Line Those Street With Gold By Gracjan Kraszewski

The man does not say anything. He appears to want more.
I’m happy to oblige.

‘It’s not hard to find people online, upline, or in plain old real life who will tell you at the drop of a hat that nothing is real. I’ve found the reason for the many reasons they give, the various theories and postulations they put forth, usually comes down to sexual license. These people are not as sophisticated as Descartes was—that if there is a res cogitans which I can be sure ofand the res extensa outside the mind, my own mind, which I do not know, then if follows that the unknowable cannot make rules which must be followed. If all in the res extensa, and this certainly includes community-societal standards of sexual morality, is not to be understood than I can do whatever I want because who knows what the right way is anyways, right?—and they do not have to be. It doesn’t take a lot to arrive at: go ahead and have unlimited promiscuous sex. It’s easy to get there, philosophically.

The example I’ll give you, here it is:
the Mandela Effect,
collective false memory.
Instead of applying Ockham’s Razor to the famous Berenstain Bears v. Berenstein Bears thing; ah, well I actually have heard of people named Berenstein before, and –stein, that’s a really popular Jewish surname ending. I actually have a friend named Goldstein. So we’ve collectively misremembered the children’s books as –stein and not the correct –stain because that makes more sense. Just like, going to the origins, a lot of people misremembered Nelson Mandela dying in prison because his imprisonment was a global cause celebre during the Cold War-South African Apartheid-post 1960s America world and so it would have made sense for him to have died while incarcerated and so, sadly, would serve as one more example of a loose end of justice, for we all know how Mandela repented for his earlier heinous actions, going untied.

Ockham’s Razor,
and just plain common sense, works as a nice antidote against the weaponized Mandela Effect—i.e. that’s it’s proof of alternate universes, multiple and coexistent life simulations, UFO infiltration and subversion of globalist and as in universe-wide mind control initiatives, etc., et cetera, you could go on a long time here—but it’s not just that people want to be titillated and feel that pins and needles adrenaline rush upwards from the soles and toes to sweaty palms and jittery fingers. No, it’s usually that this is evidence that things are not what they seem, therefore supposed authorities have no legitimate authority, therefore sexual morality especially is baseless, therefore, go ahead and have unlimited promiscuous sex.

Life is meaningless, probably worse than that, probably being manipulated by nefarious forces who would like to torture you for their own sick pleasure. But, hey, at least you can have sex, sex, sex, sex. No one can take that control, and that pleasure, away from you. Yes, doc, sad to say, such is the shit state of society and philosophy we find ourselves in now, a pit we have not been able to dig out of for centuries now. Because it’s hard to get out of, doc. It’s hard work. Because you have this, what I just described, and people putting up their flag behind it, in support of it, that yeah life is nothing but nothingness but at least you can be ruled with an iron rod by your passions, and then, on the other side of the pit, still in the pit, all these smiling one-time saved Protestants who walk around as if post-surgery for having one’s face permanently contorted into an ear to ear grinning smile assuring you everything is not just okay and not just good and not just great but the absolutely most perfect best and incredible amazing wonderful gloriously awesome possible possibility of all possibilities possible.

These,
them,
they,
they make Pangloss look generally pessimistic. But life is hard. Catholics say life is beautiful, too, but they admit it’s hard, they actually embrace it, avoiding the denials of the smiling self-assured saved as well as the nihilistic screw like rabbits on bonerjuice pills people. They split the difference properly, not in some mediocre on the fence thesis antithesis synthesis of the lowest common denominator way, but the true golden mean of truth and cogent thought. I mean they seem to at least try to be honest, avoid fringe extremism, and in identifying a problem propose a solution. Sometimes you see one of these smiling people and they are just so, hey, friend! I’m a hugger, c’mere, can give you a big old bear hug, one love, right? Life is all, ALL, about this right here, am I right? Just love, just be love. And you might give in and lean in to give the hug, because it’s nice to be respectful and let people be themselves. But during these situations I sometimes would like to respond, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck in a real rapid fire and super annoying way. Because life is hard and sometimes people should just stop, drop the bullshit. Like people who would declare for all the world You, yeah you! Did anyone tell you are special and loved? You are. You are amazing! Never, ever forget that. These people, doc, just arrest them and place them in solitary confinement already. Because, fundamentally, so many character flaws can be reduced to a two-leafed stem of pragmatic mediocrity and prideful narrowness.

