What I Learned From The Professor

I just saw The Professor: a movie where Johnny Depp plays a dying professor living the last days of his life after a cancer diagnosis. It’s got me thinking a lot about mortality, so if you’re not in the mood for a depressing read about accepting death, you should probably go read something else.

I think that Depp’s character’s nonchalance regarding his impending demise is commendable; he doesn’t tell his family until the last possible moment because he doesn’t want to upset them, he lives his life the way he always wanted to, without the constraints of society to hold him back. Yes, he’s a hard-drinking, nihilistic douche, but let’s be real here: you would be too.

I think about death a lot, not in a suicidal sense, but as more of a curiosity. I wonder what happens when the light fades from your eyes and you pass on. I’ve wondered if you’re greeted by someone who loves you, or if you have to make the transition to whatever’s next alone.  I’ve thought so much about it, but I’m not in a rush to find the answer. People die. It happens, you can’t do anything about it, and it’s not up to you to decide who goes when, so just suck it up and accept it. You’re going to die someday, keep that in the back of your mind when you’re killing yourself trying to extend your life.

Johnny Depp, as I will refer to every one of his characters, really spoke to me in this movie. He’s been a tight-knit stiff for the majority of his life, but with the end within spitting distance, he goes off the rails and starts living life the way he always wanted to. I wish I had half the balls his character had. He says everything that people are thinking, but too cowardly to say out loud, and part of me respects that, but the other part of me just sees a scared man making sure that he has no regrets when it’s all over. He burns bridges at work, while still keeping his family intact for as long as he can. He bonds with his daughter and teaches her a valuable lesson on love.  He rebuilds his relationship with his wife a little, before leaving so they don’t have to face his impending doom. This movie is about accepting life the way it is, and not how you want it to be. Your life isn’t going to go as planned, no matter how many fucking smoothies you drink or how many self-help workshops you attend. His sense of apathy is almost commendable, he doesn’t let anything get to him, not his cheating wife, his failing marriage, his shallow job with uninterested students, or his impending death. Late in the movie, Depp offers advice to one of his students, advising her to write the story of her life the way she wants, and that stuck out to me. This might not be the best movie ever made, or even the best movie Johnny Depp has done in the last decade, but I enjoyed it, and would recommend it.

Death probably is the end of your existence, but it doesn’t sound too bad. You won’t be conscious of the nothingness, you won’t get bored of the blackness, you won’t see the effect you leave behind, if there is any, so why are people so scared of dying? I think it’s because we don’t think it’ll happen to us. I’ve long come to terms with my mortality, I know that someday I’m going to drop, and the people who love me are going to be crushed, and I don’t like that, but what am I supposed to do about it?

 

My Last Day

Today’s the day. It’s finally here. I’ve thought about this moment so many times that whatever happens, I know it won’t live up to the fantasy I’ve created. I’ve decided that instead of doing all the usual unnecessary shit that I do throughout my work day, I’m going to take stock and think about what I’ll miss about this place, and what I look forward to never doing again.

What I’ll Miss:

1. Free Coffee.

2. The few nice Customers.

3. Getting out at 7 on Sunday’s.

4. Fucking with rude people.

5. Locking the doors on people after we close.

6. Listening to music on the store speakers.

7. Trying new flavor combos in my coffee.

8. Hashbrowns.

9. Customers leaving nice reviews on Yelp.

10. Customers leaving ridiculous reviews on Yelp.

11. Giving stressed-out people free coffee, because we’ve all been there.

12. Listening to Raj yell at people for unreasonable things, like using the bathroom he just cleaned.

13. Listening to Raj act super nice when his boss is around.

14. Scaring new Dunks employees with customer horror stories.

15. Listening to full albums at work.

16. Introducing customers to music.

What I Won’t Miss Even A Little:

1. That On-The-Go ringtone that never shuts up.

2. Getting yelled at by entitled morons who think this is an upscale restaurant.

3. People throwing money at me like I’m a bad stripper.

4. Customers complaining because the prices aren’t the same as they were in 1976.

5. Coming home covered in greasy fat and coffee stains.

6. Customers assuming I speak perfect Spanish because I work at Dunks.

7. People placing $50+ orders, and not tipping after.

8. Customers taking money out of my tip jar to avoid breaking a bill.

9. People snapping their fingers while I make their food because they think it’ll speed things up.

10. Blatant heroin users coughing on their money and handing it to me.

11. Drunk people asking if I can add liquor to their drinks.

12. Customers making up flavors and expecting me to know what they are.

13. Parents who bring their crying kid in, and leave them at the counter.

14. Getting 4am calls from the District Manager, asking where the TV remote is.

15. Getting calls at 4:15am from said manager after she finds the remote.

16. Getting called in at 8:30am for a 12pm shift.

17. Having to work 3am-8pm because someone didn’t show up.

18. Coffee “connoisseurs” who can apparently tell the difference between 17 creams and 18 creams in their small iced coffee.

