Thursday, July 14, 2005

Is this how nihilists are made?

If you distill things down to their most basic bits, everything is a load of rubbish, isn't it?

Watching the Wimbledon finals a few weeks ago, a teenager said to me, "This is stupid. All they do is hit a ball back and forth until someone misses." And that's technically true enough, I guess. But as I explained to him, by those standards, every sport is utterly ridiculous.

Baseball: You hit a ball with a stick and then run 'round in a circle as fast as you can.

Football: Try to get a ball to the end of a field. You have four tries to do so.

Boxing: Punch someone repeatedly as hard as you can. Do your best to avoid being punched.

And it's not just sports. It's everything. My mother is a big fan of the "if you don't do this, will it kill you?" tactic. "If you don't see that band live, will it kill you?" "If you don't go there on vacation, will it kill you?" "If the restaurant is out of the soup you like, will it kill you?" And on and on.

And the fact is, no, it will not. Not doing any of an infinite number of things will not literally kill me.

Breathing is really the only thing I can think of that NOT doing will kill me straight away.

But it seems pretty silly to wake up every morning and set about a busy day of breathing, simply because it's the only thing that will kill me if I don't do it.

Once you've made everything seem stupid and pointless in your head though, you find that the reasons for getting out of bed in the morning start to dwindle.

But there's an obvious part of the equation missing here, isn't there? Emotion. Feeling. Sensation. Etc.

No matter how stupidly simple the basic bits of any given situation are, there are always those lovely, delicious, complex and inexplicable feelings that go along with it.

Peace Train by Cat Stevens is kind of a stupid song, and I'll be the first to admit it. But that doesn't change the fact that I get goosebumps every time I hear it.

No amount of distilling can explain why I have spent hours of my life, too numerous to count, staring at this Doug Argue painting of a bunch of chickens.

And there is no simplistic reasoning behind that unparalleled sublimely happy feeling I get when I slip my feet into the perfect pair of flip-flops.

I guess those are the sort of reasons I get out of bed in the morning. (or to be fair, early afternoon)

Well, those AND the breathing bit, I suppose.

10 Comments:

Blogger jenny said...

it's always amusing to describe sports in those terms for sports lovers. some even get violent. it's great :) but i must say i try to do what your mom does, cos how on earth do you find energy or money to do everything if you don't? i get exhausted just thinking about it.

July 14, 2005 6:21 AM  
Blogger Ian McGibboney said...

I once read something that described sex as "two things rubbing against each other." That doesn't change the fact that there's so much more to it.

July 14, 2005 10:57 AM  
Blogger sociable_solipsist said...

In a comments on Ian's Comment I'll say I laughed when I first heard it described as:

"They wouldn't call it bumpin' uglies if they were pretty."

However, Flamingo, your humor and nihilism made me laugh. I'd like to directly contradict your mom and say you ABSOLUTELY MUST TAKE YOUR VACATION THERE, AND FURTHERMORE HAVE GOT TO SEE THAT BAND LIVE. You must also eat at that restaurant.

July 14, 2005 4:59 PM  
Blogger wobbleboard said...

Thanks, Ian! You've given me a great new pick-up line: "Hey, bebby, how bouts you and me go rub two things against each other." Should I be optimistic?

July 14, 2005 8:36 PM  
Blogger Ian McGibboney said...

Wobbleboard, no. Flamingo hates that line. Trust me. I know from experience.

July 14, 2005 8:47 PM  
Blogger Flamingo Jones said...

Ian's just got a one-track mind.

Whereas I have an 8-track mind.

Or a 12-track mind, if I'm really lucky.

July 14, 2005 10:35 PM  
Blogger wobbleboard said...

Ian: Yeah, she's way to classy for that line. I've got a much better one for her: "Hi, my name's Dennis Kucinich. Remember that, because you'll be screaming it later."

July 15, 2005 7:16 AM  
Blogger Ian McGibboney said...

Judging by the news, I'd say Kucinich has had some success with that line.

July 15, 2005 9:25 AM  
Blogger Phillip said...

the devil's in the details they say. most of it is pointless, it's all about personal preference and what elicits a reaction from you.

July 15, 2005 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Kevin Hayden said...

Those paintings look like Colonel Sanders during an LSD-induced wetdream. I don't even want to guess what your flip-flops look like.

July 16, 2005 9:43 AM  

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