Of course I don’t actually want to be a suicide bomber. You don’t need to worry about me. I’m not a violent man. I don’t want to hurt or kill anyone. I don’t care about politics or religious beliefs. I follow the law for the most part. I pay taxes and try and help other people. The thing that I want to blow up is just a dream. A dream. I realize the title of this piece will alert many security databases. I may find security agents at my front door later today. Oh well. At least this would cause something interesting to happen in my life. I realize that we Americans are living in a time of great fear and with an ideological distress that seems to see anyone who is really honest about themselves as a threat. But it is usually the ones who are really transparent who pose the least threat.
I am more concerned with being transparent as a writer than I am with any potential trouble that I could get in because of writing an autobiographical essay entitled, I Want To Be A Suicide Bomber. My job as a writer is to be honest about expressing my inner struggles in creative ways, despite the totalitarian thought policing that is killing all good (honest) writing in America. Without this way of openly expressing myself, I have nothing.
I want to be a suicide bomber. There. I said it again. And I will keep saying it. But I don’t want to be a suicide bomber in the ordinary and horrible ways that less imaginative and more troubled individuals go about suicide bombing. Those that blow themselves up in public places lack all imagination. Granted, it is brave to do such a thing but I don’t think there is a more sick, angry and twisted thing a person could do. These kinds of suicide bombers lack all art. There is nothing creative in what they do. Blowing themselves and other people up in public places is the most self-righteous and arrogant thing a person can do. It is the epitome of imposing your beliefs on other people and there is nothing I dislike more than someone who imposes their belief system on someone else without even giving them a chance. Losers is what these people are, even though they think they stand on some higher ground. This is what religion has the potential to do to a person and it is a main reason why I am an atheist.
Is not having a god the reason why I have no meaning in my life? Is this why currently I experience no feelings of passion or joy (unless I have had a few drinks)? I am sure that many religious people would say “absolutely.” But I am not interested in the deluded sense of meaning they have as much as I admire their faith. If I was courageous enough I may be at the point in life where a person would commit suicide. My job is painful. Most things do not bring me joy. My relationship with the woman I love very much is a struggle everyday, day after day, mostly because I am so fucked up. I am perpetually bored. I no longer feel relevant as an artist and writer. I feel like I have failed in creating the life I wanted when younger.
But why? What is going on here? I have a really nice home (surrounded by neighbors I do not know, in a neighborhood that I have nothing in common with other than being a human being continually trying to just get by), lovely Danish Modern Furniture, beautiful backyard, four dogs, all the unread books and unlistened to records that I could ever want to read and listen to, decent health, a well-paying job, a Westfalia Camper Van (sitting idle for months in my driveway), a beautiful young wife who is sexually under used, my own writing studio which I rarely ever write in, high quality headphones I don’t listen to, nice clothes, king sized tempurpedic bed, a stand up desk I never stand at, a newly remodeled kitchen that I am often angry about being messy, a cabinet filled with nutritional supplements that I don’t take. The list goes on and on. But I feel this emptiness, boredom, despair, anger (I really do not know how to describe it) inside of me. It actually hurts. Physically. It feels like no longer being relevant. It feels like losing a very important game. It feels like not getting what you really wanted. It feels like losing something that was very important to you. It is the strangest fucking thing especially when you have so many wonderful things all around you.
But all these things just don’t seem to help as much as I thought they would. Maybe I will get another dog.
Is this what the American Dream I have heard spoken about all my life feels like? Is this how most people feel once they experience the American Dream? Is this it? Is this why so many of us watch tv and stare into our phones? Or is it just me? Most people seem to be doing ok. They go places. Socialize. Hang out with friends. Laugh. Smile. Seem relatively happy with their subordination in life. Is this real or just a facade? I see people who seem to be making a lot of money, seem to be very successful and accomplished in their life. Are they free of the feelings I described above? Do they ever feel like they would want to be a suicide bomber? Do even the security agents who are reading this piece right now feel ok in their personal lives?
I have no friends (other than a Zen friend whom I text with almost every day but have not spoken to in over five years). I have no relationship with my parents. No one I can talk to and relate with other than a pint of beer. I feel very alone. I don’t go out much. I think I am agoraphobic now. My weeks repeat themselves. I used to want to be a writer and an artist but that has not really worked out and I no longer have the energy I would need to make it work out. (All you younger people who are wasting your vital energy getting drunk, hanging out in bars, staring off into cell phones- please get to work. You have a very limited supply of interest and energy left to manifest your dreams with.) I used to want to be a professional tennis player a long time ago but this never worked out. I wanted to start an indie magazine but my father convinced me it would not work out. I feel it has been my destiny to fail. Some are destined to succeed. Some are destined to just get by. I am destined to fail. Why can’t I just accept the quiet, American suburban life I now have? I am losing all interest in everything. Is this just the dopamine being erased from my aging brain? After forty five years of emotional turmoil caused by my relationships with other people maybe all of my dopamine and serotonin has dried up. I refuse to become the American stereotype of a person with a mortgage, a failed marriage, debt and psychiatric prescriptions to fill. I am close though.
