BLURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (19)

By: Kahle Alford
September 1, 2022

One in a series of 25 enthusiastic posts, contributed by 25 HILOBROW friends and regulars, delivering brief remarks on mottos, mantras, speeches, slogans, and other words to live by. Series edited by Adam McGovern.

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NOT GONNA CRACK

Suicide is keeping me alive.

My brother and I used to play a game where we’d try to think of the best ways to die. Some variation on being trapped in the swirling section of a cement truck usually won. I still play the game by myself now. My new favorite is saying “No” to the things I love. It’s a more subtle death that requires actually living.

Listening to Nirvana as a 9-year-old was the first time I realized other people wanted to die sometimes, too. I’d play the Nevermind cassette in my mother’s car on the way to ballet class and convince her that he really didn’t have a gun in “Come as You Are.” He says it over and over. Some part of her was relieved that I was no longer subjecting her to Metallica’s Master of Puppets. Cobain’s vocals were just fuzzy enough to pass right through her ears. Fuzzy like his sweaters and the inside of my head where my innate survival instinct turns in on itself and comes out the other side. That mental friction creates a wisp of smoke from a minuscule spark that propels me through the next minutes of being alive. Then the next 5 minutes. Days when I’m busy, hours can even go by where I forget that it’s always opposite day in my mind.

Eternal opposite day has its benefits. When my house is on fire, I feel cool to the touch. Every second, our bodies are dying. Adhering to the principles of opposite day means that living is technically the best way to die.

My favorite Nirvana song, “Lithium,” finds Cobain repeating the phrase “I’m not gonna crack.”

I like it, I’m not gonna crack

I miss you, I’m not gonna crack

I love you, I’m not gonna crack

I killed you, I’m not gonna crack

I’ve held onto those words for 30 years. Even as I’m in a cement truck of my own making with calcium, iron, and silicon hardening around my body. Impenetrable. Losing my dog, my self, and any source of light. I’m not gonna crack. Why? The opposite-day principle. Before I rejoin the soil, I’d like to unearth the nature of things. I need to know who I’m burying. To sink below the belly of a beetle and find the things we lost as children in tall grass when you could still feel the prickle of heat on your skin. I used to save writhing earthworms from the sun. I still do sometimes. You can see their hearts beating through their skin. Would we be so transparent if we could?

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BLURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: INTRODUCTION by Adam McGovern | Ran Xia on BLACK CROW BELIEFS | Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons on LEFT-CORNER BRICK | Andrea Diaz on JOY IS RESISTANCE | Lynn Peril on TO THINE OWN SELF | Miranda Mellis on THE FUTURE IS PASSÉ | Bishakh Som on LET THE WEIRDNESS IN | Lucy Sante on FLAUBERT’S PERFECT WORD | Stefene Russell on CRYSTAL SETS | Crystal Durant on LIFE IS A BANQUET | Adam McGovern on EVERY MINUTE AN OCEAN | Josh Glenn on LUPUS LUPUM NON MORDET | Heather Quinlan on SHUT UP, HE EXPLAINED | Adrienne Crew on WATCH YOUR PENNIES | Art Wallace on COME ON AND GIVE A CHEER | Julia Lee Barclay-Morton on WILLIAM JAMES, UNADAPTED | Christopher-Rashee Stevenson on TO EACH HIS OWN | Nikhil Singh on ILLUMINATE OR DISSIPATE? | Mimi Lipson on CHEAP FOOD TASTES BETTER | Kahle Alford on NOT GONNA CRACK | Michele Carlo on YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT | Marguerite Dabaie on WALKING ON WATER | Raymond Nat Turner on TRYIN’ AND TRANEIN’ | Bob Laine on WHEN YOU GROW UP | Fran Pado on THE SMILEY EMOJI | Deborah Wassertzug on PLACING YOUR BETS. PLUS: BLURB SERIES CODA by Lisa Levy.

MORE ENTHUSIASM at HILOBROW

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Categories

Enthusiasms