The Story of Ennui

In the beginning, there was ennui.

Later, when there was a world, ennui was part of it—a big part. The first time a rainbow ever happened, all the protozoa in the primordial ooze were, like, “Yay! Oh, man, that’s beautiful!” But by the time the twenty-seventh rainbow unfurled itself across the heavens, the protozoa didn’t even look up from their work. Didn’t the world have anything new to offer?

It did: dinosaurs. These were impressive creatures, yet they, too, often wound up stranded on ennui’s vast plain. The meat eaters would pause sometimes, while sucking the marrow out of a bone, and think, Is this all there is? The plant eaters couldn’t put together complicated thoughts with their small brains, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t depressed. Chew, chew, chew: life lacked a certain luster, they could discern that much. If only something exciting would happen. Really, anything to break up the monotony—


Next up were the mammals, which, with their warm blood and twitchy personalities, may at first have seemed better adjusted, more at ease in a world in which nothing mattered and everything repeated itself ad nauseam. Certainly they had the energy to confront an existential predicament of that sort. They still do. If you need a living creature to jump through hoop after hoop and not ask any questions, what you want is a mammal. Ask any employer.