Advice King: How Do I Return to 'Normal Life'?

Comedian, musician, host of Chris Crofton's Advice King Podcast and former Nashvillian Chris Crofton asked the Scene for an advice column, so we gave him one. Crowning himself the “Advice King,” Crofton will share his hard-won wisdom with whosoever seeks it. Follow Crofton on Facebook and Twitter, and to submit a question for the Advice King, email bestofbread[at]gmail[dot]com or editor[at]nashvillescene[dot]com.

Dear Advice King,

Now that the pandemic is possibly beginning to wind down, I’m feeling pressure to return to “normal life.” But I’m not sure I WANT to return to normal life. What should I do?

—Arthur in San Francisco

Follow your heart. I’m not too enthused about “normal life” anymore either. What was it again? Chasing money? Chasing Starbucks? Facebook arguing? Fuck that. That’s not life, that’s a version of life — and a shitty one at that.

Real life is all around us, Arthur, and it ain’t us. It’s birds. And trees. And they’re nude.

We are an aberration. We drive around in circles, clothed, scrolling desperately through pictures. We spend our days running from death — and the thought of death — and then die after all.

Real life is in the hills outside of town. It’s deer, chewing on grass. Did you know that deer sit down? I didn’t. But I’ve seen them! When I hike the trails at twilight, I pass them — sitting! Whole families of deer, sitting in groups, doing NOTHING. Resting. In a field, enjoying the twilight. Nude. If it weren’t for this pandemic, I would never have known that deer sit around enjoying themselves. 

Oh, you can say, “Chris, how can you be sure those deer aren’t hiding, or exhausted?” I’ll tell you why: Because I can tell. It is clear. They are having a good time. Sometimes things are exactly how they seem.

You know who’s not having a good time? Humans. I can tell that too. And it’s not because Hillary Clinton is eating babies, and it’s not because immigrants are stealing our jobs, and it’s not because of China. 

It’s because our way of life sucks. 

American Dream:

  1. Move far away from your home and loved ones to pursue “success.”
  2. Get “success.”
  3. Watch TV. (Level of “success” can be measured by size of TV.)
  4. Decide that since you are “successful,” and still unhappy, it must be because you don’t have “HBO Max.”
  5. Get “HBO Max.”
  6. Decide that since you now have “HBO Max” and you are still unhappy, it must be because Democrats are eating babies.
  7. Get sick, far from home.
  8. Find out that even your “gold standard” insurance will attempt to deny you care.
  9. Crowdfund your MRIs.
  10. Die.

You may notice that nowhere in that scenario do you get to sit nude in a field with your loved ones at dusk.

You may also notice that nowhere in that scenario do you help anyone else. And I’m not talking about adding a wing to a museum! 

I’m not talking about the American Dream where you get rich and spend your whole life drinking wine and then at the last minute you donate a wing to your favorite museum and get a trophy, and pay lip service to Jesus on your deathbed. I’m not talking about THAT American Dream, because that’s not a dream — it’s a sweaty, empty, self-seeking, unenlightened nightmare. 

Fun fact: Ayn Rand died alone. Ironically, she was collecting Social Security, and enrolled in Medicare.

After this pandemic, I’m going to make my way back home. I’m going to write, I’m going to hike, and I’m going to try to be of service. And I’m going to sit in a field at twilight, with my friends. I’ll wear pants at first, because I’m still not fully evolved. I’m hoping to be nude as a deer by the time I have to crowdfund my MRIs. 

War is over! If you want it.

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