Op-ed: It’s hard to chill when you know there is no afterlife

Here’s the thing: I think the Fresh Prince fucking lied when he said he was “chillin’ out, maxin’, and relaxin’ all cool,” because there’s no way anyone could be that laid back when the inescapable abyss of death hangs over everyone’s head.


Don’t get me wrong, the Fresh Prince was a fuckin’ G. If anyone could avoid the soul-crushing numbness, that mind-shattering devastation of knowing that, at the end of the day, we’re all gonna be food for the worms, it’s the heir to Bel-Air. But I’m absolutely not as G as the Prince; I’ve rarely been caught shootin’ b-ball outside the school. I’ve never been able to figure out the intricacies of a lay-up. So I can’t just “chill.”

Do I wish things were different? Absolutely. It would be nice—no, it would be idyllic—if I wasn’t paralyzed by the overwhelming fear that no matter how many touching lessons I learn at the end of the day, no matter how many aunts’ and uncles’ homes I get sent to, or no matter how many taxi cabs I drive in with the word ‘FRESH’ printed on the car dice, eventually my life, our lives, won’t even be a blip on the universe’s radar. But does the Prince ever pause to consider his crippling insignificance? Of course not, he stars in a 1994 Emmy-nominated TV show.

I get that Fresh Prince was way ahead of its time in terms of discussing racial, political, and socioeconomic divides blah blah blah, but did the show ever take one of its thirty-minute time-slots to teach the Prince that oh, by the way, your existence isn’t valued by the cosmos and your impact is infinitesimal in a sea of people who’ll all be in boxes in the ground one day? No, it fucking doesn’t. And that’s not very chill at all. It’s like that time Carlton tried to blend in with Jazz’s friends when he and Will visited Compton—it’s just wrong.

So what the fuck, Will? There’s no way you can be that dope and content without addressing the fact that life is meaningless. Your character development is significantly lacking and honestly, it takes away from the show’s overarching motif of growth and maturation.

Anyway, yeah, death looms like a storm cloud threatening to burst, the existential question of what this all means continues to grip humanity in a vice-like chokehold, and the human race may die out before any of us will find out if we have a purpose, etc. etc. I’ll sit here continuing not to chill over the fact that we’ll all be gone and there’s nothing I can do about it. I guess I’m more of a Carlton than a Will in that regard.

Do you remember when Carlton would do that dance? That shit was hilarious.