What would it mean to be successful? Will I ever achieve success? Is it possible to lead a rewarding life without world-renowned accomplishment? What’s the point?
Before I was successful, I used to ask myself these questions a lot. Back before I achieved major, widespread recognition and accolades for my achievements, these questions used to haunt me. Depression and self-deprecation, brought on by a nagging sense of failure and immutable determinism, felt as if they were my most constant and reliable personality traits, as fixed as DNA.
Toiling away in obscurity, it’s difficult to keep up one’s self-esteem. One of the best things about being successful is that everyone is constantly telling you how great you are and paying you all kinds of attention. There’s a real tendency to overindulge in this kind of ego-stroking, yet ultimately masturbatory form of social engagement. You may feel a little guilty at first, maybe because you personally know half a dozen people who you feel deserve adulation far more that you, and maybe you secretly suspect that your work is overrated and possibly you are the victim of an elaborate practical joke, but go ahead and overindulge anyway, you deserve it! Well probably not you personally, but I deserve it, because I’m successful. I’ve come to realize that self-worth does not come from inside, but is given to you by other people; specifically, strangers who are pleased with that awesome thing I did that made me a success.
Another great thing about success, and I really can’t exaggerate how fabulous it is, is how attractive it makes you to the opposite sex. Impossibly attractive women who wouldn’t have given me the time of day before I was successful, (and if they did, I would have mumbled something inane and looked at the floor), seek me out at parties. They laugh at my jokes, even when they aren’t funny. Sometimes I tell unfunny jokes on purpose just to see if they laugh. (They do.)
Just look at Robert Crumb. That guy is an ugly, creepy weirdo, but as a successful cartoonist he could take home a different girl every night and they were game for any perverted sex act he could imagine, no joke. The evolutionary underpinning of this behaviour is pretty obvious; I think about that sometimes, and it makes me a little sad that we are all so driven by the clockwork of biology. I also sometimes wonder why anyone at all was willing to fuck me before I was a success. But whatever the reason, to all those wonderful charitable women I want to say: Thank you. Thank you very very much.
Of course, expectations run high when you’re a success; everyone wants to know what my next amazing project is going to be. I haven’t really had any good ideas for it yet; it’s hard to find solitary time to think when there are so many parties to go to, galas to attend, panel discussions to participate in and so on. But I’m sure something will come to me eventually.