Clarinet Practice, Mental Health, and Life’s Meaning

Clarinet Practice and Life's MeaningI hope they let me practice the clarinet.

As I write this, it is Tuesday night. And I can’t bear to write anything coherent — certainly not an Odd Words post. I’m just not up to that kind of thinking. So: rant.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Melville’s short story “Bartleby, the Scrivener.” As you may recall, Bartleby is really good at his job. The narrator describes how even with Bartleby’s refusal to do the copy checking that is critical to their profession, his work is pretty much perfect. This is part of why the narrator doesn’t get rid of Bartleby earlier.

I feel a lot like Bartleby: useful but fundamentally out of sync with the world. And I imagine that the only end for me is starving to death in some loony bin.

Or let’s take a more modern reference: Rantés in Man Facing Southeast. In that case, I effectively get murdered. I like that idea more.

Meaning Beyond Clarinet Practice

What have you got for me universe?! Will I be destroyed by my own dysfunction or by forcing someone to murder me because of my own dysfunction?

I realize: to most people these seem pretty much the same. But Rantés strikes me as heroic whereas Bartleby is just tragic.

It seems to be that I deserve the tragic but I wish for the heroic.

And it is doubtless a good sign that I still wish. But it has gotten to the point where the wish is vague. What is the point of all this?

I’ve discussed Sudoku Meaning before. That’s the kind of meaning one gets from being pleasantly occupied. I’ve put it down in the past. But I have the terrible feeling that there is nothing else.

So I imagine my end in the only way that makes sense. The only fundamental meaning in life is death. That’s the only real meaning life has to offer.

But as I work my way to death in the mental hospital, I hope they will let me practice the clarinet.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

2 thoughts on “Clarinet Practice, Mental Health, and Life’s Meaning

  1. Well, you won’t be in the violent ward, so they’ll let you. A clarinet is heavy, so until they’ve run all the psych evals they might give you a wooden flute or something.

    • That’s no good! A flute is too easy — too sensible! I must have an instrument designed to torture!

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