I’ve got this theory, I tell people.
I say, “the reason I can’t remember things is because I’ve had a bad life.” I say, “I’ve had an unpleasant life. Not worth remembering. So, I don’t. At least, that’s what I think.” Kinda.
Classmates will ask me, “John, what did you get on that essay?” or, “John, how’d the test go?” And the answer isn’t so simple. In about a second, you have to decide whether you tell the truth or you divert the question, because people don’t like braggarts. More accurately, people don’t like the truth. No matter how humble you try to sound, you tell somebody that you aced that test, and they’re going to hate your guts. You tell somebody that you just wrote the best essay of your life, and they’re not liable to talk to you again.
So after rapid deliberation, I’m most liable to respond, “you expect me to remember how I did on the test, when I can’t even remember what I ate for breakfast two days ago? When I can’t even remember what I did this weekend?” It’s not quite the truth, and it’s not quite a lie, and it works way better than either.
Because the truth is, I don’t eat breakfast. But if you tell someone that, even when they ask you, “how are you doing?” or, “how are you feeling?” and you’re pretty much guaranteed never to hear from them again.
Because the truth is, I spent my whole weekend playing video games, or talking to my virtual-friends on the internet, or trying (and failing) to advance a relationship with a faux-friend, or sleeping. Why don’t you try telling a classmate that you just spent your whole weekend playing CounterStrike: Source or Unreal Tournament 2004 with your gaming team, the “Furious bros.” to prepare for a “Cyber-Athlete Amateur League” match on Monday. Why don’t you try telling a classmate that you did a speed run on Super Metroid and beat the game in under three hours, and see if you hear much from them ever again.
Did I mention that when I write “classmate,” I really mean to say “girl?” Despite being a “minority,” girls outnumber guys in every single one of my classes at least 3 to 1 this year. Despite the social misconception that girls are a minority in public education, girls outnumber guys 9 to 1 in one of my classes this year. I am the only guy in my French class; the other one dropped out half way through the year. I don’t blame him.
But it doesn’t matter if you’re telling a teenage girl that you wasted your Saturday on “e-sports” and “cyberspace,” because teenage boys will judge you just as fast and quite similarly. Try telling a jock, “yeah, I went twenty-one and five on a de_train scrim, with three defuses.” Try telling a prep, “yeah, I had 44% with the sniper and twenty-five net.” These guys, they’ll be about as interested in that as you are in their stories about how many shots of rum they had, or how many girls they slept with at that awesome party down the block, or how fast they were driving on I-5 at two in the morning.
So I tell people, “I don’t remember what I did, honestly, because I don’t like my life.” And I’m not lying, because I really don’t like my life. But I’m not telling the truth, because ninety-nine percent of the time, I remember exactly what I did this weekend, or how my test went, or what my essay grade was.
In the debate world, we might call this impact calculus. What’s the magnitude of the impact if I tell this girl that I played video games for twelve straight hours? What’s the probability that I’ll never talk to her again after telling her the truth? What’s the time frame on this nullification of relations? All the answers are very predictable – the appropriate course of action, obvious.
In the business world, maybe people call this risk-benefit ratio analysis. The risk is, I shrink the circle of acquaintances in my life yet smaller and smaller. The benefit is, well, there really isn’t much benefit. Risk-benefit ratio analysis, impact calculus, all roads lead to the same destination: my theory.
My life sucks so I can’t remember it.
And to a certain extent, this is true.
I mean, everyone has lies they tell themselves to get through the day. My lie is that, nobody wants to hear about my life anyway.
So this book, this book here isn’t so much about your enjoyment as it is about my recovery. I’m writing this because I want to be able to forget. I want to chronicle my abundant failures and occasional triumphs so I don’t have to think about them anymore – archive them on paper to clear space in my head.
