Do you have any condiments you'd like to share? What are your onions?
Email me, you sick fuck
A friend of mine, 27 years old, died today in a car crash. He was not an very close friend, rather a friend I had made through work two years ago, and whom I stayed in touch with via email over the past two years. He was a great guy, the world is of lesser value now, than it was just 24 hours ago. Damn.
On an better note, though, I have worked through my mental anguish quite a bit. I'll delve into it later, into sickening detail, but right now I'd like to observe a moment of silence for my now deceased friend.
posted by Erik Erikson 9/25/2000 12:23:55 AM
Much time has passed since I last made an entry, which I guess is a healthy sign. I seem to only record my thoughts when they disturb me, or when there is some great logical confrontation between the various chunks of my brain. Of course, here I am, making another entry, so there must be some present conflict, which, unfortunately, there happens to be. For the time being, I think I will let me mind try to work itself out of this jam, to answer its questions for itself. Hopefully I won't need to post a lengthy detail here, but you just may see that before long.
posted by Erik Erikson 9/23/2000 9:19:05 PM
Still working on figuring out this whole "life" thing. I'll get back to you once I have it all worked out.
posted by Erik Erikson 9/3/2000 10:30:52 PM
Perception is nothing but a sum of disparate conclusions blended together by the subconscious. This concocture of conclusions is interpretted by the consciousness as feeling and as observation. Without question, there are many unhappy, depressed individuals in the world, their melancholy stemming from their perceptions and outlooks on life. To enjoy a happier life, these people merely need to change their perception of life, which can be done quite simply by forming different conclusions pertaining to one's perception of life. As we all know, conclusions are formed from a number of premises; these premises are formed a series of simple, atomic axioms. These axioms differ from person to person, the result from experience and upbringing.
Let us pause for a brief moment to examine a simplified perception of sorrow by breaking the perception down into its base components: the conclusion, the premises, and the axioms. Rather than looking at the perception first, and dissecting it into its simpler components, let's start with a set of axioms, and build these into premises, and draw our own conclusions based on these premises, and see how these conclusions might lead one to perceive life as hopeless.
For our example, let us examine a fictitious person named Erik. Through his formative years, Erik developed the following two axioms (I told you it would be a simplified case):
Approval from others is important
I dislike being hurt emotionally
From these two axioms, Erik may form numerous premises based upon the experiences which he is thrusted in to. For our example, assume these premises are:
I enjoy Edna's company.
I enjoy Steve's company.
Edna has not returned my last two phone calls.
Based on these premises, a conclusion may be formed, "Since I enjoy Edna's company, but she has not returned my calls (which hurts me emotionally (which I do not like based on my axioms)), I will not profess my fondness for Steve, for fear he will also hurt me emotionally like Edna." Based on this conclusion (and other similar ones), Erik may come to perceive life as lonely. This perception, along with other negative views, may lead to torturous bouts of depression.
Given that one's life-perception is based upon, ultimately, a number of axioms, premises, and conclusions, to alter ones perceptions, one needs to simply alter his conclusions. To alter one's conclusions, one simply needs to alter his premises. To alter one's premises, one needs to simply alter his axioms. Therefore, Erik can relieve his depression and his loneliness through a simply readjustment of his axioms. Man is a rational being and has the ability to choose his axioms, to review his axioms, to modify his axioms. If sorrow, boredom, malice, or jealousy strikes, you are but a conscious choice away from happiness, exuberance, peace, and complacency. Now go out and do the right thing...
posted by Erik Erikson 8/31/2000 12:31:00 AM
"Small minds talk about people; mediocre minds talk about events; great minds talk about ideas."
--Unknown (by me, at least)
posted by Erik Erikson 8/21/2000 8:31:15 PM
Psychologists use to postulate that those who sufferred from schizophrenia were unlucky individuals who grew up with cold mothers who sent "mixed signals." For example, one psychologist noted schizophrenic's interaction with his mother as "emotionally confusing." The mother, visiting the ailed son in the psychiatric ward, asked coldly, "Aren't you going to give me a hug?" When the son attempted to hug his mother, she flinched and tensed throughout the duration of the embrace.
Such is my predicament.
