Monday, November 26, 2007

The Seven Stages of Grief

Yes, what a productive November it's been. It's almost over already (What's that whooshing sound? Oh, right. Time. Slow down, dammit!) and I've barely written over half of what I did in here last month. I keep trying to pick up the pace with this thing, but it's hard to find interesting and worthwhile things to write long posts about on a regular basis. Makes people's sensationalized personal plots and ADD-oriented bite-size-entry-filled blogs plenty understandable. You write something daily - sometimes even several times daily - and the readers, they will flock. In theory, at least. Doesn't seem to work as well for some of the ones I see advertising on the Google group's blog-sharing board. But then, how many of these "Make Money With Your Blog!" blogs do we even need? That's people for you, though, the avaricious lot we are. Find something interesting to write about! Write about cheese! Write cheesy humor! Do the world some gouda! (Okay, maybe I deserve to be shot for that one.)

Anyway, enough of my finger-wagging. Not like the internet's bound to listen anyway, even if I do know what's good for it. (More sites featuring monkeys wearing little hats. MORE, I say! But only if said monkeys consent. We can't have humans violating their right to choose not to wear a little hat, after all. Even if America seems to be all about forcing people into things these days.) The challenges of writing meaningful - or even consistently funny - blog entries are only growing more apparent in time. Makes it easy to understand why humor sites like Something Awful keep a large enough stable of writers and columnists around, ultimately having them write probably 2-3 articles a month, tops, so there's plenty of regular new content in the rotation, and nobody has to push themselves. (Except with the Daily Dirt section, anyway. But that's pretty purposefully half-assed and retarded.)

I'll quit my grousing this time, really. Not much good for me to lecture the rest of the internet to write more interesting and meaningful content when I'm not exactly doing that enough myself. (Next time: I discuss quantum physics and how I don't know anything about quantum physics and kill about 8-10 paragraphs saying nothing whatsoever - sound and fury, in fact, signifying nothing.) So without further ado, my clearly-incredibly-long-awaited latest blog entry. The subject this time? As the subject indicates, the seven stages of grief. Of course, you may have read some other set of seven stages of grief, say, in a psychology textbook. But those things're outdated. They don't know what they're talking about. Hell, some of them even claim there's only five. (What does Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross know, really? Maybe people only grieved in five stages back in 1969. How far we've come.)

Of course, I can't explain these seven stages without giving you proper context in regards to my own personal grief. And my tale of woe, it is a heartbreaking one. I'll give you a second to grab some tissues. You'll need them, when you start sobbing uncontrollably, having been emotionally rocked to your core by the sheer magnitude of my loss. Well, here goes. Don't say I didn't warn you.

