Califoregonian Excerpt: Dear Sarcasm Pepperoncinis Pandabears

by austin beaton

This is an excerpt from Califoregonian. Learn more here.

Dear Sarcasm Pepperoncinis Pandabears,

The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Scar Tissue” happened when frontman Anthony Kiedis stopped using sarcasm as the main source of his humor.

I read Kiedis’ memoir, Scar Tissue, when I was 19. Throughout the pages I was hype-aware of the gap between me and him (he lost his virginity at 12, tried heroin at 14, created his first band at 21).

I was only starting to break little cracks into who I wanted to be.

Do you have any stories about the Chili Peps during your years in LA?

I’ve been thinking a lot about your time down there, that sandpapering into your becoming.

How you describe it as a time when you were hustling.

How brave you were to leave. And even braver to move back.

Choosing what we need over what we predicted we’d want isn’t easy.

Are you bringing anything back from Illinois worth packing? Optimism, humility, grit, hot Italian beef, pepperoncinis?

Life is almost never what we predict and even though a lot of us know this, we don’t stop envisioning. It’s human. It’s physiology.

Do you still want children? Does it scare you imagining yourself without your usual insecurities?

One of the more revelatory studies about outcomes found that recent lottery winners and recent quadriplegics reported the same level of daily happiness.

Namely, because our brain accustoms quickly to what once made it happy. Being a human isn’t easy—a koala or puppy or pandabear would be less tricky.

It’s empowering and scary to know that achieving what we desire won’t actually have a huge impact on our daily living.

But, wildly, we can affect what we experience in each moment in a way that’s more simple. Gratitude journaling. Meditation. Planning our day to do what makes us feel wholesome.

In Regina Spektor’s “Firewood,” she coos: “Love what you have… / …and you’ll have more love.”

What an idea.

Tiny changes nudged that shameful kid reading Scar Tissue into a life he likes living.

Into a version of the person that found you in California.