There is nothing you can do that is good
If there is no one who saw it and can tell you that it is good
-Someone, somewhere, at some point in history
In my almost 25 years of breathing oxygen, masturbating to Internet porn, and guzzling a delicious mix of Jim Beam and Budweiser (blame my mother’s breast milk for getting me hooked), I have come in contact with many people who have an iron-clad commitment to moral virtue and a deep sense of personal ethics, but have found themselves struggling; struggling to get layed, struggling to not drive a 1986 Honda Accord, struggling to tell people about their lives without the listener bursting into uncontrollably mean-spirited laughter.
I suspect that some of these problems, which I am just now making up in my brain, sound familiar to you:
I’ve set my career goals, and woke up one morning determined to accomplish them. Then I realized that I didn’t even have a job and before I could start looking for one I discovered a Ren and Stimpy marathon on illegallypiratedTV.tv. It’s now 4 years later and my mom just bought me a super pack of boxers from the American Eagle outlet store.
I’ve started a new diet—for the 18th time this year. I know I’ve overweight and I really don’t want to be. I also know it’s January 18th, and my McDonald’s frequent Big Mac’s buyers punch card has already been marked 37 times.
I’ve taken course after course in time management, which is ironic—because taking a four-hour class about how to brush my teeth in 17 seconds instead of 28 is a giant waste of time.
My teenage son is rebellious and loves to party. I’m only 22 and I have a teenage son. I haven’t partied since I was 9.
I see my friends or relatives achieve some measure of success. Actually I don’t see them do anything of importance because I am out smoking drugs in the parking lot during all of their graduations, weddings, etc.
My marriage has gone flat. My wife is Persian and I spent my lifesavings to bring her to America. Now she is banging every dude in California and starring in low-budget softcore porns on Showtime.
These are deep problems. Some are painful physically. Some are painful emotionally. Some, like watching Ren and Stimpy or smoking drugs, really are designed to take away pain—and usually do a damn fine job of it. But all of them are, in one way or another, problems. All of them make you a failure in the eyes of other people, which therefore makes you a failure in the real world.
Now I am not trying to put anyone down here. In fact I can empathize with this very predicament. I know what you all are going through, because I am almost a failure as well. In fact if I didn’t have possession of my parent’s credit card, and they didn’t work very hard so they could buy me Qudoba and then chastise me about my lack of independence every second of every day, my life would probably look worse than your’s. My “success” is not my own—my parent’s still put a roof over my head, feed me, do my laundry, pay for my cellphone, car, gas, insurance and PS3 games, and allow me to drink any alcohol which may be in their possession—but that doesn’t mean I will not take credit for it. I am upper-middle class, and I do not have a pure enough heart to want to earn that distinction on my own.
Even if you do however, that desire alone does nothing for you. Like Andre Agassi once said: Image is everything. If you aren’t wearing ballin’ ass suits, drivin a fly whip, or taking enough money out of the ATM to buy yourself a high class ho’ every Tuesday and Friday night, then you haven’t made it. You can have all the inner peace you want, all the charitable characteristics that can fulfill your need to help others, and that, by itself, will never be enough. Andre Agassi (arguably my favorite athlete of all-time) may have smoked Angel Dust and wore a strange mullet wig, but he went on to use all his money to become one of the most philanthropic famous people who ever existed. And he still said that image is reality. He still understood the meaning of “success”
My point here is that being a good person does not make you a success or a failure in our world, other people’s judgements do. Realizing this, and deciding to be unsuccessful anyway, is the first step into being an almost complete failure, which is what I am; a youngish man-child who has yet to become a grown up. I am someone who, by any objective measure, could be called at least somewhat of a disappointment. I could be called lazy, immature, or desensitized. I could be called politically unaware, unconcerned, or unsympathetic. I could be called a moocher, a financial pariah, or someone too willing to live off his parent’s money. I could be called a failure.
Which doesn’t mean that I am one. It just means that I am close. I enjoy my life. I do not want to change and grow up and become a productive member of society. That’s why I am trying to peddle this Internet site, despite its potential financial earnings of $0/fiscal quarter. Because, in lack of better words, getting drunk on a weeknight is more fun than selling life insurance to people who are too fat to ever qualify for it.
And that's the difference between me, and the others in my stead, and the people I have completely made up in my brain and quoted above. I know that getting drunk on a Tuesday because I have no job to get up for the next morning and no money of my own means that I am, by the definition of the word, not a doing “well” by any stretch of the imagination. But I also don't care. I am not a complete failure because I decide not to chase success, while the people above did and ultimately failed. That, their inability to either achieve at least a modest amount of "success" or embrace their own failure, is why they suck. That may sound blunt and overly honest, but it’s also true. Those are just the stone, cold facts homies.
