People Watching

Try to make it real. Compared to what? -John Legend

People watching is a habit that causes insanity. I should know, I do it compulsively. The problem, you see, is that people lie and this is Universal Truth #1. They lie on every level and about every thing. They lie with their words and their actions. Elaborate facades are built with clothes, houses and cars. A pig with a Benz and a boob job is still a pig, you know? That house in the cul-de-sac may seem opulent from the outside but it doesn’t necessarily come furnished with happiness. From the inside, it might look like a prison of debt, intent on draining the last drops of nectar from the inhabitant’s soul. The world of human relations is a charade and the bottomless cauldron of poison apples for this mind virus is Twitter. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Twitter as much as the next introverted scab picker but there comes a time when you have to spit out of the Kool Aid of inadequacy and draw a line in the sand dividing truth from fiction. Self employed nut jobs and patient spiders, this is for you.

So let’s say you own yourself a little business and have accepted the task of creating an online presence to raise awareness by coating the faces of your followers in the seed of your influence. First of all, this shouldn’t be your job because all business owners are manic depressive gluttons for punishment. We gamble with our peace of mind every day, shaking it like to make it break, stepping on or around anything that gets in our way; impervious to cold, hunger and pain, or so it seems. What we really do is gnaw off our own cuticles and scratch our skin raw agonizing over what to do next. You know it’s true and if it’s not, then maybe you’re doing it wrong. In light of this ubiquitous fact, you, the business owner, should not ever, never ever never, even look at Twitter, much less indulge in the stalkeresque tendencies that most people would seek a restraining to order to put an end to. What you need is a good right hand man with a keen bullshit detector to do this for you; someone whose job it is to save you from yourself.

Universal truth #2. The “right” answer is implied in the question and may or may not have anything to do with the truth. Ask any kid how that bubble gum got stuck in his hair or why his brother is crying and he’ll say “I don’t know” because that’s the right answer. Ask Bill Clinton about the stain on his assistant’s dress and he’ll say “it’s toothpaste”. If the question is “what shall I say on twitter about myself and my business?”, the “right” answer is: anything that makes you sound happy, fun, knowledgeable, busy and successful with the occasional candid remark thrown in to remind everyone that you’re still a real person; a devastatingly effective, empathy inducing move. Those of you positive thinkers in the crowd assume I’m being a negative Nelle, drunk on the swill of disillusionment, but let me tell you, Pollyanna, I call it like I fucking see it. Reality is not biased by the letters after your name or the romantic notion that spouting frivolous nonsense on Twitter makes you better than you actually are but, if you want a level playing field, then it’s time to get hip to the rules. What I’m talking about are the real rules and there’s actually only one: when you show up to the party, you had better come dressed as who you’re supposed to be. Clearly then, the right answer is not anything that sounds like “my business is sucking wind, IRS is breathing down my neck, clients are blood slurping jackals and my competitors won’t stop until they have my head on a stick.” That, my friends, is the wrong god damned answer. Doesn’t matter that it may be true that day, that week or even that year, it’s the wrong answer so don’t say it.

Universal Truth #3. People can be counted on to give the right answer at just about any cost. There’s a great line in the movie Jackie Brown where Samuel Jackson says “You can’t trust Melanie, but you can trust Melanie to be Melanie.” That’s right. You can’t trust people to do anything except to behave like people and what was the first thing I said? People lie, and combined with the second thing, most often in an attempt to give the right answer. I know this. I know it backwards, forwards, upside down and sideways and yet still manage to get mind fucked by Twitter way too frequently. There are times when even my business tanks for a month or two, I have to rob Peter to pay Paul and I start thinking that maybe a real job is in order. These thoughts don’t make me happy. I’m a simple creature, really. I like money, coffee, cigarettes, and hot sex but not necessarily in that order, except for the money part. I don’t enjoy being poor, it’s hard on the ego. When I get in a funk, I start spending a lot of time on Twitter and immediately notice how so and so is purportedly doing this and that and I’m NOT. This only pours gasoline on an already volatile psyche, unleashing the rabid dogs of depression which leads to spending even more time on Twitter and so on and so forth. You see where this is going? It’s a dead end game of erotic asphyxiation. My point is I know that everyone else is just playing along, tweeting out the right answers. A few of them are true, some vaguely resemble the truth, and a good deal are completely erroneous. So why do I take it so personally? Befuckingcause I gauge my value as a human being by the success of my business and if it’s not good then I’m not good. If things aren’t right then I must be incompetent. The voices in my head are brutal. In this weakened state, I am more than happy to let my condescending and toothless chauffeur drive me around in the short bus with the rest of the retards. Pass me a helmet.

Universal truth #4 – Eyes on the prize. Circular obsessing drains potency to the point of nil. It’s a small world and a short life. Don’t look around, look where you’re going.