Author Archives: TheBlackhairedGuy

About TheBlackhairedGuy

I'm a guy. And I have black hair. Well not really because it is slowly turning grey. I suppose TheNotquiteBlackhairedGuy doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it? I have a few blogs at EverythingSucks.blog and MyElectricCar.blog and write freelance occasionally.

Selling T-Shirts Sucks (and Update 2.0)

This blog was started with an actual idea and a central theme: Everything Sucks. I started a shitty personal blog a few years ago just to get into blogging without any idea of what to do with it and as you can guess it was a fucking mess.

After a near meltdown a few months ago I decided to work on this blog in a dedicated manner: Everything Sucks 2.0 if you will. If you check the posts I’ve been tossing up one, two, or even three posts a week and I’ve been keeping the tempo for awhile. I feel proud of myself because I’m finally doing what I believe is the key to success: hard work and practice. Even if I don’t think the post is perfect I won’t let that stop me. It’s all about progress and success. The fun fact is I don’t know what “successful” means in the case of blogging.

I guess I’d like followers or people to read the site because duh, but besides that? I don’t really know. Let’s say I had 10,000 people who read this blog. Then what? I have no idea. Sitting back and being comfortable sounds silly as there’s always something that can be done. I still don’t know the answer to this because there’s never been a “plan”, but I’ve always thought it’d be cool to sell shirts. That’s right. T-shirts. Not as a get-rich-quick scheme or some overarching plot to make a brand for myself, but just because shirts. It’d be cool to know that others have a shirt that says “Everything Sucks” on it. It’d make me laugh. It sounds really trivial and stupid but why not?!

I finally sat my ass down and created a shirt after dreading the impending failure for a few weeks. I set a price of $15 per shirt and a goal of 20 shirts. I shared it on Facebook and and purchased myself a shirt because that’d be cool. I checked it today. Guess how many shirts I’ve sold? One. And that to myself!

Well fuck. This reaffirms what I believe success and goals are: it’s throwing yourself at something over and over until something works and weathering failure after failure. Things never work on the first, second, third, or even the 75th try; they only work when you blindly toss yourself at something over and over again you find that magical formula. I never really expected to sell any shirts the first time but once you finally decide on a course of action you get your hopes up a bit. Failure Sucks but it isn’t game-breaking although it sure doesn’t feel good.

I shouldn’t be so hard on myself though because I got off my ass and tried it. No one can fault you for that. I did think of making a t-shirt “business” on Facebook to spam ads targeted locally. Maybe shirts that are themed off my hometown? Hell, I might be able to sell tons of t-shirts that way. This initial experiment might be the beginning of something new.

If you want to buy a shirt, feel free to click right here. I’m pretty proud of them and they’re available in like 5 or so colors (but not grey 😡 ). But if not it’s no big deal because I wasn’t expecting to sell any in the first place. Selling T-shirts Sucks.

Hangovers Suck: Existential Anxiety

Hangovers Suck. Obviously. If there was ever a “low-hanging fruit” post on this blog it would be about hangovers. What is really shocking is that it’s taken over a year for me to actually acknowledge that Hangovers Suck. Why’s that?

The fact is that since hangovers are so obviously shitty there’s little point in writing about it. And like most things in life you probably have to experience one to fully enjoy appreciate how shitty they are. I could go on and on about headaches, aversion to light and sound, dizziness, shaking, nausea, and all around “feeling shitty” but that won’t make you feel how physically awful a hangover really is. And even if it did, most people probably know it anyways so whatever.

In my 20s hangovers were primarily a physical phenomena. I’d feel like shit as described above but that was it. I would take some pills to help the symptoms, drink some water, take a nap, and I’d feel much better. At the very worst I’d just drink more as that instantly cures hangovers if you can believe it. Something happened when I made it into my 30s though; hangovers have suddenly became much worse and not just physically worse. Now they have shitty mental effects too. And boy, those make the physical effects seem like nothing.

Alcohol, being a depressant, makes it quite a bit easier to fall asleep. Hell, the term “passing out” is what happens when you just randomly fall asleep because you’ve gotten to drunk, although you probably wouldn’t qualify it as a healthy normal sleep. Alcohol is a depressant and it makes you sleepy. After a few days of drinking I find I that can’t fall asleep as easily for the next day or two. I’ll be tired and sober but unable to sleep. What happens is usually this: I lie down and then I think and eventually a thought like this comes into my head: I’m going to die someday.

