The Dull Fart of Purposelessness

I generally try to stay away from words like onomatopeia because they seem like a helluva lot of work to spell correctly let alone understand. But when I think of purposelessness, it’s hard not to be delighted by how onomatopoeic it is (sounds just like its meaning). Say it out loud, and let the syllables trail off naturally: purposelessness. Ah, purposelessness - truly the dull, fading fart of futility.

Now, I bet you were thinking I must be a big fan of purposelessness, but quite to the contrary, I only mention it because I’m thinking about purpose, and how it’s the greatest lover of all. If you want a beautiful relationship, one that’ll last, one that’ll complete and make you feel just fine (thank you very nice), have one with purpose. Oh, sure, there are physical needs that purpose might not fully satisfy, and, yes, you’ll probably need to masturbate once in awhile just to keep your hormones in check, but the emotional relief will be huge.

Let’s face it, true or not, somebody once said that spousal abuse is enormous in this province, and it’s entirely likely that what at first seems like true love could quite quickly turn into a very bad two years. So, really, there’s no point in going down a nasty path like that when you could just as easily suck that little wind of purposelessness back up inside you, and get out and do something to do.

“Doing something to do” - what a charming expression. I first came across it during an afternoon where my purpose was to search what I called the “psycho ward” of the Vancouver Downtown East Side Salvation Army Thrift Centre. I found the phrase written in a letter that had been discarded along with so many other once valuable items. The letter was from a mother to her son. It said, simply, “Dear Hugh, we are sending you the money, Hugh, but this is the very last. It’s time you got out and decided to do something to do.”

I think back on that letter and who I was at the moment I found it, and I see parallels between Hugh and myself, parallels now distinguished perhaps only by purpose. What became of Hugh? Did he ever meet a girl he loved? Or even a girl who loved him sometimes? Did he barely hold down a series of meaningless jobs that never brought him a damn bit closer to anything of his own? Did he ever acquire a purpose?

Back in my drifting days, I don’t think I thought a lot about purpose. I think if I figured anything would change my life, it would be a relationship. And then when I did fall in love, I clung so tightly to that it was impossible for me to understand that without a purpose beyond the relationship, there was no real hope for anything of my own.

I was lucky, though, probably luckier than Hugh, I suspect, because I heard that futile fart of purposelessness whistling aimlessly in my general direction, and I decided to do something about it. Okay, well, maybe it is just writing about nothing. But, in the words of another drifter, “Sometimes nothing is a pretty cool hand.”