Friday, January 02, 2009

Clean Slate Syndrome Is My Kind Of Dysfunction – or – I Hope 2008 Didn’t Forget To Wipe

It’s the second day of 2009, and here I sit, in my only pair of tighty-whities, at my desk, surround on all sides by knick-nacks collected from the last 365 days; plants and power tools, empty glasses and dirty dishes, a twisted knot of USB and power cables connecting my digital life to my real life, two hot dogs, and a piping hot bowl of oatmeal with entirely too much maple syrup in it which is just the way I like it. Yesterday was the first day of 2009, and I say it’s about Goddamn time 2008 ended. It started so well, with the state wide smoking ban, and a new job at the Greenhouse, and a shiny new car, and all. And it looked like it was going to be a great year, and for the most part it was. My brother married a beautiful, wonderful woman whose drippy nose during the wedding ceremony made me feel like a hero. My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, showing the world just how unbreakable true happiness is. My country elected a strong, smart man to lead us, a shocking change of pace from our track record of the last few decades. And I finally grew a real mustache and followed it up with a surprisingly successful first attempt at a full beard. I also decided that plaid is my favorite color. Quite a list of accomplishments.

But then there was the shitty side of 2008. A whole mountain of shit. A pile so putrid, which stank up this country so effectively, that the odorous aftermath of a drunken White Castle binge could be considered an air freshener. I’m speaking of the Sarah Palin supports that slathered the internet with blatant racism in the guise of political activism. I’m speaking of the Corporate greed that became so overwhelming, it collapsed the money markets of the entire world. I’m speaking of the fact that my car got vandalized three different times, and then booted and towed, serving up a serious divot in my savings account. Oh yeah, and I lost my job at the greenhouse. What the fuck, 2008?

This pungent accumulation of sociological feces brings me to my point. Clean Slate Syndrome. Clean Slate Syndrome, or CSS, is when you find yourself in a situation where your past actions and situations no longer have any connection what-so-ever to your current state of affairs and therefore negate any validity or legitimacy of you previous self. Your slate has been sandblasted clean, by or against your will, and you must now completely redefine yourself to the world. It’s my favorite syndrome, Clean Slate Syndrome. To some, it’s the scariest thing on the planet, and I understand this now more than ever. I am currently in the process of being launched into the vast unknown without much besides my white-knuckled, panic-stricken, death-grip-locked hands clenched for dear life onto my butt cheeks. As I am catapulted away from everything that has become routine and normal in my life, an eerie and completely unjustifiable calm overcomes me; I find myself twisting, somersaulting and careening, head-over-ass, through countless unfamiliar situations. No work, no bread, no crutch, no girlfriend, no back up plan, no clear path to success ahead of me. It is simply terrifying. How the hell did this happen. I remember in November asking myself if the economic crisis was effecting my life and I distinctly remember coming up with the solid answer of, “No. Not in the least.” So I asked for a raise so that, at the tender age of 30, I might be making more money than I did stuffing envelopes while I was high as a kite throughout the summer of 1995. I did not get a raise. Instead I was “let go.” in 1995, I had long hair, dull wit, sharp fingernails and drawer after drawer of homemade tie-dyed tee-shirts. Now I have messy hair, a different belt buckle for every day of the week, a beard, and make less money. So why am I so calm? To me, it is yet another shot at being cosmically reborn. I will find work, I will make dough, I don’t need a crutch, that cute girl will totally fall for me, and I will continue to go forward through this quagmire with hubris and self-righteous indignation, because only hard drives and semi trucks back-up. In the meantime, I think I need a haircut.


  1. Usually, I don't believe in the concept of a clean-slate. No matter where you are in life, you will always have some kind of baggage that prohibits you from truly wiping the slate clean.

    That said, you've totally made me a believer.

    Additionally, there's something very comforting about being on the bottom. Waking up and realizing that, hell, at least you're not dead. Or at very least, the only way left is up, right?

  2. Dude, you need to get new underwear. Otherwise, I think you are golden. You still rock. And I think this post is genius.

    Hey...How did that date-like thing go? It was great of you to stop by at T's.

  3. Anonymous12:24 AM

    Were you going on a date with the girl that was driving you? Cause she was cute. So you should;-) Sorry about the car, amen on ridin the bike brotha! ;-), gabe

  4. that job i told you i had called me today and layed me off...before i even started. want to start a support group with me? i'm thinking it should involve shots at all meetings