What?! Where did that come from?

What’s worse is that the train of thought, once started, continues down the tracks towards total and soul-crushing existential anxiety:

I’m going to die someday. What’s that going to be like? I’m not going to exist? What? What does that even mean? What will not existing feel like? It’ll be like before I was born I suppose. Huh?!? Do you know you’re dying when you’re dying? Will I die in a surprise accident or will I waste away from cancer fully aware of my impending doom? It seems so far away but it will happen eventually. Hell, I could die at any moment, even right now. I could have a heart attack in the next few moments. What if I do? Listen to my heart, it’s beating pretty hard and fast now. Oh shit, what if I do die right now? What happens to my family and friends? They’d be destroyed like I would be when my loved ones die. Oh shit, when’s that going to happen? My family will die someday. Even my kids. HOLY. FUCK. LIFE IS TERRIBLE.

It’s not a fun time. Try to fall asleep after that flies through your mind.

I mean I’m aware of that stuff because it’s simply part of life but usually I don’t think about it in that way. Usually it’s there as a sort of background or backdrop to everyday life and I continue on aware of my mortality but not burdened by it, if that makes any sense. I know I’ll die but I just don’t worry too much about it. In a way I think it’s nice being aware of your mortality because you enjoy life a bit more. You don’t sit on the couch and piss your life away if you know you’re going to die eventually. It keeps you motivated and it shouldn’t leave you crippled like my random overnight, hungover thoughts do. They’re just a whole new level of anxiety from what I usually experience.

I blame this on being hungover because there’s nothing else to explain it. When I haven’t recently been drinking I go through life pretty happily. I go to sleep at night. If I can’t sleep for some reason I go play video games or read a book until I am tired. I don’t lie in bed and think about how and when I’m going to fucking die. It only happens a day or two after drinking so of course I’m going to blame the alcohol. I always feel “off” a few days after drinking so it’s no surprise that my existential anxiety is probably due to drinking. And I should probably quit drinking.

Everyone knows hangovers suck and they usually bitch and whine about the physical aspects of it. The physical aspects of a hangover aren’t shit though. The really terrible part of a hangover is the feeling of being “off” and the random existential anxiety I get at 3 a.m. that makes it impossible for me to sleep or feel comfortable. Once again, I’m pretty average so I assume this happens to other people as well and it’s no surprise if no one really talks about it because it’s terrifying. Hangovers Suck.

ATMs Suck: Cash Deposits

I’m a fan of automation. Some people bitch and complain about our increasingly technical world, but I revel in it. With every leap in technology there seems to be fewer people for me to actually have to talk to. I don’t give a shit about talking to a “real” person because I’m deftly scared of talking to people. Talk to a computer? Okay. They won’t think my voice sounds funny or something. I can’t wait for the day that I can order a fucking Big Mac by pushing buttons on a kiosk. Thank you Redbox, Netflix, and Amazon for making it possible to not interact with other humans. It probably doesn’t come as any surprise that I love ATMs because they finally accept cash deposits!

For awhile they would only take deposits for checks. If some asshole wrote you a check you could stop at the ATM and toss it into your account without talking to anyone. This also helped you circumvent bank business hours which was handy. They never accepted cash though. If someone paid you cash in a drug deal, changing their oil, or whatever you’d have to spend it or manually haul it to the fucking bank, once again talking to people, fucking around with deposit slips and your exploded pen, and dealing with 9-5 hours on weekdays. Fuck that shit: Banks Suck. This is part of the reason I hate dealing with cash.

Another fun fact: I’m in charge of my parents’ cell phone account. We have a deal where I pay the bill monthly and they repay me for their share. It’s a good system. They can be late and I won’t blow their phone up or charge them late fees and interest. Anyways, they pay me in cash, so every month I have to haul the cash manually somewhere. Checks would be nice because you can deposit those on your phone! You can deposit checks while you take a shit if you want. But nope because they use cash. Cash has to be taken to the bank…until recently.

