This Is Your Life

Common American Man, this is how your life will unfold.  You will start with dreams, big dreams.  You will believe you are ordained for exceptionalism.  You will reluctantly abandon your dreams as the years pass and reality inexorably descends upon you like a choking shroud of grit.  That reality looks like this —

You will get older, uglier, and fatter with each year.  Soon you will notice young women no longer take your flirtations seriously.  Your sloth and social detachment will worsen until people don’t even bother to be polite around you.  You will gradually lower your standards in what you want in a girl until desperation pushes you to marry a dumpy oinker well past her prime.  You will rut with her once a week, then once a month, then holidays only.  You will relieve yourself drearily masturbating in the middle of the night by the cold flickering light of your computer monitor while that bloated seacow who doesn’t give a shit for your desires snores in the bed you can no longer get a good night’s sleep in.  Your one shred of solace will come from knowing your depreciating asset (AKA wife) will have as few options as you do virtually guaranteeing lifelong fidelity.  Eventually you will have a couple of ungrateful snotty kids and your free time and discretionary cash will be completely obliterated.  You will squander whatever morsels of opportunity come your way as you settle into an achingly dull job paying the median wage dutifully punching the clock as a faceless cog in the corporate machine greasing the soul-soaked gears of the global marketplace with your bitter bloody tears.  You will silently mourn your impotent, shriveled manhood as the established order extracts the last penny of tribute from your broken spirit.  You will numb the pain with alcohol, untold hours vegging in front of the TV, and leveling your character in World of Warcraft.  Hours, days, months, years will slip away.  Then, one lonely quiet cloudy day sitting in your well-worn easy chair, you’ll contemplate the arc of your life.  And you’ll feel the gnawing grip of emptiness as the crushing weight of what a barren nothingness your existence proved to be presses down on you.  Barely comprehending, you’ll shudder.  And then, finally, the Grim Reaper will steal your last breath and you will disappear from the world as if you had never been here and when they bury you no one will really notice and no one will really care because in your whole life you never never never, not even once, stepped off the hamster wheel and did anything courageous or interesting or different.

And it will be too late when you realize that the chains clasped to your ankles and wrists were unlocked all along and you were always free to go.

~Fin~ 





Comments


  1. on October 16, 2007 at 3:34 pm instantExcitement

    Grimm but an unfortunate truth to a lot of people’s lives. It makes you question what all of this is really for and why people rush to conforming to social norms

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  2. Or things will be ok.

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  3. Edited down, this amounts to “Seize the day.” Thanks for that penetrating insight.

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  4. The key to break this circle is courage. Courage tom break the chains inlicted on you by feminists, christian fundamentalists and society at large.

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  5. Was a Married With Children marathon on the tube last night?Al Bundy – the poor, old schmo. Who knew that he was Everyman?

    There should be a counterpoint to this, something comparable to Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville as a response to The Stones’ Exile on Main Street.

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  6. freckledk: Wow. I thought I was the last person on Earth to remember (and revere) Exile in Guyville. My first foray into the non-Top40. I’ve never looked back.

    And Roissy? Holy hell. I need a drink.

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  7. all the while, you’ll be up late at night, suppressing your homometrosexual fantasies by jacking off in a towel and thinking up new ways to justify your own worthless existence.

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  8. …and repackaging Fight Club philosophies for the redundant masses

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  9. Really nice post. I was wondering, however, whether you should have started off your (excellent) last two sentences as the first two sentences of your post. The underlying assumption of the article is that if you never take that chance, get off the hamster wheel, then this is how your life will unfold. I think that’s right. Another assumption of that line of thinking, I think, is that you never did the upper-Maslow stuff: never read great literature, great music, traveled, took risks–all the stuff that contributes to self-actualization.

