June 2003 - Down The Rabbit Hole
This is where I warm up...
Oh, you have asked for this. You have wanted it. You have needed it. I have finally accepted my fate. I have finally accepted all the things that I have and will become.
They're a funny thing, ideals. Those hopes, those aspirations. All of those things that you wish you had but are too afraid to ask for. I'm not talking about nice houses or fancy lighting that blinks in time with the music. Those are just distractions. I'm talking about those secret things that you wish you had, but are too afraid to ask for, because if you do, you're weak, Or you're dirty, Or you're flawed.
We all want them. We really do. But life has this way of seeking out our vulnerable spots like some sort of well guided missile and doing everything it can to rob us of the things that we might think that we are worth being. Of the things that we might be worth having.
Quite frankly, I am bored of it.
I am tired of that fear, I am tired of that thing that crawls inside of us and robs us of all that we are. I am tired of the doubt, the crippling thing that takes us apart. And its so well crafted. Its designed in such a way that we think we are gaining some sort of freedom, when in fact we are doing nothing more than trading small pieces of who we are for some sense that we might be worth it.
Lord knows I have done it.
Lord knows we all have.
Well I am back. The monster in your closet has returned. I am here with a vengeance.
Did you really think that you could get away with it?
Did you really think that you could play this game and no one would call you on it?
Did you really think that you could get away with it?
I am here again. It's been a while. It's been some time since I was willing to stand up in the face of the storm, raise my middle finger and stand for what I believe.
But it is time again.
This is where the punches are no longer pulled. This is where I'm not afraid anymore. This is where I pull back the window shades. This is where I put a voice to all the things that we don't like to talk about. Because, if for no other reason, I have given you time, and you have refused.
A wise man, one of my hero's in fact, once said "I have a dream". Well, to be sure, I have a dream, and I will not sacrifice it for anything. I am The Monster In Your Closet. I will say all the things that you are afraid to say. All those fears, all those insecurities, I will become them. And I will show them for the lies that they are.
There is a new game being played. There is a new way of doing things being born. We are all so scared of it. We're scared of it because in some way, it forces us to look at ourselves. And that's a scary thing.
I am not scared anymore.
There is nothing left but the secrets you pretend to keep. There is nothing left but the bone and viscera that we all try so very hard to hide.
You wanted the revolution? Welcome to it. It isn't some kid throwing gasoline in the street. It isn't some graffiti artist painting slogans on buildings. It's you looking in you, and me looking in me. It's that vicious self-examination that leads us to see the flaws that we are so terrified of.
You can't hide from it. It's there. All of those secret fears. All those secret doubts. They're not so secret. They're not as hidden as you might like to think.
We all have them, it's just a matter of whether or not we have the courage to face them...
But that's your call, not mine. I am only here to serve as a reminder. I am only here to serve as the "what if?".
This is where I tell you a story...
It started as a harmless hiking trip. It started as a lark. We thought that we could meet the wilderness head on. Everyone stays on the paths. Everyone does the designated hike. I wanted something different. We all did. We all wanted to wander away and see what might hold for us.
It was all the fault of that glacier. I maintain that.
Glaciers are funny things. They like to say that just because this chunk of ice has been around for millions of years that we might be able to assume that it is indeed safe.
If it were safe I never would have fallen in as early as I did. If it were safe, the ground would never have given way in the fashion that it did.
If it were safe, I wouldn't have fallen into the cave that a simple person like me was never supposed to find.
Safe is such a subjective term...
They call them crevasses. They call them the things you never see coming. It's easier that way. You get the element of surprise that way. It's not like you could say you saw it coming. It's a total surprise. You place your foot on what you think is a solid place, and the next thing you know, you're falling.
That's how I met the Groove Machine 5000.
Personally, I thought I was done for. When you have that feeling of placing your foot down and you realize that there is nothing underneath it, you quickly come to terms with the fact that you may indeed be fucked.
But I wasn't so lucky. I hit the slippery slope and I slid.
