In this age of Aspirational Nihilism, where not giving a f*ck (with subtlety) has become inspirational, where the lure of stale mediocrity wants desperately to permeate our every pore, these are my 8 props to help me never give in to the nihilist despots, to timelessly give a f*ck.
1. Be good to your mum. She brought you into this world. You owe her everything, always.
2. Search for meaning. But don’t spend too much time on it! Reflect on what you do naturally, what you’re drawn to, what you like and are good at, what people like about you. Your meaning will become obvious. Try not to let a quick paycheque fool you into abandoning a meaningful existence. You only get one of these things after all.
3. Be honest. You’ll lose plenty of pretend friends. You’ll soon replace them with true, life-long companions though, people seeking the truth just like you, happy to call out horsesh!t where it drops. Don’t be too honest though, you’ll be in jail or an asylum before sunset.
4. Mobs are insane. Avoid them like the plague. If you do ever have the misfortune to find yourself surrounded by one, go along with whatever they’re all ranting and raving about, and do it with enough gusto so as not to be found out as a thoughtful, sane person as you eye off the safest, earliest opportunity to run for the hills. Then when you get your chance, run fast!!!
5. Forget charities. The middlemen take 80-95% of the cream in those creep-filled rackets. Be charitable though. You wanna help a pov battler out? Drop a knee and give ‘em a crisp fitty, a glorious pineapple. You saint. They’ll probably spend it on booze or drugs, cool, it's up to them. Charity is not a contract for self-righteous givers to demand return payment upon. It's a gift. Anyway, above and beyond all the drug and booze scare campaigns, you might be surprised, they might buy pizzas for everyone in the gutter and for that one night they can each sleep on a full stomach, the comfiest bed of all.
6. Write. The brain-to-pen/mind-to-keyboard to blank-page-filling undertaking will see you quickly stumble into whatever your mind’s mulling over most. Like dreams and nightmares. Get to the core of who you really are. Forge a bond with your subconscious. Make yourself infinitely better equipped to deal with the world and your place in it. Writing is not the only way to achieve this, but it works. Give it a whirl.
7. Remember, this is just a game, one that’s over before you blink. No need to take it too seriously. Whatever fun things you like doing, make time to do ‘em. Surf, golf, heavy metal, lappies, whatever. Treat yourself here and there.
8. Be patient with everything and everyone, but mostly, with your own mortality. If, at any stage along the way, you think you’ve had enough and want to pull up stumps early, just wait. Chill. End it tomorrow. Odds are, you’ll change your mind. But, if tomorrow comes and you’re thinking just the same, go back to step one. Think about your mum. And be good to her, always. She gave you life. What right do you have to rob her of that?
Bonne chance. Nihilism will taunt you from this day till your final day. Hopefully you're well equipped to overcome its lure, to timelessly give a f*ck, to fearlessly carve out your meaningful path, the way nature intended.
*Liam Carroll is the author of Slippery, a story about capitalism on steroids in the oil trading world of Southeast Asia. His second novel, Sweet Dreams of Fanta, is a sentimental ride back to the Sydney of 1988, seen through the eyes of a freckly, moon-faced, 7year old Fanta addict. And his third book, Hooroo Love, is in the works now.