Gather Around Squeakers, And Listen Closely

So, you telling me you’re scared, that’s what you’re telling me? Yeah, I know you’re scared, you’re all scared, the whole lot of you, huddling like wet rats at the back of a mouse-hole while a cat scratches, claws flashing like scythes, at the entrance. That’s all you got, fear. Well, let me tell you something, you squeaker, that fear don’t exist ‘cept in your head, you got me? No, you don’t got me, you nod and say I got it mister, I got it, it’s all in my damn head, but you’re still scared, you’re still feeling the fear – it’s just words, like painting in thin-air, fucking useless without application. Without understanding.

Gotta dig those fingers into the bolts and gears ratcheting inside that noggin of yours, twist some screws around, oil a few pipes, you get me? You got to be your own mechanic, and get your hands dirty. It’s gonna hurt – make no mistake about that. You ask any old car, any cranky plumbing system, you ask them if they like it, when the man or woman comes in with the overalls to twiddle, and shake things up. Ain’t nobody likes it! But that’s what you got to do, to keep on working properly, keep on functioning, keep on bringing the electricity and the water, keep the world sated and lit like a lightning shark. You following what I’m saying?

See the thing is, that fear, there ain’t no point in it. You just gotta see that it’s a goddamn illusion, like the demons those religious folks said would drag you down into fiery pits to burn until your skin blackened and your eyeballs charred in their sockets. You are believing in fucking fairies, my friend. Look at you, a grown woman, a grown man, still afraid of the bogeyman under the bed? But there ain’t no shame in it. Happens to the best of us. What you got to do know is realise there ain’t no bogeyman – and there ain’t never was. There’s just you, and your goddamn lying sneaking mind.

You’re gonna die one day. That’s a fact. There ain’t many certainties in this doggone life, but that’s one of them, surer than even the sun will rise tomorrow. That’s your real bogeyman; that’s who should be really scared of, or ‘least, pay more attention to it than you do to your own fears. Okay, listen, listen, really listen, look me in the eye dammit! No, don’t gargle, don’t choke, you can breathe, you can breathe, I ain’t holding you that tight. Now, listen.

One day, you’re going to be dead. You’re going to die. You’re going to close your eyes and fucking sleep forever. You’re going to be buried in the ground, a lump of flesh, same as every other organism that scurries on the planet, and has ever scurried, and will scurry, and you’ll rot, you’ll rot like a vegetable left outta the fridge, the maggots squirming in your flesh, until you’re just bone, calcified matter, dead, gone, nothing. You got it? Okay, I’mma let you go now – no you idiot, just your collar. You can’t leave yet. I ain’t done with you, ’cause I can see it, in your eyes, a tiny kid hiding under the bed still. We gotta do something about that; we ain’t finished yet.

What you gotta understand is that nobody, nobody knows shit. Not those damn billionaires – they’re just squatting on piles of cash, trying to comfort themselves like the last dragons of the world sitting on mounds of treasure – not the damn scientists, who try to quantify and measure the universe, us, the world, like ants crawling over a baseball trying to figure it out without being able to see the cricket pitch. There’s worlds and stuff out there you and I, and our kind, for long as we exist, don’t know nothing about, won’t ever fucking know. Nobody knows. You ask the ant: does it know us? No: It don’t know. Likewise, we don’t know – we’re the ant to somebody, something else. No-one knows anything! Not your smarty-pants professors with their cushy tenures, not the smartest man or woman that has ever lived, not that friend o’ yours you see strolling down the street with their lives seemingly in order like a finished jigsaw puzzle – nobody knows shit, kid. And because we all are clueless, pretending to be see when really we’re blind, stumbling about in the dark, we’re all fucking scared. It’s the unknown, see? We’re scared.

Now different people deal with this fear in different ways, as you’d expect. Some chase after stuff, accumulate mountains of, I don’t know, houses and clothes, and pretty sparkly shit to garland their bodies – whatever’s popular these days. Others get to work, work hard on their dreams, their goals, trying to improve their life, help others, even if they know, deep down, that it don’t matter in the end. That probably nothing matters in the end. Then again, we don’t know that for sure, you know what I mean? You see where I’m moving towards now? Seeing as we don’t know anything, we shouldn’t assume nothin’ neither. It’s a free for all. Hell, maybe ain’t no demons bumbling about in the earth beneath our feet, but there sure as hell may be some funny creatures out there in space. Maybe we’re the demons, the hellions – we’re the worst nightmare of other animals, nature, the environment, don’t you think? Ain’t there more things that should be scared of us?

Oh, but ’cause we’re so powerful, we start to fear everything, because when you’re at the top, you get to wonderin’ how long it’ll last. So maybe, you know, God has is it in for you – he’s out to get you, if you don’t follow the rules, be a nice little pious shit. Maybe you don’t have the skills, the talent, to achieve your dream, so you’re scared of yourself; maybe you’ve wasted most of your life already, and you’re running out of time, so you’re scared of the clock. Tick, tick, tick. Yeah, it ticks alright. Or could be there’s somebody out there who you kinda fancy, yet don’t have the courage to say anything to, ’cause what if you get rejected? You’d be surprised how much of our neuroses, our problems, our anxieties, are tangled up with sex. So now, we’ve just got all this fear, clogging up our pores, making us stink, making us sick.

And you know what I want you do to do?

Cast it all away! Throw it out. Kick it the curb, flush it away. Who the fuck cares, who the fuck gives? It don’t matter, in the fullness of time, so you might as well take the shot. Listen. Say you have one last second to live, yeah? And in that last second, all you have the choice to do is throw a ball towards the hoop, or not throw it. If it’s your last second, why the hell not give it a try? Why the hell not? That way, before you blink outta this world, ‘least you could experience a microsecond of satisfaction on the off chance you did get it. That’s life. That’s all life is. You got a second, a second on the clock; the hoop’s there, hanging like some demented halo, you’ve got the ball in your hands, and you can take a shot; all you’ve got, right there, is the chance, to throw it, or not throw it, before the buzzer blares.

It’s your choice, woman. It’s your choice, man. It’s your fucking choice. In that moment some people freeze up with fear, and they don’t throw it, or they dribble the ball instead, waste their fucking time, ’cause you may as well be doing nothing if you don’t take the shot, try get it in the hoop. Others, they throw it. They aim, they keep their eye on the damn hoop like their retina’s fucking glued to it, and they throw it. Sometimes, they miss. Yeah, I gotta be honest with you: A lotta the time, they miss. But a lotta the time, seeing as there are so many of us on this planet, a lotta the time, they do get it in. They get it in.

It ain’t that hard – that’s the thing, that’s the thing nobody ever tells you. It’s only hard when you get stuck in the fear. Problem is, unlike my little analogy here, life to us feels a little longer than a second, so we have a lotta time to freeze up, to think and ponder and muse and wonder and be fucking indecisive. If it felt like a second, you’d have no time for that. You’d be just shooting. You’d be just lifting your arms and aiming for the hoop, no thought going through your head, just going for it. So go for it. Shoot. Shoot. Shoot. And that’s it, then. You sweat, your heart pounds, you throw it – and then, who knows, you score, to the sound of a stadium erupting into cheers, like the universe is celebrating for you.


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