Maybe it's because I'm getting to the point where I'm as old as or older than these boys who spent years of their lives traipsing over fields where mud and blood ran together and their brothers lay face down, unbreathing. On the battlefield nobody is invincible. Pat Tillman is proof of that. He could be running around on a field of immaculately kept grass smacking into wide recievers and batting down passes, a millionaire playing a game. Instead, because a blue blood decided he wanted some oil for his buddies (or because a madman refused to relinquish power in the face of overwhelming force, depending on how you want to see it) he's in a pine box destined to be lowered into a hole and have dirt shoveled over him. Twenty Seven years old. His natural span of life would have been three times that. He got married a couple years ago. Now his wife's a premature widow. All for what? Rational reasonable people shouldn't have to resort to killing when there's no true scarcity of resources in the world to keep everyone alive. Pat Tillman is dead so that a Texan could own a 5000 acre ranch or a Sunni could have a golden toilet. People still believe we're made in God's image?
These civil war soldiers are something else. So many of them are incredible writers compared to the skills of the average joe today. Say what you want about education back then, but the rhetorical skills and ability to write moving prose was much much greater. Maybe it's because they needed to spend more time with language, not having televisions.
One of the more interesting aspects of their letters is how many of them were married at young ages. It's amazing how these young men were not only settled down but providing for their wives and families a few years after they started shaving on a regular basis. I couldn't imagine anything even close to that. I'm not even ready to share a milkshake.
Sometimes I read about people with Aspberger's syndrome and think "That's totally me!" The only thing that's inconsistant is the lack of a sense of humor. I think that I can officially consider myself funny after this semester, considering how frequently I managed to crack up ALL of my classes and even stodgy professor Amdur started cracking a smile on a regular basis about halfway through the semester.
I realize that I am not often laugh out loud funny on Livejournal, but in person my timing has definitely improved. Today I was hanging around outside of the gates of school with my friend Doug waiting for Frank to show up so that we could shoot some more material and his friends kept coming by, like 10-20 people he knew walked by. I only had one guy I knew walk by (well you could count LHG who was talking to someone else about 5 yards away but I put her freckled shoulders out of my mind ASAP and tried to stay on task.) He knows a shocking number of people for someone who's only been at school for a year and part-time at that. That's the potential Aspberger's side. The fact that I know so many fewer people than he does.
On the humor side a couple of his friends stopped by to chat with him and I managed to crack them up easily. I'm not sure if my material is any better than it used to be but my timing has definitely improved so that even when I delivered rather lame lines they were effective. One girl mentioned not liking Dawson's Creek and I shot back with "What was wrong with it? Was it Dawson? The Creek? Maybe they didn't mesh well? Could he swim? Why would he have a creek if he couldn't swim?" Lame shit, but with the right delivery it left her wide eyed and howling with laughter. I've considered trying my hand at stand-up, but frankly I don't have the thick skin or presence necessary to pull it off. I'm too timid. I wouldn't be able to go out night after night and bomb, which is something you have to do to be successful.
Lately I've been questioning whether I should go after a creative career at all. It's not just whether I'm talented enough to be more than a wannabe or hanger on, it's also whether that's the best way for me to create good stuff. Great writing and work comes out of living, something I don't do enough of. It's true that not all great writers were great livers (or great kidneys, Hyuk Hyuk, little Montaigne humor there) but most have done quite a bit. I don't get drunk, don't hang out a ton, don't do as much as I should. Maybe getting a real job would be grist for my mill in an important meaningful way. Maybe staying in school is a collosol mistake that will bring ruin and misfortune to my house.
The truth of the matter is that I've been feeling grotesque in every way recently. Not just fat and unkempt but also stupid, lazy, and incompetent. I dislike myself to the extent that I find it hard to be around myself, which is unusual in my experience. I am growing frustrated with my own existance.
Part of this came when I asked myself why I shouldn't do something absolutely uncharacteristic of myself and like ask LHG to have a cup of coffee on Monday. Would she say no? Almost certainly. Would she do so in a nasty and intentionally hurtful way? I would hope not but I could probably handle it. Would she spit in my face, stomp on my instep, and scream at the top of her lungs? Survey says no. Even that I would recover from. I'm not even going to bother with the rhetorical device for the idea that she'd pull out a chainsaw or shotgun and seperate my head from my shoulders. I think I have a firm enough grip on her character to say with near certainty that she would not murder or maim a man for asking her out for coffee, even if he was profoundly unattractive in every concievable way.
So is it just intransigence on my part? A refusal to change my position on how I should behave and take risks? I thought it was for a little while and almost resolved to change the behavior. To take the plunge, rack up the rejection, and start getting used to it. After all if I actually do want to become a writer then rejection and I are going to become intimately aquainted. We'll have decade long affairs, meeting everywhere from smokey bar rooms to stodgy board rooms, and she'll wait for me by the mailbox on a daily basis.
The thing is, it's not just intransigence (I know I'm not using the word properly. Forgive me my vocabularial trespass.) I've pushed past a lot of the barriers that that used to set up for me. It's something more profound than that. I'm repulsed by myself right now, on every level. Not only am I not good enough for anyone else but I feel like trying to sell myself to anyone would be like hawking used underwear as new (a popular practice in many Manhattan boutiques.)
I can't see my good points even though I know they're there. Intelligence, humor, morality, reliability, empathy, caring, all those are buried deep beneath layers of fat, underachievement, and interpersonal incompetence. They're not just subcutaneous, they're so deep inside that they become unimportant. They're just potential right now, nothing real, nothing tangible, nothing that can be offered to another person.
My self loathing runs deep and strong, an internal aligator. Fueled by a cruel mother, years of social rejection, lard, lazyness, and failure it has me in its jaws and while occasionally I manage to pull them apart and get my head above the water to breath in a wonderful day it always clamps down and submerges me again. I will not be ready for another person in my life in any meaningful way until I can master it, clamp its jaws shut on nothingness and force it to submit.
That's not going to happen for a very long time.
I need to be alone right now, in the worst way.
I have a ton of school work to do over the next few weeks (I did get my extension) and no faith in my ability to do it. That's okay though, I'll give it my best shot and see what happens.
That's all a loathsome creature like myself can do, non?