He was a bulky kid. People figured he’d be prized for a sport, football especially. There wasn’t much else going on for him– not only did he posses an apathetic attitude towards his own well-being, but the neighborhood was bad enough to only offer drugs or gang activity. He would saunter around, knocking over the smaller kids, taking precious time from them that could be spent doing anything but getting your ass kicked by some loser.
I remember scaring him off with our family dog, JJ, who had a severe distaste for “dark” people, as my aunt would say. The reality was he had been abused by a black kid, and didn’t trust them. I felt like an utter racist using him as a deterrent against the kids that chased after me (if I made him home faster than they made it to me) but you do what you have to.
So ghetto boy was walking down the street towards me, one day. We were all leaving Crystal Lake Middle, known for the welcoming environment and lawful behavior (lie) and I knew what was coming, so I ran. Luckily for me, I was very small and quick. It only really helps if you have a fine escape route, but I usually did. The school is near Sample and Dixie Highway, so I had to run to Copans and Dixie near the funeral home to get home. It’s quite a trek when a kid with two fists for you is chasing behind rapidly.
I knew some routes to take, but today I noticed cops by the old folk’s neighborhood. I made for a mad dash across Copans when it happened, because running past the cops directly is never advised unless you’re into batons and handcuffs. I was only twelve, so that sort of enjoyment didn’t come til later.
I heard a thunk and this weird sound, almost like a dying cat. The kid managed to get himself hit by a car backing out of a driveway. He wasn’t dead, he was hardly hurt, but he was weeping like a baby and flailing at any attempts to help him. I stood there in the median of the road and watched him convulse in sobs. I only had three thoughts of note before walking slowly home:
“Good.” — “Should have been hit harder.” — “He’s a waste of life.”
That was simply one of the many moments that made me pause and evaluate some things about life. First, despite the attempts to indoctrinate me that came from my grandmother or other members of the family, I didn’t think he’d be going anywhere after he died. I also realized how few of the people in this neighborhood would ever amount to a thing in their lives. The last thing I remembered was most important to me– I still remember this kid, to this day, for being an utter moron. That’s his claim to fame in my mind. He could be dead by now, in jail, or just sitting on a couch doing nothing. Maybe he is something, I don’t know. Chances are pretty slim, though.
It was after these times that I realized how easily it is to be remembered as a waste of time and a waste of flesh. I vowed never to simply sit still and be a nothing, to never look back and think “shit, I’m a loser. Why am I alive?”
I feel like this when I stay home and stare at a TV, even though that’s a highly unlikely event. I get this way if I am not actively challenging myself to something, mentally or physically. Some people take pleasure out of doing absolutely nothing. Good! You get pleasure from something. That’s for you to decide. I probably won’t join you, but that’s me. And that’s what we have as a collective. We have the ability to decide what is worth our time, what isn’t, and what makes us happy. We’re alive, and that’s only for so long. Not taking advantage of that is one of the biggest affronts to nature you can give. Maybe you think God put you here. Maybe you think you’re just a collection of symbiotic organisms that make you walk and talk. Doesn’t matter. You’re still alive.
We’ve been born into a society that likes it when you do nothing with your free time. Then, TV shows get ratings. Things get bought from the commercials. That’s cool. We need consumers to keep society as we know it alive. If you can show me one thing I’ve bought due to an advertisement within the last ten years, I’ll give you my wallet. I’ve seen things and thought “cool, I like it” and moved on. Some people are like that, some are not. I personally don’t care which you prefer to be, since it’s not up to me to decide that. The only thing I care about is that the people I associate with bother to step up and say no, I won’t be lazy and useless, because I’ll be dead soon. (Even if you’re into TV.)
If you feel like it’s boring, stop doing it. It isn’t worth it. If you HAVE to because it’s your job, get a new one. Can’t do that? Make the best of your free time. The absolute best. Go do the things you keep saying you “hope” to do before you die. Don’t sit around hoping or waiting for some excuse to not do it. There’s always a way, unless it’s beyond human science or reach. No, you can’t travel to the sun, unless you’re a fucking scientist with the ability to build a rocket … to go die. It’s hot. Don’t do that. You’re stupid.
I keep hearing people say they envy this, wish they could be that. Why not? Worst you’re going to do is fail, but if you never tried, you fail anyway. At least you did something. Nothing is so impossible that it’s completely out of your reach, and other such self-help bullshit.
And like I said above, within the realm of science, before I get a comment about “but if the paralyzed comatose guy wants to go skiing, hurrr” … yeah, that guy is fucked. I know.
The point is this: If you’re unhappy with your life, nobody is going to come rescue you. Believe love will fix you? That’s nice. And when they’re gone, then what? They are going to leave you, or die. Unless you happen to die at the exact same moment, you’re going to be heartbroken. Maybe you’ll die and leave them feeling alone. Love is a wonderful thing, but it won’t keep you alive for very long. Eating your loved ones is not recommended for sustenance.
Think that new job is great? Cool. Now you have more bills. Now you’re broke again. You’ll possibly lose that job. Do something you at least like, or that you have a passion for. Or hell, even if all it does is pay for the things you want to do, keep at it. Maybe find some awesome free shit to do. Make your own entertainment. I’ve met plenty of freelance or jobless people that are absolutely content with their choices, since life is more than how much money you have.
There’s nothing in this world that has more say over you than yourself. People have successfully overthrown regimes, escaped totalitarian countries, started over and made the world their bitch. Once you read about a guy crawling and starving to get out of his shitty life, you’ve lost your excuse. Even if you die trying, at least you had the balls to put forth the effort.