Thursday, 24 April 2014


Hello Friends.

Because I'm perpetually late to the party, the Doc and I have finally started watching Orange is the New Black. It's a good show with a great premise and a really solid cast, we're about eight episodes in. I particularly like the Brittany Murphy-type who's always going on about her fiancĂ©, the old Creole lady who is mean but not mean, the transsexual hairdresser, and the cute guard who lost his leg below the knee. Oh, and Natasha Lyonne! It's nice to see actresses who all look different and aren't just cast to be versions of the same sort of pretty. That sounds condescending in a sexist, "Way to go ladies!" way, but it's true. There's just one problem I have with that show, and Kashi Good Friends Cereal, and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, and a bunch of other things: they're all titled wrong, called by a name that doesn't make sense, improperly labeled.  

Orange is the New Black is particularly bad, I'm afraid. What does that mean? I know there's an expression " ____ is the new black" that used to be used in reference to fashion, as in "Once upon a time, everyone wore black to be fashionable, but seeing all the mauve onesies on the red carpet this season proves mauve is the new black!" And prison jumpsuits are orange (even though they're tan colored on the show). So do they mean prison is newly in fashion? Or is it some commentary on the majority of the prison population being black people? Neither really makes sense in the context of the show (although the points about race seem a little ham-fisted; I'm not sure if joking about how segregated the prison population is socially makes it okay to just keep splitting characters up that way). Why not call the show "Oops, I'm in Jail!" or "Lady Lockup" or "Piper and the Cons"? I'm not of the opinion that olden timey descriptive titles are passé. What better title for The Lego Movie than The Lego Movie? Nobody ever forgets what That 70's Show was called, and it's easy to remember the host's name on Oprah. The titles I like the best are the ones I administer myself. For instance, the Doc and I were super into the first couple of seasons of that show Damages, but nobody on that show is called Dr. Damages or Judge Lynda Damages or whatever, so the title didn't stick with an immediate Nurse Jackie-style recognition. But at the beginning of the theme song, it sounds like the guy says, "Little bear..." Give it a listen, it's about four seconds in. Anyone, it's extremely cute that my boyfriend and I would say things to each other after dinner like, "Should we catch up on Little Bear?" or, "Can you believe what happened to Ted Danson on Little Bear?"

Dream: Give some things a new title.

Goal: Achievable. I followed Little Bear religiously, even as it became increasingly convoluted and self-important, chiefly because I was so pleased with the self-anointed title. Likewise, I give Le1f's album several plays during trips to the gym because of the simply titled tracks, Hey, Sup, Boom, Wut, and Buzz (actually, I give Le1f's album several plays because he's a gay hip-hopper and I want him to succeed so badly and I feel like I can listen to him less self-consciously as a white person because we're both gay, which is stupid. It's not as if I could be blasting him in an Escalade, roll up on a car full of black guys and confidently say, "It's alright, fellows, we both like dinguses.".) But anyway, I can't actually change the title of established things, but I can give them new names myself and hope they stick.

Plan: List alternate title suggestions for things and hope enough of you reading adopt those titles yourself and popular usage dictates an eventual title-change (like how That 70's Show was originally called Feelin' Alright or something like that, even in the pilot as I understand it, but enough people were like, "That's stupid"). Anyway, new titles. Oh, and also, I realize I should do something to indicate titles like italicize or underline, which I normally do, but this entry is so stuffed with titles that it just reads distractingly, lIkE tHe WoRkS oF tHoSe MoRoNs WhO tYpE lIkE tHiS. With that out of the way, here are some of the worst titles and alternate suggestions:

  • Jeopardy! doesn't have anyone in jeopardy. Let's call it Quiz Show or What Is A Quiz Show.
  • Game of Thrones should be called Rape Dragon
  • Dragon's Den should be called Business Buttholes
  • Q with Jian Ghomeshi should be called Whispered Smugness
  • Grape Nuts should be Hard Things
  • Orphan Black should be called Tatiana Maslany Presents The Clone Zone
  • Instagram should be called Narcissism Examples
  • Goatees? Douche Rings!
  • Mason jars are Hipster Catchalls
  • Sean Saves the World didn't feature him saving anyone and was abruptly canceled. But would it have met the same fate if it was Remember This Gay Guy?
  • Tattoo sleeves are Arm Mistakes
  • Urinals should be called Pee Walls
  • Barbara Walters should be called B Walls
  • Graham Crackers with peanut butter on them should be called Shut Up, Children
  • Heaven is For Real should be Heaven is Real. I don't know the story, but doesn't it tamper the integrity of something we're supposed to believe if we keep the 5 year old's title? It's lucky he didn't visit the Lord and decide to name his book Super Jesus Dream. Actually, I'd watch Super Jesus Dream.
  • Ke$ha - Kesha. Come on.
  • P!nk - Pink. Stop it.
  • kd lang - You can do whatever you want.
  • Baby Shower - Forthcoming Child Celebration. Tig Notaro has a great bit about how absolutely darling a baby showering would be. Just scrubbing up in there with their giant heads and stupid 1 inch feet.
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Cups should be The Peanut Butter Cups of Reese
  • Sbarro. I never know how you're supposed to combine an S and B in speech, so I'd rather we go with Bad Food Court Choice
  • Betty & Veronica - Betty or Veronica. DECIDE, YOU GINGER GOON!
  • Tyler Perry Presents Tyler Perry in ______, A Film by Tyler Perry. Tyler Perry, you need to calm down a little bit. I can't begin to understand what it must feel like, as a black writer/director, to not only write, direct, produce, and star in several Hollywood movies, but to see them turn amazing profits and garner a built-in audience. That's amazing. But you've done it! You have the funding and studio backing to get any movie you like into any theatre screen in North America, you don't have to put your name all over it, and maybe you shouldn't. You're a divisive figure among critics, who fawn over your accomplishments while side-stepping the quality of your film-making, or lambast the one-dimensional characters and pedantic pandering in your films as part of your overall shtick. If you put a movie out without your name preceding it's title, more theatregoers might walk in blind, and judge the film on its merit. Not as a black movie, or a Tyler Perry movie, but just as a movie. Wouldn't that be fun? I often wonder what would happen if you took Woody Allen's name completely off one of his projects and got rid of his distinctive opening credits sequence. Would the films be judged better without the spectre of his previous work hanging over them, or would they be completely maligned without the "this isn't great but his other films are SO great that this one gets a pass" excuse?

Finally, I suppose this blog deserves a major title change. Big City James made sense insofar as I began it as a kind of letter home when I lived in Toronto. Now I don't live in a big city anymore (unless you consider Edmonton a big city because you were born in a clearing somewhere), but how else do I package what I write on Thursdays? I suppose I could call it Dream, Goal, Plan but that might confuse people into thinking I've created something helpful (I have not). But really, talk about Tyler Perry narcissism. Who the fuck cares what I call this thing? Call it Big City James, call it Dumb Blog I Read Sometimes, just don't call me late for dinner because all I've had today are a plate of Shut Up, Children and I'm STARVING.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


Hello Friends.

I live in a place where money spurts up from the ground. I can't figure out exactly how drilling for oil works, and what this pipeline is about, and why Alberta's livelihood is so completely linked to the practice, but there you are. Since moving here from a much bigger city, I've been trying to determine what makes this place different beyond obvious comparisons like size and population.

Sometimes it feels like the 1920's gold rush here. Maybe it's because our own relocation was prompted by our loss of jobs in Ontario and new opportunities here and so we're looking through a decidedly different lens, but it feels like nobody was born here, and everyone is here for a job. There are obviously people born and raised here who happily stay put. There is a lively arts and culture scene that proves not everyone is a transplant, not to mention well-established neighborhoods and family homes that have been around for generations. The educational opportunities here are amazing and the economy is such that people really build a life for themselves.

I wonder, though, about the startlingly high murder rate and statistics regarding drug-related crime. I think about how to reconcile that with a city seemingly awash in prosperity. It's like how Toronto brags about being a progressive, thriving city (with a thirty year old transit system, obviously corrupt mayoral government, and unbelievably high poverty rate), or how Regina thinks putting in a new stadium will somehow fix the dying centre of town where the soup kitchen is operating at maximum capacity and people get stabbed to death in the mall. I wonder what will happen to Edmonton if the oil wells ever dry up, and what that means for the people on the rigs. I'd like to find out.

Dream: Go to work on the rigs.

Goal: Unachievable in every sense. From what little I do know about the job, it is grueling physical labour for long stretches and any mistake could result in injury or death. I'm Princess Delicate Baby Flower when it comes to things as simple as climbing a ladder or painting a hallway, I can't imagine actually doing what these guys and gals do on a regular basis.

