What the whole ballgame is about

January 9th, 2008 § Comments off

At the end of the documentary I Like Killing Flies, New York restaurant owner Kenny Shopsin crams a year’s worth of talk therapy into this monologue:

This is, like, another one of my half-baked philosophies. The first duty of everybody in life is to realize that they’re a piece of shit. They’re selfish, they’re self-centered, they’re not very good. And that you’re willing to sacrifice 20,000 people in another country just so that you can go to a Wings concert. [to the director:] You’ll sacrifice the lives of 100,000 Chinese female babies just so you can rent this fucking camera and do your stupid art project.

No problem! You’re a piece of shit. Once you realize you’re a piece of shit, it’s not so hard to take. Because then you don’t have this feeling that you’re a good person all the time. And lemme tell you something: Feeling that you’re a good person all the time is like having a brand-new car with no scratches on it. It’s a real responsibility which is almost impossible to live up to. Being a piece of shit and then occasionally doing something that’s good and true—it’s a much easier place to be.

I think that’s really important, and I always tried to raise my kids to understand that they’re not that terrific. And that not being that terrific—that’s okay, ’cause most people who say they are terrific—Bill Clinton, Cardinal Egan—anybody you want to talk about, they’re not so terrific. Martha Stewart! They’re not so fuckin’ terrific either, and there’s nothing wrong with being not so terrific, you know. In fact, it’s what the whole ballgame is about, is about being not so terrific and accepting it.

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