The Metre Reader #1: Soft Focus

Much commentary — hell, most of my own — drills its way into what’s wrong out there. I’d even venture to say that focus is pulled on wrongness largely because there’s a lot wrong and it’s easy to find targets: potholed roads, erroneous reasoning, elected officials, that smoke that comes out of every single Burger King, terrible parks, ill-fitting communication, slow recovery, anything “with a quickness,” text face, text thumbs, and the whole urban textscape.


You can ask anyone; it’s all wrong.

The difficult part — yes, I’m a card-carrying member of the Diffi Cult — is less singular: Finding good stuff to say about what’s wrong, finding wrong stuff to say about what’s good, and, of course, finding anything to say about what’s right can feel … well, stupid. Bananas, for example, are perfect. But, bananas? Who fucking cares? Trustworthy mechanics have never had long-winded speech dedicated to their thankless practices. Instead, a dull, shade-tree, “Yeah. He’s good and won’t rip you off” is about all you’ll hear. And the positive cell-phone-store visit? Those are kept secret, I’m assuming, because no one wants to jinx the experience and somehow make their mini computer melt down in their pocket.

So in the strong spirit of the pessimistic contrarian, I’ve been trying to generate some positraction — swinging this obtuse pendulum to the more affirmative side of life by using the well-honed tools of a decades-old negative approach.

It’s weird, and every bone in my body tells me that something’s wrong, but I’m sick of hearing about it. Fuck you, skeleton.

So, yeah, I’ll go see Slayer tomorrow and I’ll dig it, even though my entire spine says it’s gonna be a tour-shirted, tube-sock shit show. I’ll go on that group ride and enjoy it, even though my upper ribcage is adamant that it’s a bad move to ride with people who are so obliviously intent on testing my evasive maneuvering techniques and survival skills. And I’ll continue to devour every crumb of skateboarding that falls into my lap even as my knees and right hip scream at me that the whole mess is devolving into strength-based mini clips, millionaire robotics, and self-indulgent sleight of hand.

Pitted, bro.

And my list continues to grow.

I mean, I really do like Instagram. It’s fun.

Troubleshooting my own consumer electronics provides me with a sense of self-reliance that the tech-support woman just can’t provide.

A complete and successful weaning from months of anti-inflammatory use has allowed me to trust my aches and pains again.

Cops? Sure, why not?

And good-time rollerboarding is always on point, always leading the pack, always providing hope for the rest of this worrisome, worked world.

Don’t worry, though. I’ll always keep one foot in the familiar grave of cynicism and disbelief, and while I suggest that you do the same, there’s no way I’m going the path of recruiting or converting anyone to my slightly-more-positive approach. First of all, bate-and-switch is just a creepy power-play best left to holy-men and aspiring NRA lobbyists. You go, girls. Second of all, I’m born and bred to look sideways at the whole three-ring circus. To quote Mike: “I went to your schools. I went to your churches. I went to your institutional learning facilities. So how can you say I’m crazy?”
Protect me from the meme, myself.

Not a hundred percent upbeat, I know, but I figure I’ve struck a good balance: Something posi to keep me from sinking below the scum line forever, and something neg for my disapproving brothers and sisters to target. I mean, yeah, it’s easy, but sometimes you gotta remind yourself that it feels good to hit the bullseye, even if it is all wrong, all time.