What If Dale Can’t Come Back From The Lodge

This is the last of the shorts I’ve written to music. What If Dale Can’t Come Back From The Lodge was written while listening to Seafoam. It’s a free(and awesome) album on bandcamp.

The Biggest question in the world is: What If Dale Can’t Come Back From The Lodge.

Seriously. Don’t fucking laugh.

There was a point where you wanted to give up, I know. I know because we’ve all felt that right? You’ve given your life to something and you can’t even look at it there’s so much disgust there. Why the hell did you go and do that?

It’s a heaping pile of garbage any way you look at it. How are you going to let anyone see this, much lest expect them to pay for it? Pay for it? You can’t make a living like this. You can’t even be a starving artist type. No one’s even going to notice. That’s the truth. And you know it, in fact it’s the only thing you can think about most of the time.

You stare into the ocean, and it’s just fucking there. You want to delete it, drag it to your trash. Clear that shit. It’s a few megabites you could do with out. More room for torrents.

Torrents to pass the time because you’ve given up. You haven’t even looked at anything that could possibly remind you of it in weeks, and you don’t want to start. You want to keep pressing play on Netflix because that will pass the hours fine enough.

And suddenly months go by. When was the last time you opened up that file? When was the last time you didn’t feel worthless.

Of course you’re going to get something to write about when you go on that trip and of course your brain is going to start firing again. Pathways in your brain that have lain dormant are lit up and it’s like that one scene in Return of the King when all the fires are being lit one by one. You wish your life had such an awesome soundtrack.

And once you start thinking about it again, you find out you never really stopped thinking about it. Even when you tried. Especially when you tried.

How could you forget about all those sleepless nights lying awake thinking about it, and not writing any of it down. You should have written that shit down.

At night with your family. The real family you’ve made. The ones who really share, and really care. Is it shitty to say that? Am I alone in thinking that? Those people make you remember what’s important. Those people remind you about what you should be doing, and there’s only one thing you should be doing, and you haven’t been doing it. You’ve been making excuses.

You’re too busy. You’ll get to it. It’s not worth it. When are you going to watch that video about that game you’ll never play? It’s not the right time. You’ve got to do a little more research.

And slowly, you remember the most important things you’ll ever learn. You remember the small, pesky, beautiful things that make the world what it is:

1. This isn’t the end.

2. The end is coming.

These are the two most simple, important, small things you’ll ever learn.

One reminds you that there is always time to keep going. You can always make the next one. You always get a second chance. Always. So don’t give up. Whatever you think you have to make up. Whatever guilt you carry. Whatever master plan you had that didn’t work out. It’s ok. Whenever you’re scared remember that this isn’t the end.

The other reminds you that you have to act now. There isn’t time to not do what you love. There isn’t time to not do what you should be doing. When you feel a calling, you have to go. You won’t always be here to do it, so do it now. There’s no telling when the end is coming, so why would you wait? Your end – THE end could happen at any minute. It’s both terrifying and relieving to think about, but none of it stops the fact that it is happening. The end is coming.

And this isn’t the only time. Our lives are going to be full of these moments. It’s not enough to have this realization once. It’s not enough to have that gut wrenching, head splitting nervousness once. It’s not enough to pace around once. If we want to keep living, if we want to keep loving, keep being humans who know what a real party is then we can’t ever let ourselves stop. The moment we settle is the moment that those two very important lessons cease to apply. The moment we stop we die, and it is the end, and the end isn’t coming.

So look forwards to it. There’s more where this came from. The way I see it you have three options.

1. Dread it and be miserable like we have been in the past.

2. Stop and die.

3. Look forwards to it. We can set our feet out on a path smiling. Knowing full well the ups and downs of life will be magnified for us.

After all, a certain person we know would be happy to remind us that: “If you don’t suffer than it’s not art :|”

Try not to lose track of the simple, important, small things.

You can stress all you want over the Big questions like: “What If Dale Can’t Come Back From The Lodge”, or you can just let it go.


This is the seventh in a series of short stories written to music. Control was written while listening to The Olivia Tremor Control’s album Black Foliage: Animation Music, Volume 1

Jimmy: Short. Eh. Five foot six, let’s say. Yeah. Blue button up shirt. Brown khaki pants.

Jimmy just got out of a meeting in which he was offered the job of his dreams. A coding position at Smarple, a tech giant in the Greater Bay Area.

He put each foot out in front of the other, taking massive steps because he was feeling grand. This was the moment his life had been leading up to.

He’d grown up in the 90’s. His first love had been Windows 95, C++ his sexy, complicated mistress. He’d never had many friends in school. His favorite subject was math, an area in which he surpassed his teachers abilities by the 9th grade.

He learned to express himself through code, building elaborate interactive stories and prank programs for his friends. By the tenth grade he wasn’t doing math homework anymore because he’d constructed a program that would do it for him. He was still forced into math class because the American school system is a broken system of misery.

But now he was out, and now he’d be doing what he loved. Full time. All the time. Jimmy loosened his tie. Stopped by a bakery: Gluten free. Made it home quick.

The traffic: Light.

He crashed into his chair: Red. Velvety. Wide arm rests.

His TV: 48 inch. Flat. LCD. His Tuoko box turned on and gave him his options. He cycled through them. What looked least soul crushing: Some new NBC comedy. He’d already forgotten the title. It was probably garbage.

It was, and Jimmy found himself wishing he’d had something better to do. Halfway through the show his Tuoko box glitched out.

On the screen: Green text. onload agitate()

The screen refreshed and it was gone. He shook his head and figured he’d been staring at code too much recently. Jimmy shut off the TV and went to his computer. His copy of Visual Studio was still open.

Jimmy rubbed his eyes and then stared at the screen closer. He’d never finished the writeOn function on the graphics program he’d been working on. Jimmy sat down and put his fingers to the keys.

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