My tormentor is not my mother, but a woman, a woman whom I would like to form a close, emotional relationship, and fuck for hours. She is sending mixed signals, tempting me, teasing, perhaps? She seems kind and genuine, though, and has professed her mutual desire for these end goals (namely forming a relationship with me and screwing). Despite these admissions, she, more often than not, is emotionally and physically non-receptive. Worst of all is after these experiences where my emotional and sexual advances are summarily shunned, she ends up calling me later, apologizing and reaffirming her longing for my mind, heart, and penis.
posted by Erik Erikson 8/20/2000 11:28:00 PM
I fear that I am slipping back into insanity.
posted by Erik Erikson 8/20/2000 2:21:05 PM
"I think I already understand about life: pretty good, some problems."
-- Sam Lamott, Age 7
posted by Erik Erikson 8/18/2000 12:13:19 AM
In a few days time I will begin on a journey of sexual exploration that would impress a porn star. It's a well deserved foray into the sexual frontier, it's been far too long since my last expedition. God, I can't stop smiling.
posted by Erik Erikson 8/17/2000 11:28:38 PM
"I have a recurring dream in which I'm a stand-up comedian. I'm standing on stage with a blue spotlight on me, talking. I begin by telling jokes. Gradually, I begin to justify my life. I can't quite see the audience. The light becomes more and more intense. I can't remember what I say. I usually end up crying. This dream I've had maybe three, four times."
an excerpt from Working, by Studs Terkel, pg. 78.
posted by Erik Erikson 8/16/2000 1:10:20 PM
I am every gay man's masturbation fantasy. Unfortunately for me, I am not gay.
posted by Erik Erikson 8/15/2000 11:09:50 PM
Understanding who you are and discovering your purpose are difficult, cerebral, time-consuming tasks. No one can truly understand themselves after thinking about it for five minutes. It takes years, perhaps an entire lifetime. Furthermore, it is a painful process. Discovery is never easy; questioning one's worth, one's purpose, and one's rational are all demoralizing tasks, essential to finding one's self, but psychologically burdensome nevertheless. To protect our fragile egos from this barage of self-questioning, we often find excuses not to perform the needed self-reflection. Rather than dedicating time to understand our inner-self, we fill that time with work, chores, routine tasks. If we're busy - busy with something, anything - we won't have time to think those self-depracating thoughts; however, to understand our role, our purpose, ourselves, these painful thoughts need to slowly pass through our brains and be carefully scrutinized.
I know that I need to spend the time to question my role, my purpose in life, to ask to myself, "Who am I?" I know I need to do this, I must. However I find myself filling my time with various stimuli to keep me busy, to give myself the excuse, "I would spend time in profound introspection, but I've just got too much to do today..." I am a hypocritical cock goblin, a corwardly ass clown. For shame.
posted by Erik Erikson 8/15/2000 12:42:02 AM
Life is about making choices, compromise, delaying gratification. At least it should be. Making responsible choices are boring. Deciding to delay immediate satisfaction is dull. Weighing consequences is too time-consuming. Despite the apparent downsides involved in making intelligent choices, I cannot help myself. I so desperately want to make a rash decision, just once. I want to be able to honestly say to myself, "I made a terrible choice and will not have to live with the consequences borne from that poor choice." Sigh, how can one truly live when one can make nothing but smart, well-informed, well thought-out choices?
posted by Erik Erikson 8/13/2000 11:10:39 PM
Tonight I met Edward George Coyne. Edward is 43, was born on the day Don Larson pitched a perfect game in the World Series, and has lived his entire life within a five mile radius. Edward is a homeless, brain-damaged drunk. Edward, armed with a high-school diploma and a community college degree, lived a good life, working in construction. Edward's life was forever changed in a split second, though, in 1984, when Edward, who was not wearing a helmet, had a motorcycle accident. For three years Edward's life was frozen as he lied in a hospital in a comma.