Pragmatic mediocrity and prideful narrowness are two sister leaves on the same stem for a reason, they’re kind of two sides of the same coin. Pragmatic mediocrity is an intentional self-stifling for the purpose of career and/or financial benefit which later on gives birth to prideful narrowness when the practitioner of pragmatic mediocrity, having attained the indeed mediocre goal he gave up everything for, compares himself to someone who did not sell out, did not put ‘practical’ considerations and especially money above all else, and myopically exclaims how is it possible that HE achieved that when I, I could never imagine, I mean, how? It’s a fact I’m so much better than HIM so, how’d he do it? The next thought is invariably ‘fuck them,’ because the fruits of prideful narrowness are bitterness, hatred, jealousy and regret. The person who mocked the person spending so many hours studying ‘useless languages.’ They partied, and did the minimum they needed so as to get that practical degree so as to get the practical job with the decent pay, not bad hours, and a modicum of respect swop dolloped on, the self and the societal flavorvariants. Now they see the person they mocked has a cooler job, one that pays more, and an insane amount of well-deserved, hard earned respect because speaking 8 languages fluently is as close to as cool as it gets. And that this has nothing to do with any practicality or pragmatism—but what does it get me?—but has been done solely out of the intrinsic coolness of the matter is not an in spite of  but a because of/along with formulation. All that’s left for the two-leafed stem of mediocrity guy to say is ‘fuck them.’

And you wonder why we have so few Renaissance men and women, so few polymaths, today.

Pragmatic mediocrity and prideful narrownessare unseen, unacknowledged talent killers and resent laden petri dishes that have far too long been allowed free reign, I mean no one bothers to rinse and rough soap scrub the shit out of these disgusting petri dishes, hiding in plain sight and, as anyone with eyes to see would agree, the effects on all of us, individually and as a society, have been devastating.And within this devastating reality there’s another problem. There are some people who are just waiting, itching, for any and every reason to start burning, breaking, fighting, vandalizing, yelling, punching, screaming, torching and terrorizing. And since there is no reason the reason becomes a catch-all, one size fits all, free for all. One Gavrillo Princip, just one match on the powederkeg and these people lying dormant just below the surface pop up ready to explode. Hats of to our true leaders today, to the men and women who not just take on the crushing weight of responsibility in these domains, but actually seek to give people a greater yes amidst all the nos of despairing pragmatic mediocrity and prideful narrowness and things much lower and more awful than these that threaten, at a moment’s notice, to progress from disconcerting to destructive. Men and women who would be truly great leaders don’t just find and exploit—in a good way, upwards, for the common benefit of all—that which unites not divides us. This is too obvious and banal to say even one more word on. What they really do, rather the skill the posses, is to convince people, all of us brothers, that we are brothers and that we have some common noble mission. That’s what I mean by a greater yes. That no matter how much you think your life sucks, it doesn’t. And since there is only one, unrepeatable you we, all of us brothers, are counting on you, we need you, you and your unique contribution. So let’s get to this joyous labor while the iron’s hot with love. Do not take to streets to break and blaze. Let’s line those streets, the streets of our city, with gold. We cannot do it without you.’

About the Author

Gracjan is the author of the novel, The Holdout (Adelaide Books, 2018) and is currently working on a 1,000 page plus absurdist maximalist philosophical comedy novel entitled Job Search set one hundred years in the future which investigates themes such as American freedom, free will, and the pursuit of happiness in a time of apocalyptic thermonuclear geopolitics.

His fiction has appeared in Riddle Fence, Wilderness House Literary Review, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, New English Review, The Southern Distinctive, PILGRIM, The Coil, Bull: Men’s Fiction, Adelaide Literary Magazine, RumbleFish Press, Five on the Fifth, and on The Short Humour Site. Pieces forthcoming in the Tulane Review and New English Review.

Fun facts: Gracjan played baseball in college, two seasons professionally in Europe in the Czech Republic and Belgium, and for the Polish National Team. He is fluent in English, Polish and French, speaks intermediate Italian and Russian, can converse in Spanish, and is now studying Latin and Persian.

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