Should I worry when I hear my inner monologue say, “Welp, it looks like just about the only option you’ve got left is the “Maron Solution”? (And yes, my inner monologue DID put quotes around it!)
I suppose being nearly Marc Maron’s age helps me relate to him, but the real bond is that he identifies as “a raw nerve” difficult to be around, tolerable in small doses. His guests regularly call him out for his non-compliments. He opens nearly every show with a few moments of making amends for past slights; past defensive assumptions; past condescension and jealous belittling.
On Episode 298, with John Oliver, Maron obliviously delivered one of his trademark snide, backhanded compliments.
Oliver replied, “How do you manage to inflect so much with one word?”
“It’s my gift,” Maron parried, “It stifled my career for years, that power!”
“Yeah, you’d be so good at voice-overs” Oliver pushed back, “If you could monetize contempt.”
Now, I could digress to give you the backstory on Marc: talented but failing in his career, suffering one disappointment after another resulting from his uncanny ability to piss off the people helping him out. Fired by Air America radio network, he had run out of ideas. So he launched a podcast out of desperation, asking listeners “What the Fuck is wrong with me?” The rest is history, and he has gone on to be the number one podcaster in the nation. He interviewed President Obama in his garage, for God’s sake! He sells out 2,000 seat theaters when he used to play to clubs of 30 at which (he says) maybe 4 people would know who he was.
Has Maron figured out a way to monetize contempt? No. He has monetized redemption and, in so doing, has restored hope to millions of narcissistic assholes just like him! He has stopped repeating patterns that were killing his career and relationships. He stopped trying to achieve success using the same technique that historically delivered only failure. He chose to change.
Let me repeat that: He chose to change.
I sat across from my co-worker today taking every word out of his mouth defensively. I just KNEW he was lying to me. Whether he was lying or not is moot. I blurted angrily, “You’re so fucking passive aggressive it is beyond belief.” Immediately I knew that this was not productive. I’ve been doing this for years. Why am I so certain that people have bad motives? Why am I so certain he’s going to throw me under the bus?
I’ve stopped typing. I’m fidgeting in my seat, trying to figure out why my left buttock hurts more than my right. Is my keyboard aligned with the inlaid oak strips on my desk? Why am I deflecting from that question?
Back to Maron… I can take that… NO! I have got to choose to change. Responding with anger is impotent and unproductive, and not taking me where I want to be.
Why can’t I spew out every thought on paper like I used to as a teenager? It flowed so easily, even if not coherently. The thoughts made it to paper, and I could read them and say, “That’s good.” or “That’s not the person I want to be.” or “Do I REALLY think THAT… The warden guarding the gate on the prison where I’ve stuffed my emotions is working overtime, while the fat-ass security contractor who is supposed to be watching over my “anger vent” and “invective generator” is whacking off to a donut.
I’m left trying to figure out what the Maron Solution means for me? I need to do something that is good for others, with no return. I need to do something (like this blog) that is pure creative, mental outlet. I need … I need… more understanding of what the fuck is driving me.
Why do I feel so “done wrong”? Is it because “You only get what you give?” Are past traumatic slights so deeply embedded that I am wired to respond this way? Can I choose to change?