It's dead. Gone. Kaput. Finito. Conversing with da fishes clad in a brand spankin' new pair o' cement shoes. Ghastly, I know. My poor Gamecube memory card. Over 20 games' save files, three and a half years of nerdly addiction and accomplishment. All down the tubes. Why? Who knows why! The gods are cruel - cruelest of all to those of us who believe in them not. Though it's said that many of the first run of the 1019 block cards were known for corrupting, though later runs did not. And it's hard to tell whether or not the heat from my Nintendo Wii's WiiConnect24 feature had anything to do with it either, though people like to jump to blaming it for things it often doesn't cause. But nonetheless, something to be taken into consideration anyway, given how much I've relied on the motion-detecting happy-box since I finally acquired one on Ebay months ago. But in having been relying on its backwards compatibility, I hadn't anticipated such a malady, calamity, even catastrophe! (Though if I'm lucky, I may be able to salvage some of my saved data and transfer it to a new card when I buy one.) Well over a thousand hours of work, gone. A blow to one's daily functioning not unlike abrupt loss of a hard drive after failing to properly keep your files backed up. At least, if you're like me. Perhaps it says too much about me - and doubtlessly in a negative sense, considering how society tends to frown upon those too closely linked with their electronics - but upon losing a hard drive in such situations, years of everything, it's like losing a part of yourself. As though it just abruptly evaporated into thin air, leaving you feeling incomplete. Writing, music, games, links, all my connections to friends on instant messengers, info I'd need to be able to contact them at all - POOF. Gone. Like someone just shot you with a cannon and you somehow miraculously survived, leaving only a gaping cartoon-like hole where there is nothing. To someone like me, an embarrassingly admittedly isolated, withdrawn individual sorely lacking meaningful human contact and connections, it's an incredibly painful loss. And all you can do is grieve your loss, whether human, pet, or digital data. (With as much as I game, three and a half years is a hell of a lot. Especially confounding when Baten Kaitos Origins was really starting to get interesting at its 40-hour mark. And this was the card I got with the new games I'd received the day after my major jaw surgery back in June 2004, so it does hold some amount of sentimental value, having been part of what little connection I had to my daily routine back then, I was so drugged up, coping with the psychological trauma of surgery and inability to move my jaw, let alone lie down and sleep back then.) Perhaps this connection simply says that I need to back up my data more (Easier said than done with gaming data.), and that I need to get out of here, make some new friends, start a new life, and maybe even find love. (Hell, that's part of what I'm trying to do with my novel. But will it win her heart? Knowing my luck, probably not. But I need to make the gesture and speak what's in my heart in the most meaningful way I know how. Even if letting my emotions out - particularly in that regard - is one of the most difficult things for me to do, given my experiences.) There's not even a perhaps about it, really. But that doesn't take away from the pain and grief.

And so, the seven stages of grief.
1) Denial (Not Just a River in Egypt) - At this point, you aren't even ready to be uncool with things. Instead, you get to flip out and refuse to even acknowledge the possibility that something might just be the case. "NO! How can pogs be a terrible random '90s pop culture reference!? Pogs are hilarious! Check out this slammer! No! Don't walk away! This is funny!"

2) Denial Part 2: The Bloodening - Stage two is the natural progression of stage one. People will tell you to calm down and face facts like a normal, rational adult. This is a lie, of course, as most adults are not rational, despite what they tell themselves in order to get by. Being a bearer of truth and justice, you expose their lies by lashing out - with violence. (For comedy purposes, attempting to garrote them with dental floss will result in many hours of family fun in the midst of your suffering. For more serious Bloodeners, a lead pipe is recommended for the musical sounds it might rhythmically produce as you cave in their skulls, one by one.) "What do you mean eating Cheerios for breakfast can help me reduce my cholesterol!? I'll kill you! I'LL KILL ALL OF YOU!"

3) Gambling (Formerly Bargaining) - Upon realizing that their gods were cruel gods, people gave up bargaining a long time ago. Those assholes don't care about you. These days, there's only one way to counteract the reality of the grief you're dealing with - by risking your life (Or money) against all odds to prove that if you can pull that off, they must be wrong about what's upsetting you. Approaching the source of your grief with even the slightest suggestion of accepting it might be a reality that you just have to face is a trap. That's just what they want you to do, so you'll let your guard down and cry like a small child while they steal your riches and sleep with your girlfriend. (Or boyfriend, as the case may be, obviously. These stages apply to both the sexes, after all. And even the hybrid ultra-sexes.) "I bet if I can jump this two-mile gorge with my motorcycle, Elvis will never die!"

4) Intensive Care - So you've been severely injured. So what? That doesn't mean they were right. Disco's comin' back and nobody's gonna tell you your ABBA records aren't hip! This stage mostly involves lying around in a body cast, being pumped so full of morphine that you can't tell what's what anymore. And crying. Crying a lot. Even though you can't remember what you're crying about. Maybe someday you'll learn to do basic math again. Someday.

