Friday, April 15, 2016

Things To Do In The Acela Corridor When You're Dead



Another god damn morning.

Another...motel room?  Hotel room?  Somewhere.

Arm numb from passing out on it.  Panic!  Brain barely processing yet, so no words, just raw, animal fear.  "Holy Jesus!  Is my arm dead?!  Is it dead!" He pounds it against the wall until he feels the pins and needles of feeling return.  Panic oozes away, replaced by nausea and the aftertaste of gin and bile.

He's still in his suit.

Glasses.  Glasses.  Where are my fucking glasses? Across the room an empty bottle of midnight cheer is marooned on the colorless carpet.  Terrible light scalds his eyes.  Time.  Time.  Time.  What is the time?

Holy.  Shit.  Late.  So, so late.  How did it get so fucking late?  He would have that fucking night manager sacked for forgetting his wake up call.  Hell, the whole staff should be shitcanned.  And his god damn assistant.  How dare he let this happen again.

Shitshitshit.  It's tomorrow already.  Column.  Gotta squeeze out a column.  Anything.  Anything.

The sweats come.  Management has already made it discretely clear to him that, after his "Marco Rubio Will Definitely Save Us" debacle, his leash has been shortened.

He implores the heavens for anything.  Anything at all.

He has no stomach for what may be waiting for him on the idiot box and after he collides with the word "Trump" in 40 point font above the fold, he abandons the complimentary copy of USA Today which motel (hotel?) management slipped under his door in the night.

He notices the little red light on the room phone winking at him .  Messages.  His cell tells him that he has missed 22 calls and a lot of "Urgent" emails, including two from his editor.  His laptop is where he left it: on the desk, parked on a PornHub video of a woman doing impossible things with a dildo the size of a Louisville Slugger.

Anything.  Seriously God.  I will take anything at all.

The room is so generic and featureless it smothers all adjectives in their cradles.  And besides, he already wrote about hanging out in some hotel lobby and had been informed by management very politely to never, ever do that again. 

Mounted on one wall (and positively on fire from the blasting, unholy morning light), a print of some dead leaves.  Or, rather, the outline of dead leaves.  Shit.

Nothing.  Bupkis.  Empty.  Jesus, I am a dead man.

He staggers to the bathroom to throw up...and finds salvation.  There, above the toilet, majestically framed, a glorious motivational poster.


He falls to his knees on the white!white!white! tile floor.  "Thank you, Jesus," he whispers.  "Thank you."

He stumbles back to his laptop, takes one last, long look at the PornHub lady and her giant, fake plastic penis, clears the page and goes to "work"...

What Is Inspiration?

David Brooks APRIL 15, 2016

...Dogged work is the prerequisite of success. Yet there are some moments — after much steady work and after the technical skills have been mastered — when the mind and spirit take flight. We call these moments of inspiration. They kind of steal upon you, longed for and unexpected.

But what exactly is inspiration? What are we talking about when we use that term?

Well, moments of inspiration don’t quite make sense by normal logic. They feel transcendent, uncontrollable and irresistible...

The senses are amplified. There may be goose bumps or shivers down the spine, or a sense of being overawed by some beauty...

Inspiration is always more active than mere appreciation. There’s a thrilling feeling of elevation, a burst of energy, an awareness of enlarged possibilities...

Vladimir Nabokov believed...

Inspired work stands apart from normal life...

Inspiration is not earned...

Inspiration is not something you can control...

Inspiration does not happen to autonomous individuals. It’s a beautiful contagion that passes through individuals...

Inspiration is not permanent and solid...

The poet Christian Wiman wrote that inspiration is...

Most important, inspiration demands a certain posture, the sort of posture people feel when they are overawed by something large and mysterious. They are both humbled and self-confident, surrendering and also powerful...

Yes, hard work is really important for achievement. But life is more mysterious than just that.



14 comments:

mainmata said...

