If I somehow end up in a position of authority in the post-apocalyptic world, the citizens of my nation-state will be issued a copy of Moby-Dick at birth. I’ve been re-reading it recently, and holy lord did Herman Melville know what he was doing. It is the Bible for burned-out believe-in-nothing sad-dudes the world over.
I first read M-D (what the pros call it) during the summer between 11th and 12th grade, and while it moved me deeply at the time, I hadn’t experienced enough terrible bullshit for it to rock my testicles like has been recently:
Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.
There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody’s expense but his own.
I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.
If nothing else, take those last two lines and carve them into your brain. Hell, it’s really all you need to navigate through this miserable fucking place.