F For Mask [Theoretically Thursday w/ Wes Hull]

In this industry, it’s really hard for an article to compete next to a picture of a girl peeing. The following piece by Wes Hull has no pictures, bullet points, lists, nonsequitors, discounts on movie tickets, easy tricks or GIFs. Instead, he provides us with long blocks of text, a stream of consciousness that actually makes sense and a little bit of heart, which is something that’s been somewhat lacking in the past couple of years. Without any further musings, BFD is proud to present “Theoretically Thursday w/ Wes Hull”.

Nobody really buys it, anyway.

You know, all that jazz about you being hip, being cool. All that shit you try to sell people on the train, on the phone, on the bus with it’s ripped upholstery and vents brown with dirty, recycled air. Nobody believes it. They see right through you. If you were doing so fucking great, why are you on the bus anyway? Saving money? Bullshit. You’re on the bus for the same reason everybody else is–you’re not saving the green paper, you’re almost out of it. That watch, that watch you saw on the Source you just HAD to have, well, that’s just you wearing the status you want on your wrist. Those Beats headphones made by some tiny little asian child who would probably dream of living in America one day if she could stop thinking about how hungry she is–those things cost you over $250.00 and yet they were designed by people who make headphones for less than 20 bills. It’s a scam and everybody knows it and there you are, perpetrating like a motherfucker.

You see, I’m a mess too, and we can spot our own. The men who put up that half-interested face only when there’s a pretty girl involved or the chance at some free booze. The ones who play aloof while inside they want to maybe yell or hurt or tease or beg or plant a thousand tiny little pecks up and down the neckline of some sweetheart or another, kneading that ass with their hands, lifting them up just enough…

But that’s all extrapolation–it’s all hope and dreams and wants and desires all wrapped up in a tiny pink package tied with a blue bow–that real you is nervous and sweating and hoping she doesn’t notice. But they say that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you’ve got, and it’s the same way with emotions, isn’t it? Show the emotion you want to have, not the one that is eating you up inside. If you’re angry, don’t show it, smile and nod and pretend that everything is hunky-dory and beautiful and sunshine and glorious. Meanwhile, your brain is pumping images of rain, grey clouds sinking low with moisture, rough seas, graveyards, maybe Dad crying over by those trees, hiding it from everyone. In five minutes, he’ll be back over here and will crack a joke about Aunt Henrietta and make you chuckle and will hold your tiny hand as you cry, vowing that next time you won’t be such a baby. Maybe he says it’ll be okay, maybe he says nothing, but either way, the vow is made and next time you see someone buried into the Earth, you will hold those tears in, putting on the face you want, not the face you have inside.

It’s natural to want to hide that part of you that is sad, or angry, or wants to find that co-worker of yours and smash their head into the subway doors until they stop the train and pull you off the stupid shit-heel. It’s unnatural to act out those weird tragic fantasies you have between the time you put your head onto the pillow and when sleep takes you. It’s obscene to actually beat up your boss with that bat you have tucked under your bed. I mean, you’ve been itching to use it on SOMEBODY, and fuck if you’ve had a burglar who was home while you were in the time you’ve had it. Though that’s just another mask, isn’t it? If there really was a strange person rummaging through your living room and you were safe in your room, how much would you want to actually do anything about it? Sure you go and do it, fight them, scare them, find out they’re your new roommate home from Spring Break, but in your heart of hearts, theres a tiny little person in there saying, “uh, what happens if we do nothing and just let him go? I don’t have anything worth stealing in the living room, anyway.”

So maybe sometimes the mask is good, it allows you to do stuff you wouldn’t normally do, things that might repulse you before you put on the safety of the mask. The mask might be more logical, and allow you to fire the person who needs to be fired, even if they’re really nice and has, say, two kids. Sorry, Barbara, you’re just too stupid to operate a cash register. We thought you could do it, but apparently you’re dumber than a bean-bag chair filled with melted butter and whole-grain oats, so we’re going to have to let you go. Maybe you use the mask to appear brave, like that time you confronted your boss and told him that if you didn’t get a raise that you were going to move onward, upward, and he’d have to find himself another one-man band to play the seventeen parts you need to play, while he’s out back fucking one of the servers. Maybe you play the aloof artist, so that people don’t see how dejected you are at the piles of rejection letters that clog your mailbox. Maybe you play the not-mad-but-disappointed-parent mask when your find weed in your kid’s backpack for the third time and a lengthy lecture about how weed was different when you were a kid and blah-blah-blah who the fuck is listening?

But for whatever reason, nowadays, its treated as a weakness to let the cracks flow sometimes, letting the people see the inside, soft or hard, bright or dark. There is a shell that people put up, and though it’s always been there it’s grown more culturally acceptable to not have feelings either way. I am, at several points a day, forced to appear objective and unswaying (even unswayable) in the face of overwhelming emotional evidence. The immediate reason for this is that I am a supervisor, a half-boss, a person with Authority. I must adhere to the law as it is written, not the emotions that might be brought up with the situation. I must be logical, objective, and summarily, cold. It is made more so this way because I work for a major corporation. And though it is easy to blame them for all this it’s not simply their fault–it’s really lawyers.

I know, I know, lawyers are the punching bag of everyone for being leeches and scumbags, but do you know why? It’s because they’re forced to be emotionless lizard-people by their occupation: reading and interpreting the letter of the law in order to win/earn money. They like it about as much as you do. I know, I’ve seen them. A few of them even get to MAKE the law and I bet you those fuckers are the real cold fish in the pond. They must make those guys you usually see shilling themselves between episodes of Maury look absolutely heartwarming. But why and how have lawyers become the basis of our masks? Why must we be emotionless, objective letter-of-the-law machines? Are we turning into robots? Are computers with their binary “yes or no”, “off and on,” systems to blame? Nope. It’s us. We pursue efficiency in our work. We look at the bottom lines, we look at charts that track our growth, we study statistics to find the status of our lives after the economic downturn. We count fucking calories. All to be better than we see our selves, all to dress for the life we want, not the life we have.

So, you may say, isn’t being better the point? Or is constantly driving ourselves to be better ruining our chances at happiness? Can a life unpursued even be pleasing?

Maybe. I don’t know. It’s just a theory.

This piece, as well as other ramblings by Wes can be found at Bringapencil.blogspot.com

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