Just lately I’ve found my cynicism levels have risen higher than expected. Usually I maintain a healthy balance between positivity and pragmatism, yet for a while now I’ve been aware that I’m wandering ever closer to the Cynical Sea. Or perhaps the Meh Zone.
I still enjoy the wonders of the world around me, just less so. I’m questioning why things I used to take pride in, or take joy in doing, have lost their sparkle. Unusually I’m somewhat bereft of words in how to describe this without sounding weird or stupid, or indeed just plain grumpy and pissed off at the world for no reason.
It’s like there’s a dark hole in the centre of my vision and I only glimpse some sparkly bits on the periphery.
The get up and go I used to have has got up and left.
It’s almost like a splinter of “why bother?” or “what’s the point?” has been jammed into my brain.
I’m aware that should I make it to old age I’m going to be one of those cantankerous old men with zero filter where any random thought goes straight from head to mouth because my filter shrivelled up and died a long time ago.
And it’s eroding on a daily basis.
It’s no fun being unhappy, worse so I think when you can’t work out why you’re like it in the first place.
Okay, let’s find some examples.
Watching TV. Adverts in particular.
There’s a Ryvita TV advert doing the rounds at the moment. You know the score, post-Christmas binge and every advert is scaring you into eating healthy, exercising, taking out a payday loan, and so on.
The same marketing turds, who a few weeks ago were encouraging you to spend all your cash on junk for Christmas, now want you to buy their shit to make you happy (again) but supposedly healthy this time around.
Anyway, look at this advert.
Nothing wrong with it I guess. It’s bright and colourful. Gets the message across about how versatile Ryvita is. But there’s one snippet that for some reason really grinds my gears.
It’s the bit where the magical hand crunches up some Ryvita and drops them into a salad. Then for some unknown reason a phone appears, a picture is taken and the a finger swipes the screen.
Why does that advert need a smart phone taking a picture of food? I get that it’s keying in with the social media “share everything in your life or you don’t exist” ethos, but it adds jack shit to the actual content of the advert or the sort of food they want you to buy.
In fact if you watch carefully the magic hands take a picture, then swipe it away as if saying it’s shit, and they don’t want to stop and share that shit with anyone.
I have no idea why, but that really annoyed me.
Enough to share it on my blog. Can you believe that!
Am I the only one who finds this plain stupid? Like some marketing person said: “Hmm, it’s good, but we need a phone in there. People like phones. They do social media things on them. That 1-2 second snippet of a phone will make our customers share Ryvita. Sharing is caring. Sharing is profits. Profits are the path to me buying that big shiny thing I’ve been lusting after.”
“Yes. Yes! We love shiny things.” Another marketing goon will say. “Let’s grab hold of anything that can link what is basically a pretty tasteless and dry biscuit to the current trend of smart phones and social media.”
OXO Stock Pots and Knorr Stock Pots.
These things honestly piss me right off.
These nasty little plastic pots fall into my category of Everything That’s Wrong With The World. Sure, they’re supposedly convenient. Plop them into your food, any food will do, and they’ll jazz up the flavour every time. A perfect way to be lazy with your cooking.
They represent how lazy we’ve been conditioned to become. We (apparently) live in a fast paced 24/7 world now, with all the internet we can eat, work, kids, shopping, commuting, being busy with our phones, watching junk, eating junk, and never having time to do anything.
So to make life easier just use our new product. I’ve tried these myself. Call me a hypocrite if you like. I was curious. I can honestly say I didn’t notice my meal tasting any better.
Brainwashing is Ace!
Our economy is driven by the need for infinite growth but using finite resources.
There must be an ever-increasing flow of new products. That means sucking/digging more stuff out of the ground to make into little bits of plastic that contain food we don’t need so a corporation can make a profit.
Recycling is rammed down our throats. Blue bins, green bins, black bins, all for different stuff – glass, plastic, paper, garden/food waste, and so on. It might help, but having these little pots of shit means using more natural resources just to turn a profit.
We don’t need them. If your life is so God damned busy that you have to use a tiny pot of crap in the hope it’ll make your dinner taste nice, then you suck as a human being.
Recycling is not the answer to helping the planet. It’s a stop-gap measure at best, maybe not even that since it requires oil to recycle, which is dumb. So what we’re doing here as species are encouraging the population to “Save the Planet” by recycling, but at the same time using oil and other finite resources to make and sell more crap we don’t need and didn’t ask for, which require even more oil to recycle them.
In 2015 the UK government said all retail places over a certain size would be required to sell plastic bags instead of giving them away for free. From what I can gather this was supposed to have a number of benefits – curb litter, reduce the number of bags made and in theory reduce the amount of oil used, encourage recycling of existing bags, or indeed encourage shoppers not to use them at all.
Doing a shop at the supermarket, £20, £50, £200, doesn’t matter, means the average shopper doesn’t care if they add an extra 15 pence to their bill so long as they can carry their goodies home in a bag. And the 10 pence bags, the reusable ones now touted at the checkout, are just as bad, if not worse.
