Childhood hallucinations gone awry. I’m not well into my cups just yet, but I will be shortly, and nothing’s going to stop me except an empty bottle, which, sadly, doesn’t seem to be far away.
My princess is gone, temporarily. Vacation, gone to see friends and family. This will be my first night alone in our new apartment, and it isn’t going as well as I’d hoped. My ice cubes keep exploding. A simple drink of whiskey and water has turned into a strange game of Jack-in-the box, where each sip might cause a sharp crack and a shot to the eye. Or it might not.
I am not the type of person who makes things happen. I realized this tonight as I heard some good news from a friend who has come upon an extraordinary opportunity not entirely by luck. Luck played into it, I think, but he was also willing to use the resources around him and make something happen. Connections, people, whatever.
I am not that type of person. Nor am I the type of person who can inspire others, lead them. I am not the type of person who can make things happen.
It’s odd. Not that fact in and of itself, but the fact that I always thought I would be that type of person. I always thought I would grow to be that kind of person. I thought that someday, I would be able to rally the group of dreamers with which I have surrounded myself, and inspire them to do something great. I never had delusions of grandeur, but I have friendships with some of the most intelligent, imaginative people in the world, and the only thing they all have in common is me.
Since childhood, I thought that I would bring these people together, and they would do something great.
It’s a strange aspiration, perhaps, or maybe not…I don’t know.
To understand, you would have to know my friends. And to know my friends, you would have to know my standards…no. You would have to know what a judgmental prick I am.
“She’s so pretty. I didn’t know she was so pretty. You never told me.”
I looked at my princess, honestly confused. We were going through an old photo album, and she saw a picture of an ex-girlfriend.
“I don’t date ugly girls,” I told her.
“Jerk,” She told me.
“Absolutely,” I told her. “Shallow jerk.”
“So if you met this girl, she was smart, funny, rich…all of those kind of things…but she wasn’t pretty-”
“Not even if y-”
“So you’d throw away a life full of h-”
“You don’t even know what I was going to say.”
“Doesn’t matter. I’d throw it away.”
Okay, I’m well into my cups now. Hence this story.
She stared at me, jaw hanging open. “I can’t believe you’d be so shallow,” My princess said.
“I can’t believe you think I’d spend my entire life with an ugly girl.”
“And I date you?”
“Yeah. Because you’re hot. You should take it as a compliment.”
“So you only started dating me because I’m hot?”
“No! Hot girls usually suck. I started dating you because you were super cool…and you’re hot.”
The conversation didn’t exactly go uphill from there, believe it or not. But that’s not my point.
My point is, I’m just as much of a dick when it comes to friends.
No, no, you don’t have to be good looking to be my friend (although it doesn’t hurt). But my friends, they have to be…more. Better than average. I spent a lot of years settling for the people around me, wasting my time with people who were nothing more than filler. They weren’t clever, they weren’t funny, they weren’t intelligent or amazing. They were just there.
Flotsam. Jetsam. Chaff. Waste.
And when I got done with that, my friends, my true friends, were still there. Waiting for me, for some reason.
I’d say it was for my wit and humor, but through those years, I was neither exceptionally witty, nor exceptionally humorous. I was what I had surrounded myself with: flotsam; jetsam; chaff; waste.
I came through it, although this writing isn’t much of an indicator.
And what happened was, I ended up surrounded by these people, these amazing people, these people who could individually change the world, if they ever had the motivation.
I don’t mean change the world a little—they were already doing that. These people, these friends, they did that on a daily basis—they made the world a better place, they lightened the world, or darkened it, when needed. They helped those around them, inspired, motivated.
But all of that was on a small scale.
I have always thought that it was my job to bring them together so that they could change the world. Not parts of it. The World.
I continue to accumulate these kinds of people as friends, and I am constantly amazed that I haven’t done something with this fortune. I am constantly amazed at my failure.
Pontificate is such a big, lonely word.