Christmas at his parent’s house always meant new socks. However, last year, in addition to the socks, Sebastian Crawley got an idea that changed his life forever.
“We opened presents and afterwards we were sitting around watching my niece’s Dora the Explorer DVD,” the 41-year-old Philosophy doctorate student remembers. “I found myself transfixed by the relationship between Dora and her monkey friend. I couldn’t get over what a pitch-perfect debunking it was of Hegel and the tenets of Absolute Idealism.”
Sharing this observation with his family, Crawley steeled himself for the parry of intoxicating debate.
“Mom just fiddled nervously with the Uno cards. Dad just sat there grinning at the grandchildren, pretending that he didn’t hear. He was muttering something about “hurkey turkey”. I’m not sure if he was talking about himself.”
It went on this way for over four minutes, Crawley said.
“Finally Grams sighed and walked over to the window. Staring straight ahead she said, ‘Well I suppose everything happens for a reason,’ in this grim tone of faux-portentousness. Then she padded off to the kitchen to make eggs.”
What disillusioned Crawley was how ready everyone seemed to go along with Grams.
“They all started nodding and chuckling as if she’d said something really profound…then padded off to the kitchen to make eggs”.
For the next two hours, all anybody did was cook and eat Sausage Omelet Pie, he says.
For the two hours after that, all anybody did was talk about how they had just cooked and then eaten it.
For the two hours after that, all anybody did was talk about how it didn’t even seem like that long ago since before they’d been cooking and eating it.
Suicidal, Crawley got drunk, scratched out the monkey friend’s face from the Dora the Explorer colouring books and spent the next day at the mall. There, he heard 11 more people say “everything happens for a reason” thirty-one different times to explain events failing to contain any observable pretexts, purposes, outcomes.
That night, he logged onto Facebook. 51% of his friends were saying “everything happens for a reason” at that very moment, 39% of whom were talking about ice cream.
“I realized at that moment that the world was just a bland fatuous experiment created for mocking me.”
Like most blessed by revelation, Crawley thought, fuck it, might as well profit.
Inspired by A.J. Jacobs’ best seller The Year of Living Biblically, wherein the author chronicled his effort to follow the Bible as literally as possible for one full year, Crawley took the Jacobs’ concept and adjusted it slightly.
“365 days without an original thought,” he crows. “For an entire year, I spoke in nothing but platitudes and clichés.”
The Year of Living Platitudinously has sold six million copies worldwide. His half-assed nuggets of previously-masticated wisdom have landed him critical acclaim, Ted Talks and pussy.
The only spoilsports who don’t like the book are those who, through no fault of their own, live wretched, unbearable lives.
Last night he was awarded a lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Writer’s Guild where he said in a speech:
“I wasted the first half of my life trying to genuinely bond with people. Pursuing an authentic truth, a provenance of meaning that isn’t afraid to acknowledge the disordered aspects of our psychologies, that seeks to conquer our dysfunctional illusions…”
“But it’s a marathon, not a race,” he genuflected to thunderous applause while conjuring and discharging Power Point presentations from his fingers.
“Everyone has a gift!”
“And everything happens for a reason.”