The ATMs finally accept cash deposits! You pull up and feed the ATM your cash like it’s a hungry beast and, bam, you have cash in your bank account. It’s rather easy and Chase ATMs are all over the place so I can conveniently toss money into my account on my way home whenever or wherever I want. And it always works flawlessly. I count the cash beforehand, deposit it, and the screen always counts the correct amount. This was the case until it wasn’t.

I went to the ATM yesterday in a shady part of town around 11 p.m. I had $264 to deposit from phone payments and drug deals (just kidding FBI!). I did the usual stuff: insert card, enter PIN, select “deposit,” and insert the cash. Then the machine just froze up. It had the little circly icon that means the thing was “processing something” and it just kept doing it. Then the screen went black and, holy fuck, a command prompt window came up followed by a Windows loading screen like you’d see on a PC or laptop. And my money was still in the machine…

This was the fear always in the back of my mind: I gave the ATM cash — cold, hard cash — and it just shits out mid-transaction. What the hell was I supposed to do now? Call the cops? Call the bank? Drive off and hope that maybe it accepted it? Eventually I thought that calling the bank would be the best course of action.

Then the automation that I loved backfired. You see Chase doesn’t like to pay people to talk to you, so it’s a pain in the ass to figure out how to talk to a person. Automation doesn’t give the option “if the ATM ate your cash deposit, press 5!” so how do I talk to a person about that? I was a little shaken up at the time making it even harder to think logically. Eventually I just smashed “0” on my phone and wouldn’t you know it, but that did the trick. I talked to a real person.

It being 11 p.m. Central Time, I was talking to someone (probably) halfway around the planet. That’s fine with me, but motherfucker, accents are a pain to deal with. I found myself saying “uh, yes?” after what I could guess was a question. One time the dude even said “I credited your account for the $254 that you deposited” and I corrected him that it was really $264. I check my account today and only $254 was credited. Mother fucker. He was nice enough though and seemed to have fixed my main problem at least for now.

That’s it. ATMs suck because of random glitchy shit like this. I still love the bastards though because it’s way more convenient than talking to a person between the hours of 9-5 ON WEEKDAYS. And will I quit doing cash ATM deposits? Hell no. They’ve worked 98% of the time and I’m not going to change my habits because of one incident. Because then the terrorists win.

That doesn’t mean they don’t suck though. Fuck ATMs. I mean I’ll still use them but thanks to a damn ATM my Friday turned into an anxiety-fest from hell. Thanks ATMs. You Suck.

Facebook Sucks: “reverse-schadenfreude”

Schadenfreude: enjoyment obtained from the trouble of others.

I’m going to make another word to describe a certain phenomenon on Facebook: reverse-schadenfreude.

Reverse-schadenfreude: self-loathing obtained from the success of others.

A bit about me first: I’m a white male in my 30s who lives in Rockford, Illinois. I have a single part-time job that nets me about $20,000 in a year. I’ve been there for 12 years. Everytime I try to work a second job and do the full-time job thing, I end up quitting. I sleep really late and my BMI is 28.6 meaning I’m officially overweight. I like to play video games and I write two shitty blogs. I have a family and some kids but that doesn’t redeem my view of myself: I’m by most measurements a loser.

You might be a loser too.

Think about your Facebook friends. I bet some aren’t as big of a loser as you are. And I bet some are downright successful. That’s my experience at least, and seeing as I’m as average as can be I assume everyone has Facebook friends that are successful. I have a few friends who are doctors. We went to high school together so it’s not like they’ve had a different life situation than I’ve had. They just went to school and are now doctors. I went to school and got an associate degree and work a job that doesn’t require a degree. Wow. I have some friends who live in warm climates. They somehow made enough money and had enough motivation to move where you’re not in danger of dying if the furnace goes out. Hell, I’m too insecure to feel comfortable shopping by myself. Some friends run faster than I do and some seem much more happy on the surface. They’re always smiling and posting pictures on Facebook! Some have bands and play music for real and some are paid photographers with their own businesses. Some couples I know actually get to go out on the weekends and enjoy themselves instead of being stuck at home with kids nonstop. So, naturally, I think of me sitting here at a dirty table typing on some shitty low-end laptop a blog post that about 5 people (maybe) will read I can’t help to think what did I do wrong? Did I really piss away 30 years of life and do nothing?