Having said that, part of me longs to be one of those immersed journalists of the bygone era who filed their stories by living among the people they were reporting on, almost like anthropologists. Studs Terkel interviewed hundreds of people with jobs of every stripe for his definitive tome Working. Working is thousands of pages of first person accounts of what it's like to be a nurse, a cashier, a factory worker, a brain surgeon, a ditch digger, etc. Barbara Ehrenreich took an assignment from Harper's magazine concerning Bill Clinton's newly introduced Welfare to Work reform bill. She wanted to see if she could actually pay rent and eat three meals a day on a minimum wage job in America without assistance, so she worked at a restaurant, then an old folks home, then a WalMart, while living in a rented room, and then a trailer. The result is her fantastic book, Nickel & Dimed. I can't afford to quit my job to live among the riggers to interview them, and I certainly couldn't do the job myself, so it's my hope that one day I will be able to interview a couple and report back.

Plan: Figure out just what it is I want to know about working on the oil rigs, and what it means for the place where I live. If I could interview an oil rig worker, here is what I would want to know:

What is your work day? Oil patches are (obviously) far away from everything. As I understand it, most workers live on the site for arrangements like two weeks on, two weeks off. The two weeks on have them bunked in cramped quarters, up early, and in bed late, for grueling 12 hour days in conditions that apparently aren't the safest. According to the American Bureau of Labor Statistics (couldn't find the correlating Canadian findings) as many as 4.2 percent of oil and gas workers are hurt on the job each year, sustaining injuries ranging from burns to head trauma, exposure to toxins, and amputation.  The other day at work I wrote, "extensive" when what I probably meant was "comprehensive" in a press release. It was a mistake, but my arm didn't get blown off and nobody died.

Aren't you bored? A 12 hour day doing anything sounds awfully tedious, but because of the inherent danger in the labour, it must involve a kind of concentrated, focused boredom (which is the worst kind). Plus, working on a weeks on/weeks off system sounds attractive, until you realize that the "weeks on" weeks include weekends too. I have a friend who used to work as a security guard on an oil rig, and from what he described to me, working on the rigs is like going to war but there isn't a war on. It's like being in prison but you're sentenced to two weeks at a time. Drugs and alcohol are absolutely forbidden but there is a lot of fighting and a looooot of porn. My friend would routinely bang on the doors of single-occupancy places because the tenant was blasting hardcore videos as loud as they would go. What does that say about one's state of mind (not to mention their hearing)?

But aren't you on drugs? I probably should have mentioned this bit at the beginning, but all of my evidence is absolutely anecdotal here, aside from a little lazy online research. That said, though drugs are expressly forbidden from any rigging site, I've heard some of these lads and lasses find creative ways to fill their off time. Who can blame them, really? If your job requires you to be hyper-focused for hours on end with no place to escape to at the end of the day, couldn't you be forgiven for indulging in some chemical escape when your work is done? But it's not just pot. I've heard it posited that the reason cocaine, heroin, and other hard drugs are so rampant in this province is because so many of these guys have too much money and too little to do.  It's been proven that long shifts without breaks compromises your health immeasurably. Throw drugs in the mix and I shudder to think what could result.

Are you married? The other side of the "nonstop drug party" mentality must create its own problems. A lot of workers with demanding professions like doctors, lawyers, and labourers like riggers have a strong impulse to seek stability in their non-work life and so rush into marriage (and consequently, divorce). My security guard friend told me that a lot of these guys see their friends making poor life choices and so they put their money into the wedding, the home, and the kids. Trouble is, of course, that hubby and Daddy (or wife and Mommy) are necessarily away a lot of the time. What does that do to a marriage and family?

How much money do you make? Really, how much? Because my understanding is money is far and away the biggest draw for this job. Working in retail here, I noticed how difficult it is to fill vacancies in the service sector. Unlike Ontario, where I battled viciously for full time shifts in lousy jobs, here in Alberta, my full time availability was a godsend. It was not that long ago that people took service sector jobs after high school or university while waiting to find a job in their field.  I suppose a rise in professional internships (and folks living at home longer and being subsidized by their folks) means this pattern is on the decline but to some kids, a job on the oil rig must look like the Golden Ticket. "I work two weeks on, two off and I make HOW much?!" I'm sure the money is good and beats whatever I made folding sweaters then, or what I make now writing copy. But I'd also imagine working on the oil rigs is a very specific skill that can't be applied in too many other fields. Service sector jobs at least teach you how to deal with a variety of people and not be an asshole (in most cases). However, I wonder how else you can parlay your oil rigging skills when you're ready to leave the profession behind? To that end, maybe you can't leave the profession behind. You must get used to the weeks on/weeks off and especially the paycheque!