Due to this accident, Edward can't work - he can't talk without mumbling - he has trouble keeping in touch with reality. To pass the time, Edward drinks heavily. I met Edward George Coyne on my way home from the bars tonight, he was lying in someone's front yard. I stopped to make sure he was OK and ended up spending an hour talking with him. In the course of our rather one-sided discussions, Edward showed me his worldly possessions: a drivers liscence that needed to be renewed two years ago; about $1.75 in pennies, nickels, and dimes; an American flag keychain; and a bag of cigerette butts Edward has picked out of ashtrays for the purpose of smoking.
Edward had me touch his forehead, where he hit the pavement in 1984. His forehead was severely caved in, as if someone had slammed a sledgehammer there.
Often Edward called me by various names, people from his past, I'm sure. I was referred to as: Fat Pat, Dad, Mickey Smith, and Johnny. Sadly these weren't people he was close to or people he loved. Fat Pat was someone who stole his bike, and he threatened to beat me (Fat Pat) up; when I was Edward's Dad, he told me to "get off my high horse," to "unwrap that dick from around my waist;" Mickey Smith was some drinking croney, someone who Edward wanted to punch really bad, but wouldn't; Johnny was a youngster Edward went to junior high with, a child Edward had only nasty words for.
Our correspondence ended after Edward sat back down on the lawn and appeared to zoning out. I left a couple of bucks with Edward and continued on my way home.
posted by Erik Erikson 8/12/2000 1:12:56 AM
So I was at Target, of all places, today, waiting in line to exchange my money for a number of goods like a diligent consumer, when a sign in the aisle next to me caught my wandering eye. This sign, in big, bright read letters, read: "No Candy Aisle." Further inspection revealed the accuracy of the sign. As I inched forward, preparing to fulfill my duties as a consumer of this great nation, I couldn't help but wonder what kind of people had so little will power that they had to wait in an aisle that was designed to have no tempting sweets. Only in America would a store need to provide its customers with a no-candy-aisle option; we are a gluttonous, spoiled, slothful society with trivial concerns and a selfish mentality. At least it's not France.
posted by Erik Erikson 8/11/2000 7:10:24 PM
TV is the opiate of the people.
I don't own a TV; maybe that's why I'm losing it.
posted by Erik Erikson 8/10/2000 11:26:58 PM
I went out on a date tonight. I hate that word and everything it carries with it... date. Some define it as a chance to "get to know someone better," but it's nothing but a parade, a show, a chance for you to put forth the image you think the other person wants to see. I have not gone on many dates in my life for that very reason, I hate having to play a fucking role; I much rather have female friends who turn into intimate friends... that way they know who I am coming into the situation and I don't have to front.
Let's just be friends.
"The date," you ask, "how did it go?" Not bad, but not well. She was nice, slightly smarter than your average person, funny... I didn't find her sexually attractive, although she was a good looking person. It ended poorly; there won't be a third date. She had issues with my looks. Hah. I'm not unattractive, I'm not deformed, I'm not hard on the eyes. The problem, of all things, is that I look too young! Too young and too innocent. I can understand, though, when we were together we looked more like older sister and younger brother than peers. I look too innocent as well; she described me as looking "angelic" and that I could "do no wrong." At the conclusion of that sentence I had an intense desire to slap her in the face with my penis. I didn't, though, I let my slap-happy manhood be, and instead smiled and said nothing. I thought, "Perhaps I should tell her how unangelic I am, tell her of some of the things I've done in the past that I'm not proud of..." I decided against it, though, figuring I'd scare her and she'd feel unsafe (and for good reason, too). But rather, I sat and smiled. Thinking of the times I've sinned, I could do nothing but smile.
And to cap off the night the guy at 7-11 charged me 89 cents for a soda instead of the correct charge of 85 cents. Like a coward, I said nothing.
posted by Erik Erikson 8/10/2000 10:12:10 PM
There are two vantage points from which one can examine my life: either that I was handed everything I have, or that I worked hard for everything I have. I was given a lot, born into a great family, gifted with a keen intelligence, and developed a socially acceptable demeanor. I am a parent's wet dream. I am society's wet dream. An intelligent, kind, hard working young man, ready to make a difference! Never been in trouble with the law, don't do drugs, don't smoke, drink socially and responsibly, kiss my mother, enjoying a good movie now and then. Currently standing orders.
