Friday, December 30, 2011

Tabula Rasa

I realized this week that I'm terribly fond of one particular grudge. Like a story from glory days, I'll happily chat you up about how much one person really chaps my hide, supported with many examples of just how ridiculous this person is so that hopefully you will share in the holiday joy that comes with lambasting someone you've never met.

Think for a moment of the stories that you cling to. Perhaps your neighbors' penchant for nude hot tubbing midday which has lead you to the conclusion that they must be unemployed perverts who show off their lady parts just to spite you? Or your coworker's extended afternoon appointments which you've spun into a wildly illicit affair, supplemented by a complete disregard for the important work of designing holiday cards (or whatever it is that you do). Maybe your husband's singlehanded plot to cover every surface in your home with a combination of toothpaste, discarded socks, and coffee rings?

I happen to know not only that you tell yourself these kinds of stories, but that you lack the awareness that you do so. The good news about this? You could always pick up a second job writing for a situation comedy, because they thrive on the absurdity that is daily life. The bad news? You're living in a sitcom, minus the laugh track, perfect hair, and commercial underwriting.

In the 90's, all we could hope for was a little sitcom life. We idealized Friends, Frasier, and in my case, Dharma and Greg, and wanted nothing but fun bits where everyone spent time together in coffee shops bemoaning the curse of adulthood. The time has come to move on. The menu of TV options should be a clue that times have changed, what with the horrific choices of shows that romanticize homicide. Rather than plugging into the despair, or writing your own sitcom, consider your favorite YouTube videos, those viral little bits of joy that pop up on occasion. This is the time of Otters Holding Hands, Baby Panda Sneezing, Emerson: Mommy Blows Her Nose.

The next time you open your mouth to share some vile sludge about your neighbors, family, or coworkers, instead pick up your nearest iDevice and watch a little baby monkey riding backwards on a pig. Enjoy the unrivaled bliss of laughing until you cry.

As we step forwards into a year the Mayans couldn't even conceive of, how will you greet the dawn?

As this year dies, what will you allow to die with it?