Hammer, “Man Ray”
We need to talk about how you’re feeling right now.
Let’s say you’re someone who has spent a large part of your life telling people that everything is terrible. Day in, day out, your theme is the same: It’s all meaningless, you’re being deceived and deceiving yourself in turn, and things are only getting worse. No matter how many people shake their heads and reject you, call you names behind your back or generally do anything to ensure that they don’t need to deal with the substance of your message, you continue to point out how horrible it all is. And then, finally, something happens to make the evidence so incontrovertible that even your most willfully deluded detractors are forced to concede that you have been correct all along. You’d think you’d be happy, that your vindication would bring some sort of satisfaction, but I am sorry to say this is not the case: You people are bumming me out. What I expected was that you would all sheepishly acknowledge that I have indeed been right and then gradually go back to your lives of kidding yourselves about the possibility of bright spots. (I did not expect any thank yous or let me buy you a drinks — if there’s anything that people hate more than realizing that they’ve been wrong, it’s the face of the person who has been right the whole time, especially when they’ve been so dismissive of him and his quiet, justified insistence.) I figured by now you’d have absorbed the knowledge of our intolerable existence and your brain would have resumed doing that thing where it fools you into pretending it will all work out okay. But no! You’re all as bad as me, every second, and it’s too much! What do you think I’m here for? It’s not just to be right about everything, although that is indeed part of my purpose. I am also here to bear the burdens of your suffering so that you can go on with your lives unimpeded by the awful sorrows I carry around on my bent and broken shoulders. We can’t all be me all the time: It puts things out of balance. It disturbs the order of life. It’s a big fucking drag. Look, there’s no hope for me: I exist to observe the agony, endure the ache and then die. You have hope. It’s what keeps you going. You wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning without it. Believe me, I understand: Everything sucks. I’m the guy who wrote that song in the first place. But I need you to act like everything sucks a little less than it does, because it’s too much to take for everyone with all of you always being this down. I’ll handle the anguish, you please just get out there and live like it’s all going to be okay, okay? Thank you. Now here’s some music. Start acting as if you like it again.