February 10th, 2002

pod

Nobody's real but they're willing to let you go.

It irritates me to no end when people start tiptoeing around me and acting all sympathetic because of what I write in my journal. I've never been comfortable with people feeling sorry for me and I don't like the idea that they feel my writing my thoughts/emotions in this journal is an invitation to that. Maybe I should have done like Jeff said and just kept it private, I just got tired of writing stuff here and then having to repeat it to other people so I directed them over here. But now things are getting out of hand. I have pretty much always been miserable, off and on, since my father died. This has improved somewhat but not sufficiently to make a real impact.

I've learned to live with it. The misery and such. It's sort of like a disability in some ways, chronic emotional pain we can call it. But I don't like being treated differently because of it. I will survive whatever turmoil I go through, always have. I am under the care of a therapist (Admitadly a cold hearted cruel one like Jeffery B [name withheld for legal reasons]) and I quite frankly don't need your pity.

Today Hee-Ann said he'd enjoy his college better if he hung out with more normal people. I told him to go ahead, I'm fine and he proclaimed that he ahd read this journal and knew I wasn't. That's such BULLSHIT. I hate that kind of stuff. I don't need anyone's pity attention. I may hurt...a lot...but that just makes me stronger. If I have to deal with years of total isolation that's what I'll do. I'm not saying I won't cry or feel like my soul is coming apart at the seams, but when Ben gets shredded he gets off the fucking canvas and walks back into the spinning blades.

So if you're one of the people who do this, read the things I write and take them as a personal plea towards you to help my emotional state....get over yourself. It's not about the readers and it never SHOULD be about the readers. I'm not going to stop being honest just because some people can't handle it. So if you can't read this and still manage to treat me with respect/courtesy and as an equal then DON'T read it. Simple as that.
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What's the point in all this screaming? No one's listening anyway

I was struck this morning, while reading the New York Times, with the realization of just how different people's lives are. On two sides of one page of the paper were a story about a woman living in New York who struggles each day to scrape together enough money to send back to her family and suffers the heartbreak of having her daughters complain about her not being there for them back in Peru, and a series of cartoons about "opposites attracting" in New York which featured "wry" commentary on things like the differences between upper westsiders and upper eastsiders and the concept of a soulless marriage between two lawyers.

It shocked me. That whoever did the layout for the paper did not see that as an inappropriate or at least strange pair of articles to put so close to one another. I mean it's a clear and obvious statement about the stratification of society and the world. Of the differences between the haves and the have nots and the ENTIRELY different set of prioriteis that each group has to deal with. One of my greatest fears is that I would get so involved in some sort of professional success that I would lose contact with my base humanity, with the fact that although Mills argues that Socrates can enjoy more pleasure than others due to his superior intelligence, nobody has the right to deny another person's pain. And yet people lose track of that all the time. Do the frat boys worry about the living conditions of the people who brew their beer let alone those who grow the barley on other continents? I know I'm privaledged, I know that the ability to just mope around and feel sorry for ones self is a LUXURY and I know that the whole "Do I want to be a lawyer, do I want to try to force my way through med school to be a psychiatrist or do I want to just go the PhD route" debate is the type of mental masturbation that requires a lot of green lubrication in the form of dollar bills. But I take some comfort in the fact that I try my best to treat other human beings (Kawah and Jing excepted of course) the best I can and with as much respect as I can muster depending on what I know about them. (I play around with my doorman and tease him etc because he's in school to be a programmer and at least making an attempt at doing something while I don't have much to say to the homeless man who hangs around outside the supermarket pestering people for cash and not seeming to do much of anything out)

It shocks me then when I can read a JOKE about two lawyers having a marriage of convenience while playing with people's lives in the courtroom and making barrels of money right next to an article about a mother seperated from her kids and trying to get a job so she can send them enough money for electricity and hot water. What do those two existances have in common? How can so many people make life into a pleasure game when there are so many people who never even make it to the sidelines?

I know that my life and living situations are unusual for someone of my means and talents, but at least they enable me to feel somewhat real, and give me the knowledge that if I ever DO succeed in any real way I will have tasted failure and the bottom, which is a comfort. Because from where I sit, a happy life of conspicuous consumption and lip service towards good causes isn't worth spit. As long as society has so many have nots, whatever the haves have is...meaningless.
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But that's totally feather plucking insane

So since I've been thinking about the whole "haves have nots" thing recently and my headache today was bad enough that I didn't feel I could get any good work done, I decided to do a little research. Towards that end I grabbed a dual autobiography of two Wall Street investment banking washouts off the impulse table in the Columbia bookstore after picking up some coursebooks. It was billed on the cover as a humorous inside peek at the entry level of wall street ruthlessness. I don't find it funny in the least. I find the writers reprehensible and the whole CONCEPT of what goes on there to be gut wrenching. When I got to the part where they said that their intern class was composed equally of Wharton, Harvard, and Columbia MBA students I felt shame for my venerable old school. David Johnston may be doing his best to provoke meaningful debate on the nature of justice and resource distribution in the bowels of Pupin but why does it matter if the same institution is producing soulless wretches like these critters.

Frankly the whole competetive academic thing is starting to bore me. It feels far too much like a game and not NEARLY enough like anything useful or meaningful. Maybe I should just drop Anthro but I need to check with Jeff and find out a couple of things first. I just want to be in a class where I can really LEARN and get credit for it. You know where work and intelligence mean more than brown nosing and efficient study methods. I really like the material in most of my classes this semester (Statistics is eh and anthropology hasn't gotten interesting yet) but the whole maintaining high grades/planning for my future thing has started to take up too much of my mind. And now I have this revised view of what awaits me in the world outside. I don't have illusions that law school is all that different from investment banking. It's all about making contacts and doing years of shitwork for a chance to be rich. That isn't what I want. I'd like to do judicial work but not all the shit that comes first. So my only other solution that makes sense is some sort of PhD track (I don't think med school is for me because calc/physics/chem/bio/orgo would probably take the wind out of my sails pretty quick, especially the labs) and that's a lot of time for...what?

I really need to evaluate where I'm headed in every facet of my life and fast. Hopefully Jeff will help with that tomorrow although I doubt he'll have bothered to read this. The pansy. Oh and faithful readers MIGHT note that I spent a good deal of time reading a book for my own personal pleasure when I have STACKS of books I should be reading for school. But sometimes longterm self-evaluation takes precedence over medium term academic goals. Before I start running I want to know which direction the finish line lies in. Something's off this semester and I don't think it's the extra class. But I guess I should just hit the hay now so I can do some reading in the morning and not worry about any major changes until I talk with Jeff and my advisor who I am meeting with on friday. I just hope that Professor Johnston's lecture tomorrow morning gives me reason to re-evaluate what that book made me think of Ivy League institutions in general and Columbia in particular. I can't believe that I could be spending time in the same classrooms as people who could go to a bar and watch a man sexually molest a secretary by humping her with his exposed penis while she vomits from drinking to much and find that AMUSING. In HINDSIGHT no less. I mean maybe while they were drunk it could be funny and then shameful when they awaken....but...no.

Whatever happened to morality?
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