The Heartbreak Of Terminal Hipness

hip cat with beret

Despite exciting progress in the world of mental health, millions of Americans still suffer the ravages of Terminal Hipness, a debilitating mental, emotional and spiritual disorder preventing them from experiencing life. Symptoms include:

· Chronic cynicism
· Faux fin de siècle ennui
· Delusions of superiority
· Black clothing
· Obsession with irony
· Devotion to sunglasses
· Mirthless sarcasm

For Terminal Hipsters, caring is the final frontier; revealing raw emotion is the summit of K2. Despite being subjugated by a chronic illness, to them the cure is worse than the disease; they cannot make the scene, man, because negativity is comfortable armor hiding fear.
I know. I was once counted in their ranks – and I have the Albert Ayler records to prove it.

“Cynicism: When you’re clever enough to see life as it is but not emotionally strong enough to accept it.” Taz Mopula

My creative renaissance began over 20 years ago, when I wrote the first draft of Invisible Driving. At that time I also returned to my first artistic love – poetry.

“Writing great poetry becomes much easier when you’re willing to die for it.” Taz Mopula

Surprisingly, my work became a regular feature of the Internet’s weirdest, darkest, and most prestigious literary magazine – Exquisite Corpse – published by celebrated poet and Count Dracula impersonator – Andrei Codrescu.

“Celebrity: A state of being where one is not known by a large number of people.” Taz Mopula 

Codrescu is a creature of the night, and he liked my subterranean stuff. But one day I decided to submit something unapologetically poignant – a poem which had reduced several grown men to tears when I performed it at hipster flipster finger poppin’ daddy poetry readings at snoochy poochy art galleries in Philadelphia.

“Great soldiers are brave; great poets are reckless.” Taz Mopula

He wrote me back and said, “It’s a lovely poem, Alistair, but we are into darker music at the moment.” I let it go, wondering if my hep cat card had been pulled.

To my surprise, he published it anyway.

I know so little, but along the way I have learned a few things. Among them: there is a rather disheartening linkage between fear, cowardice, and cynicism. For so many of us – unvarnished love and honesty are unimaginably terrible.

Published by

Alistair McHarg

Alistair McHarg was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, moved immediately to Edinburgh, and three years later moved to Amsterdam. At 6 he settled in Philadelphia and for 16 years was confused by Quaker education; Germanton Friends School and Haverford College. A Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Louisville nudged him even closer to unemployability. Convinced at an early age that fate had chosen writing as his calling, Alistair followed a characteristically slow and circuitous path. He has found work as deck hand on a Norwegian tramp freighter touring South America, Bureau of Land Management Emergency Fire Fighter in Alaska, guide at a Canadian wilderness survival camp, truck driver crisscrossing Colorado's continental divide, and inner city cabbie. Alistair has been arranging words on paper for a living since 1983.