Porkpie Hat—Behind the Glass

Woman standing with tablet in her hands

Somewhere in the crystal looking glass world, beyond the other side of actual human life, there exist the rarest and most precious beings.  I picture them as a combination of mannequin and angel.  They are digital divas basking in the pixel limelight, virtual mermaids doing the breaststroke through an ocean of self-regard.  These creatures have never made a mistake, never been derailed by fear, crippled by regret, or paralyzed by doubt.  On ivory balconies, they sip cocktails made with champagne and snake oil.  They attend the opera with envoys, pole dance on the lightning rod of the Chrysler Building, snort lines of coke off the asses of royalty.  They hang glide from the Eiffel Tower, frolic about in Icelandic waterfalls, make love on tightropes a thousand feet above the upturned faces of a billion slack-jawed punters.  All these experiences, the moments themselves, in real-life time, are meaningless to them, numbed as they are by the novocaine of narcissism.  These minutes, days, and hours of their lives are their gift to us, sacrificing the moment for the sake of eternity, and maybe some lucrative product placement.

I know these legendary, beautiful creatures exist because I scroll through Instagram feeds.  As much as I despise sympathy, I feel so sorry for them.  I cannot imagine what it must be like, this burden of living so far apart from the visceral human world.  Stranded forever on an archipelago of fleeting adulation, burning alive in the cold red-green-blue flames of a million Fyre Festivals.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to never have a genuine smile play across my botoxed lips.  To fill swimming pools with crocodile tears, but never feel a dark part of your heart tremble to the sound of a voice on the telephone, or the notes of a steel guitar.  What existential sadness it must be to have no chance to write a real poem, sing a real song, taste the salt of a real wound.  What a profound loss, to never see the world as it truly is, so filled with magic and with shit.  I would not wish that upon any enemy, no matter how profoundly I hated them.  And hate is one of the things that makes me human.  Hate, and love.  Dizziness and revenge.  Sadness, madness, badness, and wonder.

But then, I think to myself that perhaps my sorrow for these dry, self-obsessed beings is misplaced.  Perhaps they are not different after all, but only pretending to be? I wonder.  Do they think that, by pretending to perfection, they will somehow evade the natural rules that govern the universe?  What a delusion this is.  The goddess is a trickster.  She wears an infinity of masks.  She is the Fatal Seductress, the Priestess of Surprise.  She is the Reaper and all the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  She is the Widow Bride, her white silk dress stained with the offal of our vanity.  She comes for us all, welders and housewives; diplomats and dishwashers, oligarchs and influencers, too.

So, I think of these perfect beings, living one-dimensional lives of supposed perfection, and I wonder if they are not truly bleeding and crying in the shadows on the other side of that black mirror.  I like to believe that this is true, that they are sad and ugly, beautiful and deformed, ordinary and unique, just like everybody else.

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