The Disappointed Ant

The disappointed ant understood the power of making chapbooks and packaging them and mailing them to people in the fight against depression, despair, and loneliness. He made three chapbooks a night using his antennae to carefully glue motes of sand onto pieces of leaves in an arbitrary manner. He mailed the chapbooks by media mail to subscribers in Williamsburg, Italy, and East Timor. One night the disappointed ant was severely depressed. He made five chapbooks and felt better. For a few months the disappointed ant was able (with only a little despair which was more distracting, really, than uncomfortable) to enjoy small, private, and ultimately pointless things like walking around pretending to be a machine; lying in bed listening to lyrically excruciating emo music but focusing only on the drums; and turning off all the lights at 3 p.m., drinking iced coffee, putting down the curtains, and lying in bed thinking about good feelings it had felt in the past.

One clear day in February while walking in a line of ants carrying motes of sand to build a new alcove in the sand pile the disappointed ant dropped his mote of sand and began to cry. The other ants walked around him. After a few minutes the disappointed ant picked up his mote of sand and continued walking. That night in his room the ant stared at his leaves and motes of sand and absently began to glue everything together in “a giant ball of shit.” While continuously thinking “a giant ball of shit” without context, object, or tone he packaged it and addressed it to a subscriber in East Timor. He grinned and then felt the grin on his face which made the increasingly nauseating despair that he had been feeling for the last five hours suddenly much more intense and immediate. The ant felt dizzy with how bad he felt and sensed that soon he would be crying hard and unable to function. He walked quickly to the CD player and put on a CD by an emotional rock band called Pop Unknown and then turned off the lights and lay quickly on his bed putting the blanket over his entire body and head. After twenty seconds the CD began to skip.

The disappointed ant felt a thought forming in his head and slowly began to realize that he was thinking about screaming “FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK” so hard that his head would be torn from his body in a liberating, cathartic manner. With a neutral facial expression and a calm and lucid pattern of cognition the disappointed ant saw his head being torn off in a variety of angles and speeds until finally the sequence culminated in a display of six different angles alternating in slow-motion, split-screen, and stop-motion in the style of action movies that came out after The Matrix. The ant let this sequence play in his head for a few minutes and then felt a little better, got up, stopped the CD player, and went to sleep.


Tao Lin Tao Lin

Tao Lin is the author of four books including the forthcoming (May, 2008) poetry-collection COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (Melville House). He also has two small books on BEAR PARADE. He lives in Brooklyn. His blog is called READER OF DEPRESSING BOOKS.

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