- Harry Jensen
May 12, 2020
I got lost on findagrave.com, which has a fun Halloweeny typeface, and tried to find my father's grave for some time before remembering that he was dust gathering dust in my living room. I realize, just now, that he has been on public display for five days, since I used him as a cheery prop for my stand-up set. Does anyone notice that he is still out there? I don’t know. I also spent a decent amount of time reading letters that my Dad had saved, which I have decided is not snooping because I am in a static state of cinematic despair.
Today I woke up at noon and was sadder than a sad. Noon! Oh, Gosh, I pray that lunch and breakfast will again be separate and distinct meals; those are truly the best of days. I dedicate my mood today to my best friend from a Minnesota, a young man from whom I inherited an elementary school journal which begins one day, “Woke up crabbier than a crab.” I love the crabby crab, but it makes me wonder: what is the saddy sad?
If sad were an animal, it would be an amorphous gray goop with one stumpy leg that caused the creature agony whenever used, a beast determined not to feed itself but hellbound to feed others with the fury of lonely, tragic irony. Sads are the kinds of animals which change the font on their Samsung to one of the other four presets, just to feel alive.
Besides getting out of bed, I also managed to eat oatmeal, be rude to people I love, and let myself down a little. Oh well! Up again. At the very least, I have absolutely fascinating fodder in regard to a question that ripped my household apart: Would you make love to your clone? If you dare ask yourself or others, be prepared for revelatory answers; be ye warned.
In pursuit of meaning surrounding grief and (say) perpetual sadness, I wonder what the purpose of it all is, and think of a class I took that was taught by a gnomish former student of B. F. Skinner, the psychology department’s professor emeritus at my alma mater. When I took Functional Variability, a class the professor had been fine-tuning for decades, I read a paper which proposed that children with ADHD had an extremely valuable societal function vis-à-vis teaching other children what is safe. For example, the article suggested that (say) a child’s impulse to touch a stove despite warning and subsequently getting burned actually serves the community, teaching other children that this rule has practical purposes.
I am not sure I really buy into the teleological function of searing children, but I’m just your average Joe with a conservative leaning towards unburned children. What is the function of the depressed kid, then? Perhaps art that touches and teaches. Or maybe it’s showing other kids that King Sad Sack does not flop upon a desirable throne, but I prefer the former. We all have a lot to teach one another, and I find myself oddly proud that my father was eviscerated early in life. I do think I have the potential to share something about these nasty experiences, because I desperately want to know what you all have to say about yours. Display your urns proudly, I say, wear your dead mother's ill-chosen earrings and boast your deceased dad's disappoint argyle sweater, and then have a blast on findagrave.com! I found five million matches for my grandfather’s name: what will you find?
(DPC is not a sponsor of findagrave.com)