    But if you take chances, do all the upper-Maslow stuff, your life may unfold rather differently. Perhaps your concrete results may be the same–corporate job, overweight wife, nasty kids–but importantly, your worldview might be very different. Or, perhaps one will come to the conclusion that the underlying positive assumptions of the post don’t necessarily apply to them: pretty wife for a life of promiscuity, exciting job or fame, and that the inverse of these things leads to emptiness/nihilism. More specifically, that the sense of self-worth may be fulfilled by other criteria.

    In sum, I think that what you wrote is very good and probably accurate for a significant quantity of people, but that it’s only the necessary predicate to a condition precedent–a lack of that upper-Maslow stuff. It’s bleak, but it’s not unavoidable, even if your positive assumptions aren’t fulfilled.

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  10. If I had a nickel for every time I said exactly what you wrote…

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  11. Dear God Roissy, you downloaded the new Radiohead Rainbows CD didn’t you. What the fuck did I tell you! I knew this would happen. Videotape, IS JUST A SONG!!!!!!

    Put down the Gun Roissy, put it down

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  12. Lester Burnam anyone? 🙂 Meet an annoying teen queen hottie, find a neighbor who sells you the chronic hydro good shit and start working out.

    Then you die a year later.

    A bit more exciting no?

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  13. The key issue is whether people chase status symbols or chase interesting life experiences.

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  14. I can’t believe that was written by a Finn

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  15. As far as I can tell, the only difference between being married and being single is that the single man has more money to play World of Warcraft on a fancier computer. But he probably earns less because he doesn’t have the fat ugly wife to nag him to work harder.

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  16. Thomas Wolfe did it much better and with an understanding that even the common life is filled with wonder:

    You Can’t Go Home Again
    (Specifically, the section on “C. Green,” the suicide.)

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  17. on October 16, 2007 at 9:38 pm Gunslingergregi

    “When it comes time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.

    Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.”
    Chief Aupumut, Mohican

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  18. on October 16, 2007 at 10:17 pm Gunslingergregi

    The sad part will be if the chains are off of your ankles but there are no new worlds to conquer. Lot’s of people are throwing off the chains now and living there dreams.

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  19. depressing but true for 90% of american men

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  20. you are exactly why i’m going into clinical psychology.

    got prozac?

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  21. It hasn’t occurred to even one of you that 1) Maybe no one wants to be stuck with his shriveled manhood in the first place. Even so-called “oinkers” usually have some sort of options. And 2) If some woman, out of fear of being labeled as “dried up and useless (after age 24)” or maybe even genuine affection for the toad, or whatever, does actually try to make some poor schlub’s life better, only to watch him dreamily masturbate his life away in that chair, she deserves a damn medal for not ending his misery with a ground-glass sandwich (because you know he’s too lazy to ever make his own).

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  22. Dizzy, still bitter, huh?

    I think the proper question is – what is the point of no return in this scenario? 30? 35? 40?

    I think Roissy’s point is – don’t settle for being a faceless drone in any aspect of your life. Not everyone can be successful in every way, but the mediocre existence is the worst possible one, because it is wasted.

    Never marry an over-the-hill fat woman. Make sure to find an Asian or Eastern European instead.

    Tomorrow, when you walk by a snotty-looking 22-year-old dressed in a miniskirt (it’s gonna be warm out), look her up, and down, and up again. Because you are a man, whether you’re 25 or 45. Seriously, tomorrow, do it.