5) Denial Part 3: You're Lying, Dammit! And I Can Prove It! - You regain enough of your capacity for cognition to start realizing what's been going on all along and how you ended up hospitalized in the first place. It hits you one day, five years down the line in physical therapy. Everyone else has moved on, and thinks of you as a sad, sad case, wondering if you aren't perhaps in some way mentally disabled, and if perhaps you shouldn't have been living in a special home all alone. So sad, you used to be so normal. But now? Now you think the Blue Collar comedians are actually funny. What the hell, man? Seriously - what the hell? You're wrong. You're wrong about everything.

6) Depression - There's no running away anymore. The cards are on the table. The dice have fallen - they were loaded, anyway. The dog's still rolling around on its back. You can't escape the truth. Your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles memorabilia just isn't holding up as well as you'd hoped. Life has no meaning now. You could seek help. Maybe reach out to family. Yeah, like they actually care about you. And friends? What friends? You drove them all away years ago. What's wrong with you? Why did you always have to be such a hateful creature? Why couldn't you ever be nice and just tell the people you loved that you loved them? Remember that one? Yeah, you remember them, and the way you two used to look at each other. If only you'd said something and actually acted, they could've been yours. You could've been happy. But no. You had to be an idiot and hide your feelings until it was too late. You deserve this. You deserve all of this. Maybe the world would be a better place without you.

7) Suicide (Sometimes Known as Uncle Bob's Happy Fun Time) - The final stage! This is what you've spent your whole life waiting for! The bright lights, the spectators, the cotton candy, the clowns, the tumbling act! Welcome to the circus they call self-inflicted fatality! So many methods, so many means, so many ideas, so much potential! So many buzzing bright lights. The heady high, the lowest low, the burning that consumes you from the inside out. Should you do this? Or shouldn't you? No time for indecisiveness, young one, you've a grave or urn to fill! Seal your fate, cross paths with the grim reaper, dance with the death monkey! It's not like any of us have much reason to go on anyway. We're all insignificant specks in a poorly sealed snow globe - that water's all gonna evaporate yet.

I hope this entry has been an enlightening experience. As you can see, modern grief is truly the stuff of tragedies. Stupid, stupid tragedies. (But isn't the stupidity just part of what makes it all so tragic?) So if you can avoid such a tragedy, it's highly recommended. Don't grieve like these people. Turn to loved ones. Failing that, seek counseling. Get some candy, rent a movie you like. It's a rough ride, this life, and the best any of us can do is hang on before we're too weary and battered to go on. So if life's got you down, do what you need to in order to survive - though ideally not heroin, you'll never stop grieving then, if you know what I mean - and if all else fails, cast your eyes skyward and shout profanity. Not only will it let off a little of that steam, but you'll get to enjoy freaking everyone else around you out. Simple pleasures. These too are important to seek when suffering.

Keep an eye out. With any luck I'll come up with another good post here before the end of the week, to bring November to an even five. I was going to do a Thanksgiving post days ago, but only came up with a vague overall routine in my head for it. So I'll put the inevitable "things I'm thankful for" parody entry off until I can give you, dear (And yet also pitiable, by the very token that you're reading things I've written.) readers, something at least semi-funny. And really, isn't that the true meaning of life, procrastinating and embodying mediocrity? Or am I wrong to get that from looking at the human species as a whole? November's been a rough, stressful month anyway, finishing my graduation project papers. Do me a favor and keep your fingers crossed that I finally get to graduate in December. After suffering this inherently nerdy but still quite painful loss, I could really use some good news. Like all in this transitional phase, I'd really like to get on with my life. Especially to the parts where I get published and move somewhere else for a new start. As I'll doubtlessly ruminate on much in the future, I'm certainly one in sore need of escape from the rut he's been in for much of his youth. (With any luck, I won't get yelled at too much for my continual spamming of the Google group every time I write here, too. All part of the process of trying to build a reader base, after all. One of the toughest trials for the aspiring writer. Especially when you're kind of an eccentric, as I am.)

1 comment:

Elise said...

I almost peed my pants! Sorry to be so crude but you're so funny!

I'm sure you'll graduate this december. Hold off the suicide until then

xox