Friday, November 2, 2012

Cow Creamer Philosophy

There's a short-lived TV show on DVD, by the same guy who made "Pushing Daisies," called "Wonderfalls." I think that when it aired back in 2004, it only lasted four episodes. Needless to say, it's kind of brilliant.

The essential plot of this show is that Jaye Tyler, a 24-year-old retail employee, starts hearing inanimate objects talk to her. They give her vague instructions like "Pick up that quarter," or "Make me a match," and each time she (reluctantly) listens, it sets off a chain of events that ends up helping someone in need. But why do I bring this up?

Jaye's brother Aaron (played by the awesome and crushworthy Lee Pace) is a theologian with several degrees in various religious studies, pursuing a PhD in comparative religion. He's a philosophical genius and hardcore atheist, never confused by any existential problem. Until he realizes his sister has received instructions from a porcelain cow creamer. And, well, watch the video:

I've always found Aaron's existential crisis scenes kind of hilarious, especially when he declares "meaninglessness in a universe with meaning...what does it mean?"When I rewatched the episode today, though, I found it less funny and more relatable.

I'm used to constantly questioning. I think that's a little of what life is about, the never ending search for meaning. I know what it's like to have a serious philosophical quandary and have someone laugh and respond with, "Are you high?"

Is it that weird to want to know what something means?

So one of the reasons I started rewatching Wonderfalls this week is because it's light and funny. But I also chose this specifically because it's about someone I find myself relating to.

Jaye Tyler is a graduate of Brown University, a writer, a philosopher. She's also a massive underachiever and misanthrope. She's lazy, sarcastic, and runs from every challenge, much more the type to stick her fingers in her ears and yell "lalalalalalalalalalala" than to hear a lecture.

Now, I don't really relate to any of these things. The thing I find familiar is that she's post-college, the youngest of three kids, living on her own but still very attached to her family, and very, very confused about what life's going to bring.

This week, I turned 24. For some reason, I've always placed an odd significance on this age. I remember being a little kid and telling my mom that 24 is the perfect year to be a grown-up. You know, get a job, get married, live in a house with a slide instead of a staircase because duh. 

But now, I'm 24. And I don't feel any closer to achieving anything than when I first got my acceptance letter to grad school. I know what I want out of life, which I guess is a pretty big thing. I know what I'm studying to become. I'm also living my life according to a philosophy/religion I find true meaning in. But I've also been having an uncommonly tough time with it this semester. And when I watched the scene with Aaron and the cow creamer, I think I figured out why.

Because I believe that life has meaning. I believe the meaning's out there, I just haven't found it yet, and I'm comfortable with the idea that I may never find it, that it might not be meant for human beings to understand. But that also leads me to believe that MY life has meaning, and that's something I probably AM meant to figure out and understand for myself. And that's where we hit a hitch.

I know what I WANT my life to mean. I know what my skills are, and I'm trying my best to utilize them in order to achieve that meaning. But then again, I'm also a confused post-college intern who can't seem to find what she's looking for. Instead, I've been finding out a lot of things about human behavior that I never wanted to know.

I feel like I've figured out what's wrong, made the doctor's appointment, and now I'm just in the waiting room, looking at my watch and wondering when I'll receive treatment. I feel like anything I get now is just a magazine or a text message to pass the time.

I'm 24 years old, and I've just left some things I really liked having behind and turned to a new, very scary world I'm not sure I like at all. But I can't stick my fingers in my ears and yell "lalalalalalalala." I see people everywhere doing just that. I want to hear the advice. I want to hear the cow creamer tell me what I should do, just to get going to where I know I want to be.

1 comment:

  1. Life has meaning; age does not. Age is just a number. It records a biological fact, but not experience, maturity and all that other wonderful stuff.

    Oh, and you should know already many of the best shows always get canceled. Networks aim for the lowest common denominator, so many times mediocrity survives. Good shows survive too, but if its too good, it's a danger sign.