In the middle of watching an episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Ben Stiller, a thought occurred to me.
Self, I said, you could be doing something far more self-destructive right now.
I dunno, I said, I like not being insane.
Pfft. You could be an example to others. A hero. A tragic hero.
Alanis Morissette came on, and that’s when it hit me. YouTube has 10 hour loops of songs. I can be one of those people who’s looked up to as a pioneer, a brave adventurer. A lesson. I decided then that I would seek out the least potentially damaging song, and listen to it. I picked a song that was upbeat, with a positive message. To paraphrase the words of Dr. Ray Stantz, “I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something that could never, ever possibly destroy me. Taylor Swift.”
What follows is the log of my attempt to listen to Shake it off for ten hours straight. Times are given in [hh:mm] format, for clarity.
[00:04] Not so bad. Decent song, for a pop song. Catchy. The loop starts somewhere in here, just Taylor singing: Shake it off, uh shake it off.
[00:14] I’m already approaching insanity, like one approaches a cliff in a car with no brakes. Shake it off, Clayton. Also, frangibility is a word I can’t get out of my brain. Quote from a friend who happened to be witnessing this:
Please stop. When you end up doing what you are inevitably going to end up doing, we are the ones closest to you and the least likely to get away in time.
[00:25] Everything is Taylor Swift. Even this ham I’m eating. She’s delicious, but a little salty.
[00:40] The loop is like when you want to sneeze, but can’t. It’s making my brain itchy. Only 9 hours, 20 minutes left.
[00:60] Shake it off, uh shake it off ah ah shake it off uh shake it off
[01:15] I’m worried what will happen if I stop this. Will my brain implode from the sudden silence?
[01:45] How will Taylor know I love her if I stop listening? Wait, no. She loves me, that’s why she keeps singing into my brain. My soft brain, which is exposed like a pig’s underbelly.
[02:00] No, I get the philosophy. It’s ‘turn the other cheek’ for the new generation. I want to bite through mine to stop from screaming.
[02:15] Asked my wife why she’s not blonde. In hindsight, I should’ve been more subtle.
[02:35] Saw a commercial for a pizza topped with bacon and hamburger and pickles, and I envy the person who kills themselves with it.
[02:50] Paused the music. God help me, I miss it. Catch myself singing snatches of song. I wonder how many more hours before I turn into Tyler Durden.
[03:15] Keep trying to have thoughts. Shit, what was I typing?
[03:18] Looking up vivisection on wikipedia. No idea why.
[03:23] Trying to find rhymes for hate. Crate, fellate, rate, masturbate, date. Oh God.
[03:25] It comes back around. Yeah, sing it, girl.
[03:56] I am Jack’s misery.
[04:00] Realized I missed an ahh up there. Concerned about the fact I’m picking up nuance from a Taylor Swift song.
[04:15] Am I dead?
[04:16] This is purgatory, and pretty soon, the Devil’s going to pop into my living room, pull off his mask, and be Taylor Swift underneath. Then I will scream until I can scream no more.
[04:17] Nietzsche warned us about this. Something about if you listen to a ten hour loop of a song, the song will crawl inside you and eat your soul.
[04:18] That’s it. That’s it, I’m done. No more. No more. I get it, my hubris is greater than my grasp on reality.
I come out the other side, a changed man. I can tell you three things:
Haters gonna hate. Players gonna play. You just gotta shake it off.
The word count when I finished this was 666. Send a priest.