Stories

Man’s Search for Meaninglessness – Benjamin Drevlow

man’s search for meaningless in a meaningful world (or a donkey walks into a bar and the bartender says why the long face and the donkey brays, because I’m a goddamn donkey and life is hard for a donkey).

Example A.

Me to my therapist: Every morning I wake up and feel like I have a test that I’m going to fail that day. And at the end of the day I go to bed knowing that I have failed that test and I’ll fail the one tomorrow too. But then one day I won’t wake up at all and I still will have failed, but I won’t have to walk around all day with that look on my face and all the people having to see it.

My therapist: That sounds like real personal growth.

Example B.

Guy walks into a bar.

Bartender says, Why the long face?

Guy says, My brother molested me, then killed himself, then my mom died of a heart attack causing my dad to have a stroke and get stuck in a wheelchair, my dog died, and my wife left me, but other than that, can’t complain.

Bartender says, Oh.

Example C.

Play along at home, kids, it’s the Drevlow Drinking Game: Poetry Edition:

Dead brother, dead mother, ex-wife

Dead brother, dead mother, ex-wife

PATHETIC SUICIDAL CRIES FOR HELP!

Binge drink, binge eat.

Vomit, hurl, puke, black out.

Goodnight everybody. Drive safe.

Example D.

The Premature Suicide Note Pre-Scheduled to Go Out in the Morning via Gmail: the perfect passive aggressive gesture for when your friends, family, and ex-wife will no longer validate your petty little existential complaints and grievances.

Example E.

Dear God, please grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know none of this will ever matter we’re all doomed doomed doomed please shoot me now.

Example F.

Imagine the trolley dilemma except you play the roles of both the conductor and people about to get steamrolled on either side of the tracks. On one track it’s you alone and on the other track there are five cloned you’s, while as conductor you’re also trying to decide what’s going to lead to the least amount of suffering for you, you’s, your friends, family, and ex-wife.

And then it turns out the five cloned you’s all had diminishing returns upon cloning the way a copy of a copy is always a little shittier than the last one re: that Michael Keaton movie Multiplicity.

Which do you choose?

Aaaaannnt! Wrong answer.

The correct choice is veer off the tracks completely, causing the train to turn sideways crushing you, the other you, and all the cloned you’s.

Killing like fifty-seven other non-you’s in the process, but still coming out on top in the end.

From a utilitarian perspective.

Which is why utilitarians are fucking hilarious.

Example G.

At some point we really need to come up with a word for self-flagellating that doesn’t sound so much like self-flatulating. 

It’s hard to be taken seriously when you’re confessing to your therapist your sexual gratification you receive from flogging yourself, and instead of interpreting it as a cry for help, he asks you about the fiber in your diet.

Example H.

Sometimes I like to sit in the shower, turn the water lukewarm, flip the lights off, and pretend I'm sitting in the rain.

On a summer night.

With no clothes on.

Sometimes I like to lie back, turn the water as cold as it’ll go, and pretend I’m drowning in a ditch.

On a bleak winter’s night.

With no clothes on.

Example I.

If your depression had a color what color would it be? Black

If it had a size…? The vastness of its blackness cannot be measured.

If it had a shape…? Round. Cylindrical. Endless.

If it had surface texture…? Nothingness.

If it had a sound…? The uncomfortable silence or all joy and laughter being immediately sucked out of any room you enter.

If it had power…? Suck me in and devour me slowly for eternity. Like that scene in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi with the big sand hole with teeth and a tongue. But with an endless black hole.

If it had speed…? Real fucking slow and fast at the same time. Like that scene in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi with the big sand hole with teeth and a tongue.

But with an endless black hole.

Example J.

It’s like I always say, I like my black holes like I like my lovers’ souls…: black holes.

Example K.

Me: Hey honey, I've written another poem about you. I'm going to publish it for everybody to read about how you gave up on me after fifteen years of me being miserable to be married to and broke my tender heart.

My ex-wife: new phone who diss.

Example L.

They say boys regret all the girls they didn’t sleep with, but girls regret the boys they did sleep with.

I regret everything.

Example M.

Does nobody ever disappear in the Bermuda triangle anymore?

Asking for a friend.

Example N.

The day before my brother turned eighteen, he committed three acts of kindness:

1. he picked up his senior photos for our mom.

2. he fixed the tractor for our dad.

3. he put up a new basketball hoop for me.*[1]

Example N.

When the psych in-take form asks for my family history, I always want to write: E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G!!!

Or I want to write: I SHOULD BE DEAD BY NOW, NATURE, NURTURE, DNA BE DAMNED!!!!

