Sweating the Small Stuff. The Matrix Comics, 20th Anniversary Edition.

Well, this review did have me sweating a bit, metaphorically speaking. Given that this story is only a couple of pages long and barely a glimpse of the Matrix universe, I wondered if I had anything interesting to say about it. However, having read the story multiple times, I have learnt something new, even having random ideas that have sparked my imagination and helped create a bigger picture for the characters. I have found something rewarding and unexpected with this site, the enjoyment of researching and analysing stories more closely. Maybe that is a patience thing because I can admit that I could blast through a film, television show or book without soaking it all up properly. Living in a world with so much content to consume, I cannot be the only one. Taking the time to immerse yourself in another world is almost meditative, a pleasant way to nourish the soul. Speaking of self-care, I was also curious to find out where sweating the small stuff originated. I knew it sounded like an American phrase, and in the 1963 issue of the Journal of American Speech, “Don’t sweat it” arrived, meaning don’t worry about it. Richard Carlson, a psychotherapist and motivational speaker, released a book called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and all its Small Stuff, and his personal story is pretty unique. We can all give advice, but we only know as much about life as the next person. Sweating the Small Stuff was created by Bill Sienkiewicz and first appeared on WhatIsThematrix.com on April 1st 1999.



The traffic cries and footsteps hum as the repetitiveness of life sings from the streets below why Dez tries to find some meaning in his life. Things haven’t felt great lately. Is reality slipping out of his control? Hallucinations, apparitions and a fear of being watched and followed make him crave a simple life, a new start with his girlfriend Mia by his side. Mia is trying to help Dez, even changing her career prospects to give them more time together. Giving up drug dealing for gunrunning is better for her, but is this enough for Dez? Actually, this isn’t the kind of job swap he was thinking about! Moreover, he still feels lost. Dez talks about his worries and fears, but Mia isn’t happy and thinks her boyfriend has been sampling some of the drugs that her ex-boss said went missing from her previous employment.


Dez has said too much, and those men are here to get him once and for all. An explosion knocks at the door, and gunfire follows it. Dez is not only going to get himself killed but his poor Mia. Maybe he is a moron, but he needs to run. It isn’t the men in suits, but the cartel, and they have a message from Marlow for Mia, and they are here to deliver her severance pay. She pulls out a machine gun and blasts the intruders, laughing in their faces. Suddenly everything makes sense to Dez, time slows down, and all he can see are the numbers, the codes to his existence. The cartel loses control, and all Dez can see is the fear in their eyes as Mia delivers the final bullets to their guests. Helicopters whine above, and Dez can finally see the men from his vision multiply as they approach their target. Mia grabs Dez, and they need to run. He doesn’t understand what is happening yet, but they need to escape quickly and try to find some answers. At least he and Mia will be together, and when it comes to reality, you have to take what you can get.


As I said earlier, I read this story quite a few times and was always left wondering what happened to Dez. At first, I thought it was just about him finally understanding that his world isn’t real, the agents realising he is a bluepill, and him and Mia disappearing inside the Matrix and keeping things simple. However, I understand that I was wrong after thinking about it. I Like the idea of someone living in the program, undetected and happy, but we know the agents will eventually track you down, no matter where you try to hide. I also imagined that Mia was a rebel from Zion, there to help Dez understand what is happening to him and eventually help him become free from this virtual prison when he is ready. However, this could be my imagination doing overtime because there are no actual words to prove this theory. I like the idea that the agents’ aren’t looking for Dez but something much bigger, a rebel cell from the real world. The agents had eyes on Neo before Trinity arrived, so it makes sense. I suppose there is a slight clue, and that is when time slows down after the cartel storm the apartment, was it Dez or Mia who caused that? I also enjoyed how the spoon signified the first time that Dez noticed the numbers and coding. I imagine this was at the exact moment when Neo was also learning there is no spoon, and that somehow woke others up from their programming! But then again, it could be a nod to the movie. It can be whatever you want it to be, spoon or not.


I did notice something about the artwork that reminded me of something completely different, and I wonder if Bill Sienkiewicz had it in my mind. I am a big fan of the punk movement, especially, The Sex Pistols and the story of Sid and Nancy. The apartment Dez and Mia shared reminded me of the Chelsea Hotel, which was infamous for all the wrong reasons. Plus, Mia and Dez share the same features as the ill-fated couple. I think it may be a long shot, but looking closely at his artwork, he shares the punk ethos and is pushing the boundaries of what comic book art can be, which brings me to stray toasters.


I had one brief look at that comic book and instantly knew I had to read it. It’s dark, grotesque and haunting, and I love it. He is a fantastic artist, plus his style and tone are almost perfect for my sensibilities. I enjoyed this story and I feel satisfied, and you cannot ask for more in life, but now it’s back to reality, for a short while at least.

Have you read, Sweating the Small Stuff? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Also, thank you for visiting my site. Adios