Regular Folks

Who are they? Why should I care about them? Why, above all, should I either aspire to be like them, or at least strive not to look too different from them?

Their habits and pastimes annoy me. Their presuppositions and their conception of “common sense” are spoon-fed to them daily by a disreputable governess I rejected when I was thirteen. I dislike their songs, and I dislike their predilection for communal singalongs and circle dances even more.

They live through advertising, and are walking billboards for corporate slogans. They believe that government is a form of entertainment, and have conveniently persuaded themselves that the primary symptom of slavery is pain, which allows them to live their oppressed but comfort-obsessed lives without embarrassment or humiliation, all the while imagining they are “saving the world” with their sentimental causes — in other words, that they have the power to save it.

They make a lot of noise to prove they are alive, whereas everything I care about most, and that most truly represents life to me — private thought, long conversations consisting of more silence than speech, serious reading and writing, music attended to minutely, birds fighting north winds — can only be enjoyed properly in the absence of all extraneous and irrelevant sound.

The people whom these regular folks view, whether proudly or cynically, as their leaders, are every bit as regular as they themselves are, only wealthier and even more self-satisfied. 

Regular is the correct term for these folks. Not “common” or “average.” Regular means “according to rule.” What is left of the common man today, to be very exact about it, is nothing but this: shadows that follow the rules. They scream on cue, whether for or against — but in the end they bow their heads and do what they are told. For without what they are told, without the rules, they would be nothing at all, and somehow they seem to know it.

The regular folks, these rule-bound shadows, make life increasingly miserable or strenuous for the tiny number of people on this Earth for whom I have any respect or concern — my irregular few. Hence they and their lives are despicable to me, or at best simply worthless, a waste of time.

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