A man has spent years trapped in a cell–four cinderblock walls, a small window, a metal door, a concrete bed. One day he wakes up to find that the door is open. Is this the escape from the years of agonizing boredom? How could it be? It is the most obvious solution. There is no one that would chose to remain when given the chance to leave the room behind. Does this not make it the most boring option, the road so often travelled that the dirt became steel under the pressure of thousands of rushing feet?
But very few prisoners ever find themselves like this, very rarely will a man caged for so long (in this case a very solitary confinement) wake up to simply find a door open, a door waiting, inviting. But we come across this type of door in every house, in every town. In a rustle of pages we found them open one day, a passive offering of escape. They do not force themselves upon us, but we have often relied on them to be the best escape from our walls. And so, in a quiet manner, books became our greatest boredom.
Perhaps it is the book itself that is boring. The door is ignored in favor of the adjacent room, the window is ignored for the view. With such little things being true, the book would always be ignored for the world within. But this is not how the book is boring. It is so by virtue of its greatness. Nothing else has ever been deemed so worthy of praise by men and women of intellect, nothing has been such an enormous divisor and unifier of mankind. No other object in the world is the portal to such a vast pool of characters, of ideas and dreams. As such it became the most respected medicine for the mind. If you are bored, read a book. If you are listless, read a book. If you have fears, a book will face them with you. It is the best option, it is the most boring choice.
Some of the most exciting moments in history involved the destruction of books. What could be less boring? During our private and useless debate–do we do the most boring thing possible and exit through our door, or do we languish in boredom within our cell, now with a markedly flawed wall on one side…– someone came running down the hall, slamming doors shut. Should we have chosen to stay, plodding along the exciting path of fermenting in our boredom, we are now trapped. But should we find ourselves outside our cell when the heavy door clicks shut, we are also trapped, only now it is in a world where someone is depriving others of the most boring, the most wonderful of chances. How exciting.
I do not wish to be misunderstood. Perhaps boredom is not such a terrible affliction. I would like to leave you with this quote by the creator of some of my favorite doors through which I, in my great boredom, did not hesitate to jump.
“Literature should not disappear up its own asshole, so to speak.” -Kurt Vonnegut