Unsolicited Advice for Living in the End Times, Vol. 19

A little fog will always help clear things up

Lately I've been noticing an insidious efficiency leaking into my days and into my ways and altering my otherwise devil-may-care lifestyle—by which I mean not “heedless of caution” but rather “jovial and rakish in manner.”

The overpowering desire for productivity and the overvaluing of organization in our society enables us to ignore the obvious evils of efficiency. I now find myself cutting corners and opting for the quickest route to my destinations. I’m getting to more places and I’m getting more accomplished, but what am I giving up? I think too much. I worry I’m losing my linger, no longer taking the time to tarry. I don’t see the point of finally getting round to things if I have to lose my dawdle skills.

Being too alert or hyperaware can not only slow you down, but worse, it will limit your possibilities. We need to adopt more of a sleepish attitude to life. There is a reckless and rollicking abandon in our sleep time that we must try and bring into our waking hours. Our minds and our bodies do what they will without constraints when we enter the land of nod, and that is exactly how we want to walk the world till the end of days. Think of yourself as a sphincter and just try and unclench—life with all its possibilities will surely begin to flow.

But there is no magic bullet to get you to that special state of vigorous languor that will bring out the best in you. You cannot achieve this state by simply cutting back on your snooze time. Everyone needs their sleep. Let me now remind you of what the great writer Thomas Wolfe’s mother said: “You can’t make up for lost sleep.” So even if you can go home again, you must go right to your old room and have all 40 of your winks.

Along with this creeping competence that has threatened my way of life, I’ve noticed something else trying to stick itself into my spokes. A sort of misplaced morality is starting to worm its way into my brain. The other night I had what is commonly known as a sex dream. I am not usually a sexual slumberer, but when it does happen, it is always quick and aborted. This night of reverie was different: It involved a free and easy yet protracted night of sex with Rihanna, and I’m happy to say that everyone went home satisfied. After this erotic gift from Morpheus I should have woken up with that cat-who-swallowed-the-canary smile, thinking “the old boy still has it.” Instead I’m worried about Chris Brown and what he’ll think about it all. The horrible part is that I’m not worried about him hurting me or, worse, hurting her. No, I’m concerned about him getting sad, about him no longer being able to be the best Chris Brown he can be, and it’s all my fault. I don’t think I even have to point out that this is bad, bad thinking—bad for me, bad for you, and bad for society at large and certainly not worthy of an unsolicited advisor for the end of time or any time.

So I’m pledging to you now to be a better me and stay on the right path through what’s left of our time together, and I hope I can help you to find your particular passage. That’s the ticket. We all have our own paths, and we need our own maps to find them, and this is one map Google can’t help you with.

When you think you don’t know right from wrong, trust that you do, and if it turns out you don’t, then try and get it right next time. But through it all, you’ve got to believe that a little fog will always help clear things up.