Pretext for the Pretentious: Breaking the Cycle
Once there was a man who worked at a café, tedious shifts of being called on by customers, pouring coffee, and relocating scones from inside the case to the top of the counter. After these days, of which he had a mere hour-long respite for lunch (which was, coincidentally, also spent at the café, eating a tuna sandwich), he would return home to his one-bedroom apartment, plop down on his used leather couch with the frays on the edges that had most definitely not existed during the couch’s prime, and contemplate his life. He would think about his chronic childhood afflictions, urinary tract infections and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and how the latter one perpetuated the former one because it was the scientific mechanism through which the doctors explained his constant desire to withhold his tinkles or to close his sphincter mid-stream. “Tinkles,” his mother would call his pisses, in the same soft mutter with the same berry-stained smile with the lipstick a little outside the lines and a little on the teeth that he associated with “yeah, anal retentive all right,” a phrase he was sure she spat at him with irony and detestation and didn’t realize until the 11th grade Freud had coined decades earlier. After five minutes or so of self-pity, he would grow weary of his own drama, turn on the TV and watch hour after endless hour of other people’s drama. He’d absorb reality television through the same straw that he sucked down his coke, his eyes flickering to the glow of the bitches pulling out each other’s hair, and inadvertently their own hair, on screen.
He would deflate under their judgment with red-ringed eyes and quaking fingers. Fleeting contact during the beverage delivery transaction. On good days. keeping himself trim for the ladies. A look of deep and penetrating evaluation. because of course he was watching his figure. Mostly. a shiny reward he desired desperately. They would go home on those days bloated on their own egos. he was a humanitarian). and boring. not the people.
. his days filled with repetition and ritual. Twitch of a smile. he’d garner a little attention from the opposite sex. up and down and side to side. grey. eagerly but fruitlessly awaiting a Second Encounter. filled to the brim with an empty but drunken satisfaction. He would often not relax his stomach for hours after such an interaction. He would go home on those days bloated on his own ego. he never thought anybody was pointless.He’d watch even though he thought they were pointless (the shows. filled to the brim with an empty but drunken satisfaction. Then he’d micro-blast a Lean Cuisine and treat himself to a fat spoonful of Haagen Dazs afterwards. his experiences remained neutral. making their frappucinos with cold distaste. he led a perfectly perfunctory life. spoiled and restless teens who had outgrown yo yo’s but not their propensity for elementary school teasings would enter the shop and mutter profanities to him from the safety of the other side of the counter. On bad days. and slight divergences of insignificant and unamusing proportions. an encompassing review like a spritz on a windshield and the successive back-and-forth motion of the wipers to remove a stain or a bug: the other party’s response. Indeed. A sly glance over the espresso machine: a proposition. ravenously.
and her disapproval of what was either his lack of ambition or his lack of skill. creeping thoughts of self-doubt and rather focused instead on soothing his quivering artist’s hands with projects of questionable worth but pointed. or both. a duffel bag filled to the brim with unwrapped and re-wrapped fun-sized Snickers bars. He dismissed grey. They started off as small pieces of private art. In his own quiet way he protested. a piece of the giant enterprise that is Starbucks. motivation. a multi-colored yarn ball plastered over with paper-mache and dripping hot glue. and the negative effect of also driving away potential romantic interests. He now sneered in return to their jeers. and scribbled on with Sharpie. He never really knew exactly what he intended. crowding out the images of his grey-haired mother in her moth-eaten cardigans and what she perceived to be trendy patent bags. stuck to a newspaper article relating a recent international conflict.” On days when he created. he felt profoundly witty. He shrugged his thin shoulders and filled his mind instead with thoughts of his work.
. and the nasty children at the shop lost their power to make him tremble in his forest green canvas apron. a childish drawing of a unicorn with glittering eyes (as depicted by white Xs) and a mini-earth speared onto its horn. a hotel on its life-sized Monopoly board. each missing a meticulous bite of comparable size. almost angry.bomb? I give it an F. but figured it all sounded perfectly ironic enough to be important anyway. filtered and precipitated tributes to his boredom: a Crayola-crayon-based work of Macaroni and Cheese done entirely in the color Macaroni and Cheese.But soon he grew tired of his job as a wheel in the corporate machine. stating “A. which garnered the positive effect of allowing the juveniles to find him creepy and unbalanced.
he thought. an art revolution. Nobody wished to buy.
