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Lentcore

"There is nothing so depressing as boundless optimism."
-Wicked Witch of the West, The Wizard of Oz

The very fact that I don't know how to begin this post means that I am lacking confidence in my ability to write an opening sentence. Which is why I should simply begin writing and not look back. Because this year for Lent, I am giving up all negativity, in both thought and speech. This saccharine quadragesimal* period will probably see me dead, crushed under a gigantic pile of good vibes, but I can't exactly entertain those notions at this point.

*You like that word? I think I may have made it up. 

Like every proper writer, I ooze forth a veritably palpable sludge of negativity. (I know that sentence was a bit if a criminal act but I wanted to use the phrase "veritably palpable sludge" and now I'm appeased.) I thrive on it. I thrive on the cynicism, the snarky comments. I take refuge in pessimism. Not that I'm sad. In fact, being negative makes me happy, worrying makes me feel at ease, and I'm uncomfortable saying positive or affirming things. Now that I think of it, I'm uncomfortable when people say positive or affirming things to me. Even when someone likes my facebook status, I feel like I owe them something. The universe is not right when all things are well.

If you think about it, this is really more of a survivalist trait than anything else. Natural selection favors people like me. This is probably the reason why anxiety med usage is so rampant. We had to be on the lookout for predators/Arena Football teams like the San Jose Sabercats, who were lurking behind every darkened corner and rustle in the underbrush. We also had to make sure a rival clan of hominids wasn't going to smash our heads in and carry off our womenfolk. So we evolved to be anxious, pessimistic little assholes.

There was also a race of hominids living in South Africa some thousands of years ago who basically philosophized themselves to extinction with their pessimism. Based on their brain size, anthropologists have hypothesized they had an average IQ of 150. And they just sat around thinking "why am I alive? I will one day die" and didn't hunt or reproduce. Not to mention the fact that we've got a pretty horrible evolutionary strategy going on with big brains and bipedalism; the head keeps getting bigger and bigger and the hole it has to come out of keeps getting smaller and smaller. Meanwhile Homo Sapiens were running around lighting things on fire and getting themselves killed hunting woolly mammoths. And some of these moronic Homo Sapiens probably were a little pessimistic at times, but they kept it under wraps enough to reproduce. Malnutrition also helped keep that cognitive development to a healthy minimum.

Now we grow up with adequate nutrition and schooling and Mozart in the womb. All of a sudden these big old brains get to develop to their potential and they start to realize all the things that are amiss. And some of us come to the conclusion that, not only are we going to die, but the intervening time between now and then will be full of mostly shitty things.

But much like many peoples' religious beliefs lead them to say "no" to evolution, my religious beliefs will have me say "no" to this particular aspect of evolution. For the last few years, I've given up swearing and all associated euphemisms (except for that one year where I decided I wasn't going to use forks for some reason) but that usually just led to me bottling up a little bit more of my negativity and doing a lot of grunting.

I feel like this will be an episode from a sitcom. I, the curmudgeonly character, must be positive, it will make a noticeable improvement in both my life and everyone else's life, but I will then become so obnoxiously positive the rest of the ensemble cast forces me back into my dark and gloomy state. And I will be happy to return to this state, because being negative is what really makes me happy, and is the glue that holds the world around me together. Or possibly like that episode of the Simpsons where homer tries to suppress his anger and all his pent up anger ends up turning into cysts in his neck. Except my negativity will probably manifest itself as some kind of rash or boils.

But for the next forty days, I will let that fall apart. I am going to be the most positive, obnoxious, motivational poster mounting, motivational slogan believing, exercise encouraging, humanity affirming, pastel polo shirt wearing, smile until you melt the paint off the walls optimistic.

Now I know this isn't a personal website, but I may keep a few updates on here, just in case the world worries about my dying from optimism poisoning. Because it has been known to happen.

And I cannot wait until Easter, when I can finally, once again, start acknowledging that the things that suck actually do suck.

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