You probably imagine something went (horribly) wrong when I say this. It’s only natural to use expletives to let the frustration out. Isn’t it?
And you would be right in drawing that conclusion. 99% of the time. Just not this once.
Fast forward, or rewind if you please, to the scene in the movie Aviator, where Leonardo DiCaprio, playing Howard Hughes, seems to be stuck at the phrase, ”Show me the blueprints,” repeating it umpteen times to the confusion and then horror of his colleague.
Hughes doesn’t seem to notice anything off. He doesn’t realize he is doing that.
Now, why the sudden rant about this? The reason being that I recently watched a standup special on Netflix, where I suddenly felt myself paying attention to what the guy had to say, which for the past half hour I had no success doing. (Watching Netflix is a better use of time than chewing up your nails dry).
So the guy was talking about the sudden urges he has to randomly say things (primarily expletives) without realizing that he was doing so. He would only come to know when his well-meaning wife reminded him not to do that.
It’s funny, the topics you can relate to strangers on, I am not particularly a fan of this guy’s work, and here I am hooked on to what he has to say.
Because he makes me realize that I have been doing that my whole life, mostly in showers randomly saying Shit or F%$& or range of other colorful expletives. For no damn reason, apparently.
Now, why would I do that? The mystery is too much to bear.
So naturally, I do a little experiment on myself.
So for the next week, I consciously made an effort to note down what I thought when I did my random shower shout. The results were interesting. Not to bog you down with details much, but let’s just say, every time I did something like that, I was thinking of an embarrassing incident or mistake from the past.
And some of these incidents were more than two decades old!
Now, this was a fascinating revelation to me for two reasons.
One – I didn’t expect my memory to be that sharp, like ever! Where was this frickin memory when I was sitting holed up in the library wasting away years of the ’good life, trying to memorize those horrible equations and formulae, only to forget them conveniently right before it mattered?
Two – I never thought I could care about such incidents this much to be expressing my frustration after a 20-year time lag on random shower days without even knowing. Maybe I just assumed I was over them, but I never was.
So obviously, I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t the only one doing this.
For starters, I knew that that comedian did the same thing as me, but the fact that he is a professional comedian didn’t make for a good salve.
Was I taking life advice from a comedian? For real?
I must get professional here.
Next step: a survey of my besties. Misery loves company, I gotta find me some more of it.
Funnily enough, one confident soul came forth. His thing was that he would randomly blurt out one-liners and catchprases from movies, like ‘Aye, Aye, sir’, ‘Fire away,’.
And, unlike me, he would do that even when in public. He would realize he did it as soon as the words came out of his mouth, feeling embarrassed for himself and piquing the curiosity of or sometimes scaring some fine pedestrians in the process.
I laughed when he told me that; I felt a great sense of belonging—belonging to a group of random shouters and proud of it.
We are all humans, all unique yet so similar. The feeling is humbling and exhilarating at the same time.
John Donne wasn’t wrong when he said, ‘No man is an island.’
So let’s maybe not try to be one?