I am going to start this post of with an observation. We are all idiots spitting in the wind. Whatever wind we are spitting into, it’s a losing proposition. Want to be rich? Good luck. Want to marry the woman of your dreams? Ha!!! A rewarding career? In what, sending out resume’s? Happiness? A myth. Fairness, a pipe dream. Respect? Sing it, Aretha.
The truth is that very few of us get close to any of those things. Oh a few might and then what? They spend the next X-amount of years trying to keep it going. Or living the illusion. We all live illusions. Some are more delusional than others, but hey. It beats reality, right?
A few years ago, someone wanted to write my auto-biography. We talked for a long time. When it came time to write it, he couldn’t do it. It was too painful and too life shattering for him to write. And that was at least 20 years ago, maybe longer. I don’t think anyone’s life story is worth telling. You’re born, you die. What happens in between, a third of it is you, a third of it is others, and a third of it is random.
The recent events in my life have reminded me of the final monologue from “The Big Kahuna” by Danny DeVito. He is talking to a young, idealistic salesperson about friendship, character, honesty and regret. In the five minutes, he hits on everything. There are three things he says that really come to the fore. One of them is “There are people I have known for quite a long time and I wouldn’t let them wipe my dog’s ass. Others, I can take or leave, they don’t matter to me.”
Another is, “Part of being honest is being blunt. If you want to talk to someone as a human being, as him about his kids, ask him what his dreams are, just to find out, for no other reason, because the minute you lay your hands on a conversation, it’s not a conversation anymore and you’re not a human being, you’re a marketing rep.”
And finally, on character and regret. “It’s when you discover them (regrets), when you see the folly of what you have done and you wish you had it to do over, but you know you can’t cause it’s too late then you pick that thing up to remind you that life goes on, the world will keep spinning without you. You really don’t matter in the end. Then you will attain character because honesty will reach out from inside and tattoo itself across your face. Until that day, however, you cannot reach beyond a certain point.”
The events of the past month have reminded me of that dialog and the meaning behind it. There are people I trust, people who would (and have) sacrificed a lot more than time or money for me. These people may not see eye-to-eye with me on anything of “importance,” but they see the humanity and the fact that we all need each other, even just for the time that we do.
Last summer, I told a friend of mine “I don’t know what we would have done had there been Facebook when we were in high school.” She said, “I’m glad we didn’t.”
I love my friends. I love my family. I miss those who aren’t around anymore. I miss hearing from people. I regret hurting those I hurt. I regret that the life I wanted when I was 18 isn’t the life I have at 53. But that is on me, no one else.
I believed people when I shouldn’t have, I trusted those who stabbed me in the back. Thirty years later, I still wonder why i believe anything anyone says to me.
When I was young, I wanted acceptance, i got ridiculed and laughed at (and blackballed). After that, I wanted respect, I got tricked. And then finally, I wanted love. I never got a fair chance.
In the end, nothing matters. Except it does. It matters because honesty and character should count for something in this world. But that, and $5 will get you a latte at Starbucks.
Last night, at the end of a long, trying month for me, I had finally had enough. I was in a argument with someone who really had no business commenting on a link I had posted on Facebook about that despicable human being Allen West and what he said about President Obama the other day and then, of course, after the furry and outrage, he tried to “walk it back.” Well, someone jumped in and said that it was everyone’s fault. And that my posts were making her nauseous. Well, I told her that she didn’t have to read my posts or comment on them.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. I have seen this woman maybe four times since 1978. The last time I saw her, we had a very nice visit. We didn’t talk politics or anything. Just about our lives. See this is what’s wrong in today’s post-modern world. Everyone “knows” everyone, but nobody knows anyone. We’re all connected, but no one cares.
So, last night, at the end of a long month, I deactivated my Facebook account. I have close to 600 “friends.” I probably know or see maybe 80-100 over the course of a year. I have met, at various times, maybe another 100-150. The rest are just internet connections or friends of friends whom I know through Facebook. A few, I have actually met and got to know. I hope to meet a few more along the way. But those people I know from high school or college, who make up the majority of the 600 (along with my Paralympic friends), I haven’t seen or heard from them in years.
The truth is that most people don’t give a rats ass about you or your life. In the end, it won’t matter. I’ll be cremated and flushed down the toilet and forgotten about. So, people who think your lives are so much better than mine, you’re going to end up in the same fate as my dad and sister. And me.