UPTEMPO

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FROM MCSWEENEY'S

Six Inspirational Sayings I've Yet to Find on the Side of a Box of Tea

By Dan Kennedy

1.

When life is seen to flow slowly, like a deep river content in its path, the journey is a certain pleasure. But, God damn it, life's not always a big party, now, is it? And there's something deeply wrong with your constant tendency to push love away from you so you can spend months on end in total isolation. Plain and simple, if you see an animal doing that in the wild, there's something wrong with that animal. Lighten up before you ruin everything again. Enjoying a delicious cup of our green tea with lemongrass is a start, but I'm serious: deal with life and be a man.

2.

When birds migrate south to warmer climes, there is no uncertainty within the flock as to why they're undertaking the journey. But some people (ahem) start and stop a journey so many times they begin to make themselves and everyone around them feel weary and forsaken. Honestly, we're talking about day-to-day goddamn life. It's a gift, by the way, genius. And it starts with a cup of our warm English Breakfast blend. So have a cup, but I swear to Christ above, just relax for 10 seconds about love and death and the rest of what you go crazy with. Maybe you're right; maybe you've lived in New York too long.

3.

Ah, back to Montana for another week of what? Clarity? Is that what this is supposed to be about? Do you honestly think this system of yours is working? Every time life deals you a fair-to-middling result or a hard-to-face reality, you just run off to Montana or Colorado? And to do what? Mainly, to sit and drink tea and listen to mostly forgotten alternative rock music and some bluegrass on the satellite radio? This counts as facing life and making the decisions we all have to make? Impressive that you've got the routine so well oiled as to pick up a box of our Earl Grey tea at the organic co-op in Bozeman after you get off the plane. But seriously, haven't you had enough of this, this living like a neurotic, passive-aggressive glory fiend? Tommy Stinson was right when he said it's not too much to live up to.

4.

Boo! Ha ha, look at you! That's all it takes, isn't it?

5.

When a warrior is called to battle, his mood is somber. When he is hailed in victory, his mood is somber. Hello? I'm kidding. He's anything but somber, isn't he? That's the point, really ... feel something. Feel something instead of the running toward numbness. The numb, stoic, and terrified are constantly misread as quietly confident. So is the warrior, though. Yet he's alive with feeling, whether it's fear of impending battle or gratitude for his victory. Is any of this sinking in? OK, enjoy this cup of our Herbal Hibiscus Citrus Delight, but when you're finished sipping it, start living, for crying out loud.

6.

She was right this time. Again.

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I'M A LITTLE UNNERVED
BY MY EHARMONY
PROFILE.

BY JIM STALLARD

You are not typically a "wallflower." In social settings, you often make valuable contributions to discussions. Others appreciate how your inappropriate comments give them a feeling of solidarity with one another.

People who do not know you well sometimes consider you "aloof" until they realize you are simply boring.

Your conduct and achievements are instructive to others. Parents tend to point to you as an example when cautioning their children.

You move through life confidently, seldom allowing errors or slip-ups to cramp your style. But when you broke the lid of that ceramic thing at Pottery Barn last week and just walked away, the guy working there totally saw you.

You have an optimistic "glass-half-filled" outlook on life. This often causes you moments of humiliation before attractive barmaids merely seeking a good tip.

You don't like leaving things half finished, preferring instead to see Full House episodes through to completion before taking on something else.

You prefer to handle disagreements with others by breaking down into sobs until they edge away, embarrassed that a grown male would act like that.

You tend to be drawn to women who look vaguely like Anita Halloran from junior high. Unfortunately, unlike Anita, none of them are going to go out with you as part of a dare from their friends.

Your ideal mate will be someone who appreciates your youthful salary and relaxed, easygoing approach to hygiene.

People secretly mock the pretentious way you pronounce "penchant."

You sometimes run like a girl when you're jogging.

You're going to die on August 7, 2038.


______________________

NOT SO MUCH

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As I Walked Out One Evening

W.H. Auden


As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
"Love has no ending.

"I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,

"I'll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.

"The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world."

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
"O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

"In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.

"In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.

"Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver's brilliant bow.

"O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you've missed.

"The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

"Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
And Jill goes down on her back.

"O look, look in the mirror?
O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.

"O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart."

It was late, late in the evening,
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
And the deep river ran on.

W.H. Auden

 
     
     
     

 

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