a parental war of whose child is smart and who’s is good at sports. Whose child will be going to what college and what occupation will keep the parent comfortable in retirement. Their fake smiles when other children surpass their own are enough to butter a loaf of bread for decades to come. And when they can’t compete with other parents, they compete with the government. They beg and cheat and lie for assistance. Their children are starving and cold and stupid and they need. They need cell phones and food stamps and LEAP. They need school supplies and daycare and healthcare. And those of us without children are signing the checks. So who is really suffering here, because my bet isn’t on the children.
We breed ignorance. We continue the chain of poverty and stupidity all while telling our children that they are the best, that they are perfect, they are the future. We teach them our own skewed values and morals. We train them to be dependent and self satisfying. And in the age of retirement we wonder what went wrong when the social security runs out. We breed ignorance. We breed disease. We breed death. And then we wonder why.
The fact of the matter, to all of this, is that it’s the realistic view of life. We can sugar coat and caramelize and glitter glue everything around us, but it will never change the fact that your rainbow fantasy is and never will be the full truth. This is one sided, pessimistic. Yours is just the same, one sided. Viewing the world from one point at all times will never give you a realistic interpretation of what is truly around you. Being stagnant will only keep you in your tightly sealed snow globe, a prison you have created out of ignorance, fear, and absolute stubbornness. You will see your pretty stars and shiny lights, but will lose the exploding debris and burned out bulbs that follow. You will be lost in your cookie cutter reality. I may be lost in the darkness under the bed, but once you see the ugly in life, it makes the pretty so much better. And truthfully, without people like me, there would be no distinction for people like you. Good or bad, pretty or ugly, light or dark, you need both to survive. I may depress you, anger you, or flat out make you sick, but without me there would be no you, and vice versa. So really, hold the applause, hold your breath, hold on to your ass, because you’ll forget about this whole story. You’ll forget about me, and eventually, you’ll forget about you, because aren’t we all just little stars waiting to explode outside the atmosphere? The only question is: how long will it take?
I had a teacher who once said to the class, “I am the Devil’s Advocate. You will never know what I truly believe. I will ask questions and make comments that will sadden you, anger you, and upset you. It might be the truth, and it might not. But no matter what it is, it will cause you to think. It will cause you to think about your own thoughts and opinions, and those you have never considered. It will force you to see the other side of the fence. It will force you to make your own conclusions and not to rely on what you have been told. It will force you to ask questions instead of blindly believing what I or anyone around you says. It will make you see the other side of everything.” Maybe I have applied it to my life, and maybe not. Maybe this is just a rant, or maybe it’s my heart and soul. Maybe you’ll never know. But you’ll think.