June 9th, 2002

pod

Don't believe in fear don't believe in faith, don't believe in anything that you can't break

From time to time I get this pain in the back of my head like a blocked blood vessel or a stitch. It lasts for a little while, sharpens, and then pops and fades. I never knew what it was, maybe a mini-anurism but probably nothing. Well today I figured it out. My mother, the fucking lunatic bitch, puts Boric Acid in our dishwasher in order to kill the roaches. Well today I could actually TASTE the Boric Acid in my soda. And then later the pains started up again. So I put two and two together and realized that because the bitch won't listen to me and stop putting POISON on our dishes I'm having god knows what done to my head. Tomorrow I'm going to buy some paper plates and cups and I'm never touching another god damned dish or glass in this house. I get shivers running down my spine just thinking about how much damage has already been done.

The thing is that it really has my freaked. If I thought I was just playing with my liver or my spleen I'd be upset but I'd figure that just stopping would fix everything and I could move on. But the brain...the brain is a whole nother story. By the time we are five or so months old in the womb we have basically all the neurons we will ever have. By the time we are 13 years old our brains are as big as they are going to get. Any damage done after that is damage done to functioning or at least potential functioning. It's not like the liver or the kidney. It doesn't regenerate itself and heal eventually. Recovery in the brain can only be achieved by basically rerouting stuff that used to go through damaged portions into other portions of the brain. But there's usually a price for that. The new wired system doesn't work as well or it costs us other functioning. There are no freebies when it comes to the brain.

And the thing is that I NEED my intelligence. It's really all I have. Whenever I get positive feedback or compliments it's always related to my intelligence. My intelligence is my only redeeming quality. Ben is smart, Ben is insightful, Ben is witty, Ben is quick on the uptake. Ben is not sexy or nice or loveable or a good person or faithful or loyal or true. I think that I'm at least some of those things (Good person, loyal) but nobody else seems to so I guess it's just self aggrandizing bias. For all the empathy I think I have, for all the times I have helped people, for all the times that I have NEVER gotten anything in return (I don't care if it's emotionally supporting some chick through a pregnancy scare or helping someone get into college, nobody feels the need to repay old Bennie) none of that ever means anything to anyone. I'm not Ben the helpful, Ben the empathetic, Ben the patient.

I'm smart Ben. That's the only praise I ever get.

And the thought of losing that, well, it's like losing my life. All my plans, all my hopes and dreams, all my fantasies, they are all tied and attached to that one aspect of myself. I guess along with my code of ethics and sense of right and wrong, but that's more a guiding factor than a tool for achieving my goals. And so the thought of damaging or even losing that intellectual power....it terrifies me. And all those little pops in the back of my head have my stomach turning summersaults in my throat right now. What if I'm stupid? What if I'm not as smart as I would have been. What if I've lost my only chance at making a difference (since I lost any chance of happyness at the age of 12)

We all build our lives as houses of cards and have faith that they will not crash down around our ears. Disturb the wrong part of the structure and everything falls into ruins. We trust that our lives will not end tomorrow, that our wives are not cheating on us, that there will be an America when we wake up the next morning, that the lifegiving water we've been drinking for the last 20 years hasn't carried with it a subtle hint of poison that will slam closed the book of our lives before we've gotten past writing the introduction.

Every single person's life relies on so many other factors that it's terrifying to think about them. But most of us have faith that the foundations of our card houses are solid. They are not. Land is just a bunch of tectonic plates floating on a sea of magma, crashing and smashing into one another. Even the solid ground on which you build your house and in which you grow your crops rests ultimatly on a boiling seething realm of death.

You know those paranoid fantasies? Those thoughts that maybe that 15 minutes of lateness will stretch into an eternity and you'll never see him again? Well they can happen. I should know. My worst one took place in REALITY when I was 12. My house of cards came crashing down on top of me and it took me 8 years to start rebuilding. So I don't have any illusions that paranoid fantasies are MERELY fantasy. The vast majority of them are unlikely, but not terribly so.

So when I think of losing my intelligence it is not something that I can chalk up to merely being a silly flight of fancy. It may be unlikely but what are the chances that your 30 minute late father will forever be your LATE father?

I have a Spanish composition for tomorrow and I'm tired and need sleep but I can't focus and I can't lie down. I've stopped trembling, for now. But I'm scared. Have I lost it? Would I know?

End with song lyrics

Garbage:

Here comes the cold again
I feel it closing in
You're falling down and all around me falling
Stole the love away from God
had a fatal devil's clause
From the lower saints above
You come to me
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