Blog Archives - THE CATASTROPHIZER
 
I am so thrilled by this

Not because I have little respect for lady writers, or because I think there are such things as "lady writers," or because I think as many young people as possible should be introduced to the works of Henry Miller (although I do, because it's never too early to learn that writers can both write about and be full of shit. I have more to say about hating him right here).

And not because it can be so tiring to confront and rebut complex and layered arguments that coming across something this hilariously embarrassing and stupid is kind of refreshing.

No—I am thrilled because I've been randomly kind of mean about David Gilmour for years, and now I know I was totally justified.

At some point, I will write a long and rambling and bile-filled and tiresome screed about my issues with Canadian Culture and Canadian Writing and the terrible Canadian extras on television shows who make you realize those shows were filmed in Vancouver. For now, I will simply say that for no apparent reason—I don't know him, and I haven't read much by him—David Gilmour became for me representative of all the overrated (in Canada), jowly, self-satisfied, probably-all-hands-y Canadian authors I'm familiar with only because I accidentally watched Imprint once in the '90s. 

And my fits of being mean to him are invariably prefaced with..."What's that guy's name again? You know, the one who wrote that book about wearing a blazer and jeans and wanting to have sex with some teenager on the street?"

I don't care so much about the fact that he turns up in the Globe--if I cared about that, I'd be busy writing a searingly honest and breathtakingly erotic semi-autobiographical novel about wearing a sport coat and jeans--but damn it if it doesn't bother me that he's paid to teach undergraduates. I know dozens and dozens of decent people with PhDs who are not stupid and could really use the money. Oh, and his whole "unapologetic misogyny that was considered edgy in underwhelming academic novels from the '70s" bit is probably not the best thing for budding brains already forced to deal with how stupid most things are.

And why are there so many comma splices in this article? I'd be worried David Gilmour was helping to create a generation of comma-splicing, women-denigrating, "I am Henry Miller, and my cock froths pustulant, proud outrage at the shit-lathered moon"-ing half-wits if I wasn't convinced most people have never heard of him at all.

 
One of the great things about the internet is that you can google things like "I feel ambivalent about Steven Moffatt" or "Why does my cat watch me in the shower" and immediately discover that there are lots of people who have both ambivalent feelings about Steven Moffatt and questions about why their cats want to watch them in the shower.

So I shouldn't really have been surprised to discover that I am not the only one to have feelings of various kinds about that guy from the Everest commercial.

If you're never seen the Everest commercial, that's likely because you're successful and employed and generally fulfilled—it plays only during the day on CP24. And if you have seen it, you probably also have opinions about things like Stephen LeDrew and how maybe it's ambition that matters most, really, because there are so many untalented successful people and so many really amazingly talented not-very-successful people who are busy watching daytime television while not being celebrated.

Here's the script (with details about the actual school taken out, because I don't care as much about them):

You're sitting on your couch, you're watching TV, and your life is passing you by. Keep procrastinating, over and over. Well, maybe I'll go to school next year. Maybe next semester. No, do it right now.

You spend all the day on the phone anyhow. Why don't you make a phone call that's going to help you in your future? All you gotta do is pick up the phone and make the call.

Why are you making it complicated? It's easy.


And here's the Everest guy himself:
As I discovered after I googled "Everest commercial guy," he's inspired parody videos, stand-up comedy routines, and a Facebook page (with 6664 likes) called "The Black Guy from Everest College Commercials That Yell at You" that features the following description: "Regardless of how you feel about this angry man, this is the page for you if you know about him."

What amazes me the most about this commercial is not that it is the most demoralizing and effective commercial ever produced, or that it opens with a statement that could be made about me at any given time and still be incontrovertibly true—but that it has the power to inspire so many different emotions in me. 

Profound Shame
When I first saw it, I felt profound shame. I mean, I was GOING TO SCHOOL when I first saw it, but that didn't matter—my life WAS passing me by, and I knew it.

Gratitude
Then I started to kind of appreciate how passionate he was about the fact that I was wasting my life. He expected more of me. He knew I was capable of more. It's good to have someone like that around—someone who pushes you to do your best.

Appreciation
Later still, I found myself mostly marvelling at the fact that he is probably the greatest actor of all time. He is utterly convincing. If someone told me he was just some real guy on the street who happened to have strong opinions about my schooling and my laziness, I'd absolutely believe him. 

If he were Canadian (which he is not), I would demand that we as a country honour him by immediately casting him in some show opposite Stephen LeDrew. And even though he's not Canadian, I think we should do so anyway, because there are probably dozens of people sitting in doctors' waiting rooms in Canada right now who'd love to see more from him.
 
Picture
The sleep machine I carried around my neck.
Last week was a Lost Week—a week that brought me closer to death without having brought me appreciably closer to anything else—because it kicked off with a nighttime and daytime sleep study that involved having to sleep in a strange windowless room in a hospital while connected to a giant strange machine and listening to disembodied voices say things like, "And now it is time for your leg exercises," before then having to spend almost nine hours in a waiting room with giant things stuck to my head.

It was by no means a genuinely horrific experience. It was kind of what you'd get if you took something mildly annoying, like standing in line with giant things stuck to your head, and then extended that for 19 hours.  

The only redeeming aspects of the whole thing were (1) the nice gentleman who worked there in the daytime and was willing to discuss things like how the large, sepia-toned photo by the bed boasting strange, stunted trees and a road staggering up into an even sepia-er sky looked like it was depicting a road to death, and (2) the following question:

One night you have to remain awake between 4:00 - 6:00 am. in order to carry out a night watch. You have no commitments the next day. Which ONE of the following alternatives will suit you best?

Would NOT go to bed until watch was over Would take a nap before and sleep after Would take a good sleep before and nap after 
Would take ALL sleep before watch 

What is a "night watch"? I NEED TO KNOW WHAT A NIGHT WATCH IS.

I wish all medical questions on medical questionnaires sounded like a cross between a choose-your-own-adventure book, a George R.R. Martin book, and a Victorian novel featuring a death-bed vigil.