This photo is from a tour of the KEXP studio in Seattle.

Life Needs a Rebrand

If watching the past several years through the lense of the (still ongoing) pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that there is a significant difference between the things that make existence meaningful and the things on which we spend much of our precious time.

We’re all grinding it out, every week, doing the best we can. I get it; we all have bills to pay. That’s the way adult life works, at least in my lifetime.

If we’re lucky, we find a cause worth fighting for or something we are passionate about. Most of the time, those things do not come with a paycheck.

Some people rediscovered the joy of simple things in the last two years. There are an equal number of people who felt estranged from society and existence in general. In The Great Resignation movement, I see a lot of people willing to slow down for a second and ask, “Why are we doing this?”

I think that is the perfect question right now because, if we’re honest, the stuff most of us are doing is not that interesting.

Each daily headline we see in this country is either dreadful, hilarious, or a mixture of both. War in Ukraine? Here are some stock picks for your portfolio (credit @waderockett on Twitter for that real gem). Don’t like a book you’ve never read? Ban it, or better yet burn it! Inconvenient history? Stop talking about it. Doom scroll the day away with tips about how to monetize your hobbies to afford groceries. “Hustle.”

If you watched Bo Burnham’s special “Inside” and couldn’t decide if you wanted to laugh or cry, then you get what I’m saying. Maybe you’ve listened to modern songs like Sam Fender’s White Privilege or songs from the previous century like Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come and felt like a lot of us are struggling to say the same thing but we’re trapped in our own disparate frequencies.

David after the dentist asked the right question: “Is this real life?”

The answer is, well, sort of. It’s half what we’re choosing to do and half what we’re willing to accept. Whether you’re listening to Sam Harris or Joe Rogan or anyone in between, you’re being forced to pick a side on everything. Everything. The problem with picking a side now is that the truth has largely become subjective. That’s not a simple fix.

My solution is this (and it is idiotically simple): Let’s rebrand.

Let’s redefine what matters and what doesn’t. Let’s just agree to start future conversations on the premise that we are all individuals having unique life experiences shaped by things both within and beyond our control. And none of us have gotten it perfect.

At best, we learn. We do better. We approach things with compassion and grace instead of defaulting to a Lord of the Flies mentality.

I live by a more R-rated version of the golden rule which I will not put into writing here. I think you all understand. A person I admire and respect said it as well as I ever could:

At my table, everyone gets to eat.

Maybe we jumped off the standard, predictable timeline of life in 2019. I hope that’s the case because, in my opinion, things were not awesome before. Now, we can all move forward together if we will only realize that we’re on the same team and that a fundamental reboot is possible.

Let’s rebrand to a perception that recognizes not a single person on this earth will ever give a damn about your social media following or middle management title when you’re gone. Your actual friends and families might like to talk to you, though.

If your response to reading this is that you feel like you have neither of those in your life, here is my offer which is completely free and with no strings attached: If you need someone to talk to, write to me. I’ll listen.

I know it’s cheesy and I fully expect the mockery of the internet for these words. I do not care.

Whether you look like me or love like me or speak the same language or listen to the same music or watch the same movies, I promise you, I am willing to hear anything you need to say. I can’t promise to agree, but we will at least start from a neutral position.

That’s my rebranding proposal for 2022. It’s trite. It’s common. It’s not genius on any level. You might think I’m some weird hippie who lives in a van down by the river. I’m alright with that.

My offer is authentic and that is objectively true.



Nobody special, just someone who likes to write and make art.

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