Great news- my long-dormant messiah complex has finally surfaced!
Scripture One: Acquiring a Totem
A few years ago, I went to a large flea market in New Hampshire with my sister and found myself drawn to a booth filled with terrible, gaudy t-shirts depicting wolves, unicorns, Native Americans, and sexy viking chicks wielding battle axes. Each one was worse than the last, but the vendor was having a huge sale, which somehow convinced me that I absolutely could not leave the flea market without buying one. After much effort spent trying to determine the single most ridiculous possible expenditure, I ultimately opted for a shirt featuring some sort of forest wizard (in an action pose no less). Naturally, I felt vaguely (and appropriately) foolish afterwards and quickly relegated my seemingly ill-advised purchase to a largely untouched region of my closet and forgot about it.
Recently, however, it has rapidly become my most valued possession, as it belatedly occurred to me that my stupid shirt actually wields incredible power. Or at least offers the illusion of it, which is basically the same goddamn thing for my purposes. I’m not picky.
Case in point: I had been dreading a looming social situation for weeks (my normal state, really), but made the ingenious last-minute decision to wear my wizard shirt (stealthily concealed beneath other clothes) when the loathsome day finally arrived. It turned out to be an absolutely revelatory experience, as I instantly felt utterly impervious to tension or anxiety because I was able to spend the whole time thinking “It doesn’t matter what anyone says to me right now because I am wearing a fucking wizard t-shirt and they are clearly not. Therefore i am in complete control of this situation, as it is objectively WAY more important to them than it is to me. I mean, I’m wearing a fucking wizard t-shirt! No one who gave a fuck at all would ever do that.”
As is a recurring theme in my life, what started as an absurdist joke is now an integral part of my life, as my retarded shirt has made me fearless in the face of uncomfortable meetings, job interviews, and all manner of confrontations, things which had previously driven me crazy with anxiety. I suspect I am still just as likely to fail spectacularly in such situations, but now the worst possible outcome is essentially “Wow- that went poorly. On the bright side, however, I totally managed to waste someone else’s time while greatly amusing myself. Tony: 1, World: 0.”
The curious thing is that I have been acutely aware of life’s fundamental silliness and general lack of meaning for quite some time, but understanding something on an intellectual level is not quite the same thing as truly internalizing or owning something (obviously). To think, I have probably squandered actual years of my life poring over increasingly cynical and pessimistic writings in hopes of gaining a perspective that would help me make sense of the world, but all I really needed all along was a cheap, stupid prop purchased from a fat creep in a tent. Sigh. There’s really no telling when wisdom will strike.
Fuck you, books.
Thanks for nothing, existentialists.
Consider me self-actualized, bitches.