Ask anyone who's good at pool how they're so good at pool, and they'll probably tell you "oh, it's easy. It's just trigonometry." If you ask anyone how to play chess, you'll probably get a short instructional on how each piece moves, and that the game is over when the king cannot move out of harm's way. Ask mostly anyone how to live life, and they'll probably tell you, "shit, son that's easy. just obey the laws, work hard, don't get into debt, and Bob's your motherfuckin' uncle."
This all sounds like amazing advice if you're 18. But anyone who's tried to be a lawfully minded, hard working person who avoids living beyond his means and spending frivolously, for twice the lifetime of an 18 year old, knows that this approach to living is just as effective as a trigonometry master's degree is in a pool tournament, or a chess rulebook when you're going against a computer opponent who thinks 15 moves ahead and has contingency plans for every possible combination of moves programmed into it.
Not trying to downplay the virtues of living sensibly and within your own legal and financial limits, I'm just saying that like chess and other games, life is a system that is designed to work against you; knowing and abiding by the basic rules is not enough. Like chess, life is a game where you have to get off to the right start, and make all the right moves at all times; even the slightest single slip up can be your downfall, even if every other play has been masterfully strategic. And, as Captain Picard said, "It is possible to make no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness, that is life." Life is nearly impossible to win. We're mostly all losers. And that's not our fault. That's just life.
Well, it's that most wonderful time of the year again - truly wonderful only if you are a 1%er, or enjoy buying one hatchimal for the price of 75. It also could be wonderful if you are a kid. I remember Christmases as a child myself, the warm gatherings with food and family, and friends.. well, not so much friends, because I didn't have any; but there was always a lot of really good food. It was even fun to go to church on Christmas; but not nearly as much fun as opening presents. I remember bursting with anticipation as I waited to get home to open the package, the joyous excitement building as I spilled the contents out, the thrill of putting the flame to the metal pipe... wait, these aren't Christmas presents I'm thinking of... It's Crack Cocaine. I easily confuse memories of being a kid on Christmas morning with memories of smoking crack, because the feelings are identical. I guess that's (one of the reasons) why I did drugs. It allowed me to feel things that have been impossible for me to feel since I was a kid. It was like Christmas multiple times a week! But, just like the giddy ecstasy faded as the drug supply did, and morphed into desperation, despair, and an infinite insatiable craving, Christmas always left me crawling on the ground, wailing inwardly in disbelief that the too-long but never-long-enough holiday was over, and refusing to accept my eventual forced return to reality. That is the true meaning of Christmas: A gateway drug.
A very long time ago, someone asked me the most profound question I've ever been asked in my life. I have been pondering this question for over a decade. The question was as simply wise as it was brief. The question was, "Why does your life suck?"
It was asked by a passerby passing by in a sports car, out the passenger window. At the time, even the reason for his asking thoroughly evaded me - much more so the answer - but yesterday, over 10 years later, everything made sense. Firstly, the reason he asked was because I was constantly asking myself, and I wore it all over my face.
The ever elusive answer to his question which was just out of my reach, like the floaty things in your eyes that dart and dodge around when you move your eyes to look at them; the answer that took me 10+ years *only counting after* the date I was asked by another person, and 20+ years *before that* to finally capture enough of the essence that I can put it into words that don't make me sound like an emotional and ungrateful teenager, is:
I go somewhere every day, I do things every day. I don't go to these places and do these things to better myself, or to advance in the world, or gain anything for myself. I don't acquire knowledge and skills. I don't develop myself to the full potential I was designed for. I don't go for myself. I go because someone else needs something. Someone else wants something. Someone needs a six figure salary. Someone wants to buy their wife a pair of big fake tits. Someone needs to feed their meth and gambling addiction. Someone wants to buy an 80 thousand dollar truck. Someone needs a house. Someone wants a bigger house. Someone needs a reason to stay at home and collect money. Someone wants more resources. I go and help make that possible. I help create someone else's dream, and in return, I get only what I need to keep doing that.
The best Christmas present I got this year was learning what it was like to be all those girls I used to like who roadrunnered away from me so fast they left girl-shaped holes in the wall. I've been slowly coming more and more to terms with the fact that I'm a huge loser, and not the glowing avatar women threw themselves down at the feet of to lap up the charm cascading from my butthole that I was brought up to believe I was. But in the last few days, I had a true revelation: I actually found myself in the shoes so many girls pursued by Nice Guys (TM) have had to wear.
