Cuautehmoc in Lake Placid writes:
I’m 30-something, have a wife and kid, am supposed to be providing for them, but I just don’t give a fuck. What should I do?
We’re not homeless. I’m not a complete deadbeat—I sell technology, actually, albeit not that well, and my my power level is hidden, very hidden, so hidden I can’t even find it anymore… I used to dream of being a great artist, writer, philosopher, poet, what have you, but now I’m chasing the nightmare of being a bagman and I can’t even do that to a reasonable level of competence.
I was raised a Unitarian, I suppose, and was excommunicated (of a sort, verily lightly asked to leave Sunday school) for bad behavior. I went to theatre school and was told I was quite a precocious young talent at directing and writing.
My life seemed very clear at the time, a kind of Orson Welles type of deal was burning on my horizon, but my head got all screwed up with drugs, loneliness, and inceldom until the whole world was just a mote of dust.
Anyway, somehow I fell into this career path and a wife who wants me to make money, and I’m not high anymore, but all I want to do is spend my time playing games and reading based articles and listening to based podcasts and having based ass arguments in my own head. Everything I like is a fantasy world while the real reality of my real life is totally fake and gay.
I know I should give up my useless escapes for a more serious life, but “like a man to double business bound I stand in pause where I should first begin and both neglect.” And like Claudius I too cannot repent.
So what do I do? It’s as though I know how to negate, to throw out, to waste, but can’t put in an honest days work to build. How to I uninvert my soul so that it flourishes in reality and not fantasy? I can’t just throw it all out to the wind now and go out to become an “artist” lol, but I also can’t seem to function in normie world at all.
I’m definitely at “many such cases” here—so this is another good public answer.
There are lots of people who do not just feel but know they have some kind of unique gift like this. Yet the real rails on which our society runs has so few ways for those gifts to actually get in gear and do work that is both great and real. Mostly it’s “Elegy in a Country Churchyard,” but for NEETs and/or wagecucks. “Some Cromwell guiltless of his country’s blood.”
Not that I am about to let you off the hook with this Thomas Gray shit, Cuauhtemoc! You seem to be asking me to go full Jordan Peterson on you. Well, I will.
First, ruthlessly count the talents you have, or which have survived changing diapers, wagecuckery, etc. Second, ruthlessly count the fields to which these talents can be applied, and pick that field in which you can most efficiently make the most impact. My broad and vague recommendation, given the above, would be: Internet videos. Third, take all the time you spend playing games, piss on it and/or set it on fire.
You could even throw in the based podcasts—output, not input. You are based already. Do you need to be more based? Produce, don’t consume. If you have motivational problems, use peer pressure. Join some kind of creator group (like Justin Murphy’s). Or just imagine your ancestors staring down at you, glaring balefully, as you masturbate.
I am sorry for being so harsh, Cuauhtemoc. But while I am in no position to condemn your megalothymia, your human need for relevance beyond yourself, I am in a position to condemn you for being such a huge pussy about it.
My late wife was a talented dramatist herself—she wrote amazing dialogue. When we met she had just finished an MFA in playwriting. Later she switched to screenplays and still later to radio plays. During the whole time we were together, she also worked a full-time job and of course did a considerable amount of the parenting—making sure to leave as many hours of the week as possible for me to pursue my own megalothymia.
Of course, this was a rational calculation—she knew how tough the odds are in her thing. Not that they were not tough in my things! In any case, by the spring of 2021, when she turned 50, I convinced her that it was fine to retire (it had long been fine)— she should homeschool and write. She retired on her birthday, then died a month later. Her desk is over there to the left, with a bunch of her blue sticky-notes still on it.
Jen, the writer, did not end up with a writing career. Her husband (actually we always said “boyfriend” and “girlfriend,” a charming tic any couple can borrow), the coder, did. Nonetheless I am absolutely confident that could she have seen the future, she would not have optimized away any of her diligence and effort. And anyway, all those scripts are still there, in boxes or files—they did not exist, but they do exist.
So buck up, bucko! And make something happen. You’re not dead.
Actually, if your creative juices are starting to ebb (they do that, alas), a friend and I once had a script idea that I’m sure he won’t mind me sharing. It’s a buddy picture, a road movie, a story of midlife crisis, of male friendship, transformation, crisis and triumph—with George Clooney and Steve Coogan.
George Clooney, as Hunter Biden. Steve Coogan—as Jordan Peterson. Hunter and Jordan meet at a cheap, flea-ridden rehab in Zagreb. Inspired by the need to fix their lives by driving to Albania in a convertible, they bust out of rehab, pursued by the latter’s daughter, the former’s ex-girlfriend and her pimp, and the Big Guy’s security detail.
The ripped-from-the-headlights cinema event of the year—the film: Bucko. Bucko, a film by—by you, Cuauhtemoc…