Gentle Bunny friends, we know we are living in dark times and a dark world. Between 24-hour news cycles and corporate giants buying up everything, it’s difficult to maintain a positive attitude, no matter what our CrossFit instructor screams at us. For self-care, I’m reflecting on the time in my life I felt the most free and happy. Truthfully, it was the mid-90s, before I understood how terrible literally everything is for everyone. That’s why this week, I decided the only way to combat the darkness was to respond to all negative information with lyrics from Jonathan Larson’s 1996 rock-musical Rent.
Rent is a musical loosely based on an opera about people dying of tuberculosis, except in this version they are dying of AIDS, and are also mostly assholes. But they are super peppy AIDS-riddled assholes nonetheless! At one point, they murder a dog and laugh. That told me this was just what I needed. What’s more positive than a musical focusing on facing dark times with angsty, unearned bursts of furious cheer and occasional violence?
On Monday at 6:30 AM, I woke up to my customary weekday panic attack. I also received an email from my student loan officers telling me that my compounded interest was being tripled. When I couldn’t get through the automated menus, I simply shrieked “HOW CAN YOU CONNECT IN AGE WHERE STRANGERS, LANDLORDS, LOVERS, YOUR OWN BLOOD CELLS BETRAY?” Luckily, this got me right through to an agent named Sally. I menacingly repeated the words “how we gonna pay, how we gonna paaaaay, how we gonna paaaay” until she offered me six extra months of deferment. Positivity: Plus one!
Unfortunately, I got online and discovered that those people who I dislike were at it again with the evil. I was just sending a cat picture to my mom, but the negativity of the news was unavoidable. I quickly posted a rage-releasing tweet that read, “hating convention, hating pretension, not to mention of course, hating dear old Mom and Dad.” Which, sadly, my mother saw instead of her cat photo and resulted in a 12-hour ban for “targeted harassment.” However, that’s 12-hours away from addictive toxic media! I’m calling that a win!
Feeling super, I realized I should update my dating profiles to reflect my newfound Rent positivity. Naturally, the obvious words for my “about me” section were, “To hand-crafted beers made in local breweries, to yoga, to yogurt, to rice and beans and cheese!” I’m getting tons of responses saying, “Are you a walking Whole Foods?” and “Wow, seriously basic white girl shit.” Which – YES, a basically POSITIVE white girl! Rent wins again!
There’s no day but today, so I was two and a half hours late to work, or, as we say in Rent, one hundred fi-i-i-i-i-i-iiiifty minutes! My supervisor glared at me when I came into the staff meeting, but I wasn’t going to take this negativity. Before she could finish asking why I was late, I launched into the only possible response. “But who, Mark, are YOU?” I asked (her name is Amy but it doesn’t scan, lyrically.) “Mark has got his work, they say, Mark lives for his work, and Mark’s in love with his work – Mark HIDES in his work.”
“Who the hell is Mark?” Amy asked. Reasonable? Sure! But hello, it was the middle of the verse, there’s no time for self-reflection. Naturally, I added that Mark hides from “Facing your failures, facing your loneliness, facing the fact that you live a lie, YES! YOU LIVE A LIE!!!”
I never realized how hard it is for people to be critical of you once you break their spirit. Especially when they’re sobbing incomprehensibly about wishing they’d become a ballet dancer. But it sure worked on Amy!
I’m enjoying unemployment so far. I feel like my transformation to a fully positive person via the legendary words of Rent is complete.
I’m going to go open up a restaurant in Santa Fe!
Images: Columbia Pictures