We’ve talked about four losers from my life so far. But of course, there are others. What we haven’t done is talk about loser #5, the writer of the piece you are now reading.
Odds are, the four people I have criticized before the entire online world you don’t know. The accounts I gave are completely true down to every recollect-able detail with the exception of a portion of each name. They’ve been changed ever so slightly—they may not be innocent of the charges of loserdom leveled against them, but I want to protect their identities anyway.
Based on everything said so far, I’m a pretty big loser. Why? Because I befriended them, the losers, life’s miserable, embarrassing failures. I reached out to them, the idiots, for no other reason than that I wanted to. I had things in common with them. I benefited (in some small way) from knowing them. If nothing else, they taught me about life.
I look back and remember a kid who was deemed quite amazing, a kid of whom it was said that he could talk at 11 months. He was so smart, had the planets memorized, had the alphabet memorized, but he also stood at the living room window and screamed if the buses didn’t go by in the exact order that he expected them to. Some doctors called it savant autism while others disagreed.
I remember a kid who was so creative that while his friends were pretending to be Superman and Spiderman, he was pretending to be an air conditioner with the sky-touching ambitions of sitting outside all day and all night on a concrete slab and making noise.
I remember a kid who so, so, soooooo couldn’t fit in with his peers. He got in fights at school, made trouble for his teachers, got caught and scalded for trying to rip off a bag of sweets from Albertson’s grocery store once, and he did a hundred other things. But as much trouble as he was for everyone around him since his daycare days, he was more trouble to himself.
He got home from school and jumped on the trampoline for over an hour to let off steam. The kid held that cassette player in his hand. The tapes he would listen to stuck out from his pockets, as he listened to music while leaping and occasionally stopping to stare up at the stars, wishing so badly – sometimes crying and wishing – that he could jump high enough to find an alien race that would have more in common with him and adopt him. Or, maybe they could come down and get me.
Everyone keeps telling me about how amazing and intelligent and eloquent I supposedly am. I get emails far and wide praising me for my objectivism and astute presence of mind in being able to reject Christianity and change from the ground up my belief system. I get very few negative emails, a few negative blog posts, but no threats.
But then, my defection from Christianity can be looked at another way—I went from a minister to an atheist! That’s a pretty far fall to some. I once preached against porn, but that was followed by a time when I worked security, encouraging and protecting the free traffic of the very smut I preached against! The irony…if it wasn’t so funny, it would hurt like a sprained ankle.
My fellow writers and critics, as well as some aspiring writers, tell me I have a gift, that they wish they could write like me. Those where I worked always told me they wished they could debate like I can. A number are asking for tips and thoughts on this and that.
What do I have to tell them? That I’m a loser? No. Such information does no one else any good. And it doesn’t matter to me if you believe it or not. To me, I’m just a much bigger version of that scared boy who stepped onto bus 214 every day of the week through junior high school back when news about the space shuttle Challenger blowing up was still news in 1986.
I’ve learned a few things since then. I’ve laughed a little and cried a lot. Now, all I can do is laugh, but it’s a Joker’s sort of laugh—I laugh because there is no point to it all, and I’m too sore to keep crying. That’s why I laugh. It just hurts too much.
I try to pass these things on when I can. With regard to Christianity, what I thought was truth turned out not to be, and learning that tore me up inside. I’ve lost 4 cats and 8 dogs. That tore me up some more. Most of my humanity died the day my last dog died. It was November 20th, 2004. I remember dates so well. Damn my memory.
I love eating Reese’s Pieces out of a plastic cup with a plastic fork so that I don’t have to touch my mouth with my fingers. I cherish the roughest generic brand toilet paper in any store. I love piddling with plastic wrappers from mint candies when I can’t get my thoughts together to write anything. I love pens with fat rubbery handles, and I love pecking on new keyboards until the crispness of the key surface is shiny and rubbed off.
Take caution in admiring me. Admire only the writing and be wary of my wisdom. I may not speak for you. I may speak against you. These are the words of a bent man. Just listen and sift through what you can. Throw the rest (or all of it) out. I know I like unique things, and I like unique people. The weirdos of my past weren’t much, probably never became much either. I hope I am wrong, but if not, it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters in this life except how I decide to make my life count…or not count.
I am a hedonist. I live doing what makes me happy (we all do, ultimately, but more so those of us who answer to no higher power). I know I am happiest with things and people who aren’t normal. The thing that attracted me to the losers was the fact that they weren’t normal. Though I am speaking out of jealousy, I do adopt the slogan: “Normal isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”
Society may have no place for them. I may find them intolerable to hang out with, but give me the losers anyway. They may be the bottom of the food chain, but they’re towards the top on my list. Give me the rejects, the failures, the sickos, the addicts, those who make everyone else say: “God damn! Why can’t you get your act together!?”
The rage, it is what consumes me, nothing more sophisticated than that billion-year-old vice that never goes away. Fuck normal. The universe is too big for any intentional uniformity. The unintentional deadness is enough. Humans are supposed to be the exceptions to the deadness, the lifeless patches of cold and hot matter that cover everything like dust on the shelves of a vacant building.
Life pulled a fast one on everyone when it brought us into existence. Everyone stands and points and says, “Be like us!” and I take such great pleasure in yelling back: “No!”
“Now why is that what I see? Don't bother trusting. Don't bother waiting. Don't bother changing things that won't give into changing. Just let me go away.”