Three nihilist life lessons I learnt from Hello Kitty


Hello Kitty. Famous for no discernible reason, and criminally useless. The Kardashian of cartoon characters.

It started as a practical joke that quickly got out of hand, but I am now at the stage of wearing Hello Kitty For Men shirts I bought for a lot of money in a pop-up store in Tokyo.

So, clearly, I have given this some thought.

It’s not that I hate Hello Kitty, although I do think she’s awful. I am drawn to Hello Kitty the same way people are to sour milk: it repels you, but you have to smell it. Because when I look beyond the bovine eyes and the non-mouth and that stupid say-nothing do-nothing expression, I see something of myself there.

Specifically three soul-crushing somethings.

Specifically these.

One: If you keep your mouth shut and your expression blank, nobody will know how empty you are inside and they will like you more.

Oooh Hello Kitty is so cute, mommy, can i have the [sippy cup / rucksack / pillow case/ chainsaw] with Hello Kitty on it?

And mommy says yes because there’s not much to object to– just a cat-like outline, not even the hint of a smile. Girlfriend ain’t even got a mouth.  

That dead, inscrutable facade is the true mark of a sociopath. But mommy doesn’t know.

The truth is, it is easy to be disliked and judged negatively for expressing any form of thought or opinion — be it about politics, music or mayonnaise, someone’s bound to think you’re a dick. The path to popularity is to talk as much as you want while saying nothing at all.

Caption your next social media post with #livelaughlove (or is it #lovelivelife?) for likes and hearts. Try #blacklivesmatter for crickets and death threats. If you can successfully portray harmless banality in all your interactions, you can coast along quite well. 

Life is easier if you pretend you’re an idiot. Mommy may not know that (she doesn’t have to pretend to be an idiot). But the Kitty knows. 

Two: You might as well wear the same outfit all the time because no one ever notices.

Describe Hello Kitty’s outfit right now without Googling. Is it a pink dress thing? Is it a shirt and pants combo? Is she ass-naked and showing her no-no parts on that bib you bought for your niece that says I Heart My Gay Uncle?

You don’t know. Or you think you know, but you’re really not sure. Even though you have seen Hello Kitty a bazillion times. That’s because nobody truly pays attention to anything, but most particularly nobody truly pays attention to you.

Not to the new haircut you researched painstakingly before getting. Not to the $175 Carolina Herrera shirt you wore to your birthday dinner. Not to the botox. 

 All that money you’ve ever spent on clothes, hair products, gym —  it’s all been a waste.

And it will always be a waste.


Three: The basis of your human nature is nothing but a collective agreement that is now crumbling to dust before your very eyes.

Back in 2014, the creators of Hello Kitty caused international headlines by claiming that Hello Kitty was, in fact, not a cat. She was a girl. Forget the cat ears and the cat whiskers and the KITTY IN HELLO FUCKING KITTY — the Sanrio company wants to gaslight you into believing that cat has always been a person and I guess we’re all idiots for ever thinking otherwise.

Hello Kitty is attempting to Rachel Dolezal her way into membership into the human condition, by simply declaring herself to be a human. And if Hello Kitty can be a person, what the hell does that make you?

A carbon-based life form. That’s all.

Hello Kitty is not the nihilist anti-hero we want. But she’s sure as fuck the one we deserve. 

34 Things You Should Have Done Before Turning 35 But You Haven’t Because You Are A Loser

How have you failed at adulting? From love to career to adopting rescue dogs, let us count the ways.

How have you failed at adulting? From love to career to adopting rescue dogs, let us count the ways.

1- Marry The Love of Your Life. Romance and relationships make up approximately 50 percent of any carbon-based life form and 99 percent of humanity’s cultural output (the other 1 percent is the Guernica). How come you’re single? Why won’t he marry you? (it’s because you smell)

2- Have Children. Children are the future. We are the children. Why don’t you have children? Don’t you like children? Everybody likes children. You would be such a great parent to Jaydyn and Kaydyn and little baby Jennica. Those are real names.

3- Buy Your Dream House. By 35 you should have both feet firmly planted on the property ladder. You should be upgrading to a 3-BR by now, you sad renting plonk. Why don’t you own your Dream House? Your cousin owns three and she’s married to The Love Of Her Life and she just gave birth to baby Jennica.

4- Get an MBA. Undergrad is the new high school. You need an MBA. Everybody has an MBA. Why don’t you have an MBA? Your BA in Event Planning just isn’t going to cut it by the time you are 35. Your cousin is an event planner and she has an MBA.