My Christmas dinner was one of those dinners where the providing person expects something from the providee, which you girls reading this might recognize as "man takes you out to dinner and wants his dick sucked after." You might think the same situation with the genders reversed would be more favorable to both parties involved, but as someone who found himself in this type of situation just a few days ago, I assure you it is not. It plays out the exact same way. How? You ask. Don't you like licking pussy? Well, yes, I do. However, the hostess' clitoris for dessert was not the price tag on this particular meal. Maybe it was the tip. But the actual bill was...
You know the saying "men use love to get sex. women use sex to get love." Well this particular woman used food too. I unknowingly made a deal with Satan when I took that first bite of ham. Well, what's wrong with that? You ask. All she wants is... to love you... for the rest of your life... or until she decides she doesn't anymore... while demanding birthday/Christmas/valentine's day/Tuesday gifts, all your free time, and at least three good morning texts per day... ok, I answered my own question. All a blow job does is leave you with up to 5 less minutes in your evening and a non-permanent aftertaste. A relationship leaves you with crushed dreams and testicles, and a lifetime of regret and support payments.
My polite declination earned me 78 messages about how ungrateful I was, how used she felt, how not good enough for anybody she was, et al. So I gave her the presents back that she got me, and gave her back the meal she fed me by taking a shit on her doorstep.*
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She would have given me "a long rope." Isn't that sweet?
*I did not shit on her porch. I gave her $100 to cover the cost of the meal and whatever. But that sounds way less funny.
A few days ago another friend of mine was buried. He wasn't one of those friends who I saw or talked to every day. None of my friends are. I talk to/speak to strangers I've just met more than i do my friends. Anyways, this is the second friend of mine from my home town who's died. This year. Not counting the people I knew who weren't my friends. And those are just the ones I know about.
Since we all graduated, everyone from my town has been dying. I don't even want to count how many at this point. I've stopped asking "what happened?" Each time, it's the same story: Died in sleep. Heart attack. Heart attack in sleep. Overdose. Overdose induced heart attack in sleep. I've just accepted that we're all getting Final Destination'd one by one. Only the spirit hunting us is bored of his job and instead of using creative and movie-worthy ways to kill us, he just uses the same method over and over. I used to be optimistic that I was somehow above the dying masses; that I'd prevail. Now, especially in light of recent events (see two posts ago), I'm starting to wonder when my turn is.
I grew up in a place that is renowned for being not just the shittiest shit hole you could ever find yourself stuck in, but also the strangest shitty shit hole, thinking that the world's strangest and shittiest hole was normal. We all grew up in this place. We are a rare and - excuse the pun - dying breed. People who are released from this place as people who grew up there are regarded with shock and amazement. No one ever grows up there. People grow up in other places, and then go there to work and make money, and then return to wherever. But no one grows up there. We are those no ones.
The only time it has ever been normal for a bunch of people to die around 30 was when a normal visit to the doctor consisted of sitting in a chair with a bunch of leeches attached to you and blood dripping down your wrist into a collection pan. I'd like to say it's because of the drug culture, but people all over the world do mountains of drugs and don't die. Maybe it's the sometimes less than visible health problems that come with living near (and working in) a tar sand pit the size of several european countries, sprawling with sour-gas belching operations. Maybe it's the psychological effect of growing up in a place where the mostly male population spends their time working in the oil field and hookers and blow. Maybe we just aren't happy with life. maybe we just give up. maybe all of the above. maybe it's Maybelline.
Everybody makes fun of women for going crazy over 50 shades of grey, and Twilight, etc., because the same women are always complaining about/running away from/living in fear of the types of men whose characters are models for the fictional ones who make these stories all kinds of lip-watering for the female kind.
Even women call down their own for liking such male leads. Veterans of real-world versions of fantasy novel relationships, or those who just know better, chastise their fluffyheaded peers; feminism has shed so much blood, sweat, and other body fluids to make sure the woman's world was a safe one, where its citizens could go about free from the threat of predatory, exploitive males, without the aid of a pretentiously benevolent and protective one who was really only trading his services for the promise of hers: "How dare these ninnies make fools of us by licking up what we've vomited out?"
I used to shake my head at and pick on women who liked 50 shades, until I realized that men do it too. There are two types of movies. Maybe some fall into a third or fourth type, as not everything in reality is black and white, but for argument's sake I'm going to make one split dividing "Man" movies (i.e. Rambo, FastFurious, not much need to explain) and "chick" flicks (also no need to explain).