I say all of this not to denigrate what has to be an extremely difficult and demanding job. Alberta has the oil sands to thank for pumping money into this province and generating the economic boom that has landed the Doc and me into comfy jobs for the moment. But I keep thinking about those men and women that hit all the criteria I just described. The ones with mind-numbing yet dangerous jobs, high paycheques, families they never see, and drug problems.  What becomes of them if something happens to our oil supply? What happens to the cities here when the drills stop drilling and the plenty we currently enjoy becomes scarce? I worry that the wealthy execs and greedy tycoons are becoming wealthier and greedier off the backs of these workers. I worry that counting on one resource to help everyone isn't particularly resourceful. Apparently, we have enough oil in the ground for generations to come, but what goes boom must too go bust, and things can't stay this way forever. I like my new home very much yet I can't help but think that I'm benefitting from the complex machinations of a really shaky system, and that system is rigged. 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Late Shift...

Hello Friends.

The thing about North America is, we have too much of everything. We eat too much, we drink too much, our internet pornography options are nearly endless (though I wish there was more “Well-Read Boys Satisfy Their Appetites In Fully-Stocked Library”-style erotica). We also tend to demand too much of the talent we enjoy, an ideal case in point being David Letterman. I love Dave, I think he’s a genius, but he’s on TV every night! He’s been on TV every night for 30 years! Like that woman says in the viral video, “There isn’t anyone who has time for that.” I’m sad that he’s retiring, but for goodness’ sake, let us allow the man to rest. Same goes for all nightly hosts of things. How can they possibly generate content every single night? Jimmy Fallon, in particular, seems so committed to creating YouTube-ready clickbait that he must never sleep!

Compare us to the UK, for instance, and see what they produce in quantity versus quality. I know not all late night is comedy and not all comedy is late night, but consider that the finest British tv exports are something like 7 episodes long. Most of their “chat shows” are broadcast weekly, not nightly. A comedic mind like David Letterman or Stephen Colbert can be pretty funny on a given night, but they had to produce only 1/5 of their current offerings, think how much of it would be gold.

I’m sad that I’ll likely never see a Letterman taping. Tickets to his remaining shows must be scarce, and I’ve heard of waiting lists being months long at a time. To that end, we may never see Letterman again after he retires. I mean what I’m about to say with the utmost respect: that would be great. For Dave to bow out as a man with a great career in television and spend his next chapter home with his wife and son would be a really classy way to go. Apparently, Jay Leno still performs stand up in comedy clubs every weekend, and that makes me sort of sad.

It is truly the end of an era in late night TV, and, though Dave’s replacement was announced this morning, it’s not too late for CBS to tell Colbert to cool his heels while they take a few moments to really think things through. I can help.

Dream: Revamp late night television.

Goal: Unachievable. Who am I, Lorne Michaels? No one’s gonna listen to me. But on the other hand, broadcast television has worse ratings across the board now than they’ve ever had, and Conan O’Brien was virtually unknown when a show fell into his lap, so let’s work from that premise and assume I get to decide what happens with this time slot.

Plan: Change everything around about the late night talk show. Here are my suggested tweaks:

The Guests. Talk show guests are so boring and horrible. Even the best ones have to do so many rounds that by the time whatever project they’re plugging comes out, they have another one on the way. Like can Mark Wahlburg just stop making public appearances for a bit? I know he’s in every third movie, but a less charismatic, more stupid man you’d never hope to hear from. The best work David Letterman ever did was when he would decide to make a star of a random person. When I lived in Regina, Saskatchewan as a kid, there was a man who pumped gas named Dick Assman. I guess there’d been a robbery at his gas station or something, and he was interviewed for a piece in the paper, so a picture of him ran along the article with his name, Dick Assman, below the picture. So Dave had this segment where he pointed out funny/stupid things in newspapers, and somehow he got ahold of Dick Assman. He began joking about Dick Assman’s ridiculous name and speculating about his life almost every night. Signs went up all around Regina, “Home of Dick Assman!” and, at the gas station where he worked, “DICK ASSMAN WORKS HERE!” It all came to a head when Dave invited Dick Assman on the show. Dick Assman came out bearing flowers for Dave and stammered through a sweet interview. It was a puerile premise, but I’d watch a hundred Dick Assman interviews than one more Mark Wahlburg, y’know?