5- Plant a Tree. In the backyard of your Dream House which you own.

6- Travel to India. Maybe for your honeymoon, with The Love Of Your Life. It is said that the Taj Mahal is the most romantic building in the world. People say that. And thanks to the Delhi Belly you have now hit your goal weight at last.

7- Write a Book. Your cousin is a functional illiterate and even she has managed to publish an e-book of her favourite Kardashian tweets. It’s selling really well. Why haven’t you ever written anything? (it’s because you smell)

8- Adopt a Rescue Dog. It can run on your beautiful backyard of your Dream House which you own with the Love Of Your Life. Make a fun family time out of discovering its behavioural problems. Oh wait, you don’t have a family.

9- Learn To Cook With Brandy. You are a sophisticated domestic god/dess.  No one is ever going to marry you if your dinner is lumps of cheese eaten in front of the open fridge until it beeps. We can see you.

10- Practice Yoga. Yoga gives you poise and equilibrium. Well, not you, obviously. You just flail around your mat trying to conceal your erection and toppling over people.

11- Meditate. Shhhh. Quietly.

12- Become a Vegan. Just for a little bit so you can tell people you are a vegan. Isn’t your cousin a vegan? I think she’s a vegan.

13- Go Gluten-Free. Ride that trend like a fucking bronco.

14- Organise a Beautiful Easter Egg Hunt For The Whole Family. Invest on some really high-end egg-painting accoutrement. This is not the time to be stingy. Let it take up as much time as it takes because your event planning business isn’t doing so great and you don’t have much else going on.

15- Call Pest Control. You were just down in the basement hiding Easter eggs and you saw a huge rat.

16- Read Capital in the Twenty-First Century By Thomas Picketty. Or do what everyone else does and just buy a copy and put it on a shelf where people can see it.

17- Self-Identify as an A-Type Personality. Tell everyone about it. Make a really big deal about how A-Type you are. You just can’t relax! You are so A-Type! But nobody will believe you because of your slovenly ways and because of that one time you filed for bankruptcy.

18- Dance in the Rain. Dance.

19- Survive Pneumonia. Why would you go out dancing in the rain like a goddamned hippie. (it’s because you smell)

20- Have an Honest Talk With The Love Of Your Life. Communication is key. Put on your big girl/boy pants and sit down with the Love Of Your Life and have an open, honest, judgement-free discussion about why s/he is being so distant and I don’t know, weird all of a sudden, you know what I mean?

21- Have a Glass Of Brandy. You need it, after that Honest Talk. Jesus, that escalated quickly. What a scream fest. Did you wake Jaydyn and Kaydyn? (you did)

22- Maybe Check His/Her Phone. While s/he is in the shower. Quickly. What’s Craigslist?

23- Explore A Trial Separation. Well, look –this can be a wonderful opportunity to rediscover who you are, and have some much needed you-time. You are just working some stuff out. Just for a little while. It’s not even worth worrying your mother with it.

24- Divorce The Love Of Your Life. Yeah, it wasn’t temporary, was it. Lose your soulmate forever and watch him/her walk away from you like the profoundly unlovable mess that you are.

25- Temporarily Lose Custody Of Baby Jennica. Because of your drinking problem. You and your brandy must be very happy together.

26- Have a Series of Drug-Fuelled One-Night-Stands. You are strong and desirable.

27- Fight Off Venereal Disease. Where did that come from?

28- Get Evicted From Your Dream House. Because you lost your business and you couldn’t pay your mortgage.

29- Move In With Your Mother. It’s a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with your relatives and curl in the fetal position under your childhood bed and be very scared about how fast life can unravel.

30- Sign Up For An Evening Class. Salsa dancing and Italian are big favourites with divorced people. Maybe you will meet someone nice! (but you won’t)

31- Drop Out Of Your Evening Class. Because you had a shitty lawyer during the divorce and you got stuck with the Rescue Dog with behavioural problems and your mother is afraid of being alone in the house with it.

32- Volunteer. Nothing lift your spirits higher than bearing witness to other people’s fuck ups.

33- Do An Internship. Do three! Like volunteering but without the schadenfreude. Discover that in the New Economy internships are today’s entry-level jobs in which you have no hours and get paid in karma.

34- Call Your Cousin. Call her to thank her for getting you the internship and  to tell her that you received her invitation to the barbecue party at her beautiful new beach house and you would love to go, but you don’t think you’ll be able to make it this time.