December 15, 1998

Said he’ll see me on the flipside… of this trip he’s taken for a ride.
He’s been takin’… too much on… off he goes
with his perfectly… unkept clothes… there he goes…
Other Stuff

December 15, 1998
What follows is the letter I’m writing to a friend at school. I will give it to her on Thursday, the day I graduate. Comments, please. Should I send it? Majority rules. Circle people are supposed to be nurturers, caring, etc. Squares are not square… they’re just mean. 😉

There’s a Talking Heads song which contains the lyrics, “And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile/ And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife/ And you may ask yourself-Well…How did I get here? … Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down” For a long time now I’ve tried to reach success by following those lyrics. It has always been hard for me to stop trying to contol everything in my life. To just “let the days go by” and see where I end up. To be truly honest with myself and others; I’ve always bought into the Good Will Hunting line about waking up thirty years from now, finally having an original thought of my own, and realizing what a waste my life has been. I don’t want that to be me, so I try to control everything about my environment.

Earlier in the year, I exchanged letters with a girl I met on the Internet who lives in California. On the back of one envelope I sent her, I wrote, “Let freedom ring, baby” after being inspired by the beautiful rendition of the Statue of Liberty on the stamp. The rear of the envelope I received which contained her response read, “Freedom from what?” Before responding, I contemplated the deeper meaning of my earlier statement. What do I (and most other people) need to be freed of? Freedom from the government? Taxes? Violence? Discrimination? Stupid people? School? Money? Ourselves? It really didn’t take long me all that long to land on a final answer – for myself, anyway. I don’t know exactly when or where I thought of my final response, but I was most likely in the midst of some semi-depression where I felt I had almost no power over my own fate. What I wrote most reflects this. I wrote, “Freedom from that which you cannot control.” I’ve said it before to others and I’ll say it again to you – I only fear that which I cannot control.

The Circle description is probably correct – I’ll most likely wake up fifteen years from now with no money and having gone through life trying to please others. What a waste, right? I highly doubt it. I don’t want to be rich. I do want to help people. To help them help themselves. Someone once asked me what I thought “God’s” reason for putting me on Earth was. I do believe that my reason for being here is to empower others. Whether that be through volunteer work, or helping them open their minds to new or contrary views, or just giving them an open ear. I really do want to believe that I am here (and will) to help people. Not to be some rich businessman or some outrageously high-paid hockey player or a self-centered, poll-watching politician. The Circle description was right on the money, though, really. I do find it hard to say not to my friends and other people I want to like me. I guess I’m kind of like Willie Loman – I just want to be well-liked. And that’s what I’ve always thought the advantage to helping others really is in the end, they can’t help but like you for helping them. Maybe all of this is just a big self-delusion. Maybe I will still wake up in fifteen years and hate my life and turn into a mean ol’ Square.

But hindsight’s 20/20 and there are many paths to the top of the mountain. We’re all going to end up in the same place sooner or later – whether that be Nirvana or just covered with six-feet of dirt. And maybe we’ll find that in the end we’ve all changed. And maybe some of us will have changed by not changing at all.

We’re continuously fulfilling the ancient Chinese curse of living in interesting times. Hopefully, by taking the road less travelled, I will one day come upon an unturned stone and all my trials and pain and tribulations will finally have been rewarded with something far greater. And, I hope, the same happens for you.

I hope that one day you do find your hockey player or politician and live an interesting, happy life. Just as I hope that I one day find a girl like you who I can talk to (although a little more openly). One of the ew things I will miss and remember from my high school experience will be my mornings in the library speaking with you. I do hope we meet again in the future – maybe everything that shimmers in this world doesn’t fade away as long as you leave before it’s has the chance.

If you should ever need anything…

One day she stiffened…took the other side…
Empty stares…from each corner of a shared prison cell…
One just escapes…one’s left inside the well…
And he who forgets…will be destined to remember…

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