Melancholy Against the Madness of Modern American Life

I rather value my melancholy. Used to be a personality trait one was allowed to have. Like Abraham Lincoln or Lord Byron. Now one is required to grin and say things like, “Great!” ~ Alan Shore, Boston Legal

I don’t go on much about the fact that I am a melancholy man. Not much need, really. The average person, if I do communicate this to them, wants to come up with various and sundry ways to ‘cheer me up.’ Which I’m not looking for from them. Not to mention that the presence of melancholy is not necessarily indicative of the lack of cheer. I could go on and on here, but I suspect that point is taken.

Mondays weary me, of this there is usually no question. Today’s world in America is a maddening exercise in maintaining composure when everywhere you turn, something wants your attention. One cannot walk into a restaurant, mall, barber shop or even a church break room without the drone of the Signal. TVs everywhere, wall to wall, flapping their digital jaws 24/7, keeping us ‘aware’ of everything at all times. Were it not likely considered a vile infringement of someone or something’s supposed rights, I’d just as soon cut the cables plugging them all into the wall outlets. Scratch that: mostly, I’d like to pull them from the wall, take them outside and begin giddily dismantling them via baseball bat to the tune of ‘Damn, it Feels Good to be a Gansta.’

Conversations with  John and Jane Q. Public are now something akin to walking through an indoor firing range full of hair-triggered shooters holding BB guns. If you’re not accidentally offending someone, then you’re having to qualify every third statement so that their American Solipsism is made aware that everything you say is not, in fact, about them. John and Jane do not listen. They do not bother. They wait until you finish your sentence (if you’re lucky), then run off on a tangent full of rationalizations based on a tidbit of what you said that they managed to process. Phrases like, “Sorry, not sorry,” “I’m just bein’ honest,” and, “Just sayin'” are terribly thinly veiled ways of informing you that your contrarian viewpoint—no matter how well thought out and considerate—is not wanted. And, according to my own anecdotal evidence, none of these people give a damn about what anyone thinks of them, based on their words, which they repeat over and again, and put in their social media profiles, and declare, and so on, ad infinitum. This is, of course, an utter lie; when you do not care what others think of you, this fact does not come up in your conversations unless asked. Those who are self-contained people do not waste their time qualifying this fact.

The modern office is a nightmare for any thinking human being with character. Solipsistic sociopaths run these modern offices. Distraction is at the root of the office, not work. If you are one to show up, put your head down and simply desire to get the job done, no matter to whom the credit is given, you’ll find yourself accidentally stepping all over the toes of those who’d rather get accolades for simply gracing the rest of the office with their presence and their ideas about thinking outside of boxes and shifting paradigms, for all the useless flotsam and jetsam that these ridiculous pat phrases contain. Boxes are a handy, useful invention. I often wonder what sort of idiot is required to look at an excellent invention, cast it aside, and say, “Well the hell with this convenience. What can I do to make life more difficult? I’ll set things on the outside of this box. Then try and carry them all. That seems like a legitimate plan and sheer brilliance on my part!”

No wonder their paradigm they want to shift constantly. It’s an idiotic paradigm they espouse.

Of course, the trick when being melancholy is to never let it all bury you. American Life is what it is, despite being passive-aggressively fake-positive, full of noise, resplendent with stupidity, obnoxious, backwards and a whole helluva lot more like corporate prison than anything that could be labeled good-old ‘capitalism.’ It will and can bury the melancholy person in a pit of depression and anger, and that’s no good. Because then, this hive-minded, mad, mad, mad, mad world wins. And I don’t like to lose.

And I still blame most of it all on the God-forsaken TV. Don’t rationalize with me on this. No matter how many ‘good’ things have come from TV, it is the virus. Without question.