At about the age of sixteen or seventeen I was gifted with the self-consciousness-improving gift of knowing what a cliché is. That made me—and has been making ever since—desperate to avoid saying or doing something that could possibly be one.
Have you ever thought about whether or not your next move is going to be a cliché? For example it’s a cliché to like The Great Gatsby, although it’s not a cliché if you understand it. Of course that is also a cliché as there’s an immense nerd society that consists of people, who make it one. Being a nerd is also a cliché.
As I’ve become cliché-aware, I wanted to develop the ability to distuingish good taste from bad taste, so that I could evade ending up liking something that I shouldn’t. I haven’t succeeded yet but I’m working hard and learning a lot about it, so I have a general understanding of how most people really have terrible taste.
Another thing that’s discovery left its mark on me is critical thinking (along with logic). I’ve alwas been afraid to sink into the world of rationality as my experience with people who were speaking rationally was discouraging. My distance-keeping, however, was broken by a sneak peek into this world in Philosophy 101. I very soon discovered that people are generally illogical in regards of speech, actions and way of thinking—yes, only in this three irrelevant portion of life. Of course I have also realized that I’ve always been rational, even when I opposed rationality, though it’s a paradox (and an exaggeration, as I’m the person who, as far as I know, has said and thought the greatest nonsenses in human history—that’s about my authority to write this post).
My fear of clichés and the awareness of the general lack of logic in the world are the things that have got the strongest grip on my personality. I’ve been an arguer since I can remember, so I’m pretty much used to smaller conflicts and I’ve learned to live with them. But this has taken an unanticipated turn, what led me to a timely revelation: I’m not a good person.
In an argument, less than two weeks ago, I had a moment of rage, which I assumed could be excused because my aggression was justified. My girlfriend’s best friend kept talking trash about Esther’s book in the Bible, based on a terrible understanding of borders, empires and politics. This insulted my intelligence. Actually, illogical or dumb things always tend to feel as though they insult my intelligence.
I’m not great wih emotions and timing. According to my brother I’m the worst at having a decent style, which I suspect can be the right combination of the above two sometimes. To me the world is the 45 yards that’s around me and whatever happens there is sort of my business. When bullshit gets in, I have an urge to correct it, so the world—what I see from it—wouldn’t collapse. My corrections, however, are effectless, as I usually fail to grasp the concept of propriety. It’s nothing personal to me, as I focus exclusively on the problem, which I identify as an independent matter, which so happens to have come out from a person but it won’t change how I percieve that certain individual. But the emotional involvment that I take and the pace at which I react form a deadly mixture, that takes its toll on my relationships.
The argument I’ve mentioned did not conclude in the usual routine of people being angry with me, then forgiving me and being friends again. In this case this person pretended to forgive me and make peace and a couple days later asked my girlfriend’s other best friend to somehow bring our relationship to an end. Fortunately, this other person was outraged by the request and didn’t even try to, in a way, hurt me and my girlfriend. But I also realize that this certain argument just triggered the effect of something more acute: my personality under the heavy influence of being rational and anti-cliché.
I was originally a friendly kid, who liked the 90’s TV show, FRIENDS, and who was very hopeful. After I turned 10 I was a lot like Tom Sawyer and I must say those must’ve been my golden days. Now a lot of things are different. I can’t watch a movie with my girlfriend without spoiling it for her through analyzing it and finding fault in everything. I understand I’m a lot less likeable.
My guess is that I’ve also become pretentious. I’ve developed interest in a lot of things that I find attractive only because according to my most up-to-date intel, they’re not cliché or they’re stylish or they are liked by people with good taste. I know I shouldn’t do that. But I realized that just now so the harm’s already done.
Saint Thomas Acquinas said that all things are perfect, insofar that they exist because perfection is the state of being the most desirable and for everything, the most desirable thing is for it to exist (sorry for the simplification, it’s an example, not the topic of the post). This is probably perfect logic because all premises are true, they are realized, and they result in the consequence of everything being perfect. Although having cancer is a very sad, hopeless thing, whereas, for cancer, it’s the most desirable to exist. A doctor could say that:”You have cancer but the good news is: it’s perfect!” Saint Thomas had a point and I don’t mean to criticize him. But much like the perfection of cancer, so are my interactions dissatisfying.
On Saturday, I was so fortunate that I could go to Hugh Laurie and the Copper Bottom Band’s concert in Budapest with a friend I haven’t seen in about two years. When we bought our tickets, back in spring, I screwed up a little and so our seats were not next to each other. I sat between an empty chair and a German-speaking man, who kept caressing his unattractive girlfriend. First I was self-conscious, nervous and I wanted to sit near someone I knew. But as the show kicked off, I realized something. Hugh Laurie was dancing and making gags and he sang wonderfully, just like the band played great music. I thought it was a cliché that I came to a celebrity’s concert. It didn’t seem justifiable, though I was having a great time. Then I understood that I am taking myself too seriously. This show around me was very entertaining and I felt better than I have in a long time. Maybe a little comedy, a little blues, a little laughter and just a touch of carelessness goes a long way. Of course the songs were not about nothing and Mr Laurie probably got a lot of money for this show, so I know it’s not an intimate thing that I partook in but it really is more than what I do to people most of the time.
I don’t know what kind of person I’ll turn out to be eventually but the cliché-free life now seems like a cliché. Comedy is glorified in my eyes. I’m on a quest: I’m discovering what being a human is and I’m trying to become one. Really, I’m on a quest for learning how to love and then putting my newfound knowledge in use.