What’s stupid is this also works in reverse: by seeing other people with shitty lives you feel better about yourself. This is called schadenfreude and is only a cheap sort of goodness. You might feel better seeing that Cindy from High School is living in poverty because you sure aren’t and, wow, she must’ve really fucked up her life somehow! Or you see people dating total douchebags and realize (and laugh about) how stupid they must be. At least I’m happily married! Like I said, you feel better about yourself but it’s at someone else’s expense. It also takes a total narcissist to not be able to pivot this into how others see you, and then you end up thinking like the paragraph up above and loathing for your own life. Even if you do feel better and other people’s misfortunes, it probably isn’t healthy at all.

If you’re smart you’re probably seeing where I’m going with all of that and how we shouldn’t ever measure our worth based on others. I just think this is how people just are though. You might think you can hop on Facebook and not compare yourself to others but we’re social creatures that have a social hierarchy and I tend to think it’s instinctual to compare yourself to others. If you hop on Facebook and see others doing shitty, you’ll feel better about yourself. If you hop on Facebook and see others doing better than you, you’ll feel shitty. Since everyone is basically average, this will most likely cause you to be rather conflicted and moody because you don’t appear to be a clear winner or loser. Do you suck at life or are you awesome? Where are you on this social spectrum of failures and winners?

I think Facebook forces you into this mode of thinking and it’s bad from the start. You can’t see other people and not compare yourself to them. It’s just impossible or at the very least really hard to do. By not partaking in Facebook you skip over this problem all together. By not seeing people living their everyday lives and comparing yourself to them you save yourself the struggle of knowing if you’re better or worse than everyone else. If this information is gone, surprisingly, you just live your own life and do what you want to do. You stop trying to have a bigger social penis than everyone else and just live life.

I really think this is the worst aspect of Facebook by far. Sure you get an overdose of news and sure you spend time browsing and doing nothing, but the real harm comes from measuring yourself against everyone else. Your happiness is your own and no one else has any say in it. By comparing yourself to others they magically become part of how you measure your self-worth and usually ends up tearing it down: happiness, self-confidence, motivation, everything. You alone know who you are and what you like to do in life, so do it. Some jackass fucker on Facebook that you know from work has no bearing on this despite how “successful” you think he is. Facebook Sucks.

29136263_197090510889930_2348757262329719075_n

Disregarding the fact that this isn’t the real Bill Murray apparently (I researched it because I don’t want to spread bullshit), it’s a pretty accurate statement.

Facebook Sucks: Overexposure

We live in shitty times. If it hasn’t been obvious, I despise Donald Trump and the way the country is heading. Environmental rules are being ripped apart, multibillion dollar businesses somehow are getting tax cuts while everyone else is given pocket-change tax breaks, we seem to be on the verge of a nuclear war every few weeks, and you can’t go a month without hearing that another school has been shot up and that the NRA lobbied as hard as can be to stop anything from being done about it. Russian’s are running rampant on social media while no one cares and our international imagine is faltering. It almost feels that America is falling apart.

Some people have a problem with watching too much news and news programs don’t do shit to “fix” the problem because if the world is shit and they hype things up they get better ratings and more money from advertisements. It’s a shitty system where the news is rewarded by sensationalizing everything and making everything breaking news. What’s actually nice about the news is that it’s linear though; they can only talk about a single news story at one time. And like you might be aware, they usually drag it out for hours and hours by having “experts” give their opinions. The world is shit, but you might only be aware of one single aspect of it that is shit. When Florida was getting shot up people forgot about whatever new Trump scandal was happening. It’s linear and you get one shitty aspect of the world at one time.

How about Facebook or other social media? You already know how it is. Depending on what you like and follow you might see a myriad of bullshit as you mindlessly scroll down the page. Kids are getting shot, the NRA throws money to not fix the problem, lawmakers don’t care, and teachers will have guns. Or, conversely, illegal immigrants get better treatment than veterans, the media is shitting all over Trump unfairly, and the democrats are pushing the Russia deal to shit on Trump. Also liberals stopped the pledge of allegiance because of tears. It doesn’t matter what you believe because you’re still going to be convinced that the world is going to hell. Everyone knows the world is going to shit.