Perhaps you should call me Rover; or Spot; or Fido. I am no mutt, mind you, I am top pedigree, a member of the finest breed. I am a trophy, something others can look at and say, "My, look what we produced. We shoud be proud of ourselves for crafting such an individual." And all the while I stand there, the product of their efforts. Like that prized canine, I am rewarded for my impecible stature, for my proud, firm buttocks, for my glossy coat; I receive patts on the head, a scratch behind the ears now, a "Good boy!" coo. Bacon bacon bacon bacon bacon... it's bacon! No, it's beggin' strips!
The only problem with being the trophy, with being the lauded accomplishment of society's efforts, is that you must give up your indecency, your hate, your spite, your pride, and your sloth; in essence you must give up your humanity, for it are those negative traits (along with a slew of positive traits) that make one human. I want to be indecent, to expose my genitals to some random passer-by, to smear my feces on the side of someone's home; I want to hate, to have such strong emotions against another group of peoples whom have done no wrong to me; I want to be spiteful, to curse those who have crossed me; and, most importantly, I want to revel in sloth, I want to sleep 14 hours a day and spend my waking hours watching television and picking the lint out of my bellybutton.
Being what others expect is no fun, therefore I will live for myself. The only problem is that after years of living for others I don't know how to live for myself. This, then, is where by journey will begin.
posted by Erik Erikson 8/10/2000 2:28:40 PM
As you know, I am a person with a high self-esteem, positive outlook on life, and a cheery disposition. I am quite confident of my abilities and know I can be successful in whatever I put my mind and efforts to. Reread that last setence. While success is great, note that there is an annoying precondition to success - namely success can only be achieved when one puts his mind and efforts in action, when one has a goal to strive for. I have plenty of effort, I believe, that's not the problem; rather, the difficulty lies in convincing the mind to find something to funnel my effort toward. Simply put, I have no direction, no plans, no hopes, no dreams, no life-long goals, no big plans, no target to be aiming for, no end destination in this jouney of life. Not anymore, at least. I use to have dreams, I can remember when I did. For instance, I remember late in high school and throughout my college years a big career dream was to work for CENSORED. Earlier on I also had some pretty crass, materialistic dreams of incredible wealth and power. These dreams are nothing to be proud of, but at least I longed for something. You'll no doubt recall my emails of the past year, our senior years in college, and my continual worries about life after college, not wanting to become "every Joe Meatball and Sally Housecoat in this Godforsaken" country (a Simpson's quote...). I seem to know what I don't want to do but don't know what I do want to do...
There are times when I feel like I'm wasting my life, like I should be doing something, I should have some higher goal or purpose. These feelings have been present since the start of my senior year, but have intensified since moving out here. It's not that I'm looking for some "higher purpose," I'm not looking to feed the starving or spread the Gospel, it's just that I wake up and I say to myself, "OK, what am I going to accomplish today." And you know what? I can think of nothing. Quite literally nothing. (It's quite an odd feeling, being able to think of nothing. My brain is usually a bit hyperactive, always ticking, random thoughts shooting around incessantly... however when I ask myself what I wish to accomplish, complete cerebral silence. Not a peep from a remote corner of the brain; no random neuron firings; scary silence, an abyss of nothingness.) "Well," I say to myself, breaking the acute silence, "guess I'll go CENSORED," or "Guess I'll go CENSORED." Yes, those are fun activities and I enjoy both and they are both relaxing, but when I wake up tomorrow I face the same question I had the day before and, sadly, the answer is the same. "Off to CENSORED (again)."
Do I make any difference? Would the world be a better or worser place if I weren't here? Sadly, I know it would make no difference. Isn't that a depressing fact? In a sick way I long for the society described in "A Brave New World," where everyone's "role" and "place" is determined before their birth and assured through genetic alteration. In our society we are left to find our own "role" and "place," which is proving to be trickier than I had ever expected. I am such a spoiled little brat. For some reason I have been blessed with the uncanny ability to "have my way" with incredible little time and effort. Good grades, which some strive for with such vigor, was a walk in the park for me. Working at CENSORED? I had two good, very qualified friends who didn't make it through the interviewing process. Business dealings? Fuck, I am CENSORED and am pulling in considerably more than both of my parents combined. However, when it comes to this, to finding some purpose in life, I expect it so quickly, so easily. When it doesn't come before me with minimal effort, as my other "successes" have, I get dispondent, troubled, and whine ever so softly, "Why me?" A passage in the Old Testament reads: "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose." Perhaps it isn't my time to find my purpose.
