On Edge

on edge(Minor Spoiler Alert: There are some basic details about the film Interstellar below)

I try to avoid anxiety and existential angst, but it does creep up on me now and then. You know the feeling. Life is meaningless and I am hurtling in solitude through nothing towards my imminent demise which will only be noticed when the neighbors complain about the smell and only remembered for the News of the Weird headline that got 1,210 Facebook likes: Cat Eats Dead Owner’s Foot.

You know.

That feeling.

Who knows why they come. Now, it could be the short, gray days that end around 4 p.m. into long, dark nights. Or maybe it’s the knowledge that this is just the beginning of a long winter. Also it could be that it’s mid-semester when most of my free time is consumed with thoughts of feeding bad students to my sarlacc. Or it could just be too much time with the Becherovka Fairy. All I know is that when I feel on edge, I need to get myself as far away from my thoughts as possible.

There are several ways to combat the edginess. Sometimes I drink hard liquor until I am asleep, but that only delays my edginess for another day and makes it worse. Other days I might call my mother or sister, because there’s nothing like chatting with someone who understands my specific brand of crazy. In extreme cases, I pretend I’m a character in an innocuous My Little Pony world, and sometimes I look at the Recent Deaths page on Wikipedia, because it’s nice to have proof that my day is better than someone’s.

But the best way to combat the edginess is with comedy. A silly comedy often helps me come to terms with how ridiculous the world is. There are classics which seem to have been specifically created for pulling me away from the edge: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Dumb and Dumber, Ghostbusters, or pretty much anything with Jim Carrey. Not The Truman Show. I might go for a sitcom, the lighter and less complicated the better. The Big Bang Theory is great for this, The King of Queens, Seinfeld. My only rule is to avoid edgy films at all costs. Watching something like Requiem for a Dream might push you over the edge and that’s no damn good.

The problem with the on edge days, other than their existence, is that I have no idea when they’ll strike. I might have to do something that I can barely cope with like teach people things, fly in an airplane, or be in a room with other people. The edgy day has no respect for your plans.

Saturday was an on edge day.

It was Saturday, so no teaching or no flying, but I had made plans to go see a film. And that film was Interstellar. And Interstellar is an edgy film.

Thirty seconds into the film, I knew it was an edgy film. Earth is dying. There is no food. No pizza. Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway go hurtling through a vast nothing to go through wormholes and black holes to end up in even more desolate locales and on uninhabited planets with giant waves or eternal ice storms or Matt Damon. The film is three hours long and it was in IMAX, so my anxiety could percolate and simmer like a rump steak in a crock-pot.

Interstellar does its job very well. It conveys the solitude of extended space travel, the terror of dealing with new worlds, and the agony of being on the brink, figuratively and literally. These would have been welcome themes on a non-on edge day, but Saturday I felt like Sartre on a bad acid trip in.

By the time the film ended I knew that a pub was in my immediate future. Plan B: a meeting with the Becherovka Fairy. I wondered if I would have to visit My Little Pony world.

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