2022 — Thoughts and Observations
2022 hasn’t been a good year for me on many fronts. Creatively, I haven’t produced much of anything in the way of art, not since January or February. And these last few months it’s been as if my will/desire to express myself through writing is coming to an end. My average monthly output from July to now has been almost half of what it was in the first six months of this year.
I suppose it’s no big surprise that everything has gone to the dogs, considering I started two different (and costly) treatments for major medical issues this year; one for my sleep disorder, the other for my chronic, treatment resistant depression. No doubt the combination of Helioz and Ketamine has had an effect on my mental processes to one degree or another, but I’d really hoped that I’d have seen some tangible positive results by now from at least one of them, rather than ending the year wishing daily that I didn’t have to wake up in the morning. As it stands, the dreams I have are the most interesting part of my life, so to die in the midst of one would probably be the best outcome for me at the moment.
It doesn’t really help that the repugnant Republican cesspit where I live insists on making things difficult for low-income residents. For one, a previous governor deliberately set up our Medicaid expansion under the ACA to be as non-functional as possible, by making it a privatized scheme run by out-of-state HMOs, to the point that I was recently dropped by my dentist of several years owning to the fact that the Medicaid reimbursements were not enough to cover the cost of care. Our state auditor even did a survey of providers in the state medical community at one point and a clear majority said the reimbursement process was better before privatization. So yeah…guess I’m lucky I get anything at all…
I’ve been binge watching a lot of TV lately in order to distract from the tedium of lifelessness which is upon me. After I made it through Warehouse 13, Eureka, Twin Peaks and Wednesday, I started in on this series of documentary serials titled ‘The Dark Side of…’ with the three editions I sampled covering professional wrestling, the 90s and the realm of comedy. It’s all a bit muddled in the execution, because only with the wresting series is there any sense of self-awareness where it concerns a ‘dark’ side. The other two editions are more like VH-1 retrospectives than cautionary tales, in that they comment on a downside but don’t really make any serious attempt to address how we’ve been affected for the worst by the issues touched upon therein. It’s all a bit too much ‘this happened and here we are today’ so to speak.
With professional wresting, there have been so many unnatural deaths, some quite horrific, such that the average person with a conscience can’t help but be stuck in a state of negative capability on the matter. The Chris Benoit incident is a prime example. Several wrestlers talk fondly about how great a wrestler he was, yet they are all but unable to celebrate his life and career because of the fact that he killed his kid and his wife before talking his own life. As with any tragedy documentary, there are medical opinions on offer in order to make sense of the thing, and in Benoit’s case it turned out that he was suffering from severe brain trauma, likely from years of dangerous wrestling maneuvers causing head trauma.
Another wrestler who used the same finishing move as Benoit, The Dynamite Kid, was also featured in the series, and also had severe medical issues before he died, so it’s clear that these tragedies were the result of performers trying to go the extra mile to make the most of their moment in the spotlight. And why wouldn’t they…? If the payday is likely to be greater when fans want more, More, MORE…who but the most rational is going to say no…?
It also doesn’t help matters that many who are drawn to pro wrestling, whether fans or performers, are people with varying degrees of disagreeable personality in the first place. Otherwise, there would never have been an evolution in the industry toward more violent forms of performance, such as frequent use of blading to draw blood for effect, ever more grand cage matches or the inevitably abhorrent proliferation of death matches, where all manner of hazards remain in play for the sake of entertainment, from exploding barbed wire to fluorescent light tubes. One feeds on the other, fans and performers. It’s a sick world, the realm of pro wrestling. Feel free to see for yourself if you doubt me.
We always want more though, whether it’s evermore gratuitous and degrading forms of porn, evermore ‘entertaining’ forms of violence or just self-indulgence in general. This is a large part of why I’ve taken steps in recent years to try and simplify my life, such as sticking with CDs for music rather suck on the streaming teet. We’ve gone too far in a selfish direction, on an individual level, and it’s time to make a 180 in order to balance the scales better. Unfortunately, when trying to balance the scales on a societal level, you have to take from certain dominant groups, and they never seem to be happy with that. Gun violence is off the charts here in the U.S. and the only effective solution is to limit the ability of unstable/disagreeable people to acquire and use guns. Sadly, not many politicians have the sack necessary to stand up to the gun lobby or their deranged constituents.
