David Letterman, of course, is the modern-day father of the Top Ten list. (When Conan O'Brien ascended to the NBC Late Night throne vacated by Letterman, he cracked that he would be doing Top 30 lists: they wouldn't be as funny, but they'd at least be longer.) And needless to say, I'm nowhere close to Letterman's league in terms of sheer amusement value. I can, however, make lists, especially if they're not even the slightest bit funny. For example, here are five reasons I should be put out of my misery at the earliest convenience:
- I am, by any reasonable definition, a junkie.
No, not that stuff. But just let me try to go one lousy night without an Ativan tablet, and watch the horror show. (Yes, I've tried, and no, it is not pretty.) And what's worse, Monday I'm going to the doctor to request, among other things, a switch to a higher dosage; what I take now is no longer enough to do the job.
- I have apparently sold my soul.
And what's worse, I didn't get market value for it. There's no other way to describe the situation: I have spent most of my working life toiling for a succession of organizations that are fundamentally incompatible with the values I hold they are ungrateful, amoral and incompetent, and those are their good points. My current excuse is no better than average: IT jobs, especially IT jobs for people who, like me, are old and infirm, are extremely hard to come by, and I'm not in any position to endure a diminution of income from "meager" to "pathetic". (You know the joke, so all you get here is the punchline: "We've already established that. Now we're haggling over price.")
- I am fundamentally uninteresting.
Ignore, for the moment, the failure of all my relationships, including those yet to come (should such actually be proven to exist). Instead, try this: Two thousand people visit this Web site every week. One thousand nine hundred seventy-five never come back.
- I am manifestly delusional.
Anyone who places this much value on the meaningless (and highly questionable, given the nature of the Net) statistics generated by a Web tracking service is obviously a few fries short of a Happy Meal.
- I have lost interest in the future.
"We are all interested in the future," said Criswell in Plan 9 From Outer Space, "for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives." If the rest of my life is going to be like the first part and up to this point, most of it seems to have been scripted and directed by Ed Wood I think I'll pass.
- I am showing signs of bloodthirstiness.
For someone who once upon a time aspired to nonviolence in all things, this is an extremely disturbing development. It's not enough to have wrongs righted; I want to see the perpetrators eviscerated, and the viscera ground up for pet food. It is perhaps a good thing that I am severely lacking in sheer resolve and cannot pull off this kind of stunt myself.
- I am subject to inexplicable failures in areas where I have previously demonstrated ability.
Simple arithmetic, for one.
1 June 2002