The Hope of Youth
January 30, 2008
When I was 25 I had hope because I was ignorant of the shit that life had in store for most of us. Like Hesse’s BENEATH THE WHEEL my youthful optimism hadn’t been dragged through the mud and crushed under the wagon wheel of adulthood. I got punched and was slow to learn that life is at least partially about getting punched.
I’ve been listening to The Spoons and their music will not last, but I love it. There’s this song called The Underdog that hits me deep everytime I hear, “You won’t listen to the middle man. That’s why you will not survive.”
Now those lyrics are general enough to apply to everyone in just about every situation, but I’m in this weird place where it feels like prophecy, “Listen to the low people or you will die…soon.” That’s going psycho, I know. Believe me I’m pretty well attuned to how close I am to that blabbering, homeless guy who sleeps in his own piss and has at least six people living in his skull. Without my Beloved wife I’d be that guy. I’d be the 6′8″ version of that guy and people would give me money to buy soup so they could feel like they were buying their way into heaven. If homeless people serve any purpose they serve as a warning to me and a repository of rich white guilt deflection.
Okay, so I hate feeling guilty, feeling low, feeling like God is crushing me Beneath The Wheel because I’m so corrupt that I will take pride in God crushing me. He has to touch me to crush me and I’m important enough to show up on his radar and…see? If I was really humble I wouldn’t have to tell you about my personal progress. I’m only telling you this so you’ll suspect me before you respect me. You’re not allowed to think I’m humble, progressive, introspective or virtuous because even my virtue should be brought under the banner of suspect.
So we’re on the same page that I’m a pig, right? If you didn’t believe me just trust that I could share three or four despicable thoughts I’ve had in the last 24 hours that would convince you that I’m a pig, a hypocrite, a vessel worthy of destruction. I also take no joy in being low because that would only be yet another example of being a pig. Whew! So much qualifying just to say what I want to say.
So I’m brought low in the mud and I look up and a flower is growing here in my pigpen. Not just a flower but a garden of lush ferns, mushrooms, fucking Sequoias. There’s hope down here. Not empty dreams of fantasies and well wishing or positive thinking. This is hope. I could build a house on it. It’s secure.
I’m supposed to be so pessimistic that winging around words like “hope” disqualify me from being truly self-loathing. Hope is the ultimate fuck you to those who think I’m reading from the script of a guilt spiral. That’s what I’m trying to say, that I’m crushed under the wheel and I’ve never had more hope to stand on. This might just be what Christ means by finding life in him when I die to self. Well I’m dead and I’ve never had joy like this. I’m walking around high as a kite. I’m feasting like a zombie at a convalescent hospital.
Mom, if you read this I’m sorry for saying the word “fuck”. I have a heirarchy of character defects to change and cussing is appropriately below “dying on the vine”. I’ll get to it. Hold your nose until I get to it.
I feel like a kid but I have the knowledge of an adult. Look to the horizon, friend. See that? That’s hope over there. It’s coming to town like an iron train.
P.S. Off topic but I’m cutting back on sweets so when the urge hits I eat a handful of cashew nuts. That’s like when your car runs out of gas you put a football in the tank.