or Fuck Off, George
First reaction: “Hahhahahahahahahaha!! OMG. Sooooo relating.” (Actual quote of what I said
...in my head.)
Second reaction (upon scrolling to Likes and Comments): “WTF. He’s got, like, 70 likes! And like a gazillion comments and shares! What’s he complaining about?! I’d love to have 70+ likes and a billion shares!”
Third reaction: “ohhhhhhh....! This is the lesson-!”
...which is: there’s always gonna be a writer (artist, musician, friend, complete stranger) who has something we want: 70,000 followers, an article in the New Yorker (which is overrated, btw), a fucking cabin. There’s always going to be a chance to feel envious, or competitive, or downright stingy in our goodwill about others’ success and happiness.
And you know what? That’s the lesson. You can say hey, wow, I am so fucking envious of their success! I want to never hear about their goddamn followers / publications / cabin again! And then -- as you have -- you can admit it, regret it, make fun of it while still feeling ashamed about it.
But after you’re done with the self flagellation...
You can forgive yourself! You’re human. We’re programmed to feel envy. We are programmed to constantly want what we don’t have, thinking we will be happy once we get it.
I’m totally guilty of all of this too. And what I’m finding is quite amazing -- when I’m grateful for each like and each new follower, I feel better about myself. My self-esteem issues (desire to compare myself to others, envy, resentment of others’ success) just fall away, and I can actually feel open-hearted goodness about that person’s success.
Because -- and this is the real special sauce here -- when I (or you, or we, or anyone) can feel genuine happiness for another’s success, not only does it make us feel that the world is a wonderful place, it also actually draws a similar kind of success to us, because we’re no longer creating a negative force field around us with our resentment and envy.
(This is of course a practice, because: we’re human. We have a lot of conditioning to overcome.)
So Shalom!! I celebrate you and your 70+ likes and bazillion shares! Thank you for being a hilarious, self-reflective, engaging writer.
May your dream of 70,000 likes become reality.
FWIW I would rather read your something or even your nothing than almost any other writer, except of course Murakami. (I would read you with my right eye and him with my left. And desperately try to avoid stereoscopy…)
Follow me , my friend , I only have 500 subscribers, I suffer from asthma and I don’t even have an American Passport. Some will claim I’m Jealous-Proof🐰
Does it help if I have never heard of George Sanders?
Cathartic! I cried. George gives me the same feels. He’s just so fucking lovely and deserving. Thanks for sharing your auto-exorcism.
i died at the Panera reveal lmao
Hahhahahahah wow I love this (and find it so relatable).
I have a lot of friends from my MFA who are independently wealthy and have so much time to write and I love them but also have some fuck-you feelings.
Also, as a millennial, anytime someone buys a house and shares the “milestone” on social media, I have more fuck-you feelings.
I feel small and also cleansed admitting this.
anyway this is fantastic and laughing helps!
It hasn't stopped anyone else.
As well you should have. Congrats!
I think Hemingway said something like, “A writers job is to sit at the typewriter and bleed.” Comes pretty close to your Lego man. And I’ve got 1 subscriber, so there’s that. And yeah, I don’t know who George Saunders is either.
“... I believe comedy possesses an intrinsic wisdom and honesty that tragedy does not, and I think our respect for the dutifully serious over the defiantly carnival is both a reflection and cause of deeper societal problem. “
Whew boy... THAT part. This was great
Well, I’m now subscribed to your Substack, and I’m not subscribed to George Saunders’ or Jeff Tweedy’s. And if it makes you feel better, you have many more subscribers than I do. (But I won’t unsubscribe... or maybe I will... and then resubscribe out of guilt.)
George Saunders? What about Shalom Auslander? My god, if we could all be as smart and funny as him. Forget the cabin, he obviously doesn’t need it.
Your post made me laugh multiple times. I've read a little George Saunders and I'm positive he never made me laugh. So, you win.
When I first joined Substack about 6 months ago, I didn't know who George Saunders was, but he seemed to be everywhere and had all those subscribers, so I clicked subscribe. As a newbie on here I couldn't really relate and didn't have the funds or courage to pay for the full meal deal with George, so I unsubscribed. I thought he might be for a later version of me on here--once I was more "established." Your post tells me that's not likely to happen. Thanks for the laugh and confirming what's been rattling around my head.
I mean, I get it. I used to be a songwriter. I used to LOVE being a songwriter. Then I fell in love with Lennon/McCartney (I mean, I liked/loved/had mad respect for them always, but this was full-on obsessive passionate LOVE) and I haven't written a fucking song since.