The problem with being American is the ingrained sense of entitlement and the gosh darn it, I deserve it
attitude. This cuts directly to the matter - nobody actually thinks they are asking for a handout because, as far as they are concerned, it is owed
to them. Whether their great grandfather founded the town they live in (which means they should be able to park wherever the want) or their beach house has been in the family for two-hundred-million generations (which means they shouldn't have to suffer rising property taxes on their oceanfront home).. whatever it may be, they definitely know that it is their right
goddamnit! The plurality of that word has not been lost on me.
That is sort of how I feel about society and the human condition in general - like I could cry if I could just get up enough energy to care enough. Somewhere in there, in all those lives I've lived - the day to day ones, working mike, party mike, bored mike, sad mike - I just gave up thinking that I could make any sort of difference.
Don't get me wrong, I've never been what one would call an "activist". Yet I will stop and sign petitions, happily, and with a sense of some kind of accomplishment. Or I did anyway.
It might have something to do with the political climate, too. A buncha rich white fuckers making hand over fist and I don't feel like I could truly make any sort of measurable impact even if I spent every waking hour working on it. Somebody, somewhere, will always be suffering. Meanwhile, I'm the snot who is complaining about suffering because I can't do anything about the suffering. That isn't suffering, really, that is whining. I'm a whiner. At the end of the day, none of it seems very fair and - whether it is really
having a real
connection with someone for even the briefest of moments, or it is improving the US political system, or it is solving world hunger.. well, I'm not sure any of that really happens. Anywhere. Ever.
Except in fairytales.
And maybe Nader's wetdreams.
So what am I supposed to do? Who am I supposed to care about, and why? Here, all I can do is spout numbers and print statistics and try to identify and understand what I can about those who are suffering.. but I really really don't think that makes me any better of a person at the end of the day.
And I'm not: a good person. I suspect you aren't either, whoever you may be plodding along this backwater of the internet - no offense, really. It's nothing personal - but yet here you are maybe thinking the same thing I'm saying or building a anti-list in your mind to argue with me or maybe you're even balling your fist so that the next time you see me it will be strong and fierce and it will punch me in the fucking face.
Part of me wouldn't really be surprised. Part of me might even think I deserve it. Part of me probably does.
And I try and I try and I try but never really succeeding, always buying, always wrestling with the money - like I am a number in a crowd and the joker, some false idea of a leader
, has thrown us all bills in the streets and I'm bending over and crawling around on my knees and I'm grabbing at these little pieces of paper (or I'm actually throwing them up in disgust, I can't tell, it is all foggy) and then there it is. I see it. I smell it. Entitlement of some sort or another: A man arguing with a lady (let us make it lopsided - he a large stout man with pork-pie, her an older frail gentile lady with glasses and a want to look all the way down the precipice of her nose at you, and especially at stout mr. pork-pie). They exchange words, antiquated faces of disgust and resolve - two mimes mimicking what they have been taught their whole lives, barely living a whole of anything, more like many pieces of many jigsaw puzzles. You're always trying to fit them together and never - not one of them - ever do they fit together, not rightly so. Mr Pork-pie points in the other direction, grandma flinches, the cash is gone. She is livid, nervous, and looks around for someone. Anyone. A person a place an animal - even some inanimate object that might, in some way or another, experience or appreciate her pain, her suffering.
Nothing notices, nobody. Pork-pie man is half way up the block and rosy-cheeked, lips turned up at the corners and pursed in the middle, whistle ready to be wet with the inflow of cashola mullah greenback cash that, well, he basically deserved.
He works hard, feeds his kids, runs the store, cleans up on weekends, loves his wife, and is a drunk. Why wouldn't he deserve the money the joker threw to the ground for the gentile old lady to gather?
The old lady and I walk home, empty pockets out-turned to show the world our ugly fate. We've been wronged and the entire system is at fault. The lady is at fault, I'm in fault. We walk haughtily, deigning to even look at one another as if we were not both just on our knees - on our knees
folks -- Mr. pork-pie is at fault. The joker is funny, but he is at fault too and nobody is holding anybody accountable because we're all busy, you know (I leave the lady at the corner, she goes home).
Navel gazing in the bathtub of the soul, rolling over like great porpoises of hopeless thought, cranking the hot water no matter the frigid neighbourly yelps below of showering icicles of men. We're all too busy for it but we know with certainty - to a tee, to the farthest decimal point - the lengths that the whole world has gone to deny us our selves, our souls, our right to live, love,
All I know for sure - not in a measurable way but just deep down in my gut where odd parts gurgle after dairy doses and butterflies go to die - is that none of it is real. Not the entitlement anyhow. We've all made that up too.
I don't really feel like one who struggles with any internal god-like questions, though I have had my share of debates. No, down there in those quarters things are all snug and buttoned up and not even a hint of un-sure-ity can be smelt. That is not where all the hope lies. The hope crawls in my frontal lob like a cat between drywall - squirmy - and the whole time I am trying to drag it out so'as I can feed it and water it (and pet it in that way that I'd
like to - like the cat wants
me to and I am doing it a favour). It is this cat, freaky feline, all full with empty eyes that go on for miles and miles, that I am trying to catch and in my way, own it.
That I could turn off the higher order and make us who we are and not what we've made us - this is a great and endearing dream, a fantasy of the higher order. It is weak. It is selfish. And it is the greatest entitlement of them all - that I could control the world, that out there in some strange parallel, alternate, yet differential universe I could own it, buy it, and even sell the world.