“Oh, a bigger, stronger bag you say? Only 10 pence? Sure, I’ll take one of those. And I’ll throw it in the bin when I’m done. And then buy another next time.”
Attitudes have changed. People just pay for bags now instead of taking free ones.
But it won’t stop this shameful stuff happening.
We have ourselves to blame. Us. Our society. Humans.
We’ve allowed ourselves to reach a point in our existence on this planet where we naturally use plastic bags to transport food.
Because it’s convenient.
Ha! When the oil runs out it won’t be very convenient.
You know what’s funny?
I just took a break to gather my thoughts as my posts have a tendency to meander at times away from my main point. At the moment I am indeed grumpy, pissed off, kinda angry for no reason. Maybe it’s the January blues, if such a thing exists. Or maybe I’m focussing too much on the negative parts of life more than the positive.
This is me.
I’ve lost my reason to smile with sincerity. That sucks.
I Googled Grumpy Cat meme to find a picture that represents how I feel.
Anyway. I did find this that made me laugh.
And I’m still laughing now.
Shit. I hate feeling so intensely cynical about pretty much everything. I did some writing last week, an hour a night is what I strive for. I wanted to put a tricky chapter to bed and move on.
But I don’t want to rush things. I want to get it right. I want my bad guy to have some depth, not so much that the reader sympathises with him 100% because he’s basically a self-centred nutcase who wants revenge, but even so I feel that by exploring his inner thoughts the reader will see that even nutters have doubts and fears.
I tried. Wrote some. Deleted it. Then cranked out about 2,000 words. It was garbage so I deleted it.
I took a look at the chapter as a whole.
Then deleted that.
Rewrote it from a different angle, better pace too. It was better. That was five days ago.
Not written anything since.
Seeking The Positive.
I made myself a promise that in the New Year I’d post once a week. Slight anxiety when Saturday rolled around and I couldn’t think of a single thing to write about. I struggled to think of a topic that genuinely made me happy and I could talk about with a smile on my face.
Other bloggers have themes, even certain days for themed posts. My blog meanders between all sorts of stuff. I thought maybe I needed a hook, something that was unique to me.
I could moan. That could be my thing. I’ve done enough of that here before.
But I don’t think people want to read that shit. They want uplifting, positive thoughts, links to websites or other blogs that are fun and shareable. Not some guy moaning about nothing.
I’ve read that author blogs shouldn’t be all about writing because it’s not exactly fascinating for readers of their books to read more about writing. Readers want to read about the author, about their lives, what makes them tick, why they are who they are and possibly draw some insight into why and how they write.
Does that include moaning and being a cynical asshat?
So where’s my hook? My thing?
I could go all political and throw my two pennies worth into the ring on any number of subjects.
How about that idiotic Nazi style speech from Donald Trump who seems to have lost the plot (though some would argue he never knew what it was to start it). Or perhaps I could talk about the war of terror we civilised nations have been conducting on the rest of the world, and are now surprised when the countries we’ve been attacking are fighting back.
Good topics worthy of enticing some polarised comments and encouraging lively
Go All Booky!
Perhaps I could blog book reviews. That’s not a bad way to go, after all I do like books, and I like reviewing books even more. Is that me? I’d rather leave my reviews to Amazon and Goodreads than repeat the same shit on my blog.
Go Writing Tips!
I used to do writing tips. I’d talk about what I’d learned as a writer. I have even shared tips and How-To to guides on using HTML to build an ebook for Kindle. But again, it’s not really me. And considering other bloggers do that already it seems redundant to waste my blog real estate on something others do better.
For the writers among you, have you visited Janic Hardy’s Fiction University? Great stuff. Worth clicking subscribe if you like the writing thing.
Go Video Games!
I do enjoy a good game session. I like playing them, but talking about them? Meh. YouTube has all the video game bullshit you can eat so breaking into that slice of pie is not for the faint hearted. Besides I often feel guilty for playing games when I should be writing, so I doubt anything I said about video games would be of benefit to anyone.
Dave, be yourself?
Seriously, dear blog reader, would you really buy that? A blog where I’m just myself and write about any topic that pops into my head?
I can’t help being cynical. Today I’m wearing my Big Boy Cynical Trousers. So it’s all about the negative, for now at least. Is that such a bad thing? Even if no one read this it would still make me feel better by getting the words out of my noggin and onto the screen.
So why not just be myself?
Yeah. That’ll do. That’s my hook.
I tell it how it is. If I like something I’ll sing it from the mountains, well, my chair in front of the screen, because mountains + singing = effort, and besides my chair is quite comfy.
If I am disgruntled, cynical or generally pissed off, I’ll share that too. You gotta take the rough with the smooth, right? Life isn’t all singing unicorns shitting out rainbows in a meadow of candy. There’s dark stuff to deal with, and deal with it we must or we’ll never take delight in all the glorious goodness being alive has to offer.
You know else is funny?
I’m actually happier now than when I started writing this.
Doesn’t that just make you sick.
(smiley winky face)