The monologue. Monologues are hard, and an overly indulgent audience doesn’t help matters. A joke that doesn’t really land, followed by a blast of music and wild applause isn’t funny to watch anymore. We’ve all seen it. I think between a monologue and an audience, you have to lose one to make the other work. Tom Snyder was an old man who used to host The Late Late Show after Dave, and he did an audience-less monologue, straight to camera, followed by a long form interview. Julie Klausner hosts How Was Your Week, which is my very favourite podcast, and she begins every episode with a lengthy, topical, hilarious monologue that doesn’t have an audience, doesn’t need an audience to work, and succeeds brilliantly precisely because there isn’t one. She, too, has a long interview afterwards with a really interesting person who is not necessarily super-famous. She talks to authors, or comics just on the verge of breaking through, or obscure musicians one wants desperately to Google and download immediately afterwards.

The music. This idea is so simple, I can’t believe no one has thought of it. I understand the appeal of having a house band, but stages always look so crowded when the musical guest for the evening plays their song and the band stands there and watches them. Why not have the musical guest that is traditionally part of the last segment, be the band for the entire show? And when there is no musical guest, have whatever comedian is doing a set that night be a Paul Schaffer-y sidekick throughout? Wouldn’t it be more exciting to have Kanye West select and perform the songs that open the show, bring out the guests, etc? Or have Jimmy Fallon bantering back and forth with Patton Oswalt for a night?

I love Stephen Colbert, but I feel like this deal takes away everything about him that is great. He’s leaving behind his blowhard character, and will surely be encouraged to be less political now that he has a broader audience. Let’s strip him of his finest attributes and see how he does. Nobody owned The Late Show because Dave started it, so why must his successor continue in that forced mold? We don’t have to reinvent the wheel here, but give me a better reason to stay up late.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World...

Hello Friends.

When I was in an acting class at university, I had to do a scene from the Chekhov play The Bear. The scene opens, at least as I remember it, with the man (me) yelling, “Oh I’m in such a rage! Such a rage I could grind the entire world to powder!” This line may have even opened the entire play, I couldn’t say. From the sly, subtle dialogue, I intuited the character was mad about something and tried to play it that way. “Oh I’m in such a rage,” I said. “Such a rage I could grind the entire world to powder.”

My instructor for the course, a bombastic woman, didn’t suffer fools and spluttered at me demonstratively. “You’re not in a rage! Nowhere close!” she said. So I thought back to my years of theatrical training, thought about nuance and subtext, objectives and beats, and said the same line, but louder this time. My professor would not have it. “I don’t know what you think you’re doing, but it’s NOT RAGE!” She got right up in my face, as she was wont to do, and said the line herself, but in a rage. “Do you see the difference? Can’t you feel that?” she asked me. But I didn’t, and I couldn’t.

I am not, generally, an angry guy. I’m a snarky guy, a bitchy guy, and a pissy guy, but not angry. At least I don’t think I am. But the problem with not being angry is that my go-to mode is frustration, which is just the same lump of coal wrapped in slightly different packaging. I can get stupidly, unreasonably frustrated and let it marinate in on itself for hours and days, instead of just expressing anger for a finite period of time, and letting it go.

Dream: Get my anger out, or put it to good use.

Goal: Achievable. I know it would be healthier to deal with anger rather than to let it fester and bitch and moan. And sometimes I can do that. Doc and I don’t have long grudge-holding resentment-fests. We bicker and get it done with. So why can’t I do that with my own issues?

