“Not a whole lot” is a polite way of shrugging off polite greetings. It’s a way of telling someone else as little as possible while remaining sociable, lest you diminish in their regard. Sad but true: for appearance’s sake, or to retain some form or semblance of anonymity, we frequently resort to total inanity - regurgitating the same bloated responses as everyone else does time and time again.
But what would happen if we spoke our minds? What would happen if it we told it like we felt it? Could it be socially acceptable to simply share our brand of truth? Or would it be a drag for others to actually know how we feel, to actually know how we are as individuals? Would it be a burden for them to have a comparison point by which to measure their equally mundane and repetitious lives?
Could bluntness and frankness serve to punctuate and define moments in our lives that otherwise pass unnoticed due to their relative blandness?
What if I suddenly decided to regale people with the tedious details of the minor things that stand out of my daily routine? What if I described, painstakingly, every single ‘new’ thing that’s happened since I last had the misfortune of being asked “what’s new”? What if I kept, not a journal, not an account, but a grocery list of stand-out -but insignificant- happenings in my life… and shared it at each opportunity?
Would the fact that I burnt my toast that morning feel like a more vibrant experience to me if I pointed it out? What if I announced that I had long wanted to try that Smucker’s marmalade and finally did… only to be disappointed by its lack of taste and texture? Would that fall flat, bounce back in my face, or would it solidify the experience in my mind like the crust that forms on the rim of an old jar of jam?
Would I be a more engaging person to them than if I defecated “not much” in their faces? Or would they simply avoid me and my platitudes like the plague?
I suppose that, for the sheer sake of making my casual encounters more entertaining, I could take the whole idea to farcical new realms of realness:
I could tell people when:
· I cut my toe nails
· groom myself
· wash my clothes
· clean my bathroom
· vacuum my couch
· take my pet to the vet
· baby-sit my sister’s kid
· mow my lawn
· break-in a new pair of shoes
· do some groceries
· burn microwave popcorn
· read a new book
· complete a sudoku or crossword puzzle
· relax in a bubble-bath
· find a penny on the side-walk
· watch birds chirping gaily on the window-sill of my bedroom
· sing in the shower
· trip on the carpet
· go to the aesthetician for facials
· break the zipper on my pants
· lose my glasses
· get a papercut
· suffer from a headache
· get a cramp
· feel bloated
· take family pictures
· have a doctor’s appointment
· run into my neighbours
· go to church
· play poker with my buddies
Heck, even I’m not convinced that this would make me more interesting. I think that I should at least try to dramatize these moments as I relate them. So, for the sake of punctuating the dreariness, I would have to say that I:
· nibbled my toe nails
· shaved my back
· chiselled my underwear
· scraped the grit off of the inside of my toilet
· had my couch fumigated
· took my pet to be put down
· baby-sat my sister’s demon-spawn
· bought a goat to munch away my lawn; it’s cheaper, efficient and effortless
· broke a pair of expensive new shoes
· ordered in two weeks’ worth of KFC
· sat fire to my microwave oven
· read a new ‘dating’ manual; the exam is next week.
· played charades by myself
· took a bubble bath with my collie
· found a syringe on the side-walk
· screamed at the annoying birds on my window sill
· sang on the bus
· got rug burns from sitting on my carpet
· paid some guy 10$ to give me a facial
· got caught in my zipper
· stepped on my glasses
· got a papercut on my tongue
· suffer from a hangover
· got blue balls
· feel hopelessly flatulent
· took pictures of my parents getting ‘frisky’ at a family get-together
· found blood in my urine
· ran over my neighbours
· go to confession. A lot.
· played strip poker with my buddies.
But even that might not work. In the big city, people get jaded pretty quickly. So, if I really want to denote myself, or disturb people even more, when asked “what’s new” in my life, I could respond that:
· I’ve been crying.
· I am horny. Yes… right now.
· I drank alone last night. And the night before that.
· I had a very challenging bowel movement this morning and I’m pretty exhausted, actually.