Both types have this in common: They take something horrific and make it appealing, like the same tactics McDonald's uses to sell their hamburgers... And it works! Applications for air force aviator jobs peaked following Top Gun's release (Also, people still buy McDonald's, even though the burgers look nothing like the ones on the advertisements, and are most certainly not 100% pure beef). In reality, there is nothing romantic, noble, or even exciting about war, street life, prostitution/john-ism, and the "friend zone."
Yet, these movies tap into an eternal, bottomless wellspring of adoration in the hearts of fans.
It's not that they actually want to go to war, or be involved with a sadistic sociopath (or if they did, they'd change their minds about it soon after finding themselves in those situations). It's that everyone just wishes it were really like that.
I believe this is a coping mechanism designed to buffer the traumatic effects of real life horrors. We have to go through them at some point; why not imagine them as adventures instead of ordeals? Why not just take the blue pill. Ignorance is bliss, willful ignorance, no less so.
So next time I see a dark spot in the pants of a lady engrossed in a volume of 50 shades, I won't judge. I'll just turn on some Star Wars and imagine how awesome it would be to be a space pilot, locked for days in a cramped, stuffy cockpit getting shot at with concentrated bolts of super heated matter, the impact of which being able to blow open the thin barriers separating me and my laughably simulated atmosphere and the cold, dark death vacuum of space, whereupon being sucked violently out into I would explode. If I didn't just burn to death in my flaming spaceship, or maybe kind of fuse to the melting structure that housed me and die after several hours of agony. But then I'd sadly remember: It's just a movie.
fri, august 14 - went to the hospital for constant body aches. was told i'm depressed. checked bank to see if my paycheck was in there, along with the money child maintenance wrongfully removed from there and swore up and down for weeks that they would replace (undelivered promise #1483202309401 from those cock suckers). told my now-ex girlfriend the bad news. was told to pack up and get the fuck out.
sat, august 15 - staying at a friend's in the big city, because I had a couple bags of hers full of tools and since I had nowhere else to go i figured I'd take them to her rather than wait till the apocalypse for her to come take them off me. oh, my paycheck is in my bank! oh... I can't touch it, because the hold put on by family justice is still on it, despite them swearing up and down that it was off. big surprise. i lost count of undelivered promises from them. my friend promised me a job in the city, though. at least she will deliver. ...right?
sun, august 16 - made a tinder date (i don't waste time) for monday. drove around the city to figure out how to get there so i wasn't driving around like a moron the day of.
mon, august 17 - friend gives me some numbers to call. i call them. they're not hiring. more undelivered promises. how many more of these am I going to get? stay tuned. i wonder if the hold is off my account, yet. it's not. go to my tinder date. most awkward shit ever, for both of us. i ask her to text me later. she says she will. she doesn't. i check my bank. the money that was in there is gone. friend accuses me of stealing her money, her and her boyfriend start punching me in the face and tell me to get the fuck out. so i did.
tue, august 18 - i wake up in my car after a few minutes of sleep. car is out of gas, pulled off just on some side road 4 hours away from the city. i'm hoping to be dead soon, but it's just not happening. my face is bleeding and puffy. i look like shit. i'm by a campground, and people are driving by with their campers. I'm half on the road, so sometimes they have to wait for the other guy to pass first. they must be pissed about that. the cops come and check me out, then drive away. I try to figure out what to do. my friend is messaging me telling me to come back. i don't answer. i have to figure out what to do. friend's boyfriend calls me and says someone stole his bank card, and that he's 99% sure it wasn't me, but still wants to talk. i don't. i push my car off the road. it's hot. i get in, and wait. maybe i'll just walk. i do.
i walk on the gravel road. sometimes in the ditch. trucks pass me. i don't wave. i keep my head down. a dog is following me. he keeps me company. still waiting to die. it's still not happening. i drink from a creek. keep walking.
rest. and keep walking...
i want a root beer. there is a town ahead. do i go in? i do. i get a root beer. i walk back. someone gives me a ride to my car. still out of gas. maybe someone has some chores i could do for money. i try to sleep, but just freeze. i freeze, but still don't die. i dream of my ex and her ex. i freeze some more.
wed, august 19 - i start walking early in the morning. trucks pass me. i wave. i knock on every door i pass. the dog is following me again. my friend messaged me saying her roommate admitted to stealing her boyfriend's bank card. i don't reply. my ex said hi, and she's sad. a truck stops and offers water for the dog. i take it. then it gives me a ride to the salvation army. i have lunch. i get gas. back to the city.
thu, august 20 - i wake up in my car. i can't stay here. i go back to where i came from. they ask me what i'm doing back at the place i just came from when they gave me a free tank of gas to get the fuck out of there. i say i heard there was work here. more undelivered promises. i backtrack to a bigger small town, a smaller big city. my ex is worried. i stay at the shelter.
fri, august 21 - i go to the social works building first thing. i call child maintenance. they promise me that a partial refund is on the way. i don't expect it, but i keep checking my bank anyways. almost out of gas again. call places and fax resumes all day. write in livejournal. going for a walk. my body aches are gone. i must not be depressed anymore.