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  23. There is an alternate route for people who are healthy and not being squeezed by alimony or child support. Reduce your expenses to the radical, bare-bones minimum. If people don’t regard you as a freak, you’re not being frugal enough. Work your ass off, taking whatever OT/odd jobs you can get. Use the savings to buy stocks from the HUI index. It’s up more than ten-fold since 1999 and CNBC still ignores it. Google “HUI index” and see for yourself. The mainstream doesn’t like gold and silver, but that’s where the action is, folks. We’re still in the early innings. Ten years from now, or whenever Time and Newsweek have cover stories about the bull market in gold, sell the stocks and put 1oz coins in safe deposit boxes in Hong Kong and Switzerland. Then get your flabby ass out of the worst places on Earth to wife-hunt (First World in general, Manhattan/DC in particular) and get thee to Eastern Europe or Asia. Unless you’re a complete flake or over 60, it will be a piece of cake to find a young 7 or 8 to marry you, and she’ll be very happy to do so. If you marry in the States, you’re screwed. If you keep your wealth in the States, you’re screwed. Google “David Walker comptroller”. I did exactly as advised above (was freaky-frugal for years and put it all in mining stocks) and I have no need to work anymore. I’m holding off a few more years for the marriage part, but I’ve been to Eastern Europe and they were lining up to meet me (I’m well-spoken and decent-looking and under fifty). Guys who remain in the States are in for worse than Roissy’s scenario, because decent-paying jobs will be mighty hard to come by when inflation gets roaring. God help you if you think it’s not coming. USA has been able to print the “world’s reserve currency,” but that is not going to last forever. When it stops, look out. Gold (and silver and associated mining equities) has gained every year since its bull began in 2001. Get your ass on the train while seats are still cheap. By the time it’s mainstream, it will have become dangerously speculative.

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  24. To yakking guy:
    Americans wrongly believe that they have a great quality of life. They have great material goods, but lack acces to a lot of key aspects in life. America is great if you are a prole. There is no greater country where as a prole you can make such tremendous amounts of money. But as an acedmic, I have my doubts.
    I will tell you why, things I have most Americans will never have (and as a note, I’m only hogh middle class in my country)
    1. A maid, which takes away the everyday burdens from my shoulders
    2. A nice, young barely 17 year old girlfriend (I´m almost 25, and we started more than a year ago)
    3. My income will allow me to buy a nice house and a nice small house on the beach, because real estate prices aren´t ridiculous high.

    Downsides:
    I don´t have an SUV or a big plasma screen like most Americans, but these things are unimportant compared to the things I’ve listed before.

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  25. A man that takes care of himself and exercises will get better looking with age….until they hit about 50-55 and then they just really look old. Hopefully by then they have a steady partner they, dare I say it, love and a couple kids and maybe some and grandkids.
    I mean, as long as we have our loved ones, life really isn’t so miserable.
    I stand by that.

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  26. on October 17, 2007 at 5:12 pm David Alexander

    A maid, which takes away the everyday burdens from my shoulders

    The problem is that in middle income nations, the labour costs are so low due to high unemployment that they will take low paying positions as maids. The reason American proles do so well is that there is enough employment for them so that they don’t have to accept wages that would allow for middle class affordability of maids. In effect, your having maid proves why countries like Argentina and Uraguay have poor economic policies. They have no other jobs for their poorer citizens to take.

    A nice, young barely 17 year old girlfriend (I´m almost 25, and we started more than a year ago)

    Yes, but when she starts aging, will you bail on her for a younger woman? The way that you guys obsess over young women and their fertility, I seriously suspect that you will, especially if sexual activity fades, and nagging increases.

    I don´t have an SUV or a big plasma screen like most Americans, but these things are unimportant compared to the things I’ve listed before.

    My grandmother (and her daughters) gave up her maids (and a large plantation) to live in the US. They’d rather have luxuries provided that you can gain from living here than from having a maid. Quite frankly, I’d agree with their choice as well, especially since my “rich” cousins in Haiti are still amazed of all the stuff that I have, and they think I’m the rich one. 🙂

    Besides, you couldn’t afford those things because of the absurdly high import tariffs placed on imported goods.

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  27. […] Your Father was Miserable Posted October 17, 2007 Congratulations, Roissy.  I’ve seen a lot of ‘em.  Some of them thinly veiled.  Some of them woven from a patchwork of allusions over the years.  Some of them in books.  Some of them in films.  But yours is one of the best. […]

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  28. Besides, you couldn’t afford those things because of the absurdly high import tariffs placed on imported goods.

