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The Idea Of THings


JOURNAL : 12.13.20

What do we do when we lose interest in the thrill of tomorrow? When we can’t think of anything else to do to keep ourselves from going mad? Some people live for tomorrow. Their happiness almost entirely wrapped up in what promise the future holds. Others are content to live in the now and appreciate the thing that is happening. Or so I’m told. 

I’m not a real big tomorrow guy, but I am a romantic who believes that the fantasy is always better than the reality. Maybe my issue isn’t with time, but with reality. I don’t tend to live in the future, or even in the past, and I wouldn’t argue that I’m just chillin in the present, because I don’t think I actually operate in this reality. Very little in my experience lives up to expectations and if and when it does, it’s almost overwhelming. 

The Idea Of Things

When I quit smoking, the thing that helped me the most was the realization that so much more than actually smoking, the thing I loved the most, was the idea of smoking. I loved the thought of it, the anticipation, but often not the reality of it. To this day, the thought of having a cigarette far outweighs any possibly reality to the pleasure I might get from actually smoking one. I loved the anticipation, the pageantry of it, the paraphernalia, the rituals. It was glorious. The actual smoking part was, let’s face it, kind of a drag. Dirty and smelly and frustrating and shameful, especially once we were no longer allowed to smoke indoors. Then it became like trying to find a place to masturbate in public. 

After nine months of not drinking, I’m beginning to feel the same way about booze. Sure, the buzz was great, it wasn’t all fictitious, or at least I think it was. But was it? Because then what happened? Nothing really. Just another drink. 

Drinking has the strange self-fulfilling result of more drinking. There really wasn’t ever a goal for me, except to have another, and getting drunk was never the goal. What I liked, was the idea of it. That first sip, like putting a flame to the end of the cigarette and inhaling, the anticipation of it all. But then it was over. That was the best part. 

“I have all of the usual objections to consumerism,

the commercialisation of an ancient religion, to the westernisation of a dead Palestinian, press-ganged into selling Playstations and beer, but I still really like it.”

Tim Minchin

I’m enamored by the idea of things, or at least my idea of things. I like the idea of people, for instance, but not so much the real thing. People are messy, and needy and never do what you want them to, or even expect them to. I like the idea of religion, but little about the practice make sense to me and no one even follows their own rules, and there doesn’t seem to be much benefit to it outside some of batshit crazy idea of eternal punishment for not following the rules that I’m told don’t count anymore since they crucified God.

For instance, I like the idea of Christmas, but like Tim Minchin, “I have all of the usual objections to consumerism, the commercialisation of an ancient religion, to the westernisation of a dead Palestinian, press-ganged into selling Playstations and beer, but I still really like it.”

I enjoy the fantasy of most things far more than the real thing. Which is better, watching the last fifteen minutes of A River Runs Through It or traveling to Montana to fly fish on a river where your feet are freezing while your back sweats and bugs eat you as you try to catch a fish you’re going to let go once you catch it? Plus no cool soundtrack and Robert Redford won’t narrate. Just saying. 

Presumably it’s all about the journey and always was, so anticipation is the point, not the thing, just like it’s the journey, not the destination. It’s the buying and giving the gifts, not the receiving them. It’s making Thanksgiving dinner and getting ready for it, not the six minutes it takes everyone to eat a meal surprising to no one.

As the court jester once said, “Everything is amazing and everyone is miserable.”

Your Honor

Here is an unpopular theory (but only because of recent events): Honorifics of any kind are elitist, classist, and sort of bullshit. Lots of people work really hard to get to where they are. Why are we giving some people a title and not others? Oh, you studied hard at an expensive school. That must have been rough. I did manual labor while putting myself through school. What do I get?

Your honor, your majesty, doctor, sister, father, your excellency. Nonsense. Your name is Tim? You can be Tim, if you’re not a Dick. It gets worse from there.

“A group of sheep led by a tiger

can defeat a group of tigers led by a sheep.”

Amit Kalantri

Howling At The Moon

Sometimes I shout to remind myself that I can. Don’t take it so personally. If I’m upset with you, I’ll let you know personally. I have zero expectation that everyone is interested in my antics. It wasn’t my idea to share our lives in public. But since we’re doing that, you don’t get to decide how I do it, only whether or not you want to listen to my bullshit. In a click, I’m gone. Pretty easy on your part. If not, you get the good with the bad. 

Third Down And Nothing 

I like watching sports. I’m not a fanatic, but I’m definitely a fan. I follow all my local teams, to some degree. I keep my ears open to how the Flyers and the Sixers are doing and would jump on the band wagon if others believed they were worth watching. But really I guess I’m mostly confined to football and baseball. 

But 2020 was a real wash for me. Not only were the seasons screwed up, and both teams sucked, but there were just far more pressing issues that sports could simply not compete with for me. For many others it was likely a distraction, but it was distracting enough. I couldn’t even talk sports with some family because it dissolved into a political discussion about kneeling. So I sort of washed my hands of the entire year. 

I don’t have any hope that the NCAA basketball tournament will be back in 2021, but who knows. Spring baseball? Maybe. Phillies have a new President of baseball operations to join our relatively new manager. Both are know for making big moves so hopefully the owner is up for it too. The Eagles are just pathetic. 

The worst past is I don’t care. I just don’t care. It’s not helpful, for the record, if you don’t like sports to say you don’t care either or that you think sports are stupid. No one asked you. 

About the author

David Todd McCarty

David Todd McCarty is a writer, director, photographer and cinematographer. He writes fiction and nonfiction essays as well as journalism. You can see his commercial work at http://www.hoppingfrogstudios.com

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Writer | Journalist | Storyteller


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