Plan: Put all my anger out there, in an attempt to move through it. Here’s what I’m mad about right now:

The past two days have brought a confluence of events that have made me incredibly frustrated, to the point where I can’t stop bemoaning the injustice of it all. Yesterday, I packed my swim trunks, towel, and toiletry bag in my gym bag to go for a swim at my pool after work. Fortuitously, I happened to check the website for my pool during my workday, only to discover that the pool is closed and would remain so for the rest of the week. That was not the frustrating thing. I decided, instead, to check out the YMCA that is close to where I work. I hadn’t swam in a few days and didn’t want to skip the only exercise I enjoy, so I figured I’d cough up the drop in rate and just, you know, drop in. So I got there and found out the drop in rate is $14. $14! Am I drunk, or is that a really high price for one visit? I remember many childhood trips to the Y and can’t believe it would have cost anything comparable. But, as I said, I really wanted the swim and thought, “Well, maybe I’ll enjoy it so much that I’ll decide to become a member!” and so forked over the $14. This injustice is also not the frustrating thing.

I swam for a perfectly enjoyable hour or so, hyperextending my arms and legs whenever possible, like I was trying to take up enough space to warrant a $14 expenditure. I showered up, packed my stuff, and went home. This morning, when I went into my gym bag to retrieve my toiletries for a shower, I realized my toiletry bag was missing. This bag is one of those small travel bags that contained, in this instance, soap, shampoo, my swim goggles, and my membership card to my other pool (the one that is closed this week). That was the incredibly frustrating thing. I can’t believe I was so stupid as to leave it behind.

After work today, I went back to the Y and asked if anything had been turned in. The woman at the desk hadn’t received anything, but directed me to a lost and found bin that I rooted through three times. It had a few children’s winter boots, some scarves and mitts, a gross towel, and no toiletry bag. I am so frustrated, mad, angry, whatever you want to call it, because to me, that means somebody stole my fucking toiletry bag. Some asshole took something that didn’t belong to him, and now has my glistening hair and my chlorine free eyes! The soap and shampoo were luckily cheap stuff, as I know enough not to take my fancy hair stuff out of the house, so let’s value them at a conservative $6. I found out today that my pool membership card is $20 to replace. My goggles, which I splurged on, because cheaper varieties just don’t last very long, cost $25. Added up, my trip to the pool yesterday didn’t cost $14, it cost $65. I want to cry and punch the wall.

This situation was preventable on a dozen levels. I could have waited out the repairs on my original pool. I could have refused to pay the exorbitant $14 drop in fee at the Y. I could have packed up my fucking toiletry bag. $65 is a nice dinner out, a new dress shirt, or a balcony seat at the Fleetwood Mac concert. I know it’s stupid, but it’s hard not to look for some kind of cosmic punishment here. Maybe I was meant to leave the toiletry bag behind to learn… what? Don’t leave your stuff behind? I already know that!

It’s like these people who don’t believe in accidents; they think you knock your glass of milk over on purpose, or leave your toiletry bag behind because $65 is just burning a hole in your pocket. How do they justify their beliefs when they get into car crashes? Actually, I think I’ve told this story before, but it bears repeating: I had a psychology professor who was just that way, didn’t believe in accidents, you do these things to yourself, etc. Anyway, he fell off the roof of his house and is now a paraplegic. He thinks he brought it on himself somehow! I read an article about him in the paper where he said, “I wonder why I did this to myself. I must be teaching myself something.” Must be nice to be so philosophical in the face of your own shitty circumstances, mad props to holding on to your stupid beliefs!

It’s all bullshit, really, this “articulate your anger” stuff. I read somewhere that “venting” your anger is actually terrible for you. It keeps you angry instead of alleviating it. I have Facebook friends whose wall posts look like a monument to complaining. “OH THIS IS A FUNNY LOOKING SPRING! GRRR!” “THANKS FOR GETTING MY ORDER WRONG STARBUBCKS GRRRR!” That’s not healthy. But neither is circling round and round the hard luck of losing a bag with some soap and goggles in it. People are out there in the world facing actual, real problems. There are people to whom the extravagances of gym memberships are absolutely out of reach. There are people with something to be mad about.

If I had that scene to do over again, ten years later, I’d have a bit more ammo to access my anger. A few more points of reference about marriages breaking up, or miscarriages, or cancer diagnoses. I could think about job loss, friendship dissolution, or alcoholism. I could think about the pitfalls I’ve been lucky to avoid, and the few crummy grown-up things I’ve had to endure. I might realize, just for an instant, how quickly all of it goes by. How I can’t take this life, any of it, for granted. How any time spent worrying over stupid shit is time wasted. I’d think about all the times I’ve succumbed to negative thoughts and fears instead of appreciating what I’m lucky enough to have. And I’d rage.