    Nah, that was thirty years ago. Instead of a big SUV, I drive a relatively new Japanese middle class car (Toyota sedan).
    Instead of a plasma, I use a 25 inch Sony trinitron for my Wii, which still has a nice image. Remember, the southcone of Southamerica and Mexico are stable middle income countries. Pour countries suck , like most carribbean islands. If countries are too poor they become violent and unstable, and your goods can be expropiated. On the other hand, in rich countries you are just another ant, and your high income is worthless because money is a relative good above all. It might be hard to swallow, but I bet that a Mexican lawyer has a better livingquality than an American. For professionals, middle income countries are probably the best.

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  29. on October 18, 2007 at 12:47 am David Alexander

    Nah, that was thirty years ago. Instead of a big SUV, I drive a relatively new Japanese middle class car (Toyota sedan).

    No, you’re driving the massively decontented version they sell to South Americans without the high standards required to sell in European and North American markets.

    Remember, the southcone of Southamerica and Mexico are stable middle income countries

    Again, I am aware of this, but you’re still poorer than the rest of Western Europe and North America. For you it’s comfortable since you’re a former Eastern European resident.

    When my Wellesley Queen was living in Argentina, she stayed with what one would consider a “upper middle class” family. Yes, they had a maid, but they couldn’t afford air conditioning despite the warm summers in Buenos Aires. Up North in the US, they sell them at $100 for a small bedroom unit, which means it’s cheap enough for a working class person to afford one for his home. It’s the little things like that add up, make living in a country like the US much better.

    It might be hard to swallow, but I bet that a Mexican lawyer has a better livingquality than an American.

    BTW, the Mexican multi-millionaire still lives better than the Mexican lawyer, just like in America. Moving to that region of South America to feel richer and have a maid just seems pointless to me when you’re still not the richest person in that society.

    And like I said earlier, the cheap maids implies there’s not enough labour opportunity for the poorer residents. A lawyer in the US would have had a maid in the 1920s and 30s, but the cheap labour pool dried up with improved opportunities for workers in the post-world War II economy. If the sacrifice of no maid was paid for with improved and better paying work for the citizens of my lower class country, then quite frankly, I’d easily give up the maid since their increased buying power means that they can afford the product or service that I offer, which means more money for me and a more stable society for everybody.

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  30. This is very good, reminds me of that bit from Trainspotting and that Coulton song ‘Code Monkey’. I do have to admit the bourgeois life really isn’t that exciting for most men.

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  31. […] channeled Tyler Durden in this post. I must have been […]

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  32. Roissy…we need people like you to wake us up from our slumber!

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  33. Printed.

    And on the wall. Major wake up call.

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  34. “because in your whole life you never never never, not even once, stepped off the hamster wheel and did anything courageous or interesting or different.

    And it will be too late when you realize that the chains clasped to your ankles and wrists were unlocked all along and you were always free to go.”

    Daaaaammmnn. I fucking love that.

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  35. […] flirting with me was any indication. But picture the likely contours of this herb’s life: A fat and dumpy sow wife, ingrate kids, crippling mortgage on an oversized house, sensible sedan, […]

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  36. “because in your whole life you never never never, not even once, stepped off the hamster wheel and did anything courageous or interesting or different.

    And it will be too late when you realize that the chains clasped to your ankles and wrists were unlocked all along and you were always free to go.”

    Great up till then, but that part is wrong. Nobody is “free to go,” and the statement betrays everything you said in your post up to that point. There is no way out, no matter what you realize and what you do. Live long enough and you understand that life is disappointment after disappointment; and the biggest disappointment of all is the realization that it could be no other way.

    Again, you get 90% of it, but that final 10% eludes you. You still have a glimmer of hope deep inside. Only if/when that final spark is completely quenched will you attain true enlightenment. Not that true enlightenment will help anything of course.

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