And at first. He envisioned adventure and defiance. he would phone his mother in the hopes of recovering validation. he spoke with sweeping hands and wide. He had not found the right people. and sanctioned unenthusiastically by his few friends. nobody wished to see. his vision tunneling to avoid his creeping self-doubt. and a climactic chase.Proud of himself. wet eyes. which one is this?” He would curse the very existence of his siblings and disconnect. wretched. He thought the children of generation X. He wanted to lead. he would console himself with two spoonfuls of rocky road ice cream and would laugh at his own appreciation for humorous. Perhaps a shoot-down. “Hi” to which she would respond with a confused and senile “Oh. He later went on to illustrate this very series of events. consuming obsession. happenstance. And he would relapse into the comfort of his television’s radiation and forgot about his art for weeks. and he rose above the situation magnificently with a heart huge and winged. and an ego that was twice as glorious. his works were not received well. would allow him the honor of being their spokesperson. he soon unleashed his personal creations (masterpieces) onto the public sector. On particularly hopeless days. if anybody. dusty and spoiling. On those days. albeit unoriginal. and would hear her elevated voice at the end of the line. only to find it again. When he spoke about his future to his uninterested friends. tearing in the corners with hope and dank. “Hello?” to which he would respond with a relieved. and when he offered exhibitions for free.
. symbolic torch in hand.
throwing their unrestricted bosoms.
. the children of this modern context loved him. who too realized they were bored. The women crawled to him on their knees. his loneliness dampened. and his life’s work commended. First the followers showered him with money. Soon. his toothy grin. and raised the tides and the stakes higher and higher. he found his lust satiated. regardless of whether there is something to be understood or not. urgent pleas for continuation. more often ugly. and his unnerving awkwardness charismatic. His followers found him to be brilliant. scoffs from passerby miraculously progressed into interested “hm”s. his unfounded persistence to be heard allowed him small attentions. Then they struck out against society too. For the first time. and a reverence for what cannot be easily understood. With little to no additional effort or change in direction or design on his part. Raised on a fear of the unknown. and he writhed. and always counter-constructive. additions to his already boundless supply of small salutes to art and Bohemia. his visual testimonials began inciting terror and energy in the common people. at his clumsy and inexperienced hands and his elated and gluttonous eyes. because he was becoming important.under the approving. though unseeing. He reveled. creating pieces of uninspired violence that were sometimes beautiful. and eventually even full double takes when their peripheral would snag on his table on the side of the weekend city streets. among other things. and he was pleased beyond anything experience would’ve prepared him for. He called out to his children with arms open and approving. eyes of a commercial spokesperson.
After years of cycling this way. his work novel.
he was granted conjugal visits by beautiful and luscious women. landed himself in prison. and if there had ever been anything to say at all. laying wanted posters over his installation art that cited: “Artist. who tore them to shreds and consumed them. this dance plateaued at a war of attrition lasting three years. behind which in their envelopes would be folded small bills that would amount to big money. Eventually they escalated to full-blown acts of combative art and after months of attack and response. he had a brief flirtation with the law system currently instituted. where he took his chalk to the walls of his cell furiously. and through a mixture of legitimate reasons (disturbance of the peace) and illegitimate reasons (suspension of habeas corpus).”