Anyway, after I finished my not-so-compelling tryst on the ‘dark’ side of recent popular culture, I did a thematic 180 and started in on the first season of Saturday Night Live. For all of the success that show has had over the years, it was a real shaky start. For one, the entirety of the second episode was little more than Paul Simon performing music, which was as boring as sin. And apart from the Carly Simon episode, I fast forwarded through all of the music performances; just wasn’t interested. There were also some film segments in that first year, six by the actor Albert Brooks, and the rest by either viewers or other people involved in the production; none very good, sufficed to say. The novelty of having Jim Henson’s Muppet's as part of the spectacle worked after a fashion, but it was far from the quality of humor one could get just a short time later on the Muppet Show itself.
As for the performers, I still consider the early cast the best cast, but it was clear from the output in season one that they really were ‘not ready for prime time’. The only stuff I considered noteworthy or memorable, apart from Chevy Chase’s Weekend Update, were Laraine Newman on the whole ( under normal circumstances I adore gorgeous women), John Belushi’s ‘Samurai’ stuff and the Garret Morris-fronted ‘Winter Wonderland’ musical performance. Probably one of the best holiday performances in the history of TV; top ten at the very least. They were definitely struggling for material though, given how many of the ‘commercial product’ comedy skits were reused several times over. And then there was the overuse of the ‘bee’ motif in skits and routines. I’m not really sure who thought it was a good idea, but it didn’t interest me one bit.
In any event, I’ll likely be ringing in the New Year with more SNL, as I have season two reserved at the library. I don’t expect much to change in the coming year. Our Medicaid system will still be anemic and wrapped tight with red tape, such that unless there’s a catastrophe, I wont get any serious help for anything I need. My sleep disorder will still give me issues despite the meager gains from the medication. And my depression will probably still be as bad as it has been these last several months. I really don’t see any improvement on the horizon in that regard. Anhedonia is a bitch to live with, if you haven’t had the experience; not that I recommend trying.
Right now I kind of feel like Treebeard from Lord of the Rings. I’m on nobody’s side because nobody seems to be on my side. Of course, that probably has a lot to do with the fact that I can feel very little in the way of emotion at present. My lack of creative output probably has something to do with diminished anxiety, which it felt as if was the cause of a lot my creative compulsions over the years. Still, the will to create absent anxiety hasn’t emerged, so one wonders if I was ever really a creative individual or if I was merely just suffering from anxiety and needed a way to alleviate it.
It is true to a certain degree though, depression being the cause of one not caring about other people. I’ve observed that the less able you are to feel, the less you really care about external dysfunction. I’ve pretty much lost interest in caring about the kinds of social issues a progressive man is supposed to care about. The abortion issue would be a complete non-starter for me at present if it weren't for the fact that I really despise the kinds of people trying to suppress it. And it’s pretty much the same in the LGBTQ realm of social struggle. Apart from giving the same contempt back to religious conservatives which they give to gay and trans people, there isn’t really much interest on my part to advocate for them. I have no horse in that race, so to speak.
And as for women on the whole. I’ve pretty much decided that they aren’t worth the trouble, at least not in any of the ways that make women ‘necessary’ to men in the popular understanding. Trying to date them is still too costly, even with a greater subset of females interested in a more equitable paradigm. And I have no interest in marriage or producing offspring, so there isn’t much motivation beyond copulation where dating is concerned. I can get myself off easily enough, and if I somehow find myself needing to be inside a vagina that badly, I can always take the cheaper road and hire an escort. There are plenty of women out there still who are more than willing to use sex to exploit men for money.
There is also the added fact that ‘empowered’ women are potentially abusive and neglectful women, and I really don’t feel like risking my time and emotional energy if there’s even a slim chance my PTSD will be exacerbated by one or two bad apples. And given the kinds of women that I am attracted to, it’s all but certain I’ll run into bad apples at some point in the game. There’s a cliche that goes ‘if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best’ to which I’ve decided the appropriate reply is ‘if your worst borders on the abusive then your best isn’t worth the effort’. Call me cynical and jaded if you will…
As of now, I’m not much of anything in the way of lively. I feel dead inside, hollow and empty and all I’m really doing is waiting to die. I just wish I had a more concise timeline on when that might be. The future is so bleak, not even a flashlight would help at this point. So here’s to more of the same series of distractions to keep my mind off of the depression; more scrolling the news trying to avoid the political dysfunction; more of the same news featuring the same useless celebrity worship; more of the same news featuring the same endless military conflict; more binge watching of past TV shows; onward tedium. Till death do us part.
Now I lay me down to bed, the pain of living rings loud inside my head. And If I should wake before I pass, tell mother nature she can kiss my ass.