If the title sounds familiar, it should.
It’s from Charles Bukowski’s novel “Post office.”
He was quite a character. Read about him at your own risk, and I really mean it.
Basically, he accepted himself as a loser in life, wrote about it openly, and spent most of his life working in the post office, doing crazy things in between.
Even after he made it big in literature, he’d show up to author’s meetings hammered and would verbally abuse the audience.
His tombstone reads “Don’t try”.
And you know what? I respect that, it’s a fine art of not giving a damn, or more precisely, giving a damn only about things that are important, few of them as it is in life.
I am convinced that he was on to something. I open my Facebook feed and am bombarded by news of people who are having the time of their lives and how great everything is. The great husband, the wife, the kids, the trip, the food.
And the dog Sophie.
Sure, there are moments, but please, stop trying.
For a change, I think that there are things in life that are not pleasant but essential. For example, I can’t possibly make a meaningful impact on somebody’s life without being ridiculous to someone else.
And this is a difficult pill to swallow; only a few people can take it. And they are the ones making the difference.
So you may ask now – Tom, what is the point of this essay?
And the point is this – we’re wired to handle problems and that’s what makes the world turn around. Problems stimulate our creative thinking; there is nothing wrong with them.
I give you an example. A guy I know found out that his mother was cheated out of some serious money by somebody she knew all her life. So she approached her son for help.
And there are two choices of not giving a damn here.
One is “sorry Mom, things like this happen. I am busy downloading the next episode of Brooklyn 99. Just get over it.”
The other is – “let’s lawyer up and go after this guy, I don’t care if I ruin his life, he has to pay for what he did.”
Both not giving a damn, huh?
There are some very interesting choices that you need to sort out in your mind.
The first is - it doesn’t matter what your message is. It matters who it resonates with.
It doesn’t have to be many. In fact, it better not be, that’s how you know that your thinking is quality,
It is very opposite to the idea of a democratic system.
In a democracy one can be totally wrong but have the charm of an angel – Hitler was voted in by a majority, to give an example. Maybe one from the edge of sanity, but still true nevertheless. People do stupid things, they give a damn about too many aspects of life, whatever triggers their emotions.
Just to show you how nuts democracy can gets if it’s not controlled.
But none of it is in my brain. It seems that my mind is still intact.
I would think it would be tired after all these years but I am still sharp.
The life feels good.
Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler