a priori/a posteriori

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Necessary Delusion

I think I have good taste, or I have taste that is good for me, so the things I am attracted to are an extension of myself. This is why we defend the things we like, bands, a sports teams, authors. When someone talks shit about things we like, in some way they are condemning our taste in the process. But who I fall in love with doesn't really fall into that category. Love isn't a band or author I can choose from. Love isn't an extension of myself in the same sense that the things I like are an extension of myself.

Love exists differently in our minds than it does in our practical life. From a distance, the lifestyle appears attractive and appears unattainable, meant for people who have unlocked the secrets of the universe. But love isn't a crazy pursuit. I will never be good enough to play a major league sport, but I might be good enough to accidentally meet the perfect person for me. I can watch a fat piece of shit leading character of a television with his hot wife, and I can see that being me one day. The definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So what is the definition of shooting 1,000 free-throws, hitting none of them, yet knowing it can be done? Love operates on that principle. It's crazy, yet it can be done. I can't take credit for love the same way I can take credit for finding a new book I like. The only real similarity is having the tenacity to put myself out there and search. If I hit the 1,001 free throw shot, I'm not crazy.

Love in reality/actuality cannot exist at the same level it exists in the mind for the same reason that it's probably better not to meet our heroes - they won't be what we hoped. To pull the idea of love out of the ethereal plane of bliss and apply it to our daily life is to bring it down to that level of the first time you saw the lead singer of Radiohead and thought, "really, this scrawny fucker is who was playing when I lost my virginity?"

In a practical setting, long term love is not a boundary pushing, all or nothing grass roots punk rock anthem. Long term love is the Dave Mathews Band. It is sensible, easy on the ears and heart and liver. It's what you can bring home to the parents, and play while the kids are in the back seat. Sensible love breeds maximum longevity. It doesn't necessarily make that life better, per se, but when you're 70 years old, stability trumps the catch-as-catch can pirate lifestyle of the single, shadow dwelling bachelor/ettes.

This is why people like Sid Vicious died young. They weren't love material, they were cultural flings. They fucked our ears and minds and then left just as explosively as they came. The memories of their existence are far greater than their actual existence. We didn't know how important they would be at the time, yet they might not have been so important had they stuck around and lived into their older years, where their existence became a watered-down, connect the rehab dot style of existence. Their continued existence as that old guy at the bar, skin as red and thick as tanned buck hide, who smokes cigarettes and tells you the same five stories again and again would have undermined the value they once had. Lindsay Lohan should have died after The Parent Trap. Paula Deen should have died before having to reveal she had diabetes. Kim Kardashian should have died after her sex tape was released. Their continued existence is a cultural relationship that should have ended long ago. Perhaps they can rekindle their relationship later on, by appearing spread eagle in magazines, but even that feels forced, like it's playing to our expectations.

I saw a program about a guy who was in his early 40's and he had been a base jumper his whole life. He talked about all of his friends, all of them base jumpers who had died. He even had a picture of himself with all of them, once smiling, now dead. Seeing where he is now, as a person, older, living from jump to jump, compared to where his friends were when they died, young timely deaths, made me realize this: at some point, if base jumping doesn't kill you, that's almost more pathetic to keep living. To exist in the back of society, living beyond your expiration date, like a jug of spoiled milk, the stench of decay and desperation all over. I suppose the only reason he hasn't killed himself with a gun or pills is because that would be too easy. Death has to come on his own terms or he'll have never really lived. He'll keep base jumping, hoping for death to have the nerve look him in the eyes. The crazy thing is, he's got a point.

So yeah, have your wild years and then clean up your act. Sobriety is for old leathery men with estranged families. Sobriety is the reality of insobriety. Infatuation is love without obligation.

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