I hear that for your first book, you get (on average) a thousand dollars cash and no royalties. This has something to do with risk-benefit ratio analysis (new authors are risky ventures). That’s enough, at least, to table my problems for many moons to come. Drown yourself in a sea of video games, bury yourself under mounds of movies, lose yourself in a forest of books – inexpensive self-medication. Ineffective filler for the gaping holes in your life, like trying to force a square peg into a circular hole.
This, this is all based on a true story, on my life, but it isn’t precisely true. Why not? Memories aren’t facts, they’re fabrications – interpretations of reality, imperfect impressions of intangible events and moments. Everyone is the hero of their own personal drama, the star of their own personal movie. The stage is your life, the actors are your friends and family and colleagues. The villain is your boss, or your ex, or your mom, could be your dad, possibly it’s the system or alternatively it’s God or maybe, just maybe, it’s your best friend.
It’s not like that for me. In my movie, I’m my own villain – and the hero of the story? He’s an alcoholic. Nobody gets the girl at the end, and there probably isn’t even a moral. Maybe you walk away worse off for knowing it. It doesn’t sell well and isn’t critically acclaimed, but damn it, it’s my movie, and I can make it terrible if I want to. I mean, Uwe Boll is still in business, right?
I haven’t seriously done homework, like, at home, since October, I think.
That was right around the time I lost an important friend. Probability of a statistical correlation: quite high.
I’ve been meaning to update for you all, but I don’t have much to say. I guess I’ll comment on something that’s been bothering me a bit lately (whilst simultaneously coining a phrase): half-friends. And that’s a “friend” in a much broader sense than I usually define friends. (People tend to define a “friend” much more broadly than I do.)
So a half-friend must really suck in my book, right? And right you are. These are the people you can’t quite qualify as acquaintances because you know them a bit better than that, maybe had a good chat or two, but you can’t qualify as friends because you’ve only had that one good chat (or two). And the relationship dies there. My whole life is filled with potentially great friendships that died in the half-friend phase.
There are tons of people at my school I’d love to be friends with. I think they’re all amazing in their own ways. I’ll concede that I’m smart, sure, but that’s not as impressive as being TALENTED. There are so many talented people at my school, and I’d LOVE to get the chance to talk to them, talk to them about their talents and passions and about how they see the world and maybe understand where they discovered their talent. Instead, I have this reputation as an unapproachable asshole (my own fault) so nobody’s going to come up to me for a chat.
I’ve mentioned before that I can go through whole days without speaking a word to another soul. That’s still largely true, in school at least. Once I get home and get online, there are people that might message me now, though that’s not a guarantee. But at school, it’s very easy to go through a day without saying anything if I want to.
If I want to talk to these fascinating people, I have to initiate the conversations. So, I try to. But they clearly aren’t interested, especially at school. Image is everything, and being seen with JJ Durden? Screw that. That guy’s a jerk. A nerd. An eccentric. You can’t be seen with him. So I try alternative forms of communication. Email. The phone. Instant messengers. MySpace (sigh).
And sometimes I hit pay dirt: a reply! A real reply, damn it. Somebody writes back! Holy shit! What do I do now? Read it? Yes, that’s it John! Read the message! Wow, they really are as interesting as you thought they could be! Holy crap, they can spell (for the most part)! Wow, they used a word you have to look up because it’s been so long since you’ve heard it!
So you write a reply. You write a bit too much, divulge a bit too much. They reply, shorter now than the first reply. And you write back, and you try to keep your message shorter so as not to scare them off. But the damage is done, you’ve come on too strong, they won’t talk to you again.
But wait! They claim they’re still interested! They’re just busy, you see. Busy. And they’ll be busy for the next week. Busy for the next month. Busy for the next semester. Busy for the next year. And the next year. And busy for every year since you’ve been in high school. And during the summer? They’re still busy, you see. Don’t you understand? They like you. They’re just busy, darling.
That is the half-friend. They’re not really even half-friends. They’re dishonest liars. They put you off for as long as they can. They lead you on; they make you believe that a friendship is possible when really they have no interest. They’re too mild mannered to admit the fact that they can’t stand you. They “don’t want to hurt your feelings.”