And I was delivered to the Groove Machine 5000, version 2.0 no less.
I hit the hard rock on the cave floor like no ones business. I think I may have even passed out. Happens when you get a strong enough jolt to the system.
But that is neither here nor there...
The point is that upon shaking my head and trying to find my bearings, I found myself looking at a rather large computer monitor that simply said "Groove Machine 5000".
Now you have to imagine suffering from one hell of a concussion and meeting up with a computer screen that says nothing more than "Groove Machine 5000".
It's a shock to the system to say the least.
I looked for a keyboard. I looked for any way to figure out what the hell was going on. Eventually, out of nothing more than pure frustration, I asked "What the hell is going on here".
It's funny. We as a species specialize in questions that we don't really want the answers to.
Imagine my shock when it answered, "Explain your question?"
Imagine trying to explain that question.
I did my best. I had a week worth of supplies in my pack, so I figured I might as well try and figure out where I was. The GPS was totally useless. It just plain didn't work.
So I spent a week of my life talking with the Groove Machine 5000.
I learned a lot. Turns out the Groove Machine 5000 was a little bit of a secret.
Have you ever turned on your radio to hear a song that sounds like it was written by the use of some sort of formula?
Have you ever seen people in the spotlight that clearly haven't the vaguest notion of what they are doing, and that they are simply going through the motions in an effort to collect a way oversized paycheck?
Have you ever watched reality TV?
Have you ever seen shows on television that have made you wonder what the hell is going on?
All by design.
The Groove Machine 5000 was set up in the late sixties as a method of trying to control popular culture. At some point, someone realized that music and TV were the ways to get into the minds of the majority. The Groove Machine 5000 was built to provide people with the combination of rebellion and conformity. The Groove Machine 5000 was the ultimate failsafe. It programmed popular culture so that people would be able to feel that spirit of freedom and yet not really understand it.
The Groove Machine 5000 was designed to be the greatest lie.
The first version was an unparalleled failure. The first version tried to instill the classic family values, while at the same time maintaining the status quo. A miserable failure if there ever was one. The inherent contradiction in that equation could not be solved.
So the programmers set themselves upon Version 2.0.
2.0 was a huge success, if for no other reason than it pandered to the lowest common denominator. 2.0 was designed to prey upon all the insecurities that the average listener/viewer might possess. At the same time, it was designed to allay those fears using a simple equation. That equation was nothing more than that no problem could not be solved within a 30-minute time frame.
I sat and talked with the Groove Machine for some time. It made a lot of things clear to me. It showed me what was expected. It showed me how I was supposed to behave.
You can only take the lies for so long. You can only be fed untruths for so long. After a while, I became sick from what the Groove Machine was trying to feed me.
I saw the evil that the Groove machine was. I suddenly realized that too much was being influenced and controlled by this machine.
And of course, I came to the realization that something must be done...
I assembled the aluminum tent pole I had in my pack, and I smashed it against the Groove Machine.
I would like to think that it took some effect...
But the Groove Machine had grown smarter. The Groove Machine had realized that it could spread itself out into a million different systems and live in them all.
But what matters is not that the Groove Machine is still alive and well. What matters is not the million ways that it infects out lives. The only thing that matters to me about the Groove Machine is that I tried to say that it was all a lie.
I was rescued by helicopter twelve days after my disappearance into the crevasse. They thought me delirious for a long time. From what I am told, I was found in an ice field. It seems that those found in ice fields are not deserved of the luxury of sanity...
So it goes...
But I do remember. I remember all the secrets the Groove Machine showed me. I remember the awful control that the Groove Machine had over what is played and shown and thought.
One day I will take the groove machine apart. I will look at its bits and cogs and pieces of electronic wonder in my hands and I will laugh.
Don't get me wrong, I won't laugh because it is funny, rather because whether or not we admit it, we made the Groove Machine. And there is a humor in that. That which we fear the most is always what we seem to choose to become.
It's been that way since day one, why should it change now?
