Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mark Manson and Not Giving a Fuck

I was flattered when two different friends independently emailed me a hilarious article by Mark Manson, said it reminded them of me, and suggested that I riff on it here. It’s a fantastic read: http://markmanson.net/not-giving-a-fuck.

Manson's basic point is that we only have so much time to care about things that matter. Put bluntly, we can only give a fuck about so much, and we need to be highly selective about the fucks we give and to whom we give them. The older and more mature we get, the fewer fucks we are willing to just give away at random. I couldn’t agree more.

The local newspaper recently interviewed me about this blog, and the very first question the reporter asked me (and I think this was verbatim and unrelated to the Mark Manson article) was literally, “How is it that you just don’t give a fuck?” I think he was referring to my candor and willingness to be real and blunt on a wide range of topics.

I can’t remember exactly how I answered him, but it was something to the effect of, I do give a fuck. It’s just that I don’t give a fuck about many things that other people seem to give a fuck about, or at least I spend lots of time cultivating my garden of fuckery, trying to figure out what fucks I should or shouldn’t give in any particular situation.

When I moved out of my first apartment in Manhattan, the building wanted a $150 “elevator usage fee” to use the elevator to move my belongings many flights. I viewed this as extortion, because there was no way to move without using the elevator. So I moved all my stuff, and one of the building managers asked about the fee. At that moment, I said to myself, “fuck this.” I told him I would not be extorted by this ridiculous fee, and that if he wanted to collect it from me, he could find me at the forwarding address in Brooklyn that I would not be leaving.

And that was that. I never heard another word about it. At that moment, I realized that you just need to say “fuck this” to certain things, and no one can stop you. This is closely related to Mark Manson’s thesis about how important it is to decide what you will and won’t give a fuck about. Part of not giving a fuck is being able to say “fuck this” to the situations that truly deserve it.

For example, just this morning, Isaac requested “farm fresh eggs” for breakfast. After I finished laughing, I thought to myself once again, “fuck this.” I will not raise a child who asks for farm fresh eggs each morning, because next thing you know I will have raised a grown man who complains about the subtle difference between Applewood and Maplewood smoked bacon.

And I most certainly DO give a fuck about that.

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