· I caught a VD, but I don’t know where.
· I stood outside a well-known bar, waiting… (“For what?” someone might very well ask, to which I would respond: “I don’t know…”)
· I started wearing women’s clothing at home.
· I got my scrotum pierced
· I tried a new sexual position that made my grandmother blush
· I decided to take up a nightlife of masked vigilantism, fighting crime with a variety of gadgets and gear
· I drove to work without pants on this morning. With my windows down.
· I am planning to get my feet Botoxed; I have very ugly feet.
· I played bobbing-for-mice with my cat last night. I won.
· To help with my self-esteem, I decided to go on the 'Elvis Presley Diet'. And I started singing "Love Me Tender" in the mirror before going to bed.
· I had my will changed to make the boss my beneficiary.
· I discovered that rubbing alcohol is not a good substitute for mouthwash
· It turns out that the gum that can be found under chairs and on lamp-posts is actually still pleasantly chewy.
· Ack ack, ack ack ack ack, ack ack (please refer to Tim Burton’s ‘Mars Attacks’ for tone and accent)
· I’m getting’ jiggy wit’ it, Holmes, I’m getting’ jiggy wit’ it.
Look. I know that none of this could possibly make anyone a more popular person. But it would get people talking and it would be well worth the laugh. And, ultimately, it might even get some of them off your back until they really want to know how you’re doing and actually want to hear something real.
Maybe it would help to end the farce once and for all, even. Or I could just shrug and mumble "not a whole lot". Maybe alternate it with "not much" for variety. And continue the pointlessness...
I mean, why do we shy away from saying what we mean, from expressing our true feelings? Why do we waste our breaths with fanciful small talk, spinning around in well-choreographed dances that lead nowhere, knowing all-too-well our destination? Why don’t we take the time to sit down with one another, actually connect, and finally get real?
Honestly… what, or who, are we afraid of?
On that all-too-real note, here is our last playlist for 2007, and the before-last one for this show:
Invader Zim - "Our mission begins..."
Atreyu - Doomsday
Darkest Hour - Doomsayer (The Beginning of the End)
Invader Zim - "...doomed, doomed, doomed!"
Hatebreed - Doomsayer
Manowar - Hand of Doom
H.I.M. - Venus Doom
Black Label Society - Life, Birth, Blood, Doom
Black Sabbath - Hand of Doom
Type O Negative - The Profit of Doom
The Misfits - Don't Open 'Till Doomsday
Invader Zim - "...the end."
I would hate to think that you are surprised to hear this. I would hate to hear it because it would mean that you haven't been around these recent weeks. The fact is, that this is the before-last show for "What the…?"
As of next week's show, dated January 7, 2008, we will effectively be off the air. It will have been a 7-year, 7-month, 7-day run, and I think that it's time to pull the plug on this current incarnation of "What the…?". At the very least, for those of us who are superstitious, it will be a lucky break.
While I don't believe that the show will return to the airwaves of CHUO 89.1FM in the near future, it is certainly not impossible. Our issue is not and never has been with the station or its staff. More than anything, fatigue is the ultimate reason for taking an extended -if not permanent- leave of absence.
I must admit that, had there been a more vocal interest from listeners and readers, my enthusiasm would have trumped the weekly grind of producing the show (and everything that comes along with it). I know you are all out there. I know because of our blogs' statistics prove it and because some of you touch base once in a while. But, as blue moons are scarce, this delight is rare indeed.
So we will replenish our energies away from the mic. We will find other outlets to channel our create forces. However, we will not disappear from view entirely: we expect to blog more consistently (however more briefly), and we will try to make mixtapes available for a limited time on a somewhat regular basis. We hope that you will check in with us every now and then and find out what's going on with "What the…?"
In the meantime, we hope that you will sit by your radio -or your internet- next Monday and enjoy this final -and special- edition of our show.
Thanks for tuning in. I wish all of you a very Happy New Year.
State Of Mind: pleased
Aural Stimulation: Various Artists : 'The Animatrix'