What hurts more? Being told to fuck off in one day after building up the courage of trying to talk to someone for a week, or being led for a year and continually building up that courage to keep writing messages and calling and trying to get something rolling only to be put off again and again? Just as time can heal wounds, it can sharpen the ones that are continually reopened.
You wake up one morning and you have an epiphany. That person doesn’t ACTUALLY like you. One can’t possibly be THAT busy. So busy that one can’t find twenty minutes between now and next February to write you an email more substantive than “I’m busy, I’ll talk to you later?” Nobody is that busy. The truth is, that person doesn’t care. These people don’t want to be your friends. They want you to like them, but they don’t care about being your friend.
I have far too many half friends. And to be perfectly honest, I’ve shed far too many tears over them. I always have and I likely always will. What prompted this? None of these half friends take the effort to read this blog, which in part exists for them. Everyday I hope that one of these half friends would take the plunge and click the link. Take that first step and, maybe, become a real friend?
Alas, it hasn’t happened. It won’t happen. But that’s okay. Maybe it’s better that way.
::EDIT:: Maybe I have a lot to say. I just don’t like to say it. I’m eternally introverted. This blog was a lot longer than I originally intended when I started the post – I figured I’d write two or three lines and get back to you all later. Har har. I’ll leave you with this old blog:
:. If Deezee were a goth whore: || 08/12/2004 – 11:06 AM
My life is like a box of leftover pizza. What’s gone is lost forever and what’s there has suffered irrevocable damage. Though you could stick it in the microwave and attempt to save it, it’ll never taste as good as when it was from the oven. It’s cold and lifeless, and eventually it’ll mold.
So I really hope that things work out and I get outta B-ham-a-lam. The city’s great, don’t get my wrong. The people here are nice. The school’s pretty good. I favor the climate.
But there’s nothing here for me anymore. And it’s my fault, but, blegh. I need a new start. I need to go somewhere where nobody knows me (well, except for Nate I guess, but that’s okay) and try again.
Hell, I just need to get out of my house. I’ve needed to get out of my house for a long time. It just hasn’t happened. It almost happened at the end of last year, but my sister conspired against me to get me to stay. My mom convinced my sister that it would be a bad idea for me to move out using lies (I could’ve moved out to a friend’s house and paid nothing and stayed in Bellingham, but my mom lied to my sister and said that I’d have to work two jobs or some ridiculous bullcrap). So I’m here, still.
I would’ve stayed in Bellingham for longer if I’d gotten to move out into Nick’s place last year. Maybe I would’ve tried to mend some relationships that needed mending… then again, I dunno. I was still dating Haley back then, har, so maybe I wouldn’t have tried mending those relationships. I’ve only got one regret in my life (and no, it’s not Haley) and I really wish I could go back in time and fix crap. But here I am, and I’ve got to do what’s best for me to do.
And that’s to get a new start. If I don’t get to go to SLC this summer and start anew down there, I’ll probably go nuts. But that’s okay. And then as soon as school ends I’ll move as far away as possible for me to move and start anew somewhere else. I think the only person I’d keep in contact with is my brother. Maybe not even him. He’s kinda cancerous at this point, you see. Maybe what I really do need is a completely fresh start.
But that’d be hard to do. It’s always hard to leave what you know and do something new. I doubt I could pull it off. After a few weeks, I’d probably be back on the web, trying to track down Nate and Mark and Cody and Nick and Kai and see how they were all doing. I’d probably try and give my brother a call.
But it’s always been a “dream” of mine to leave for college and basically drop off the face of the earth for everyone that used to know me. Of course, when I had this “dream” I felt like nobody much cared for me anyway, so it wouldn’t matter if I did that or not. Now, though, I’ve got a handful of real friends, so…
I didn’t really have a point to this, it’s just kind of a long ramble. In other news, somebody owes me $5 because the Steelers “won.”