(you're such a naughty boy)
a demon is on the phone
(he's got a special toy)
he's playing a dialing tone
(a thing to bring you joy)
so drink up and let's go home"--bill nelson
I used the word teetotaller to describe myself last weekend,not because I literally am (I drink beer and wine in rare social instances) but because I seem so much like one. You know,the sort of person who just doesn't really do those convivial, Johnny Walker Red Badge of Courage things, those things that
I love the way that segmentation of society means that there's some cool way to describe almost anything. One is no longer abstemious, one is straight edge. One is no longer a lounge lizard pretender in a cheap-looking pricey suit--one is a "swinger" again.
But I wonder sometimes about missed toddler cues. What social signals did I just flat out miss at age 4? What did this mean to my ultimate ability to win friends and influence people? What if all my hard-won idiosyncracies are only signs of poor playground adaptation?
I know that people go to therapy for this, although my rough understanding is that therapy for ordinary household discontent works slightly less well than exercise and cultivated calm. My own secret hope is that none of my problems really root in my childhood, but instead that I ruin my own life day in, day out.
It's easy, of course, to wish to be in thrall to one's own uncontrollable past. How fortunate are those swine, whom demons enter, and who then go all lemmingy into the water.
It's not idiocy if it's preordained. It's not a big deal if it's something imprinted on one, at some indeterminate young age. Don't blame me--blame my parents, blame my teacher, hell, blame society. I'll be your Leopold, I'll be your Loeb, and I'll even abstain from serious crime. Just let me blame me on something I can't control. Otherwise, I play a part in my own damnation. What could be worse that that?
I like that Jane Austen book about Emma, the cool kid who's so busy fixing everyone else's life (badly, by the way) that she can never fix her own. I feel that similar need to help sometimes, a need I find somewhat unappealing sometimes. But it is a need I have.
I ran in a monsoon rain tonight, lightning flashing, water pelting, washes of water rolling down the street. Imagine being washed inside, anew, like some TV evangelist's wildest dream.
But perhaps the easy way out is not the way out. Perhaps I must both accept my flaws, and resolve to live with them a bit more nobly. But I love to lean into a wild rain, and feel it drench me, and wish I were somehow so pure.