I've been spending a lot of time trying to figure out the precise point in my life when I completely fucked it up, if there was one, or if maybe it was all just a series of ups and downs that waxed worse. If I were forced to decide, right this second, I would say that the moment I pressed the flush handle on the toilet that is the world, in which floated the shit that is my life, was when I got someone pregnant. I've fucked up lots; I've gotten mixed up with drugs and "the wrong crowd", not gone to college, not pursued practical careers as diligently as I should have, and just generally been directionless and "lazy" for my whole life. But all of those things, even temporary homelessness due to drug abuse, were significantly less crushing than the consequences of having children.
There were two weeks (maybe more? I don't remember, it was so long ago) which followed a period of drug use that crippled my life during my early twenties, which I even now think of as the longest two weks of my life. I wandered around, homeless and penniless, starving, scorned and humiliated; yet I don't remember feeling the least bit suicidal. I felt a lot of bad things, but suicidal was not one of them. I had this small hope which I followed like an invisible carrot dangling in front of my face, like a pillar of fire and cloud hung in the sky by an unseen benefactor to lead me to a better place. Or just where he wanted me to go at the time.
Nowadays, I get recurring urges to jump off bridges, or drive my car into large immovable objects. And the invisible carrot is much less visible.
When the idea of having kids first sprouted in my head, I saw it as a step towards normalcy and decent living, away from the darkness of a drug-addled and carefree youth that was surely spiralling in the direction of nothing but wreckage and doom - A step towards true fulfillment in this corporeal existence. I felt it was healthy. I felt it was what I was "supposed" to be doing to live a stable, god-pleasing life. Whatever I felt, it's what biology drove me to do. It drove me to do it multiple times.
Before I made the decision to let my sperm flow freely and generously into a woman's reproductive chambers, I believed that a) people who were consigned to pay child support were losers and that b) I was not a loser. I was wrong about one and a half of those. From a technical standpoint, people enshackled with the duties of a child maintenance payor were, in fact, losers at some point. They lost the affection of their spouse, lost the marriage with said spouse, and lost the court case that followed. What I was wrong about was how staggeringly easy it is to be a loser in this manner. I believed that if you suffered this fate, you deserved it because you monolithically fucked up, and/or you weren't trying hard enough.
What I didn't believe at the time is that these days and in this culture, women of all types - for many varying reasons - prefer to leave a relationship once they have a child, and have the law demand money from the man on pain of having his assets/money/entire life frozen and/or seized.
What I didn't believe at the time is that I wouldn't escape the brutal, discriminating sword of family justice by what I thought were my virtues, or that the law wouldn't be insensitive to my poverty and make it so I was unable to function in society enough to even recover from financial hardship.
What I didn't believe was that I was already a piece of shit to these women before I even made eye contact. They smelled me coming. And the coinciding smell of money was the only thing that kept them from running away in disgust.
What I didn't believe at the time. That is what destroyed me.
Those pitiful lessons in school involving eggs and electronically crying plastic babies, that they did to try and discourage us from having children, didn't have the impact of the real world that we were hideously misinformed about. I'm not sure what or how they're attempting to teach kids these days, but let my story be an added lesson for you. Don't do what I, and millions of other men did. Don't become a father.
The trailer I grew up in had a bumblebee nest in it. The front door to their nest was right beside the front door to the house, but we never had problems; no bees in the house, no one getting stung or harassed. It's like there was a mutual understanding between us and the bees. They did their thing and we did ours and neither one bothered the other. It's funny because I've always been scared of bees - except the ones that lived with us. I've only been scared of other bees/etc., because only foreign bees were aggressive with me. I always felt they were out to get me, and still do. Maybe because I shared a territory with friendly bees, other bees somehow thought I belonged to that colony, and treated me like a bee from another colony. It's like they rubbed their bee scent on me, or I adopted their frequency or something.