OVER: Turning Everything into a “Journey”

Don’t take the kid along, she’s on her own journey, to fill her diaper.

In the face of an overwhelming dystopia of normality, soul crushing conformity, and bleak banal sameness, we all fear becoming lost in the grand narrative of history. One way to battle, however fultiley, against this eventuality is to try and frame every little daily effort or tiny life challenge as some form of epic journey. The “journey” analogy has been with human-kind for generations, so it has some merit. After Lao Tzu wrote “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” in The Tao Te Ching, it should have stopped right there! Such an awesome truth, so deep and meaningful, that even a gazillion meme gifs showing a mountain in the distance with the quote overlaid in fuzzy papyrus font can’t kill it.

Life tends to be an accumulation of a lot of mundane decisions, which often gets ignored.
-David Byrne

So no, Terri from HR, your latest quilting efforts aren’t a “Textile Journey.”  Hauling silk and peppercorns overland from Beijing to Belgrade by dromedary in the middle-ages was an F’ing “textile journey!” No, no, no! This self-aggrandisement and wonton importance seeking has to stop. We’re going to puke the next time someone talks about learning to make decorated cupcakes as their “Baking Journey.” Our lives are not supposed to be some Jason-and-the-Argonauts level sojourn to be dramatically re-told in an amphitheater, our daily existence is JUST THAT, existing … every day!

HOWTOHAWT: You’re going to have to #TROPEBUST this hard! Everyone and their uncle are on some form of feckless “journey.” So we suggest that you go deep into the heart of darkness, community education classes.

If you aren’t already, get qualified to teach community education classes. Once you’ve done that, create a class called “Life Journeys: Getting from there to here.” You’ll get two lonely old guys, a wiccan coffee roaster and several retired librarians. Perfect, these are the “life journey” thought leaders. Remember, cut the head off and the body will die. Start with journaling, another trend that’s better left to the dust heap of hipsterism as well. A “Journey Journal” is just stupid enough to work as a focus for their questions. Do about 4 sessions where you do a lot of sharing, interpretive dance, and rock stacking. Pepper a bunch of lyrics from the band Journey in the lectures, ending each night with “…don’t stop believing.” Then it’s time for the “capstone,” an unannounced and grueling 25 “klick” hike through the swamp outside town. Ideally, the weather is super inclement and they’re not dressed for a hike. Have the IT Guy from your work, the one who wears a kilt, set up at “klick” 22 on a hillock in the middle of the dankest part of the bog.  He should be shirtless and painted blue with his hair all sticking on end with lye. He’s going to be super thankful you invited him here to do this btw, so he’ll owe you. As you all trudge up, the wiccan coffee roaster probably carrying one of the old guys, he begins to sing the song “Where My Heart Will Take Me” (originally performed by Russell Watson).

It’s been a long road

Gettin’ from there to here
It’s been a long time
But my time is finally here

And I will see my dreams come alive at night
I will touch the sky
And they’re not gonna hold me down no more
No they’re not gonna change my mind

‘Cause I’ve got faith of the heart
I’m going where my heart will take me
I’ve got faith to believe
I can do anything
I’ve got strength of the soul
No one’s going to bend nor break me
I can reach any star
I’ve got faith
I’ve got faith
Faith of the heart

Soon, leeches, dehydration, hypothermia and insipid pop music lyrics will cure them of needing to take any more asinine “journeys.” You can be assured that the ripple effects of your work will be felt for many grateful generations, and that’s HAWT!

Next Level HAWT: Making your own EVERYTHING

paper jacket
Hone your origami skills and you to can make your own sharp suit from paper you’ve made yourself.

It’s not hard to pinpoint the allure of making your own stuff.  You feel a sense of accomplishment and pride as you admire/eat/drink/wear/ride/use whatever it is you just made.  But far more importantly, literally the most important thing in the world, is other people knowing that you made something.  Social media has made this possible in spades and every mid-tier hipster has made something to show off on facebook, instagram, reddit, etc…  Hell, even Kevin down at the artisan tea shop made that crummy messenger bag from re-purposed retro flour bags.  And Andy in accounting makes a kickass IPA, even though I would never tell him that to his face.  Andy, in accounting.  Ugh. Anyway, the point is that even normals are getting in on our turf so we need to do something huge to set ourselves a cut above.  Make your own EVERYTHING.

“The aim to make everything” has, of course, gotten digital and academic with the MIT “FABLAB” specification. A network of distributed micro-manufacturing centers propped out with a dizzying array of extruders, embroiders and plasma torches mostly located at Makerspaces will allow anyone to fabricate anything on-demand. Need some new hangers? Open up your handy 3D CAD application and copy, paste, click … no more wrinkled tweed blazers for you!

