Give Up Now

The only way to avoid the crushing moment-to-moment parade of utter hopelessness that is “life” is to give up now. Believe me, it is beautiful relief to lie prone, on the floor, detached and drooling, doing fuck-all, forever. It almost makes living bearable. In fact, I think of all the people out there who haven’t given up — people doing things like moving with purpose, forming friendships, laughing, loving — and I am horrified. How can they be so deluded? So unreflective? Don’t they realize how completely this life is going to annihilate them?

People who live and do things must inexplicably believe that “the future” is some sort of beautiful realm of “opportunity” and “possibility.” And, trusting this, they leap heart-first into the next moment. And into the next. And the next. But the cruel reality of our condition is that no one ever actually arrives at a moment that realizes — in any way — those initial “opportunities” and “possibilities.” And so one day they leap again, and this time it’s off a bridge. And when that happens it’s almost overwhelmingly sad, because it means they realized much too late the only real truth there is to realize, the one that underwrites our existence invariably: that nothing good will ever come of anything, ever.

So, give up now.

I shudder when I think of people who are career-driven. If you happen to be one of those doomed individuals, allow me to be frank. Sure, one day you’ll get a job. It’s inevitable, if you try enough. But even more inevitable is the creeping anxiousness you will surely begin to feel in it. Indeed, dare to get a job, and your life will become one slow, aching realization that you are in way over your head; that you are completely devoid of any of the necessary intellectual, social or vocational skills required to do your job in an even remotely adequate manner. And so you’ll just fake your way through everything, spending every sweat-drenched second thereafter in paralyzing fear of being found out.

Of course, slowly the realization will dawn on you that all of your co-workers — everyone around you — are, likewise, overwhelmed frauds, in way over their heads, and that your entire job — every moment of your working life — is a veritable ballet of fraudulence. And eventually your entire existence will become so permeated by fraudulence that you’ll have absolutely no idea what is “real” anymore. And your only guide for knowing such things — that brilliant shard of idealism, authenticity, whatever-that-was-you-felt-inside-when-you-were-young — will grow dimmer with every vanishing moment you fumble through, pit-stained and panicked.

And so every night you’ll go home stunned to your loft of loneliness. You’ll un-shirt your torso and cover yourself in warpaint with an intense, ceremonial sadness. For a few frantic breaths you’ll try to feel “alive” in any conventional sense, but will end up just nodding off in a La-Z-Boy, wrist-deep in Cheetos, to re-runs of Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper on mute. And every restless night you’ll awake to a piercing buzzing, completely unsourced and ripping throughout your entire apartment — and directly into your head — with unspeakable speed and sound. And though you’ll want to scream, you’ll have forgotten how, and nothing will ever escape from the black gape that disrupts the total blankness of your face.

So, give up now.

Perhaps you are, instead, driven to produce art. You are, likewise, fucked. Indeed, you will spend a great deal of time suffering from the “devastating clarity of your vision.” You will surely come to view your art as feelingless product, just shill. You will harbour ever-increasing contempt for everything. You will end up wandering the streets with war-like abandon — with an “out of control” look on your twisted face — leering wildly at passersby, wondering desperately if they “know who you are” and/or “know that you are the person responsible for that well-known and appreciated piece of art.” And yet, you will also know all the while that it doesn’t matter anyway. Because your art will eventually slip into eternal neglect. Because time buries everything, no matter what. And, in the end, your ultimate contribution to the universe will amount to absolutely zero (i.e., the exact same as if you never did a single thing in the first place).

So, give up now.

Or maybe you strive to find purpose in sporting pursuits, the absolute height of folly. Indeed, there will doubtlessly arrive a critical moment, a “game on the line”-type situation in which it will fall to you — only you — to seize victory, to win the match, to become the hero, to be adorned with a chest-full of medals . . . and you will fuck it up brilliantly. You will strike out. You will drop the ball. You will miss the goal. You will do it in front of everyone. And that will be the end of you. Every moment thenceforth will be one in which you long to wither and expire. Eventually, you’ll notice that you haven’t spoken in weeks, and you will have absolutely no idea whether you’ve actually gone mute, or are just the victim of everyone else’s mass delusion that you’ve gone mute. And you won’t even be sure which reality would be worse. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, an errantly tossed urine-soaked brick will reconfigure your face.

So, give up now.

Absolutely anything and everything you do will turn out terrible. If you doubt this, try having a party, a proverbial “celebration of life.” No one will show up. Or go to the zoo. All your favorite animals will be dead. Or the beach. You will get sand in your pee-hole. Or the grocery store. Everyone will laugh and laugh and laugh at you. Or simply take a step outside your house. Somebody will run by and slash your face with a box-cutter. Or get out of bed. You will spontaneously combust.

So, give up now.

Yes, the only reasonable thing to do — the only decent thing — is to drop to the floor immediately and lie prostrate. Do nothing. Don’t even stare at the wall. Because if you do, you will inevitably begin to discern its blankness as an ideogram for your own existence. The stark buzzing whiteness will become your literal reflection. And it will seem to mock you. It will never acknowledge the internal agony that writhes and pules beneath your empty facade. Instead, the walls will only attend the death of your affect with the most brutally deadpan of gallows humour. So just let your eyes glaze over and see nothing.

Don’t keep breathing. Because you’ll likely inhale some flesh-eating virus. Or, worse, you’ll catch wisps of a heart-breaking scent — of something that recalls a distant love, the one that slipped away. And you will be immediately transported to the moment she rejected you in front of all your laughing peers. And the time you got “the shit kicked out of you” by her current boyfriend (who was her ex-boyfriend when you were her boyfriend) outside the combination KFC/Taco Bell/Pizza Hut. And it will be too much. So, try to stop breathing.

Don’t let your heart keep beating. Because one day it will beat slightly too hard, and your veins will shatter beneath thin skin. Your blood-fed mind will go haywire, causing you to mumble incredibly senseless, embarrassing things. And your blood vessels will burst, giving you a nose-bleed. And anyone who will have the misfortune of encountering you — the bleeding, bullshitting fool — will be infinitely repulsed. So, just let your heart stop beating.

Please, just lay there. Lay on the cool, indifferent ground. Spread out sadly. With eyes dim and resolved, never once breathing, never once allowing your heart to beat.

Give up now.