Character, Honesty and Facebook

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.

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4 Responses to “Character, Honesty and Facebook”

  1. Lisa a rycus Says:

    Hi Kent-
    Your post was upsetting but I do understand it. Is your dad ok? The last time I heard from you was that he was in the end stages of Alzheimers. I know that your high school years were very difficult, I could see it from my end but I can never imagine how you felt. Everyone’s life looks good on the outside but in the end we are all the same…..ashes and they all look alike. I never thought I would be broke unemployed and alone at 52, if I would have known I would have checked out a long time ago. I know that you have struggled all of your life but you are an amazing person, I am always very impressed at how articulate and intelligent you are. My challenges are not visiable on the outside, it’s all internal. Everyone thinks she looks fine….if they only knew. You do matter!! I often think I am better off alone and sometimes truly believe it but I think my “fur kids” get sick of listening to me. If I can help in anyway please let me know. If you FB acct is closed please send me a way I can keep in touch, if you want! YOU DO MATTER! Most people are self absorbed a__holes! Only out for them selves. Lisa

  2. rollingwheelie Says:

    My FB account is not closed. I just took it offline for a while. And for the record, I never hated high school, it was a mixed experience for me, I suppose. I was liked by pretty much everyone, but I honesty think most people didn’t know me. Most people still don’t know me to this day. As far as dad, my dad is the same, he’s slowly deteriorating. Went and saw him last week and he looked ok, but his head was to the side and he was drooling. And yes, most people are self-absorbed, shallow and totally clueless. I have your email and will send you something shortly. Take care.

  3. Tom Climer Says:

    Kent,
    Remember back at CGB, playing horse on the basketball course and you beat me. We had a lot of fun at Bentley, meant a lot of good people and some I wish I would have never meant. You need to keeping expressing your inner bleeding liberal heart, (and be proud of it) and giving it to… all of the Righteous right, because…I love to heard or read a good debate as long as it is kept civil.
    I am afraid though if Obama keeps playing class warfare. that the Tea Party and the Occupy movement are going to clash, and we are going to have our own Civil war again. Where no one wins.
    Keep up the good work you are doing, Mr. Tadlock would be proud of you and what you have become.

    • rollingwheelie Says:

      Tom,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes Mr. Tatlock was a fantastic person, but he had his faults. Between you, Montange and Popowitz and “Action”, we sure did have a lot of fun. I think however, the “Class Warfare” that you speak of is on both sides. If you look up Michael Rupert on google or you tube, you see that he says the same thing. Also, “Prophets of Doom”, which talks about the coming crisis in oil, and the financial meltdown, among other things, is another good starting point. Pointing fingers (and guns) isn’t going to accomplish anything at this point. A second civil war…people are too lazy to do anything. It would take a prolonged emergency to make anything substantive (like the blackout we had in 2003) or “change” anything.

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