Don’t run off just yet, I know this sounds daunting and perhaps even a bit completely absurd, but when you really think about it, that’s what being an elite hipster is all about.  It’s that “notice-me” flair that landed you your present gig running a Neapolitan-kimchi keto pizza truck.  You’re going to need to commit to this hard, like you’ve done everything else to position yourself as hipster royalty in the region.

HOWTOHAWT: When you commence making, I’d advise that you start with the big three: food, water, and shelter.  Those three alone should keep you pretty busy for the first couple of months considering it’s winter and you will likely die once you move out of your studio apartment.  (Side note, don’t forget to “pack it in, pack it out” by building your own coffin.) Next, smugly declare to your roommate Theo: “another set of hands built these walls, my hands will build my own.”  After you have clothed yourself with crude garments that you fashioned from the “borrowed” hair of the neighbor’s Afghan hound, hit the trail!  The first night will likely be rough, so get an early start. I suggest finding a build site near a fresh water source that is somewhat secluded as you will need to poach a considerable amount of wild game to feed yourself until spring when your first foragable leeks emerge from the frosty sod.  For a temporary shelter, construct a quinzhee hut, and begin felling spruce trees.  This will prove difficult without a cutting implement, so first you will need to forge an axe blade.  Before you do that you will need a forge, etc.  If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, GOOD! Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Just ask the DIY deity in the video below, Richard Proenneke, who would rightfully ashamed of you for your shamefully weak “browsing the internet” and fully reading this stupid article to its end. Go whittle a cabin, looser! Then, maybe, you’ll be HAWT.

P.S. To save time, here’s an article I wrote back in 1970 on the subject.

Downward Goat: Co-dePETdency

downward goat
I mean just look at that goat! Your emotional dependence has turned him into a depressed backpotato. He’s dying inside.

Well, it’s finally happened. We’ve created such a homo-sapien centric stress-ball of a world that we are forced to rely on our domesticated animals for comfort, relaxation, and emotional support. You can’t walk through an airport without seeing a long line of fragile needy humans lined up for some petting time with therapy dogs. It’s the ultimate in psychic subjugation and cross-species emotional slavery. If you can’t handle the twisted mess that is your life, DON’T FOIST IT ON YOUR DOG, and definitely DON’T DO YOGA WITH YOUR GOAT! Thankfully, there are some sane actors in the midst of this madness. A major airline drew the line on some hipster performance artist’s comfort peacock. Unfortunately, the bizarre cruelty had already emotionally scared the beautiful bird because the crybaby milk-toast human had named him “Dexter.” We’ve even anthropomorphized actual llamas to the extend that they have developed “berserk llama syndrome.”  We can’t make this stuff up, folks.  Look, just because your goldfish “Francis” doesn’t literally commit seppuku every time you come home from work sobbing over a mediocre performance review, it doesn’t mean she isn’t crying. Remember, you’ve entrapped her in a watery prison as your unpaid therapy-fish, and you can’t see her tears.

The 2018 Grammy for Best Picture is literally about a loner human falling in love with a fish person.

HOWTOHAWT:  So, the next time your flatmate, Selene, flops down on the couch mournfully sobbing and begins to unload on “Fonzie” the house Chi-Poo about her traumatic shift at the Juicery, you must act quickly. Go get Theo’s tweed blazer (the one with elbow patches) and field notes. Purposely stride into the living room, grab the moist-eyed pup and sit him firmly on the ottoman. Sit in the armchair, and, opening the notepad, posit “soooo, Herr Fonzie,  let’s begin with some word association.”

You’ve already trained him in advance to bark annoyingly with vegan dog treats when he hears the words “mother” and “pain.” You’ve also trained him to whimper when you dip your fountain pen in some ink, and to lay down and cover his head with his totally cute paws when you pull off your tiny circle specs while stroking your goatee and saying “I see.” Selene will be so stunned and humiliated that she’ll flee to her room and curl up in her hammock in embarrassed silence where she belongs. You can confidently know that you’ve saved the dog, this time.

Sigmund Freud was onto something when he said “time spent with cats is never wasted.” Not because it’s good for the wimpy humans, he was looking out for the cats! Cats are clearly immune to human attempts to use them as an emo-soak. They just don’t care. Cats have been ignoring our problems and still getting fed since the pharaohs. So human-up and either get a grip, or get a cat.