My wife just brought me breakfast and placed it on my desk next to me. A waffle, two pieces of vegan bacon and a flower. That was nice of her. She was supposed to wake up early this morning and make us a nice breakfast but slept in. Again. My wife sleeps about nine to ten hours a night. I presume that this is a sign of her suburban depression. I appreciate her making some effort to prepare some sort of breakfast even thought it is now almost ten. It all makes me sad. What my marriage has become. What my life has become. The fact that I am losing interest in almost everything (don’t even have much interest in sex anymore) puts me into a near vegetative state. So many unread books. So many records never listened to. I fear I am now just going through the motions. But I do try to keep myself alive and vital. I try. Maybe I will eat the vegan bacon, even though I am no longer hungry.
Personally I think that what I feel, whatever it may be, is what American Life has become. I think most Americans feel this way. I am probably just more aware of it. More sensitive to this existential ennui. “Anxious? Depressed? Relationship Issues?” This is what a large add in the back of the LA Weekly says. It is for a research study. Doesn’t everyone feel this way these days? I mean really- we are living in terrible times. There is a large hole in all of us. Most of us are painfully isolated. Painfully alone. But no one seems to be saying anything. So I want to be a suicide bomber. I want to bring attention to this. I want to blow up the American Dream with my body. But how the hell does someone blow up a dream? I have no idea how this could be done and it is the reason why I have not done anything. What would I do? How would I go about it. Blow myself up in my mortgaged home? My dogs live here and I would never want to hurt anyone or anything other than my stupid self.
I live in the same town where the author David Foster Wallace hung himself. He had a nice house filled with Danish Modern Furniture also. Billy The Kid lived here as well and wrote in his journal about never feeling as suicidal as he did when living in this town. The town that I live in is a very middle-class, mostly all white, suburban, university town. Could it be that the routine, the monotony, the live-to-work mentality that is emblematic of white, middle-class suburbs is creating this feeling of despair in me? In larger cities there are so many interesting distractions to fill one’s self up with that just this alone breaks up the monotony. Here, I am home every evening. Even if I wanted to go out there would be few places I am interested in going out to. There really is nothing to do. I feel trapped. Stuck. Yuck.
Maybe I just need to become a Buddhist. Try to escape the existential banality of my own mind. Maybe I just need to be more like my Zen friend. He is happy all the time. He lives alone, owns very few things, works a ordinary job, meditates for an hour every day and is happy just being. Pure awareness all the time. This just doesn’t work for me. Too dull. Feels like a self induced lobotomization. I feel like there is something inherently sad about the person who has to trade in their ego for pure awareness all the time. What a dud you become. This is one way of being a suicide bomber but without the bombing. You just commit suicide by consciously choosing to no longer identify with any kind of ego. Pure bliss, pure awareness, all the time. No thanks.
So what do I do? What is to be done? Didn’t Lenin ask this question. Even he, the great leader of Russia dealt with this problem. What is to be done? I don’t know. The sun is coming out and that helps. Find meaning in work, relationships and passions. This is what Richard Dawkins, the great scientist tells me. But a person needs a ready supply of interest in order to cultivate these things. I have no interest in much. I don’t have enough interest to plant a flower or go for a walk. I struggle to even water my lawn. I try to find meaning in literature and music but my interest in things seems to last only for about an hour a day (usually after morning coffee). It then dissipates away like the morning fog. Drinking coffee in mid-afternoon can extend or add an extra hour of interest in my day. But it also adds more anxiety as well.
I want to be a suicide bomber because I don’t know what else to do. But I could never blow myself or anyone else up. That is ridiculous. Absurd. But wouldn’t blowing up a dream, because it is actually a nightmare, add an element of excitement to my life? Would being this kind of suicide bomber be an effective way to quench my unquenchable thirst? Would it be an accurate response to the banality and existential despair I feel? This American Dream, I believe, is the cause of how I feel. Debt, mortgages, dull career choices, not getting the satisfaction I thought I would get from all the things I have bought and achieved. I want to know if President Obama can relate? Can you? (By the way, I think you are the greatest President in American history.) In one way or another I have done everything I was taught to do. I have been a good kid but just not very ambitious. Because I refuse to just accept the fate of being average, of being just like all the other unlucky, suburban salmon swimming up stream together while staring into cell phones and unpaid bills, I live in despair. I can’t seem to just swallow the Kool Aide.
I want to be a suicide bomber but I also realize I never will be. One can have a desire but never act upon it. I want to be a porn star but also never will be. I want to be Thom Yorke but also never will be. I want to be a Zen monk but never will be. I want to be a successful artist and writer but never will be. I want to be a published graphic novelist but never will be. I want to be a happy person but also never will be. I want to be at peace in all my relationships but never will be. The list goes on and on. Isn’t this the pain of wanting? Most of us unlucky bastards know we will never be the thing we want to be. Maybe this is the source of where the pain comes from. Isn’t the American Dream all about wanting what you can never have?
The only real answer I have thus far found: anesthetize yourself with Netflix.