Whoever came up with the bumper sticker “If you’re bored, you’re boring,” I’d like to shake his hand. And then I’d like to twist that hand around his back and whisper in his ear, “Listen, fucktard. You fucked up an entire generation of kids who think it’s better to be on their phones, at least ‘doing something,’ than staring off into space. Now go run a half marathon.”
Or more accurately: “Get back in your Subaru (I’ve only ever seen this sticker on Subarus), and drive back to Denver.”
David Foster Wallace once said: “It is the key to modern life. If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish.”
Remember the lobster. Remember when you were a kid and you were bored and it was so painful, but then the best ideas always came after that? And then remember today, 10 minutes ago, when you were bored for approximately 0.4 seconds, and rather than look this boredom in the face like the primate you are, you reached for your phone? And remember when you did that 15 minutes ago? And 20 minutes ago? And back and back, yesterday, the day before, the year before, essentially for your entire life? If you’re bored, you’re boring. Or, if you’re bored, you’re a genius. Or at least you have the potential to be. But not if you listen to that Coloradan rock climbing motherfucker, that scone eating, brunch getting, Teva-wearing shitbag, who still has fucking chalk on his hands from all the fucking stones he’s traipsed up, with his shitty-ass bumper sticker on his used, but not that used, Subaru.
We should all be bored, at least part of every day. Parents, you’ve made your bed, you have to lie in it — you don’t get to be bored as much. Too bad for you. Waa, waa. I still see you, even with the baby strapped to your god-damned sternum, your right hand reaching for an IPA, your left hand checking Twitter or your email, even though you checked it four minutes ago. You have a god-damned miracle strapped to your chest, the birds are chirping, the leaves are twitching ever so perceptibly, and you’re looking at your fucking phone. You’re also wearing some kind of hat from a fly fishing store, or one that says Patagonia, or O’Neill, or something else to do with surfing. Asshole.
I’m here today not to just say it’s ok to be bored, but that it’s essential. If you want your life to be anything other than checking Instagram, and scrolling, scrolling, from now until the end of time, you need to take a serious look at how you can fit a little more boredom into your corporate, oh so busy, I’ve got like six meetings today, shitface schedule. In fact, I have a call to action for you. Here’s what I want you to do. Put your phone in airplane mode for the rest of the day (ok fine, you miserable shit, the next four hours). Do this now. I will wait. I have nothing else to do. Now, during this time, and if you’re at work wait till you get home to do it, though I know you don’t do much actual work at work anyway, you’re not allowed to watch TV, or go on the computer, or even read. Good. Now, what’s that? What is happening? Did you just soil yourself? Yes, you did, because you just realized there’s a whole, beautiful world out there. And it’s just waiting for you. It’s just waiting for you to look at it. You don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to talk to anyone. You don’t have to go fucking hiking. You just have to sit there. And breathe. Inhale. Exhale. And look at it. Don’t do anything.
Now, this is the hard part, don’t go back to your phone. Not yet. Hopefully not ever. I want you good and bored. I want you falling asleep. Except don’t fall asleep, because that’s cheating.
“The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” ― Franz Kafka
You may think I’m a nut, and you certainly won’t heed my suggestions, but I’m telling you, they are critical to your survival as a non-automaton, and they’re critical to this planet’s survival. So in closing I’d like to offer my own bumper sticker:
“If you’re bored, there’s hope.”
Also: Fuck Denver.