19. People who want their coffee “extra extra light”, then complain that their coffee is too light.

20. Having customers talk on their phone at the counter when they should be ordering.

21. Getting called racist because I ask someone to repeat themselves after they order in another language.

22. Getting cold brew thrown at me because “It’s not cold enough!”

23. Customers getting angry that we don’t have Pumpkin Spice in July.

24. Customers getting offended when I ask if they want their coffee iced or hot.

25. Old people telling me that “Hey Yeah” is The Devil’s Music™️.

26. People who try and order food 45 minutes after the ovens are off.

27. Customers who order small coffees in extra-large cups because they think they’re beating the system.

28. Getting yelled at because I didn’t finish the work that someone else was supposed to do.

29. Getting asked 6 times in a row if the decaf coffee they ordered is actually decaf.

30. Customers who don’t understand what “regular” means, and get mad when they order a regular and it’s not what they wanted.

31. Being told I got a raise, and making the same amount of money every week.

32. Having to do my boss’s paperwork because she wants to go home early.

33. Customers paying for big orders with change.

34. When I greet customers at the counter, and they look at me like I’m offending them.

35. Confused customers who try and get me to pump their gas because they don’t understand how 2 stores can share a building.

36. Customers who get mad that their coffee is on the counter, and not wherever they want to wait for it.

37. Parents who point at me and tell their kids “This is what happens when you don’t go to college!”

38. Overly-complicated sandwich orders that make no sense

39. Having to fix at least one piece of equipment every shift, none of which is ever replaced.

40. Always being out of something that multiple customers want

41. Getting yelled at because we’re out of something a customer wants.

42. Being treated like I’m less than a person because I work at Dunks.

43. Having to pee outside like an animal because the bathroom doesn’t work.

Goodbye, and good riddance

Music Is The New Religion

I’ve always noticed a connection between music and religion; they both try and explain the world around us, they both inspire us to be better, they both try to take us out of our heads. Kanye West literally featured God on Yeezus, solidifying my theory that he might actually need to go therapy and stop jerking his ego off so much.

Music is undoubtably art, but is religion? To me, art is anything that can make you feel something, and religion was called “the opiate of the masses.” Does that make religion art?

Those pastors at superchurches in Texas whip their crowds into a frenzy, and help them feel better about themselves, albeit for a fee. Are they not artists? Now, some of them might be con-artists, but I think the majority are just skilled public speakers who want to make a difference.

Let’s get back to music for a second. I’ve been on Twitter long enough to see some wild things, but the craziest of them all has to be “music Twitter”: where people debate who’s the best, who’s the worst, who makes them feel what emotions where, etc. This is where I started to realize the power these artists have, some of these people say that so-and-so’s music kept them alive, or helped them quit drugs, or acted as a safety blanket after a traumatic event. Isn’t that what religion does?

There are even some people who worship artists. I saw one person talk about Frank Ocean like he was a God amongst men, and attacked anyone who said any different. Is that any different than arguing about Bible interpretations or the Old vs. New Testament?

Almost everyone listens to music, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t, and truthfully, I don’t think I’d trust someone who isn’t moved by anything in any genre. Even Charles Manson liked music. It helps people see the world from different perspectives, which is something the world desperately needs right now. It teaches lessons to people who won’t listen to anyone else. It entertains us and turns the volume down when we have a bad day.

Music has helped me immensely, when I have a really awful day, I don’t want to watch TV, I don’t want to overeat, I just want to sit back and listen to my records and tune the rest of the world out.

On Anger

It’s been a shitty day. It shouldn’tve been, but it was. I’ve always been intrigued by anger, why is it such a powerful emotion?

Anger is the emotion I probably feel the most, which is probably why I’m unhappy, but it’s also a key component in my accomplishments. Anger is the only truly renewable resource: you will never stop getting angry, you just have to channel that into something productive, or you’ll end up sticking the barrel of a shotgun in your mouth and clocking out. I’ve done so many things because people told me I couldn’t. My 6th grade English teacher told me I’d never make it to high school, I did. My junior science teacher told me I’d never get into college, I did. My first college advisor told me I should drop out, I did, but because I ran out of money, not because I flunked out. I think getting angry fuels you more than any drug could even dream of.

I think our rage comes from a biological place, prehistoric humans wouldn’t be able to bash a sabre tooth tiger’s head in without that warm, fuzzy feeling that you get right before you absolutely lose your shit. Think about how many things productive rage has accomplished; punk rock, Prince changing his name to something no one can pronounce, every political uprising, that monk who set himself on fire to protest the Vietnam War, all of it done because “Fuck you, that’s why.”

Is there anything better than meeting someone who hates the same things you do? Anger brings us together. Fuck Tinder, bring me an app where I can match with other people who hate people who put their phone on speakerphone in public. If we bonded over what we hate rather than hiding it, we’d be a more productive society. We need to teach people that being an asshole has consequences, and in the era of social media, public shaming is the best weapon we have. For every douche in McDonald’s, we have thousands of YouTube comments making fun of that person, and that’s how it should be. Every time I see someone absolutely lose it, I learn something. If the anger is justified, I learn that it’s okay to feel that way, and that I’m not a psycho for feeling the same way. If it’s not justified, I learn how to make the other person feel like shit so that if I’m ever in the same situation, I can respond accordingly.

I know this makes me sound like an asshole, and I definitely am sometimes, but it’s also good to learn how to use that assholishness to achieve a goal. Don’t bottle all that rage up, use it to shove your success down the throats of everyone who has ever doubted you.