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Default Setting: Cynicism

David Foster Wallace just got right inside my brain.  He peered into my soul, my consciousness, and said, “I know you, man. Now I’m gonna pick you apart. Bitch.”  I actually feel semi-violated.  Everything he had to say in his commencement speech seemed to hit the nail on the head- specifically my nail and my head.  And that’s exactly what he’s talking about.

It’s hard to argue that we are all, on a deep-level, literally and figuratively self-centered.  After all, as Wallace points out, we experience the world through our own point of view.  Everything happens to or around us.  It is only fitting then that I felt as if he was specifically talking about me when running through our default thought setting, which essentially being a no-good, cynical asshole.  Many people will find their own deep-seeded cynicism hard to admit, but since I blog from the heart, and occasionally the balls, I’ll own up to it right here.  Wallace’s description of grocery shopping was like a fucking running diary of every Fresh Grocer trip I’ve ever been on.  Except instead of sitting in traffic, I have to walk 13 miles back across campus lugging a two-ton bag of milk and eggs while suppressing the urge to punch every dim-witted, bow-legged passerby straight through their obnoxious, borderline insulting face.  This just happens to be my default setting.

Hopefully though, I won’t need a liberal arts degree to shake this way of thinking.  I already, on occasion, just happen to have such a good day that I don’t let trivial shit bother me or I give people the benefit of the doubt.  As Wallace points out though, the real trick is to get into this open mind-set everyday.  That’s something I’m going to have to work on.*

*Getting high everyday would probably do the trick, but that would be totally illegal, guys (and really expensive).


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