Once upon a time there was a little movie called Back To The Future 2 – This Time It’s That Time. Ol’ Doc Brown lands his DeLorean out front, picks up Marty McFly, then takes him on a ride to the future because Marty’s as-yet unborn son is in some kind of trouble.
Doc’s plan is for Marty to imitate his progeny long enough to resolve the trouble. Brilliant. What could possibly go wrong?
The whole plot of BTTF 2 is predicated on a cutesy throw-a-way line at the end of BTTF 1 when Doc and Marty have this conversation:
Doc: Marty, you gotta come back with me!
Doc: Back to the future.
Marty: Wait a minute, Doc. What are you talking about? What happens to us in the future? What, do we become assholes or something?
Doc: No, no, no, no, no, Marty, both you and Jennifer turn out fine. It’s your kids, Marty, something has got to be done about your kids!
I call this type of phenomenon Star Wars Syndrome. It’s what happens when your movie is so successful that a sequel becomes mandatory but something you thought was a cute detail at the time actually paints you into a corner and now you’re committed because the fans will only tolerate so much hinky nonsense with the storytelling. (Unless you’re J.J. Abrams, of course, then you simply don’t give a shit. You just stuff it in your Mystery Box.)
Because of this, when they made the BTTF sequel, they had to have the storyline be about a trip to the future – no matter what. And then, because of disturbances to the timeline, Marty’s father and girlfriend both end up looking like completely different actors.
I know! That’s heavy.
My point is this: In the future Doc Brown tells Marty to pull his pants pockets inside-out, because that’s what the kids think looks cool and if he doesn’t, he’ll stick out like a sore thumb.
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Since I usually try to go in a direction other than what is expected, take that road less traveled, today I thought I would do the opposite. Rather than go for the unusual I’m going to do exactly what everyone expected. And that is what’s so tricky about it. I just went another level deep into the metegame. Suckers!
This is my “N” post for the A-Z Blogging Challenge. That makes this sort of a Holy day here in the Abyss. Henceforth, April 16th shall be known as our only official holyday.
This post will fail. Miserably. But the beauty of negativity is that I’m allowed the freedom to explore that failure. My ninja negativity philosophy is simple:
Not only is failure an option, it is inevitable.
There’s such a negative connotation swirling around the word “failure,” yet so many try to convince us that failure is a stepping stone to success. Hell, sticky notes were initially an accident. The dude was trying to invent something else and failed! But that sort of turnout is like winning the lotto. It is the stuff of legend. It is something that just doesn’t happen to the rest of us.
Even as the self-appointed “guru” on the topic, I still have so much to learn about negativity. I utterly lack the ability to grasp the true meanings or communicate much about the subject to anyone else. Yet it is precisely those failures make me perfectly suited for the job.
Let us start by considering an expression like this: “We take responsibilities for our successes and attribute failures to external causes.” (Miller & Rose, 1975.)
It’s a nice insight into the foibles of the human condition, eh? But I maintain that the exact opposite is true. We actively cause our failures because that is what we are wired to do. It is, deep down inside, what we want. Any success is usually just shit ass luck, and probably a mistake. (Intended for someone else.) Sometimes good shit will happen, even to the worst of us. During those trying times we need to shake it off, realize that’s not who we are, and continue to move forward with our failures as best we can. With focus you can get over your successes.
Since I’m so lacking in the mysteries of negativity, I thought instead I’d merely share some tips with you today. The first one is a little something I’ve learned that can help make you appear more negative than you really are. Don’t worry. Your time will still come, but at least you can look the part while still on the journey.
The tip is this little phrase:
I can’t stand __________! That’s the one thing I fucking hate the most!
This little phrase works wonders and will help make you appear more negative than you really are. Here’s a couple examples:
“I can’t stand people who overfill their bowls at the Mongolian BBQ! That’s the one thing I fucking hate the most!”
“I can’t stand Pottery Barn catalogs in my mailbox. That’s the one thing I fucking hate the most!”
Of course, if you use this phrase too often, you might get called on it. That is what happened to me. “Gee, Tom. It seems like everything is the ‘one’ thing you hate the most. That can’t always be true, can it? Hahaha!”
Luckily I was able to weasel out of that observation with my negativity intact. I can’t explain how I did it, but it worked. I guess that’s where the guru kicks in.
There is one tactic that works out well simply due to basic human nature. It is the universal desire to say “hello” in the form of a question. For example, “How are you?”
In my experience no one really wants the answer to that question. “How am I? Do you really wanna know? I’m slowly dying, I’m miserable, a failure, and I’m pissed off about it. That is how I am doing. Aren’t you glad you asked.”
Some people who know me well simply say, “morning,” as a method of greeting. Note: The word “good” is not part of that greeting. Otherwise they get another earful along the lines of, “What the fuck is so good about it?”
Another fantastic phrase for maintaining your appearance of negativity is: “This is the worst day of my life.”
The quintessential example of this phrase comes from the movie Office Space:
Peter Gibbons: So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.
Dr. Swanson: What about today? Is today the worst day of your life?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah.
Dr. Swanson: Wow, that’s messed up.
God, that movie is brilliant.
Use this phrase and use it often. When it comes to negativity you simply can’t go too far. There is no limit.
One last piece of advice before I close the broadcast for today. If you found the previous examples and tips too advanced, you’re in luck. I saved the best for last. Let’s call the closing of this post “Negativity for Beginners.” You are about to be rewarded for your perseverance. Only the few who read this whole steaming pile of poop will ever see this parting advice hidden at the bottom. It’s like fruit in a yogurt cup!
When all else fails (a joyous time), just remember to keep it simple. Stick to the basics and go with the time-honored classics. Rotate through these few phrases every chance you get and you’ll do just fine:
“We will fail.”
“This will never work.”
If you ever feel that negativity eludes you, just think back on your own personal life experiences for inspiration. If your life has been shitty, draw on that for the strength and power to go on. If you life has been great, remember that all good things must come to an end. Try to imagine how you will feel when everything invariably goes sideways. Remember, it is inevitable. That is your special place where you must go. Sadly, those of you with good lives will have the harder time getting there, but be strong. It can be done!
Time’s up. I gotta go. I’m about to subject myself to the worst thing that has ever happened to me and it’s going to suck. Bad. If I’m lucky, I won’t live through it, but the reality is the Universe won’t be satisfied with that, so I’ll be back here tomorrow. It’s time to go experience the worst day of my life. During which I will miserably fail.
This is my “N” post for the April 2011 “A to Z Blogging Challenge.”