The Stoic Rollercoaster

By Nathan Payne | pablosmoglives | 24 Jan 2024

So, you wanna be a sicario.  Super hardcore, like the guy in the song.  You don't take no lip from no 'thority figures, and mujeres exist to affirm your own bad decisions.  Anyone tells you different, is gonna end up in stasis.  "I have tunnel vision, so don't disrespect me.  This overdramatic, temporary situation is my entire world.  I will force your respect, at the price of my own eternal damnation.  These demons are disrespecting me now, tearing my guts out through my throat.  But I won the discussion, up on the surface of the fiery sea.  You know who's the boss.  For three days, it was me."

I hope it was worth it.

Thelma & Louise, of course, didn't go on a murderous rampage.  Their initial crime was one of self-defense, which they didn't believe they'd be able to prove (which was probably true).  Instead of facing the music, they tried to make it to Mexico.  They only resorted to crime when they made the mistake of believing their outlaw status gave them permission to continue to believe in the goodness of people, and that there is freedom in engaging in illicit sex.  If they could have kept their pants on, and resisted the temptation to "finally get laid proper," Brad Pitt wouldn't have made off with their entire life savings, and they might have made it.  But they found themselves on the receiving end of a lot of incriminating CCTV footage, and a federal manhunt.

If they had turned south, perhaps, at Santa Fe, instead of driving through The Grand Canyon...  Who knows.  The cinematography wouldn't have been as impressive at the moment of their death, but before social media, who ever heard of end-of-life cinematography anyway?  "Just make sure I look good, and that the scenery is nice."  Were Thelma & Louise the first social-media influencers?  Were they more interested in making sure their setting was beautiful, than whether or not they survived?  Would they have reconsidered their plan of action, if they realized that, if not for the film crew, nobody would ever see their iconic selfie, emblazoned in Polaroid?  Even if the pic hadn't been lost with them, Polaroid didn't have much of a comment section.  Less than an inch, and you had to use some kind of pen, or a marker.


Are Thelma & Louise the collateral damage of a world comprised entirely of men, or are they a cautionary tale, 2 lost, beautiful misfits whose vanity drove them off the cliff of a misplaced belief that it's more important to have a beautiful place to die, than know how to read a map of New Mexico?

I mean, how hard can it be.  Make a left turn.  Somewhere between now and the ocean.

Maybe chicks really are bad at directions.


I loved that movie when it came out.  In fact I still do.  But let's save our appreciation of an iconic movie for later.  What I really want to do is encourage all the budding, murderous badasses out there to think twice before following through with their drug-fueled bluster.  All the braggadocious claims of manhood and power that indicate a deep, fundamental insecurity.  A condition which in fact can be remedied.  I'd like to encourage you to not take the bait, and to let the drama kill you.  You'll be dead and in hell in 3 days anyway, so what do you have to lose?  Stand under the pressure, and let it crush you.  When you don't die, you might even be free.

Of course, this requires self-control.  It might not be easy, but I've never heard anybody say, "I learned this the easy way."  So, if you're as hardcore as you say you are, and if you wanna be strong...

Control yourself.  It's among the most difficult things anyone can possibly do.  But if you're tough, you will exercise self-control.  Control yourself.  Don't take the bait.  Don't lash out at the devil, or the minions he is using to dislodge you from life.  Trust me, hermano, these morons will pass.  The situation will change.  Sit through it.  Become a rock, a titanium death wish through which demonic events pass like dissatisfied ghosts.  Stop giving them what they want.  Become the stoic rollercoaster, and ride like a '66 Thunderbird through the loops and the falls. 

Off the edge of a cliff, if that's what it takes.

Because the rider of the stoic rollercoaster understands that the ride is really more like an IMAX film.  The audience is enveloped in the screen until the projection resembles real life, and you can feel the loops and falls and dips as the camera dives over the edge of the cliff like a '66 Thunderbird into the Colorado River, or the caverns of hell.  But as real as it seems, you're not really there.  You're still in your seat, with your bucket of popcorn, and your petrified drink.

So, let the fancy show kill you.  Let the stereo sound swallow you whole, like a dramatic snake with a disjointed jaw.  But whatever you do,

Stay in your seat.  Become the motionless, immovable rider of the terrible show.  Maintain your composure in spite of the jarring, mountainous obstacles.  Because, if you choose to let the drama defeat you and take your revenge, you will go careening over the edge.  You may very well find yourself guilty of a serious crime, possessed by an overwhelming fear of reprisal that you have utterly earned.  Running from what should have been a cozy, temporary drama in the Chicago suburbs, toward an open-air, Spanish-speaking graveyard with no gun rights.

Right off the edge of the terminal cliff.  With all the stoicism of a child riding a small plastic alligator.


So, don't do it, Joliet.  While you were clearly no Thelma & Louise, and had true murder in your heart, you were obviously trying to make it to Mexico, where all kinds of movies told you you'd be free.

Let's talk about Mexico.  The land with no gun rights.  Mexico, a country in which there is only one gun shop, and in which nobody cares that your padre abandoned you.  Mexico, Mexico, the land of the permanent highway checkpoint, concrete gates looming like Soviet-Aztec ruins above the landscape, futuristic ruins at which you will eventually get stopped by a drunken narco cop in search of a payoff.  A half-drunken narco cop who maybe won't care if you've killed any gringos (which is a cultural word, not a racial one), but if he finds your gun, you're done.

So let's talk about Mexico.  The land of the outlaws.

Here's a traffic jam caused by a shootout between the cartel and the cops, on a highway just west of Hermosillo.  This footage was shot by a family rolling up on the scene.  Notice people taking cover behind their cars, and the horrified screaming of children.  Observe the obvious narcos, gunning it in their luxury deathmobile, and the first-person view of the people trying to back out of their way.  Are you ready to hide under your car, to avoid persecution?  You think you have it bad in the States?  Is your ego worth dying for?  Are you a man of the streets?  Un hombre de las calles?  You do know what happens when you mix cocaine and lawlessness with armored vehicles mounted with .50-caliber rifles, don't you?

That's right.  Impromptu demolition derbies to the death, in the middle of nowhere.  Which, incidentally, is where you have to hide.


So, you wanna be a sicario.  One of the devil's condemned, surrogate Christs.  You wanna be a sicario.  Or so the dramatic scene on the giant, visceral screen has led you to believe.

Don't you know Jesus Christ is the ultimate outlaw, and died for our sins?  

Let's talk about your future.

How do you rate this article?


Nathan Payne
Nathan Payne

I am a songwriter and bandleader who travels the world in search of the golden ticket.


Replacing my blog at

Send a $0.01 microtip in crypto to the author, and earn yourself as you read!

20% to author / 80% to me.
We pay the tips from our rewards pool.