Sunday, July 05, 2009

Pick a Vice, Any Vice


If you’ve been in touch with me at all this year, you’ve realized that I am fully equipped with barrels of negativity. I am a dark cloud to be around. Not goth, but depressingly serious and saddening. This negative attitude has come as a result of a hard year, full of misfortune. But I refuse to feign good out of my circumstances, I swallow the bad as it comes and shit out pure, dark negativity.

But one virtue I’ve had a hard time sorting out in all of this has been my own personal vice. Mark Twain had his cigars, Hemingway had his whiskey, Hunter Thompson had his …everything. But what about Dylan Peterson? His tortured mind needs some sort of negativity outlet too. He can’t just harbor all of his hideous thoughts in his own conscious self. That would surely be psychological suicide!

So when the vile weight of the world has me pinned, what’s my anesthetic? Let’s go down the list…

Drugs?

Every so often, I turn to the Ibuprofen for one of my migraines. But other than that, I’m practically a Christian Scientist. I believe in free will, and along with that comes great will power. With great will power, comes less medicinal responsibility. If I feel a flu coming down, I just drink more water. Drugs are not my vice.

Alcohol?

I drank a couple times before I turned 21, never to the extent of drunkenness. Once I moved into legality, I drank a little more. I worked as a server and bartender during college, and so had to taste all sorts of wines, champagnes, whiskies and mixed drinks for my job. But when my brain is telling me that life is worthless, I never get thirsty. If anything, I avoid alcohol even more when I’m swimming in darkness. I mean, come on, only idiots drink and drive. If I’m pondering one of the many disturbing aspects of human existence, the last thing I want to do is wreck my train of thought with alcohol. Alcohol isn’t my vice.

Sex?

This is possible. Well, it would be possible, but again, I’d rather have sex when I’m feeling good. Depressing sex is bad sex. I try to avoid that at all costs. And I’m not so insanely self-deprecating that I go to strip clubs or hookers for a sex vice fix. I don’t think sex is my vice. But then again, I still don’t know how much sex is too much. I think I can really relate to Woody Allen in some ways. Sex is something that people get really hung up on, but I just don’t know about myself yet.

Gambling?

This is one of the stupidest vices. I can’t imagine how people can do this. Casinos are some of the most depressing places in the universe (probably because they’re full of depressed people in need of a vice outlet), and I don’t like my depressing thoughts. To be honest, I really don't want to have the thoughts that I have. Some of these blog posts pain me to write, but I don't believe that there's anything worst than dishonesty. So I endure. It’s like when Johnny Cash sings, “I’d love to wear a rainbow every day, and tell the world that everything’s okay.” I wish you could have too, Johnny, but I know all too well why you couldn’t. Oh I wish I could have hung out with Cash. We would have had so much to talk about. He’s one of the few persons in history that I feel like I could relate to. But like Cash, I cannot focus on good things when there is so much negativity, and I won’t. “But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back, till things are brighter, I’m the man in black.” I’m with you there Johnny. But you had your vices as well. Sure you had your June as I have my Jaclyn, but we are troubled men. We need to place our dread into something.

I asked my wife what my vice is. She gave a pretty good answer…

Movies?

I wouldn’t necessarily put this on the list of typical vices for the ages, but I think this might be mine. When I lost my job earlier this year, I started watching movies like I was the reincarnated Gene Siskel. Godard, Fellini, Herzog, Kubrick and the Coens were suddenly sharing their stories with me for six to eight hours a day. Whether it was Netflix, hulu or borrowed movies from the public library, I couldn’t stop. In my darkest hour, I turned to film.

But still, I’m not sure if I can really call this a “vice.” A vice is something altogether unhealthy, like smoking, drinking or gambling. Movies can be wonderful. But I do tend to treat them as if they were my vice. This should stop though, because the manner in which I watch movies should be a psychologically healthy experience. I shouldn’t escape into them, I should engage with their artfulness.

So I think I need to find a vice. What do you say? How do I neutralize my natural urge towards negativity? What is my proper avenue for self-destruction? What flavor is my poison?

All vice suggestions are encouraged. Thank you for reading.

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