Every now and then, DFB feels he has to inflict his extended Hallmark card thoughts about the Meaning of Life onto his readers who'd rather not have to endure his sophomoric maunderings. I guess he's just despairing of the campaign at this point.

Michael Sweeney said...

Holy B. Jesus. And he got paid for that. And paid fucking well.

Chan Kobun said...

Yet more proof that Stupe Davey Dave is not a merit hire. He's got that job because he's loyal to the Beltway, not because he's any fucking good as a writer. In a just world he'd be one of those people whose attitude prevents him from holding even the most basic and respctless of jobs for long.

But we do not live in a just world.

RUKidding said...

Yes, hard work is really important for achievement. But life is more mysterious than just that.

Weeellll, hard work is what us proles have to do to achieve many things. For some of us, it's just achieving enough to maybe - MAYBE! - keep a roof overhead and some food in the belly. It runs the gamut from there, up to and including fame, fortune, blah de blah. But really, most of us, including star athletes and stars of the stage and screen, are mainly just chumps, some of whom may strike it lucky in one way or another.

For others, hard work mainly involves criminal endeavors of various kinds. The chump crooks usually end up in prison with all that entails. But if you're rich and connected, and especially if you're white, you can get away with anything, literally anything, and be rich beyond anyone's wildest dreams. But yes, many crooks, whether rich or poor, do work hard in one way or another.

The true mystery here is how a tediously boring slacker like Fuck Cakes gets paid lotsa Benjamens to puke out drek like this.

To mainmata: I think you just did Hallmark Greeting Cards a big disservice. Those cards are titans of erudition and insight and sometimes real humor compared Fuck Cake's puling. And probably some Hallmark prole actually, you know, worked hard enough to merit his/her pay.

bowtiejack said...

Michael Sweeney

OK what I don't understand is why drifty's 466 words (yeah, I counted them, I have a lot of free time right now) of beautifully crafted, expressive, succinct prose is supposed to lose out to an 800-word list of sayings taken from a Waffle House placemat? When this sort of thing happens in horse racing there's at the very least a stewards inquiry. When it happens repeatedly, there's an indictment.

OBS said...

This is perfect, d r i f t g l a s s, except that Davey can't get off from a simple woman-with-a-huge-dildo video. His sad, limp libido needs the full-on, hardest-of-hardcore BDSM stuff for... inspiration.

Fiddlin Bill said...

Great Pornhub ref, Mr. Glass. All Brooks could manage was Nabokov.

dinthebeast said...

"Most important, inspiration demands a certain posture"
Sounds like my grandfather's advice about fishing: "You have to hold your mouth just right."

-Doug in Oakland

Kevin Holsinger said...

Good afternoon, Mr. Glass.

See, this is why I made that David Brooks "King of The Moon" graphic for you...

...which you never use...

...unless you did use it, and I just had the pictures turned off when I got to your website, which is normally the case...

...what was my point again?

Anyway, looking forward to whatever you're planning to do with Ms. Ingraham's "pundit license" comment.

Be seeing you.

Ed Cooper said...

I had an English lit teacher in high school who doubled a wrestling coach. He would have worn out a couple of red pencils on DFB and his sophomoric essay and in all likelihood returned it soaked in urine.

n1ck said...

First off, brilliant fucking post. I laughed out loud, which I don't do very often.

Second, you nail it.

Brooks is basically the equivalent of a college freshman waking up an hour before an essay is due, spouting off bullshit that stupid people might think sounds intelligent and deep.

To make sure it sounds "good", just throw in a reference or two to someone that most people have never heard of, and don't care about, and boom. Good to go.

Thomas Everett said...

I think he might have been replaced by a bot, like the Friedman Column Generator

keith gargus said...

That column wouldn't cut it in the Yazoo City weekly, but for the NYT? Well, it's a masterpiece.

mathguy said...

Damn, that motel room set-up was a masterwork of snark. Kudos! That was just freaking funny.