Instead I write: depression, suicide, heart attack, stroke, hip replacement, hip replacement, diabetes, dead dead dead, like, early-to-bed-early-to-dead dead.

Example O.

Sometimes when I’m feeling like I’ve grown too old, gotten soft, and lost all my street cred, I’ll grind up all my pills and snort them.

The heart pills, the blood pressure pills, the allergy pills, the anxiety pills, the sleeping pills, the waking up pills, the anti-psychotic pills.

The cholesterol pills go up the harshest.

You try sneezing out fifty milligrams of Lipitor.

Example P.

Every shitty commercial for depression medication:

[Cut to MAN, silent ass-clenching contemplation, Is he constipated or is he depressed? We don’t know at first, looks at puppy wanting to go out and play, winces and goes back to bed].

[Cut to WOMAN silent ass-clenching contemplation, Is she constipated or is she depressed? We don’t know at first,  frowns at shrill child who wants MOMMY to play play play, looks over at the bedroom longingly, frowns, and clenches ass cheeks].

[Cut to sunny skies all over, save for one CARTOON RAIN CLOUD hovering over DOUR DANNY (either gender), rain pouring down like diarrhea after clear liquor cleanse/montezuma’s caucasian revenge].

[VOICE OVER]: Talk to your doctor if you think [Latuda/Abilify/Rexulti/Vraylor/Trilofone/Horse Penis Pills] might be right for you.

[VOICE OVER, sped up with list of side effects in tiny print at the bottom of the screen] Consult your doctor if you experience one or more of the following: weight gain, suicidal ideations (more than you already experience), unwarranted aggression towards pet mice (ditto), hairy nipples (ditto), swollen man-boobs, impotence, lack of sex drive, and voracious, unending incontinence (ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto).

Example Q.

It’s a sad day when you realize you’ve become too fat to hang yourself in the heat of the moment.

That it would require foresight and master craftsmanship that if you actually possessed would make hanging yourself unnecessary.

#2fat2die

Example R.

Why yes, Mr. Gas Station Attendant Guy, that will be all, the fat guy says, a wave of his hand across the counter, like a Price is Right model–the bag of Cheetos, the sharing-sized Peanut M&Ms, Leader of Diet Mountain Dew, and two packs of Marlboro Golds.  

Oh, I guess on second thought, the fat guy says touching his fat pointer finger to his fat nose, think I’ll need that Big Bopper chocolate chip ice cream sandwich as well.

Will that be all?

Never.

The world will never have enough to contain me.

Example S.

It’s like they say, Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans to kill yourself and they all end up failing and then one day you give up and just go on living even though you aren’t exactly happy about it.

Example T.

I read an article the other day that we need to stop referring to committing suicide as committing suicide.

It’s stigmatizing, they say.

It’s like saying you committed self-murder.

You wouldn’t say that someone committed a heart attack.

But I’m pretty sure my brother did commit suicide.

And my mother did die of a heart attack.

Those things seem pretty equally fucked up to me.

But then again you never met my mother. 

Example U.

I keep telling Siri to take a note: write poem about dead mother.

But instead she takes the note: write home about dead mother.

And I just laugh and laugh and laugh.

Example V.

Like picking up a whole load of laundry in one scoop without losing any socks.

I want something in this poem to be like this and for you to feel it’s profound.

Maybe it’s my love for you.

Or the dogs.

Maybe it’s getting up every day and not killing yourself just to prove you’re still worthy of love.

I guess it could mean a lot of things.

Example X.

Man writes poem.

No one reads poem.

Does it matter?

No.

Everything is meaningless.

Until man shoots himself.

And someone forgives him.

For being the miserable bastard he was.

And the poet he wasn’t.

And somebody publishes this posthumously.

And then it matters.

But only kind of.

Example Y.

Today I’ve come to the conclusion that either:

I’m completely fine and have turned a real corner.

Or: I’m going to have a complete mental breakdown in three weeks.

And have to move to Saskatchewan.

And become a Zamboni driver.

Only to accidentally run myself over on my first night on the job.

Those are the two options.

Example Z.

But it’s true: these days I can sometimes almost actually imagine a happy future.

A future full of hope

And grappling hooks.

And a tight knit group of friends–a diverse selection of humble stoic master ninjas with various finishing maneuvers–to teach me how to use them and how to view each moment of each life as a wonder.

And with that one day comes world domination.


[1] Which, to be honest, didn’t really soften the emotional blow of the whole
big-brother-blowing-his-brains-out-in-the-room-next-to-you ordeal.