Published on July 3rd, 2012 | by Molly Martin0
Ask Professor Classypants: The Meaning Of Life Edition
There are times when one letter from one lowly advice seeker captures the ol’ Professor’s attention.
There are times when you receive a letter so filled with longing and intellectual curiosity and spiritual hunger that you cannot ignore it.
There are times when you know that must wrangle all of your [faux] professional energy (read: climb off the couch, although these reruns of Burn Notice ain’t gonna watch themselves) and focus on this one advice-seeker’s problem.
And then there are times when it’s Fourth of July week and half of the United States is, either, off work or without power thanks to mid-summer wind-pocalypse storms. And those are the times you have only one letter to answer and you’d better make it a good one.
This is the challenge I have been training minutes for…
Dear Prof. CP,
Despite what my parents always told me, I’m not really all that smart or special or unique. Basically, there are billions of people on this planet, very few of whom are really all that special in any way – the rest of us are merely a gigantic wandering parade of human debris. That being said, my question is this: why should I bother to give a flying fuck about anything? Seems like a bit of a waste of energy, doesn’t it?
Thanks in advance for your profound insights,
Signing your name with a period? And they say you aren’t special…
It sounds as if you are in the midst of an existential crisis. We learned in fake professor school…
…that the only cure for an existential crisis is a swift kick in the pants. It won’t necessarily give you a feeling of purpose nor will it fill the gaping emptiness that is your sudden (if late) realization that we’re all going to die and it doesn’t add up to much. But it will take your mind off things and momentarily spare you the ugly fate of falling, ass over teakettle, into your own navel.
Listen, Simon, you are as special as you believe yourself to be. And—here’s the kicker—as special as you can convince unsuspecting yokels that you are. Just ask Tom Cruise. Sure, he’s improbably handsome. Sure, he’s got some talent. Sure, he hasn’t killed anyone in a hit-and-run. But why do we think he’s special? Because he helped bring global attention to one guy’s half-baked idea for a super secret squirrel religion.
A religion that we’re not sure we understand but we think there are spaceships, and Logan’s Run jumpsuits, and sensory deprivation, and Magic 8 balls, and Handmaiden’s Tale bullshit ideas about women. But we’re not sure. So the mystery of Tom Cruise’s religion is forever-tangled with our collective helplessness at the mere mention of his dimples and our longing to believe that he might be (a) totally normal or (b) on to something.
Are you with me? Do you get me? The way to find meaning in life is pretend to make up a religion. Don’t actually observe or believe it or anything. Just act like you do. Occasionally walk around a Brookstone with a chicken tucked under your arm asking if they sell time machines. Insist that all the women you know wash their knees before you enter a room. Carry around a giant leatherbound book only to slam it shut anytime someone walks in the room, looking into their eyes and saying, “Soon. Soon.”
Pretty soon all people will be able to talk about is how special you are. And you’ll start to believe them. It should distract you just long enough to live forty more years then drop dead.
Happy Fourth! – P.C.
Happy writing! Thanks for stopping by to live, love, and learn. Be sure to join us next week. And remember: Act Classy an
d you will be classy. Ish.
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