Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It's been done

from "Indecision," by Benjamin Kunkel

"The other day I caught you listening to Nirvana."

"Pavement," I corrected -- though I too could remember the days when fellow college students had listened to Nirvana, gone on Prozac, and with a recession on and the job market looking bad, developed the fad of wearing mechanics' uniforms with blunt proletarian names stitched in cursive over the heart. It had been cool and in some circles apparently mandatory to be unkempt and pessimistic. Meanwhile I'd gone around just being as chipper as my nature insisted. Only around now did I seem to have become, way past the point of cultural appropriateness, the unambitious and flannel-wearing holder-down of a totally dead-end job.

"You're living a cliche," Vaneetha had said. "It's not even a fresh cliche."

I knew she was right. It wasn't very unusual for me to lie awake at night feeling like a scrap of sociology blown into its designated corner of the world. But knowing the cliches are cliches doesn't help you to escape them. You still have to go on experiencing your experiences as if no one else has ever done it.


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