And This Is where It Gets Ugly...
Lately I find myself getting very easily bored with people. There's a predictability that most people seem to posses. There are those patterns that we run through, because we are so afraid of change or challenging ourselves.
People like to put their problems on other people. I've never really gotten that. I'm the type of person that generally likes to keep my issue of the day to myself and those few close friends that I know won't look at it as anything more than it is. I talk about things, but I am very careful with whom I talk with.
But there's this thing that seems to be in fashion these days. I'm not sure how it started...yet another memo that seems to have failed to pass over my little desk.
And this thing is the using of other people to validate our insecurities. This thing is the using of people and situations to create or excuse problems that we don't want to actually face up to. There's this thing called fear.
Fear is a great motivator to do all the things that we need an excuse for. It creeps in and it grabs hold, and nine times out of ten, most people don't even realize that they are snugly in it's grip. When you have fear, you don't have to think, you need only react.
When you have fear, you don't need to push yourself. When you have fear, you can get away with almost anything, because in the end, you were just afraid.
I know I mentioned this earlier, this idea, but I feel it important enough that I'm gonna run with it a while. I can do that, because this is my bit, and if you get bored, no one is forcing you to be here.
Sometimes people say that I say unpleasant things. Sometimes people say that I say things that shouldn't be said. I've been told that I can be hurtful.
Allow me to respond..
I, or anyone else for that matter, can only upset another person if the things that I say ring true in a sense. If you call another person a purple monkey, that can only effect them if in some way, they are either a purple monkey, or they were at the very least harboring suspicions that they might be.
It is impossible to push a button that isn't there.
I have grown so very, very tired of this talk show mentality that a person should never say anything that might offend or challenge. I have grown so very tired of the idea that you shouldn't call people on their bullshit or push them.
Personally, I like being pushed. I call it growth. But, in this pacified version of reality that we seem to be living in, if you say anything that challenges a person, you are deemed the anti-Christ. Heaven forbid a person steps out of their comfort zone into something better.
Let me make it simple...
Either there is something to the things I say or I'm wrong. I'm OK with being wrong, I do it regularly. It's something of a pastime for me.
If I upset someone, there is no other reason for them being upset other than whatever I said rang true to some degree. If it did, good. I would much rather be the guy that made a point of calling things as they are than the guy who stood passively by and let things go.
I won't do that.
It's none of my business I have been told...
I have seen and allowed too much to happen in the name of fear. I have seen too many people sacrifice themselves on that altar to just sit by and watch it happen. It's not so much about whether you get to sleep at night, as whether I do.
Someone has to try.
If for no other reason than simply that until someone does, No matter how wrong they may be, no one else will.
This is where I get in your face.
This is where I offend.
This is where I try.
Because someone had to.
This Is Where I Clear Up A Couple Of Things...
I recently announced that I was moving to the fine province of Ontario. I intended to, but plans have changed. Recent developments have made it abundantly clear that for whatever reason, I am meant to stick around in Calgary for a while longer.
This is somewhat against my own personal feelings, but when The Universe decides that things need to be a certain way for the time being, only a fool would argue.
I am an idiot, but not a fool.
I suppose the moral of the story is that Calgary does not get to get rid of me quite as easily as we both may have liked. What you want and what you are, are often two very different things. So I'll stick things out for a while. Let's see where things go, shall we?
This Is Where I Am Honest...
I received an e-mail today. It was from someone that I did not expect to hear from. It was from someone that has known me for a very long time. It was from someone that I would dare to call a friend.
And this is what she had to say...
"You're a real inspiration to people Nathan, I don't think I've ever known anyone to keep up with their dreams like you."
What a responsibility.
What a gift.
If there is one thing that I want to say above all else, it is simply that dreams are worth having, and that they are worth fighting for. If you are so lucky that you have a dream, hold on to it, fight for it, and never give up.
And at the very least, now I can know that I have said that. Loud and clear.
Sleep tight, you know where to find me.Nate@natepike.com