The Power of Silence

Anyone who wants to figure out how to end a TV show properly should watch the series finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Actually, you should probably watch every episode leading up to it first. Basically, watch ATLA. It’s a really fucking good series. A lot of TV shows suffer from what I like to call finaleitis. It’s the disease that infects any series that wants to end things in the most spectacular fashion, and so concludes with a finale that is overstuffed with forced drama and “This is it!” moments that might as well feature the cast standing shoulder-to-shoulder and waving goodbye at the camera. At the same time, a finale should feel climactic, or why the fuck is it the last episode and not just like any other?  The ATLA finale is pretty much everything you could hope for, wrapping up almost every character’s story in a satisfactory way and containing the right mix of humor, drama, action and suspense. For 90 minutes, the show fires on all cylinders, ending in a way that is optimistic, but crossing territory that is, for a children’s show, remarkably dark and sophisticated. There are a lot of valuable life lessons to be gleaned from that series, and they are almost all delivered with tact and subtlety.

I struggled with what exactly to call this post. I’m trying to find something that will express how I’m feeling right now, as I’m in a place that a lot of young people find themselves: wondering what the hell to do with myself. I need a job, as I am graduating in two months and haven’t yet applied for any, but whenever I express my anxieties to someone else, they just tell me they’re sure I’ll be fine. That’s not what I’m looking for. I have hopes and dreams just like the next human creature, yet I see too big of a gulf between them and what is right in front of me. Okay, so I’ll get a job and move into an apartment in Brooklyn (hopefully). What then? It seems safe to say at this point that I will not be moving back to California, but as I have spent almost the last two decades focusing on my education, I don’t know what to do now that it’s almost over. I really don’t intend to have any more formal schooling after this. For my money, this is it.

And yet, the above paragraph does not accurately summarize all of my problems. I was never stupid enough to think that going to grad school would solve all of my problems or do anything except give me a vague idea of what to do with the next few decades. My needs are simple, yet so many of them remain unmet. I’m not the most sociable person, although it might help to get out a little more. I’d like to travel some day (I even know which countries I’d like to see) but I haven’t made any plans to see them and I am not even sure when I’ll have the money. There’s a wide world out there, and I want to see the whole fucking thing. So I’m not going to be your typical directionless post-grad. I’m really not your typical anything, and if you think about it, you will realize that that statement is nowhere near as self-aggrandizing as it sounds. People baffle me. I can understand virtually anything given time, but these human things continue to perplex me. I don’t understand women, but I love them, and while I understand men, they’re all idiots. I still enjoy being a guy, though, so go figure.

What always bugs me at times like this is the nagging sensation that the other shoe is about to drop. You know, like I’m about to get kicked out of my apartment for no fucking reason again or something like that. Then again, maybe that isn’t about to happen to me. Maybe (and I’m tempting fate by saying this) I can actually close the book on that chapter. That’s fine, as it was never all about housing to begin with. I just wish I knew what the hell I was talking about sometimes. Have you ever read anything on this blog and wondered why I jump around so much or what I’m really trying to say? Yeah, I do that, too. Oh, I have no doubt that I’m brilliant. But I’m not much better at making sense of that brilliance than anyone else is.

I might as well just call him "God" when you consider how often I gush about him.

I might as well just call him “God” when you consider how often I gush about him.

There are many ways to know somebody. The only way to properly do it, as I’ve always said, is to sit down and have an actual conversation with them. But there are many ways to determine whether that conversation might be worth having in the first place. I try not to pass judgment on people I don’t know (usually, anyway), but as anyone who is familiar with a certain infamous Billy Bob Thornton interview from a few years back will tell you, sometimes it is okay to judge celebrities based on a ten-minute guest appearance. And sometimes people who seem totally awesome in all of their public appearances are every bit as awesome in person. Neil Gaiman seems like that. So does Joss Whedon. Jonah Hill said that he totally wanted to hate Brad Pitt (they worked together on Moneyball), but couldn’t, because he really is just the coolest guy in the world. (If you have a few minutes, click on that link. He tells a story about fucking with people’s expectations when meeting celebrities that is absolutely killer.)

Sometimes, it is okay to say nothing at all. But I won’t do that until I have run out of interesting things to say. Which I have yet to do. I don’t know if I’ll keep this blog up forever, but to those who tune in, please keep doing so. I’d feel really weird just howling at an empty room.


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