June 2004

Yes, Iím fully aware that Iím late this month. I was as worried as you, but the good news is that I am not at all pregnant. Bloody hard little stick to pee on though.

Preliminary

I hate May.

May, As a month, has always been less than acceptable to me. Itís a month that thinks that it might almost be summer, but itís not. Itís a month that might almost be spring, but usually itís too warm to just be spring. Itís a non-month really, a complete and total let down as months go.

I also get insomnia in May. Every year. Iím sure itís at the point where itís largely psychosomatic and Iím keeping myself up at nights for no reason other than thatís what I have been doing for the last 8 years, so why switch things up now?

A story last month, this month a rant.

We all have our patterns, mine just seem to be a little more predictable. Story, rant, story, rant.

I was toying with the idea of simply putting up a link that would lead to a picture of the famous comedy and tragedy masks. But that would, after all, be the easy way out, now wouldnít it.

So lets start slow and go from there shall we?

Round 1

I paid a visit to my parents tonight. I had to pick up some things, and among them was an unexpected surprise. My parents have been spending the last several months sorting through the years of family memorabilia and getting rid of what they can. Being that I spend most of my time living in smallish apartments, I have left my fair share of debris there as they have been kind enough to store it. Over the years, mine and theirs has somewhat mixed together, so from time to time, my parents present me with some dishes that I had forgotten that I had or trading cards from the first Batman movie (the first with Micheal Keaton, the whole "original" movie only counts for schtick) or something of the like.

When I arrived at my parents today, I found two notebooks that I had completely forgotten over the years. The first was simply a bunch of various designs for machines of world conquest that I came up with in my younger more heady days. The second was a journal that began at the first summer after I graduated from high school and stretched for three years. Aside from the upkeep of daily events, this journal also contained many of my first attempts at songwriting as well as some, shall we say, critiques that some people had been kind enough to give me.

I read over a bit of that journal tonight, and I came to a couple of conclusions that I honestly wonder if I would have come upon if I hadnít had the chance to read over things that I wrote almost 10 years ago.

First of all, I think I have finally figured out how it is that I manage to annoy so many of my peers for as long as I have. While a great many of the people that I went to high school with have gone on to have meaningful and rewarding careers that provide financial stability and other things that bank brochures and television commercials strongly urge any mature responsible adult to pursue, I, rather decidedly, have not.

Reading over a couple of those journal entries, I was struck by the fact that even 10 years ago, I felt that while the need for financial stability had some merit, the need to be able to actually live life far outweighed any concern for a new car or a set of golf clubs made from the same metal as the space shuttle.

As an aside on that, does anyone actually think that the pseudo-barbaric Scots who invented that ridiculous game ever thought that people would be obsessively trying to come up with new and better alloys to make the ball go just a little bit farther? Letís be honest, they liked to hit shit, and they liked to hit it hard and far. If you have a better explanation, please feel free to e-mail me, but Iím going with the repressed people feeling the need to beat the holy hell out of something that wouldnít then turn around and rape and pillage their country side.

Course, thatís just me. Back to the journal business.

It really did strike me though, that a lot of the ideas that I still try to live by, I was espousing as gospel 10 years ago. So really, this leads to only two possible choices:

    1. Those were some really great ideas that I picked up and ran with
    2. I havenít changed much since then at all.

Me? Iím going with #2. I still drive a crappy car, I still live in a small apartment, and I still work at a job that pays a completely substandard wage for what I would like to do. You wouldnít believe how hard it is to find someone willing to pay out several thousands of dollars a week to have you sit on a West Coast beach and write songs. Oh sure, the make it look easy to find that in the movies, but I have some bad news.

Hollywood lies.

Constantly.

So while tossing these realizations around the inside of my skull, I had me a minor epiphany. While having grown and matured somewhat in ten years, I havenít changed all that much.

I have spent the last ten years learning to be a better eighteen year old.

After much thought, and the realization that some of my favorite people are around that age, if for no other reason than they still have an appetite for life that doesnít consist of security and pragmatism, Iíve more or less decided that Iím ok with that.

I can handle that I think. As long as I can end up on the west coast one day, I donít car if itís a limo or an í83 Volvo Station wagon that gets me there. And Iím betting that the ride in the Volvo will at the very least have some far more interesting stories.

Round 2

Somewhere along the line, someone started a great lie.

No really, Iím going somewhere with this, just bear with me.

