I have a bone to pick with you. You can be and not be. You can suffer the slings and take arms. If that little, most famous speech of all time was about suffering for a cause or playing it safe (but I don’t know, does anybody?), let me paint you a picture in words. See, I’m a writer like you. These days we pound keys and our pens don’t have feathers, but this coursing blood is the same as yours, as is much of the trouble we get into, so we probably think alike. You had some things figure out, I’ll give you that. But what about this?
This world — 450 years later — has become a place where we can live in a whole different world, grander and more magnificent than the one under the azure sky, one that exists only in a florescent screen, where everything is parties and vacations and hot girlfriends and bowls of sugar cereal, and you never have to suffer. But we still exist in the temporal, ever-decaying world at the same time. We’re not immortal or androids or mental projections. We’re still flesh and feelings and vulnerable, too. And we still do suffer. And because of this duality, this strange bedfellow of internal feelings and social/technological simulacrum, we can float and drown at the same time, and thus, never know what true beauty or madness or pain is. We can escape from our reality, easy as a fast kitten through a slow door, but beyond that door is another door, and that one never opens, and it is the same door you wrote about. And when you come back to reality, you know, the stuff you wrote about… it’s that much more empty for having left it in the first place. So, I guess we are mostly drowning, wouldn’t you say?
But, Willie, seriously, how would you know about this? And how did I get your email address? Anyway, let me ask you: what sort of play would you write if you knew that we walk around our cities fixated on tiny computers in our pockets, looking at pictures of Ophelia in Santorini, or fancy cars in Beverly Hills? Wishing other people’s lives were ours, while posting photos of ourselves on the beach in Malibu, or in fancy restaurants in London, so others can wish our lives were theirs? Are we in a delusional loop? You wishing you were me and me you… I know this may sound bewildering to somebody who used to shit in a bowl and defenestrate it daily, but really, we still spend our days stepping over other people’s shit — just on a more proverbial level now.
Like, what would you do if you and somebody else were about to enter the same line at Whole Foods, and you only had 2 items in your hands and they had a full cart, so you offered them the place in line, fully expecting them to turn it down and say, “Oh, it’s okay, you only have a couple of items,” but they don’t, they greedily, cluelessly, obnoxiously take that spot in line? And you know how horrible Whole Foods can be sometimes! Well, I guess you don’t, but still… what would you do? Because you can’t offer them the place in line and then yell at them when they accept it! Because then you’d be the crazy person! So, what should you do, Willie?
Man, I wish I had your tongue. You were an eloquent dude, dude. Like, last night I asked this beautiful girl if the couch across from her was reserved so a buddy and mine could sit down. She was super friendly and told me, “It’s reserved for me but you can sit there, just tell blah blah you’re with blah blah.” And I’m like, “Thanks, very.” Thanks, very??? I knew the right words, but my tongue spilled them out in the wrong order and forgot one and made me look like an idiot. I wonder if hot women think men don’t know how to speak, that our gender has serious problems articulating properly, never realizing it’s their beauty that makes us mealy-mouthed morons. That when it’s just guys we speak perfectly normal English?
Did you ever have that problem?
I know you’re not going to write back, being dead and all. Still, it feels good to talk. I feel like we’re equals, you know. I mean, I haven’t written as many classics as you, but I think I’ve got a pretty good grasp on the human condition. That was your thing, right? I mean, I think I can tell when people are being fake, like when somebody tells you, ‘Have a nice day’ and you know they don’t give a shit, or a waiter laughs at your joke, and you weren’t even really joking, just sorta pointing something out, like, “A lot of stuff on this menu,” and they giggle like you’re Richard fuckin’ Pryor. Didn’t that just drive you crazy sometimes? Did they even have restaurants in your day? Anyway…
It was raining yesterday and now there’s water in all the trashcans outside because the asshole trash men leave them open. Or else asshole passersby toss their bags of dogshit in there and they don’t bother to close them again. We live in a very clean world now, not like your day, Willie, even dog poop is disposed of properly now. (most of the time) I’m off point, the point is: when there’s water inside the trashcans I need to tip them out and sometimes this dirty-ass trash water gets on my sneakers or jeans. Man, life sucks… I mean, it’s not the Bubonic Plague or anything, but I got nice sneakers!
Did you ever get bummed when your tunic got soiled by somebody else’s defenestrated chamber pot? Of course, you did. That’s a dumb question. But did you ever go home and write about it, but not really, more like just rant indirectly about the merciless universe, like — make a King set up some Empire-like plot for one of his three daughters to take over the kingdom, but in your version there’s no rapping involved, actually, in ways there would be, I guess, your prose and all, but without bling present, actually there would be bling, too, I suppose, he was a King after all; but no Cookie, definitely no Cookie, that’s for sure! And the one daughter who had his back, his favorite, who didn’t play along to this preposterous game of his… he ends up dissing because he’s so old and stupid by then! Only to later realize that that was the only daughter who wasn’t a total bitch, and then, even later, have that one cool daughter die in his arms! And the grief was just too much, so he died on top of her right after! Did you ever write something like that because some shit got on your ruff? Just to have something to take it out on? Yeah… I bet you did.
I feel ya, Willie.
Sometimes, like, I’ll be walking through the mall and I’ll see everybody with their shopping bags and makeup and ugly sunglasses and I’ll want to go home and write a poem about the last white rhino drinking at a watering hole in Africa somewhere, right before some dickhead hunter shoots the very last white rhino in the butt. Is that how you came up with Romeo and Juliet? Some lass give you the stink eye and you’re like, “Fine! They BOTH die in the end!”?
Ah, writing… Am I right? And dating… sheesh!
Since we’re both timeless writers, let me ask you, what is it that bothers you the most about your readers? Is it when people analyze your texts and get it all wrong? Like when you write something sassy and playful and even punctuate it with a winking emoticon, but they react like you’re being a jerk, and then you get in long, drawn-out text wars about the meaning of the initial text, until finally you break down and write, “Well, fuck you then! I DID mean to say I don’t want to hang out with you EVER!”? God, you must have hated that too.
Haha… I’m being cheeky, of course.
Because, you know, life is pitiless and we’re always under attack and we have to find humor in the siege. You can’t be all serious all the time. Much Ado About Nothing, right? Haha… we know what that nothing was.
You’re a funny dude, dude.
Willie, it’s time for me to sign off. That comes from old radio programs… signing off… at the end of the night the DJ would say goodnight and then sign off; and then the signal would die and there would be no more radio and nothing but silence would drift over the country; and everybody out there, in their little homes, half warm and half lit, would be alone with their thoughts. So, I guess that it’s time for me to do that too. Be alone with my thoughts. Thanks for listening…
Art Of Starving.