Look in the end I do not think that you need to drive a Mercedes to be a success, but you do need to have the keys to at least a relatively new Ford Focus. You don’t need to go on a shopping spree in the Armani suit department to be doing well, but you do need to be able to buy your own cargo shorts at Old Navy. You don’t need the whole world to pat you on the back or bend over and take your every whim up the b-hole to be a productive member of society, but you do need them to look at you and acknowledge that you are doing no worse than “just fine” for yourself.
Perception is reality. Success is what we determine it to be. You are not doing “just fine” for yourself if no one else can say that about you with a straight face. And that’s OK. Because doing “just fine” is for mature people who want to live in the suburbs. That’s not me. That’s not the people who live their lives like I live mine.
Which is why we are here. This is not meant to be an anthropological study into success. This is meant to be an anthropological study into almost complete failure (otherwise known as complete failure for people who care) and what makes it what it is.
This is an anthropological study, based on no facts or research other than me living my own life and not reading enough books while doing it, about myself and people like me. People with no jobs and not enough money. People who may want to be writers, artists or movie stars yet have either no discernable talent, or no discernable talent that anyone else can recognized. People who embrace capitalism without making it their bitch yet.
People who are ineffective, and don’t want to change it. People who want to be drunk and lazy and maybe one day find their way to success with little or no effort all at the same time.
That is who I am. And this is the beginning of the story as to why.
We Are Almost Complete Failures: A Manifesto
We are sons and daughters; brothers and sisters; more than likely accidental fathers and mothers to alcohol and PCP abusers. We are everything but husbands and wives. We will never be able to afford a diamond engagement ring, or even afford to wear one without hawking it at our local Pawn Shop or using it as our entry fee when we sign up with a new prostitution ring.
We are men and women who, like our bastard children, consume alcohol, and maybe hardcore drugs if we found Uma Thurman’s overdose in Pulp Fiction to be arousing instead of a terrifying warning not to do awesome stuff. We feel better we when are inebriated, and we should. Getting drunk must be fun or no one would be doing it.
Besides getting hammered, we also masturbate and watch TV and sometimes we do them at the same time. Kelly Ripa is hot. We don’t have anything else to do all day. Sometimes the Internet porn is cranking just a little too slow. You do the math on what happens when our hands and down our pants and we are watching daytime television.
The only reason we may not be watching daytime television is that we are asleep. We like to sleep. We like to sleep a lot. Like 10 hours a day. Or 12. Or 18. We probably need at least a little more time in the sack than the 195-year-old queen of England. If we don’t get our two-digit plus hours every single night, we are monsters. If God won’t let us drift off into our dreams on our own, we chug Nyquil.
We chug everything we drink. Whiskey at night. Gatorade in the morning. Cheap coffee and monster energy drinks when we are tired from our 9-5 "lay down on the couch and don’t move" session. We do not sip green tea with a sprinkle of lemon. We have never stuck our pinky out awkwardly from the handle of the cup as we do it. We are not British. People who we claim as ancestors, yet have absolutely no biological ties to us whatsoever, beat the God damn Lobster Backs’ asses in two wars to ensure that. We clearly don’t understand history very well.
We may have gone to college; we may not have. We may be able to pass the GED test; we may not be. We may know how to read good; but we probably cannot. But we, the jobless, the drunk, the uninformed, the pretty dumb, the lazy, the guys who spill sauce all over our crotch every time we eat spaghetti, we, the people who do not know how to work washing machines or spell the word "immeiadetly," we, the men and women who buy breakfast, lunch and dinner off the McDonald’s value menu because we cannot work a stove or afford to pay a gas bill, we will be heard.
Our lives will be investigated. Our patterns will be dissected. The world will learn why we are the way we are.
The world will hear our story because, at some point in the future, I will tell it to you. And at that point you will discover one thing: you will want to be more like us, not less.
We may not be successes. We may be almost complete failures. But we don't care because we know that we will have our day in the whiskey soaked sun.
And you, my rich and well-to-do friends, will be very, very jealous of us when that time finally comes.
We may not be productive members of society, and that’s OK. Because, everything we do, is productive enough for us to get drunk and sleep in our parent’s attics until we are 29. Everything we do is productive enough for us to live life the way it is meant to be lived.
Fat, drunk and stupid may be no way for you to go through your life.
But that will never stop us from going that way with ours.