I donít like to tell just everyone I meet that they are special. Not only would that be misleading (if everyone you meet is special, then that sorta defies the term, doesnít it?), but it would be downright dishonest. Nonetheless, that seems to be the catch phrase of the day lately. If someone is feeling down, well then just tell them that theyíre special in an ambiguous manner, and that makes them feel a whole lot better.

Well hereís the cold hard truth.

Very few people are special.

Sure we all have individual quirks that make us individuals, but to be special, that takes more than a little work.

No one in the last 200 years has been born special. Circumstance and will alone has made anyone past that date special.

So hereís the lie part.

You grow up and you think that what you do matters. Everyone tells you that thereís this greater purpose that youíre going to end up serving, because, after all, you are special. So you live life as you do with that in mind. You try to convince yourself and others that your actions actually mean something, that what you are up to something that really matters. And you keep doing that, trying and trying, comforted by the belief that because you are special that it all adds up to something.

Bu then it starts to wear a little thin.

The people who started out telling you what an impact you would have on things begin to get tired of the same old speeches. The belief in you begins to fade, slowly at first, but it does. You try your hardest not to notice, and you try your hardest to "keep the faith", but when the staunchest supporters of whatever it is that your trying to do start finding better things with which to occupy their time, you begin to, however imperceptibly, doubt yourself and your specialness.

But thatís ok really, because in the end, you know that what you are trying to do matters, because at some point, they told you so. You canít expect people to support you 100% of the time, and now itís time to pull up your boots and convince them.

And then you make your first mistake.

A small one usually, but thatís enough to tip the dominoes. Because after that, the mistakes seem to come quicker and easier. You rationalize them as growth and whatnot, but the whole time thereís a little voice inside of you thatís calling you on your own bullshit, and while you know it, you choose to ignore it, because, after all, you are special.

And then one day you wake up, and itís not just the voices that always supported you that are deserting you, youíre deserting yourself as well. All of those nobilities that you thought that you were evaporate and youíre selling yourself to not just the lowest bidder, but anyone who bids.

Because, after all, you are now alone. And you can finally see all those faults that so many wrote you off for. You were convinced that you had some sort of righteousness backing you, but in the face of all the mistakes you have made, you crumble.

Like graham crackers.

So then comes the inevitable. If you were so wrong, then you need someone to tell you that you werenít. And rest assured, youíll take whatever you can get. Anyone who will tell you that you are worth something, that despite the overwhelming weight of the evidence, you are in fact, still special, despite what your detractors might say. Those people become more precious than heroin to an addict. Thatís what you are at this point. An addict.

But you keep up with it, convinced that betrayed by the idea that your actions matter, they actually donít.

But then the strangest thing happens.

Your actions, which you were so strongly convinced donít matter, begin to draw consequences.

Which, as you would swear for the record, they arenít supposed to, but they do nonetheless. Ugly starts to happen, and it happens in spades. Convinced that you were supposed to have finally found that hedonistic bliss that so many of the equally confused freely talk about, you find yourself in the midst of a conscience wrought sensation that you spend too many sleepless nights to count trying to make sense of.

Then comes the next.

And this is where a person can make themselves special, but only if they so choose.

Some people hit this point and they resign themselves to what they believe their fate will be. Some people decide that if they are seemingly destined for a life of melodrama and less than what they may have at one time thought they have deserved, then that is what they will be. Some people go a smallish step further and accept their mistakes, but are too afraid to realize the lessons that those mistakes might teach and simply wallow in the same fate as the former, but with a misplaced sense of enlightenment. The next, and most often taken step is that of those that believe that their mistakes can be used to lord over those that are still lost in the confusion. This is the most often taken choice because it allows you to believe that you have examined your faults and come out the better for it because despite the fact that you havenít done all that much to chase after what you believe, you can pretend you have because after all, you know betterÖ

My grammar checker hates the long sentences I write. I love the spellchecker aspect, but my god, give me a little artistic license hereÖ

So hereís what I thinkÖ

This is the point where a person can make the choice to become special.

A special person accepts the fact that they may never make a difference on a large scale but realizes that is not at all the point. A special person subscribes to the notion that the corroded ideals that they once held dear do in fact matter, despite the odds or the feasibility. A special person is aware of the fact that they may have to sacrifice everything that they want for an idea that may not even be as real as they once thought it was, but decide to pursue it nonetheless.

A special person not only keeps trying, but keeps believing., despite the better judgement of themselves and others.

A special person weighs in the knowledge of what is, and holds that against what could be, regardless of whether or not it will be.

A special person looks at the reality, accepts it, and then moves from it to something better.

Iím not special yet.

But I think I would really like to be.

You know where to find meÖ

Nate@natepike.com