Responding to a listener request, here’s the text of the inspirational speech from the end of episode #14, so you can have it tattooed or mounted or embroidered or perhaps written in frosting on a birthday cake. I have rendered it in BOLD MAGENTA #3 (C031C7) for your pleasure:
What you see before you, i.e. me, is, admittedly, very awesomely partially examined, but I was not always this way.
I used to try to stretch myself to conform to codes of conduct and ideals of being foreign to my nature, like I tried not to swear at all for a bit when I was about 12 until I became very embarrassed about my saying “Gosh!” really loudly when punched in gym class.
I used to use my girlfriends in college exclusively as a sounding board for my hideous self-reflections, externalizing every little notion to cross my brain in an attempt to make myself an external clump of the world to pick at like a carrion-hungry buzzard.
Why, one time I was caught midway between a watering hole and a big, juicy steak, and being unable to decide between them, just stood there contemplating the choice until I starved to death.
So I can confidently say that while the unexamined life may not be worth living, the constantly, strenuously, annoyingly examined life sucks!
But now, but now, I can read and watch things that are dumb and not feel bad about it. I can put myself out there without being so self-conscious about how I can’t actually fit all the caveats I would ideally like to into everything I say. I can, much like the Ramones, create explosive idiotic songs that are not meant to expose the entirety of my psyche, but only to repeat and elaborate a trope in a way that will resonate with, and hence extend, a mere tiny slice my emotional life.
For I am partially examined, dammit, with enough reflection for me to know the foolishness that is me without so much reflection so as to be unduly bothered by that.
But you, you sad sack sitting out there with Being and Nothingness under your pillow. You objects of a voyeuristic God that not only sees right through your soul but commands that you do the same. You people that constantly need to talk talk talk talk talk through all of your problems. I know you don’t like it. I know it’s hard. But there is hope.
I stand before you today as living proof that if you fail to try hard enough, you might just succeed. You too can have a partially examined life, with only some of your experiences spoiled by excessive reflection and omnipresent irony, with relationships that are only partially built on a narcissistic desire to expand your echo chamber, with some expectations undefined and some options not considered.
When you hear about, e.g. someone living under a bridge, you don’t have to imagine yourself what it would be like to live under such a bridge, and decide for a second that it would be cool, but then decide, no, of course it would not be. When you hear a new band that your friend likes, you don’t have to go and listen to everything that band has ever recorded and really wade into the music up to your eyeballs until you have an “insider’s view” and only THEN dismiss them as actually pretty shitty. When you read a book, you can just read it, without stopping to write down your own philosophical musings inspired by the sentence you were just reading but in fact only tangentially related to it. When someone calls you untalented, you can just say “screw off” instead of asking follow up questions about WHY the person thinks you’re untalented and, when you don’t get clear enough answers, make up a lot of answers yourself and then dwell on them for months afterward.
No, I say, there is hope. By just mostly giving up and not worrying about it out of sheer disgust with yourself, you can, like me, slowly become a more nearly tolerable person to be around who doesn’t drive himself absolutely batshit for no reason. With just a touch of philosophy (and just a touch, now!) and some good old fashioned elbow grease or some other meaningless cliché that you don’t think about enough to edit out of your inspirational speech, you too can, like me, have the partially examined life.