Tuesday, February 3, 2009

You either get it or or don't get it... but I don't get who get's it

In a very low point in my life a number of years ago I did something almost unthinkable at this moment... I was walking through the mall and one of the bookstore's had an audio book sale and for some unknown reason I paid money for Dr. Phil on tape. It was on cassette... really this was a number of years ago. Dr. Phil says you either get it or you don't get it. I know people who I think, he thinks, gets it. They seem to flow through life without a care, they were popular in high school, got a decent job out of college, close group of friends, and an attractive family. They do things like go skiing or play golf and linger around the club and have a few cocktails with friends afterwords... chatting about the kids school, the neighbor's affair, or maybe play a little gin for a few dollars... then they head home and hop in the sack and satisfy each other's needs.

Boy that sounds nifty... I haven't had a friend in 15 years... that's a little stretch there are a few that tolerate me, but in general notsomuch... I think it's because I'm lousy at small talk, I don't give one rats ass about the weather, the neighbor's affair and the thought of getting competitive for a few dollars in a card game makes me itch all over...

To summarize Becker, he says we are all so petrified of dying that we're all scared to death to ask the big questions in life. We "tranquilize ourselves with the trivial" so we don't have to think about the fact that at any given moment we're just a few tearful mourners away from being worm food. I think Becker is probably right, personally I wish I could have a litte more of Kurt Vonnegut's attitude about it. In Slaughterhouse-Five, every time someone would die Vonnegut would say, "So it goes..." and I read an interview where he said that's exactly how he felt when his sister, brother, mother and father all died... "That was that...I had nobody to appeal to, to get mad at. When somebody dies, it's wholly unsurprising and so it goes. What could be more ordinary?"

Seems like everyday there's a new story about genetics... this one suggest that biology is very important in our ability to make friends and have tight social networks... When I've done Myer's Briggs it says I'm an INTP... which leads me to another rambling point... Someone famously said 'you can't go home again'... well sure you can... lots of people do... BUT not everyone can. If you were to describe the characteristics of an INTP to the people I grew up with, 99% would say without a doubt that those traits did not in anyway describe me. I would suggest that this makes it very hard to go home again... Who can go home again? The people who were pretty happy when they left (if they did) and who haven't changed much... They didn't have to be sports stars, but they played, they didn't offend anybody, didn't ask tough questions of themselves or others... they can go home again. Perhaps this is why community change most often doesn't happen from the inside... the people who live there are relatively happy there, relatively successful, and don't really want the boat rocked (even if they say they do).

Maybe this is a rant against the life not examined or it may be the jealous ramblings of the outsider... Maybe I need to pull out the cassette of Dr. Phil again and just admit that I don't get it... There's a good scene in the mediocre movie Girl Interrupted, where Ms. Ryder is in the asylum talking to Whoopi and Ms. Ryder tells Whoopi that Angelina says the rest of the world is full of crap and the girls in the asylum aren't... Whoopi replies that Angelina's probably right... but she's been in the asylum most of her life while everybody else is out enjoying their life even if it is full of crap... to continue with the pop culture post that this has turned into... Neo has the choice of the red pill or the blue pill in the Matrix... perhaps we all have that choice, and perhaps one leads to the asylum and one leads to cocktails and laughs?