Timbre #31: Good Health

You are the worst. A lost cause. A smaller amount than absolutely nothing. You actually owe me some money for having to put up with the burden of your worthlessness.

And we are all very proud.

The shittiness you possess is something that cannot be faked. It’s so real that there can be no imitators, no pretenders, no one can be that bad. No one wants to be that bad.

And you couldn’t care less.

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Care less? Nolan Johnson’s got you covered. Photo: Matt Price

Look around at what really catches your eye. It’s not just the new for new’s sake. Usually it’s the unapologetic, the naïve, the stupidly brilliant, and the work they produce that really are the greatest.

Mechanics who try their hand at poetry. The tone-deaf friends who start a band. Color blind screen printers. The starving artist turned businessman. The CEO turned bread baker.

And of course … there’s you.

You really fucking suck. Skateboarding couldn’t be more difficult. Your scene is terrible. You maybe have one or two friends. No money. No job. Your set-up is completely ground down to a splintered nub. You have no earthly way of knowing which way it is you’re going …

“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” —Albert Einstein

But the Sex Pistols couldn’t play for shit. Pablo Picasso was an asshole. Nelson Mandela was a stubborn and lowly inmate. Einstein was a C student.

You won’t know it as you’re living it, but if you could ask yourself one question, just to confirm that you’re on the path of complete and total dreadfulness, it might be this: Is what I’m doing so good and fun and interesting and satisfying that I don’t care if I fail, if I look stupid, or even if I ever succeed? No matter the answer, you will never be able to inquire within until the time for such wonder has passed. It doesn’t matter, though. You wouldn’t ask even if you could.

As people figure out what they’re doing they become more and more attractive. They start to smooth things out, make it look easy, and the tail eating begins. After a while they find themselves on cruise, going the speed limit, while the entire world grins in the comfort of a view that is never disturbed, never challenged, never soiled, and most importantly never slowed down or sped up.

Steady on, mate.

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Nora Vasconcellos explores the slidier aspects of this bullshitty world. Photo: Matt Price

Thinking that you know the way to an accidental path is as ridiculous as you are. Only slightly less absurd and equally dumfounding is trying to make things difficult. It’s hard—nearly impossible for some folks—to want to unlearn on purpose, but if you can figure that out, you’ll be the one who stays ahead of the game of worth vs. worthlessness and no one will ever believe that you are doing anything but complete and total bullshit.

This is good for a number of reasons—arguably, and maybe most practically, it’ll keep you free from the stifling wet blanket of a social order that’s more than happy to tell you how brainless you are or how clever you are depending on how it bests suits them. But the neatest thing of all is that by doing what you want, how you want it, and because you want to, it will become that much more of a reality. And believe it or not, in a world that wants nothing more than smooth waters and calming opiates and easy-to-digest-distractions, being as shitty as you want to be is a real blessing.


Ryan Lay acts in accordance with no wishes or commands. Step hop. Matt Price