Why So Serious?

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Dearest Rachel –

These words, spoken (and written) by pop culture’s favorite nihilist, the Joker, seem so innocuous in print. Indeed, I’ve long known a more homespun, friendly-sounding take on this perspective, thanks to being a fan of Walt Kelly’s Pogo: “Don’t take life so seriously, son. It ain’t nohow permanent.” But hey, everything sounds more accessible in a friendly southern drawl, now, don’t it?

Pogo, Porky and Albert | Cartoon quotes, Comics, Favorite cartoon character

Ironically, the context of that quote is almost as menacing as that of the Batman’s interactions with the Joker; the line is spoken by the comic strip’s resident cynic to one of the lead characters (no, not Pogo – he’s too much of a bland everyman to get into a scrape like this), who’s accused of murder, and on the verge of being tried by what might as well be a kangaroo court (albeit not by a bunch of actual kangaroos – this is the deep South, not Australia). Of course, this being a comic strip, everything resolves happily – the prosecution makes the mistake of bringing in a piece of evidence that actually contains the alleged ‘victim,’ hale and hearty, thereby destroying their entire case, and exonerating the lead character.

Not so much with the Joker, of course. His lack of seriousness towards everything hails from the purest nihilism, where nothing really matters in the end – much like the whiny singer-protagonist of the Bohemian Rhapsody. Yes, I said whiny – the dude admits to casual murder almost at the very start of the song, and then begs for mercy: “I’m just a poor boy / Nobody loves me.” To give the Joker credit, he asks for no quarter, any more than he offers it. He’s consistent in his beliefs, warped though they might be.

That’s always been my attitude towards the concept of nihilism; at least it’s consistent. I was introduced to it is high school, in an English class, right after we’d covered the topic of existentialism by way of Camus. That segment had me completely lost, as I could not wrap my head around that philosophical perspective. As far as I could tell, existentialism boiled down to a conclusion of “life is meaningless, but do good anyway.” If life is meaningless, so are the concepts of “good” and “evil”; how can you do “good” when that concept has no meaning? At least the nihilist doesn’t claim any sort of imaginary moral high ground by wrapping himself in such sanctimoniousness. He’s a dangerous man, to be avoided and blocked at all costs, to be sure, but at least you know where he stands, even if you can’t predict his next move – mostly because the rational man can’t understand his motivations

Some Men Just Want To Watch The World Burn GIFs | Tenor
Yes, I get that, but… with themselves in it? Really? Why?

So what does any of this have to do with me? Certainly, you know I don’t subscribe to either philosophy, so what’s this letter all about?

Well, most of it has to do with the title; I just kind of got sidetracked by the character and his attitude toward life. The thing is, I’ve gotten an earful from both sides of the topic about how serious I am in pursuit of someone to… I wish there was a better expression than “take your place,” but it’s the closest thing I can come to that would be understandable to all concerned.

It’s a weird balancing act, trying to fill the empty space in the house – and in my life – that you left behind. And I certainly won’t deny that I have no real idea how to go about doing that. I’ve always looked upon the use of this dating app as a sort of prelude; this is simply a means to find other people, whereupon the two of us should then meet in person, get to know one another and then, hopefully, move forward from there.

The problem is, as I relate my attempts to you, I’ve had it brought to my attention that I seem to be somewhat… again, ‘obsessed’ is overstating the matter (especially as I get to the other side of the argument in a moment), but I won’t deny I give the matter an outsized proportion of digital ink for the amount of time I actually spend on it. It just so happens that most of my daily life is finally starting to actually revert to the normal, boring routine that I used to have back in the days when you were still here. Granted, I’m writing to you rather than creating scripts and practicing drawing – although this could be considered me practicing a craft in itself, just a very different sort of writing. The bottom line is, I write about this quest for “Megumi” because at times, it’s the one ongoing unusual thing in my life.

This leads to a question of whether I’m putting myself through these misadventures for the sake of having something to write to you about. If so, I hadn’t really thought about it when I started all this. And as for misadventures, I’d rather my situation was working out between myself and someone at this point (although, I guess I’d have to get her permission to talk about her with you going forward, as she would have to be informed about these letters – all of which would probably lead to that much more self-censorship than I’m already doing) than this string of failures thus far.

But I will submit that I am not terribly active in my pursuit. Oh, I will go through the daily list of matches I get from the app, and send a smile or two when certain criteria are met; I will respond when addressed, and try not to leave a conversation dangling. But apart from the occasional ‘hello,’ I’m not about to call to out any of these girls too aggressively. And believe it or not, I’ve been called out for my passivity. One girl (not Ruby, I should point out), after several pauses between lines of conversation (including her attempting to reach me at a quarter to four in the morning) actually asked me ‘can we talk?’ and proceeded to inform that I ‘seem[ed] not to look for someone seriously.’

Well, this was unexpected. So, to sum up, there are those who say I’m too involved in looking for someone (and I wouldn’t deny that); but to another, I’m not serious enough in my pursuit.

I think it has to do with the fact that I acknowledge I already have a set schedule, and friends, family and church in my life that I’m not willing to give up just to make room for a possible date (although I’m doing some rearrangement of my schedule this weekend, and I hope to have something for you about it tomorrow), and I expect the other person to have similar scheduling issues as well. Moreover, I don’t want a handful of pictures and a few smooth words to be enough for me to conclude this person is The One – I’ve had my hopes dashed a few times already, I’m not about to believe in anyone until I’ve met them and spent actual time with them over a suitable length of time before coming to any such conclusions. If taking things at a slow and deliberate pace isn’t ‘serious’ enough, well then, I’m probably not her man, anyway.

Still, it’s weird to be thought of as too much and not enough at the same time. It’s not like any of this was a life I would have chosen, you know.

All I can ask for now is for you to wish me luck, honey; clearly, I’m going to need it.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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