When I found him in Mill City that morning he had fallen on the beat and evil days that come to young guys in their middle twenties.
He was out to get back everything he’d lost; there was no end to his loss; this thing would drag on forever.
Here I was at the end of America — no more land — and now there was nowhere to go but back.
Aren’t you tired enough of yourself by now?
* * * * * *
* * * * * *
Somebody once told me — or maybe I randomly saw it on TV — that a person’s behavioral tendencies are, for the most part, cemented by the time they are, like, five years old. Imagine for a second that this is true, that you have no tangible control over your own Nature; is that something you are willing to submit to?
I don’t know; I mean, as much sense as it makes, it’s one of those things I pretend isn’t true, even though it probably is. I suppose if ignorance is bliss then I’m a sad man by choice. I don’t recall what it was like to be a five year-old, aside the general Let’s All Learn The Alphabet and Paint Pictures From Recycled Chocolate Milk Cartons On Warn Paper. I don’t remember what it was like being a five year-old because nothing was really worth remembering back then.
There was a time, maybe a few years back, where I felt a pretty deep connection to existentialism, probably from reading The Fountainhead and Crime and Punishment in succession. I became so bent on personal growth, as if the universe was pulling me in a different direction against my will, and the concept of objectivism made too much sense to pass up. A bonafide contrarian till the death of me, it was my elixir from the Brave New World-style predestination that I never rationally invested myself in; I was also proud to break the chains of tradition within my paleo-conservative foundation of religious relatives.
There was just something magical and wonderful about the idea that everything doesn’t happen for a reason. After all, for all the good I’ve accomplished, and all the bad I’ve done and am going to do, these are things under my own control, for better or for worse, and I’m regrettably comfortable wearing the outcome like a millstone. And so it is.
Nowadays, either to simplify my reality or through sheer neglect, my former existential worldview has slowly deteriorated. Or, maybe it’s just engrained in me to the effect that it’s not even worth mentioning anymore. I’m not sure. As a truth, it’s clear that if I wanted to change, I could simply change and that would be the end of the story. However, if there was to be a trump card to reason and logic, it would have to be Nature; my Nature, that is; the person I sadly and uncontrollably am. If that person was locked into place as a five year-old then it wouldn’t matter if I was objectivist, or whether or not I believed in god; it would just be. In a Darwinist sort of way, I would be at the mercy of what cannot be controlled, which, seemingly, is just as intellectually frustrating as if there was a god and everything was predetermined.
I’m sorry about some things, and not so sorry about others, but I’ve made my bed and I’ll sleep in it, too. Experience is an invaluable commodity, and in the past I’ve deliberately acted against what I felt was right, because I fancied myself as a writer and writers need material. To feed my insatiable curiosity, sometimes I have to poke the sleeping dragon just to see what will happen next. I’ve done this enough that my appetite for trolling has understandably lessened, and now I don’t care as much to disrupt the demons that don’t need disruption. Maybe it’s some newfangled maturity that’s dawned over me, or maybe something’s died as I’ve grown older;
I used to not want to believe it, but people don’t ever truly change, and I’m no exception. I wish I’d known what you already knew.
In the end, even though it can be complicated and tough to digest, life is pretty simple, really. Things happen, and things don’t happen; people give shit, and people take shit; if you are still here to tell the story, that’s something.