I can’t get on Facebook and not feel shitty simply because I become aware of not a few bad things, but all of them. Whereas TV news focuses on single stories forever, when you scroll Facebook you see about ten or twenty problems with the world. This also happens every time you check the damn thing. You don’t even have to read the stories because the headlines are shitty enough. Even if you click the link and read the story there are still more clickbait news stories at the bottom of the page to tempt you!

Coupled with the feeling that the world is going instantly to hell is the feeling of helplessness that is involved with seeing the news. Everyone wants to help solve the problems facing America or the world, but what can the single person on Facebook do? Nothing. Say it again. Nothing. You can’t do a damn thing. Most people try sharing links or joining groups and discussing complaining about the issues but you’re either insulting those with opposing views or circle-jerking your worldview with others that share the same outlook. Think about it: has a person sharing anything on Facebook really changed your opinion? Has someone sharing a gun control post really changed the mind of a hardcore second amendment bastard? Has the opposite ever happened? Not that I’m aware of and it seems near impossible. Yet we keep sharing thinking that we’re doing something to fix the world. Because doing something is better than nothing, RIGHT?

Facebook gives you the idea that the world is terrible and that you can’t do anything to change it. And even if you are trying to change it no one is listening to you. You feel like shit, but listen. Shut your computer, phone, or whatever else you dose up on drama with and go outside. Look around. I see trees, houses, dead but soon to be alive grass and the occasional squirrel. Sometimes a loud jackass on a motorcycle drives down the road but other than that the world is rather quiet and peaceful. I don’t see kids shooting each other with guns and I don’t see animals going extinct. The shittiest thing I see is that Mountain Dew bottle someone tossed by our mailbox. The world is shit, but it’s shit in a way that doesn’t personally affect you much. Outside and the world doesn’t seem too bad really.

I’m not saying to ignore the problems because the world does have some serious problems. I’m just saying not to let them consume you and sacrifice the quality of your life. Climate change is a problem but shitposting on Facebook isn’t going to help it. Stop driving your car as much or ride your bike but don’t worry about it in an unhealthy way. How about guns? You really can’t do shit about that so don’t even try. Just go outside and do whatever the fuck you like to do. Go run, or bike ride, or whatever. Facebook Sucks because it magnifies the problems in the world in a forum that makes change and discussion nearly impossible. You feel shitty and helpless. This doesn’t help anyone or anything. Taking a break from Facebook might make you feel happier about the world and your place in it. Give it a shot. Because Facebook Sucks.

Edit: It was during writing this I found a New York Times article about a dude who, being upset and depressed with Donald Trump’s win, decided to keep himself ignorant about all political matters. It’s an interesting read and touches on some of the same points I did here in regards to Facebook.

Facebook Sucks: A Time Sink

This one is rather easy to get out of the way and is also the most trivial reason why Facebook Sucks. Facebook appears to be rather addictive and if you’re like me you check it more often than you should. I’ll check Facebook, close the tab on my browser, and then check it again five minutes later. Obviously in this short timeframe nothing has changed yet I scroll through for a bit before closing the tab. I’m sure others do the same with the app (which for some reason I still don’t use).

It’s even stupider if I’m at work or sitting at home bored. Then I check Facebook just to do something. I might even have other plans: clean the cat litter, work on a blog post or short story, or play a video game. But if I’m not quite motivated enough to do those things I’ll inevitably get my phone out and dick around on Facebook doing absolutely nothing. Instead of being productive I’ll dilly-dally on there because it’s entertaining and it makes me feel like I’m doing something. And everyone thinks that doing something is always better than doing nothing right?

There’s a lot of time that goes into randomly checking Facebook. You might spend five or ten minutes at time on Facebook which doesn’t seem like a lot but you know these things add up. Six ten-minute periods adds up to be a damn hour: an hour where you’ve done nothing but look at shitty Facebook posts. Subtracting sleep and whatever else we do we only have about 16 hours a day (at most) to actually do stuff and one of those hours is going to checking Facebook? That Sucks. What about all of the other shit you could’ve been doing? Isn’t there anything more worthwhile than checking Facebook? When you’re dying are you going to be like “I wish I browsed Facebook more.”?