When they caught him. During the day. He imbibed the attention recklessly and awfully. before they were re-tacked. and other contraband. He forgot his
. and he was reminded through their body language of his worth. Dangerous and Volatile. frightened to their wit’s end over his celebrity and its source. On good days. regurgitating more works of equal or lesser consequence. chased him down. He would not forfeit his art.while the gaping-mouthed masses churned and indulged his every beckon. and threw his own negligible pieces of art into the crowds. the prison guards often brought him chocolate hearts and letters from adoring fans that enumerated acts of crime and devotion. when it was all the authorities could do to tear down the guerilla art graffiti done by people who were rebelling in his name. The government. and by people who thought they were rebelling in his name. although he irremediably forgot what he was trying to say.
and it was in these nights when he’d listen to the scritch of his stub and look at his cave drawings with milky eyes that he realized that he did not know what he was drawing.mother. He stopped receiving fan mail but continued his chalkwork from a chair. and he tried frantically to correct those grave misunderstandings upon his release with publications titled “what is art?. He had called upon an army of barbarians wielding spears and dressed in retro chic to fight for a cause that if he lied to himself he would call ‘ground-breaking’ but in actuality knew was much more literally ‘ground-breaking’ (destruction was fashionable) than figuratively so. In his weakened state. he grew bored of his own idolization. sealing each envelope with a drop of his personally scented parfum. even if it was muddied and malformed. cafe days.
He realized where his doom lay. or even previously. With it. he gained a dexterity with words he never possessed in his art days. and that was all fine and well because she never called on him. he was applauded. He articulated these fears to no one. But soon he grew sick with anemia-like symptoms. with a feather pen dipped in his own blood to the rolling eyes of his guards and the opposing lawyers.” and “pretext for the pretentious: breaking the cycle.
. and the prison ward called in a doctor who took away his feather pen and replaced it with a fountain pen. and also prescribed Penicillin for his near-constant UTIs. So at first he responded to every letter. offering his feces as sculpture. haughty and assured. Finally. and to his abhorration. either.” always saying short of what he intended. he had found intention.” and “rethink fighting the man.” writing such things as “is the man who paints the murals for dentists’ offices any less or more of an artist than the druggie who lives on the streets.
a fact LaMarck skirted around when he asserted his flawed science.
. he found. Wealth and love. People are unable to change fundamentally. He had foregone a life in search of celebrity and cushy things only to find them roaring at him all the more insistently when he turned to follow the opposite direction. he had gained a huge following and stumbled upon a massive amount of wealth and love. Most days he worked fitfully to destroy his misguided following. the urge to lap at the water bowl of his fame overcame him.He also acquired the ability to self-loathe that even in his days of paltry isolation. Some time during all of this bustle. dim to disgust. And he once again geared his inventions towards the misdirection of his original cause. after he had stopped being a simple and pathetic barista and before he found truth. He once again allowed the patrons to call at his door. he had not the guts to experiment with. when fed with dismissal and self-deprecation grew only at an exponential rate for the wealthy and wellloved. Freedom even more than fame turned his eyes all the milkier. with a fanaticism. He once again received the mountains of presents. and though he fought it with guilty heavy hands at his typewriter. and he could not quite ignore the attention entirely. He rejected vehemently. the awards and the plaques and the standing ovations that the nonconformists threw around his neck. allowing the public to find him deserving even more fully of their adoration. but it had propagated to an unmanageable size. He cried fat tears of desperation into the heaving chests of his many lovers. and they carried these stories of his humanity back to their friends. but the crowds cheered all the louder and held him on a pedestal on their sea of hands as a martyr and a champion of the ages.
” and he would not find it worthwhile to continue the conversation. With pretty clichés such as “he changed my life” and “he was really a groundbreaker. His closest friends and some acquaintances who claimed to be his closest friends eulogized him quite nicely to the swarms of lusty disciples. outstanding artist.
One night when he was not old. The doctor proclaimed him dead at 11 in the morning. On his tombstone was written “Lionized writer. “but everybody loves you. with blinking and misunderstanding eyes.” they declared with shameless indecency their hackneyed love for him. his sheets still tousled and warm. having given up entirely. he would tell his prostitutes. he retired to bed and never woke up. he rolled over. the most genuine among us. “don’t love me. but certainly no longer young.
. in his grave staring outwards into darkness with glassy eyes. humble husband.” Six feet below this most extravagant of royal processions glittering with black diamonds and blood rubies and beautiful women adorned with them like art. Three days after his death he was buried in the swankiest cemetery his family could find within a reasonable distance away. a shaker.” to which they would respond immediately and in unison. a mover. just as his concubines were gathering for brunch.On days of lesser inhibition.