For years now, whenever I’ve needed a short break at work and my RSS feeds are empty, I’ve turned to Cracked.com, aka The Funniest Website Out There That Isn’t Just Full of Stupid Memes and From Which You Can Actually Learn Cool Stuff.(1)
Back about mid-December, I took a little break at work. I hopped on Cracked and subsequently read an article that’s quickly turned into one of the most life-affecting things I’ve ever read.(2)
The author, David Wong, has accurately titled the article: thems are some harsh truths. I’ll summarize for you:
- The world only cares about what it can get from you;
- So what you are don’t matter but what you do does;
- What you do/make must benefit people in some way;
- You hate yourself because you’re not doing anything to benefit anyone;
- Who you are as a person only matters because of what it makes you do;
- Everything inside you will fight against improvement.
Again, I encourage you to read the article. I’ve provided you with bullet points merely so I can talk about more about it. Mr. Wong elaborates and makes his points pretty well. Maybe too damn well.(3)
I read this article about once per week. Its logic is what has driven me to instantiate several changes in my life, everything from how I deal with people to sitting down to practice the banjo each night. From listening to podcasts instead of songs I’ve heard a billion times to making time to blog every day.
I’ve begun helping out at the literary magazine on campus partially due to this.(4) What good does it do anyone for me to be a critical reader and lover of literature if all I do with it is sit around and read? None. Zero. Instead, I can maybe help other people get a publishing credit under their belts. And since I’m the sort of reader who loves postmodern tricks when used toward post-postmodern ends, and who loves experimental fiction, I’m likely to go to bat for pieces that might otherwise be simply rejected.
That’s just one example of a practical application of Mr. Wong’s thesis. I could go on and on, but I want you to read the article. You can come back here and leave some of your thoughts in the comments section if you like. We can discuss them. But read the article. I promise it’ll make you think, which is always a good thing. And besides, it’s Saturday; you’re not doing anything anyway.(5)
- Such as the Five Most Horrifying Bugs in the World. But seriously, don’t click that unless it’s been at least 30 minutes since you last ate.
- Putting it right up there with On the Road, Howl, Jitterbug Perfume, Infinite Jest, Gravity’s Rainbow and numerous Letters to Penthouse.
- I don’t know that I agree with all of them, but when I view the article from a purely pragmatic standpoint I 100% agree.
- And partially inspired by Dave’s work on Thrice Fiction.
- With apologies to those who are, in fact, working and/or doing something.