That’s a best case scenario too. I wouldn’t be surprised if people spend more time than that on Facebook a day. Hell, you can count all the time spent on messenger talking to people about nothing in particular and that would add some time. Actually clicking articles and reading them or commenting shitposting also wastes time. I wouldn’t doubt that some people spend more than two hours a day on that shitty place.

So that’s my gripe; by being on Facebook you are stopping yourself from doing something else, whether it be cleaning, cooking, working on a hobby, playing with your kids, or reading. Ya know, things that make life actually worth living. The time we spend on Facebook and social media in general doesn’t seem very significant — if you’re on the toilet you can’t really do much besides Facebook unless you have a Nintendo Switch — but these times add up to something that might be significant. Facebook Sucks because you could be doing something else instead of flipping the screen upwards for hours a day. But that’s what millions of us choose to do.

Facebook Sucks: An Introduction

This will be shocking to you, but there was a time when Facebook didn’t exist. I remember this because I’m apparently old. I graduated high school in 2004 and there was no Facebook at the time. (Fun Fact: Apparently Facebook was created in early 2004 so there was a Facebook but it sure as hell wasn’t the massive beast we know currently.) A few years later this thing called MySpace was pretty damn popular and was basically a prehistoric version of Facebook. Eventually that place went the way of dinosaurs and phone books with Facebook becoming the de-facto social media website. Now everyone has a Facebook page. If you don’t you’re seen as a social outcast or something.

Another fun fact: before our hyper-connected world partially enabled by Facebook, life was actually enjoyable. You’d live your life and do the shit you wanted to do and you didn’t think once about “sharing” it with others. You might call your friends and family and let them know what was up but that was the extent of it. Currently, no matter what we do we keep our internet personas in the back of our minds ready to share anything remotely interesting (or not) we happen to do in life. Social media has a way of drilling itself into your subconscious and keeping itself ever present in your mind. It’s like a disgusting virus that wants you to get “likes” and appear cool.

This is obviously bad and I’ve been rebelling against Facebook periodically since I first created my personal page about 10 or 11 years ago. The current iteration has been around for about four or five years. It’s like my social life periodically undergoes mass extinction events where I just give up and disappear. In fact some of my old high school friends thought I had died because I’d just randomly leave the social media universe. What’s stupid is that I keep going back to Facebook and have to rebuild my friends list and that’s a pain. I’m imagining my friends think that I just delete them and re-add them not realizing I had nuked my account. It’s sad and it’s depressing but it’s simply what happens. So why do I periodically delete my Facebook accounts?

Since this occurs over and over I assume it’s a problem with either me or Facebook. I snap and delete my shit every few years and I’ve come to accept it. The last time I tried this was about 6 months ago. I was well into blogging and my “personal business” so I knew I couldn’t delete my personal page because then I’d lose all of my blog pages (including this one) so I just deactivated it. I guess I was realistic with myself and knew I’d be back so why should I cause myself more problems? I had narrowly escaped another social media collapse. I was right because I did eventually come back (and we always do…) and I kept Facebook in check for a few months. I wouldn’t check it as soon as I’d wake up and would stay logged out. I finally became in charge of my Facebook usage. For a bit that is.

So how was it? It was wonderful. I hate being overdramatic but my happiness immediately improved when I quit seeing everything on social media. It was such a tiny and simple change to my life that lead to some immense benefits in terms of well being. Even logging out and checking Facebook only once a day gave huge improvements. I can’t underestimate how much not being on social media has helped me even if I have relapsed in the past month. There seems to be a direct relation with how much time spend on Facebook and how miserable you are and seeing as I’ve “relapsed” I’ve been given a fresh perspective on why Facebook Sucks.

But why specifically does it Suck? I have a few ideas and I don’t think I’ll put them in this post simply because it’d be too long. I suppose that’s a good problem to have if you’re a blogger but no one likes reading a super long post. Think of this as an introduction. So far I’ve identifies three things (but maybe more!) that make Facebook shitty: it’s a time-sink that affects your productivity; overexposure to the news and helplessness to change anything will destroy your mood; and finally and most importantly there’s “reverse-schadenfreude” for lack of a better word. I’ll write and publish those posts and link them here in a day or so. Enjoy!