A few months ago I went on a little walk. I popped in my earbuds, pressed play, and started out of our apartment complex. Up ahead, I noticed someone had left a bit of trash in the greenspace between the building and the parking lot. A slightly crushed can: Monster Energy drink.
This set off a chain of thoughts. Most of the thoughts weren't in words, exactly, but I'll try to convey it here.
Some jerk littered. What kind of person just drops empty cans in the grass? Grrr. People.
It's absurd. To make that can, someone had to dig up the bauxite ore. Someone had to smelt that ore into pure aluminum and mix it with just the right amount of other metals to make it strong enough. Someone created a factory to make the can. Someone harvested the sugar cane and refined it. Someone synthesized the vitamins. Someone gathered the ginseng and alligator testicles (I'm guessing). Someone marketed it. Someone shipped it around the world.
Before that, countless others invented sciences, discovered laws of nature, did math, invented writing and many methods transportation.
Millions of people mined, farmed, and invented before this can could make it here.
More than that, though: Millions of people mined, farmed, and invented so this can could make it here.
Why do all that? What's the point? A tremendous amount of effort, resources, and lives have gone into producing that can. Why? Someone drank it, and dropped it, then went on to do something else pointless.
Billions of people have lived, worked, and died. All to make an aluminum can full of sugar water. Not this can directly of course, but other cans, metaphorical speaking. The cars, the streets, the buildings, the planes. All are metaphorical slightly-crushed cans laying in dead leaves.
All of history, culminating in a Monster can laying in the leaves.
Why bother? Our existence is… absurd. Why create all these things? We do all these things, but for what purpose? Why? Why anything?
Wow, what a depressing idea. Existential weariness. Ennui. That's what it's called: ennui. I remember when I had only read the word and didn't know it was pronounced "On Wee".
Oh yeah, that makes me think of that SMBC cartoon:
"Mom, Dad, I have ennui!" Ha! That was great. What was I thinking about before? Oh yeah: everything's pointless, blah blah blah. "On wee!" Chuckle.
I finished my walk with a chuckle. (I went back later and took a picture of the can.)
So there you go: Existential crisis conquered by the memory of a pee-based pun.
The Monster Energy can of depression.