Volume 2, Issue 5    |    ISSN: 1941-2908
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A Self Help Guide For the Last Few Zero Years

by Douglas Lain                        




PART ONE

HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE




          You're not going to get any better on your own. You will never have more sex appeal, money, power, or happiness than you have right now, or if, by some miracle, you do stumble upon a way to slightly improve your circumstances, other problems will inevitably arise that will more than sufficiently undercut the isolated improvement. The gurus, millionaires, models, and other dubious celebrities who want to sell you a better life in twelve steps, through positive thinking, or by means of an organic enema are not your friends. There is only one system that you can rely on, but it's not a system of psychological principles, prayers, or investment strategies. It is a system of suppression, of alienation, and ultimately, of death.
          Your life, as it exists right now, is insignificant, isolated, fractured, and cannot be saved.
          My life, as it exists right now, is insignificant, isolated, fractured, and cannot be saved. I'm sitting at my personal computer, listening to music selected for me by a sophisticated bit of code. After having put in a ten-hour day sitting at a similar desk and working with a similar, if fundamentally different, string of zeros and ones, I find myself trying to find words to string together in order to change it. I'm trying to find the right mood, the right tone.
          Two nights ago I dreamt that I was living in a beautiful house made of driftwood painted yellow. There was a staircase, and at the top of this staircase with its perfectly rectangular and white rails running up the side, protecting me from falling, there was another man, another family, living there. And I was shown a piece of wood, a sculpture, that I could see into. And seeing it, seeing the wood cut into a triangle, painted yellow, and hung at the top of the stairway as decoration, I was exhilarated and terrified. There was something uncanny that made me scream a high-pitched scream, like the sound of something sliding across metal. An unnaturally long scream that contained no anxiety. A scream from another realm.
          This is not a self help book you're reading—it's more of a confession. It's one o'clock in the morning, and I'm sitting at my desk with an uncomfortable papier-mâché mask over my real face even though there is nobody around to see it. Right now, this instant, I'm wearing a Kabuki mask given to me by my mother-in-law. My mother in law is a New Age expat who, through her third marriage, has found herself trapped in Japan. She is an expert in Reiki, knows the Secret, and has taken a job giving facial massages to other American women who are similarly trapped, along with their new Japanese businessmen husbands, in the technological wonderland that is Tokyo. The mask has a permanently jolly expression, and has small eyeholes. The eyeholes are small because the face I'm wearing is always squinting from smiling so hard. The jaw is hinged. I can make it move, make the mask simulate the movements of speech, by moving my real mouth.



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