During adolecense many experience a lengthy termoil while searching for their identity. A psychologist named Erik Erikson outlined eight crises people experience throughout their lives, crises that occur at certain ages and need to be resolved before the person can move on mentally and emotionally in life. (I believed he called them the Eight Stages of Man.) Erikson noted that adolescents experience a crisis he labelled identity vs. role confusion. Erikson described identity as "a sense of self that develops in the course of a man's life and that both relates him to and sets him apart from his social milieu." Erikson believed that adolescents set out to experience different roles to help form their identity. I am wondering if I have successfully graduated from this youthful crisis. I never really had an identity crisis during adolescense, I was always very sure of my role and my identity. Now, though, I am becoming a bit unravelled. I think the main reason is because during adolescence I refused to try on different roles; instead, I was rigid in my role selection, therefore avoiding any emotional angst in resolving the identity vs. role confusion crisis. Time passed, my identity firm due to the subconscious pre-selection. Then I fell in love with CENSORED. (I find it absolutely incredibly insanely baffling that someone whom I was in a relationship for a mere three months could affect me so profoundly, so drastically, so radically.) It was if she or her presence or my feelings toward her opened up something inside, shattering that binding role I had cemented myself to in adolescence. My dreams of becoming a millionaire at CENSORED suddenly seemed silly; I went from wanting to rule the world to simply want to wander the world as a vagabond with the one I loved. Funny how one thinks when one is in love. We all know the sad end to this story, though, in three short months CENSORED and I were no more, and while I moved on I still had the germination of an identity crisis brewing deep within my subconscious. Did I really want to work hard, be successful, and be powerful, or did I want to travel, to meet people, to wander from one town to the next, not knowing where I was headed or how long I was staying? That question baffled me then and does to this day.
I feel like I am stuck in neutral right now... I don't know what I want to do, so I go nowhere. While I go nowhere, though, the world steadily speeds ahead, seemingly unconcerned that I am stuck in my tracks, unable to determine my purpose. Just so you know, I am one crazy, gutsy motherfucker. I really am, I have the balls and the gumption to surprise myself on a regular basis. While many feel bound by the status quo and by routine, I am not scared to give the middle finger to the status quo and am not afraid to ass-ram routine. Why do I bring this up? Because I have been pondering a crazy notion... screwing CENSORED and heading to some small Texas town to teach children. Ah, fuck it, that's not what I want to do. At least I don't think so. Hopefully you see my frustration here, I don't know what I want to do, I have no idea what I can do to find my illusive identity. And what happens when I find it? Do I then settle into that trap of mindless routine, playing into the hands of status quo?
I talked to my cousin CENSORED when I was in CENSORED, right before coming out to CENSORED. She asked about my trip to CENSORED and I told her that it was a lot of fun at first, but after four or so days of swimming, relaxing, drinking, and night clubbing, it got old. The last two days CENSORED and I spent most of our time watching TV in our room! And do you know what she said with a half-cocked grin? "CENSORED, you'll find that's exactly what life is." While it's not as catchy as John Mellencamp's line, "life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone," it hammers home the same point. What do you do to keep the thrill around as long as possible? And once it's gone, what do you do to keep sane?
I'll close with a quote from Pascal: "Thus we never live, but we hope to live; and always disposing ourselves to be happy, it is inevitable that we never become so."
posted by Erik Erikson 8/8/2000 12:12:22 AM
Subconsciously aware of his subconscious, keenly adapt to the situation, a deafening void occupied his brain as he said, "You want fries with that?" It was a statement inside a question, a command inside a desperate request. His cognitive processes were interrupted by a smashing pain to the forehead; he had raised his voice as he spoke aloud the last word, thereby turning the bold statement into a rather pleading solicitation. Startled at the stillness broken, by reply so aptly spoken... wait! No lon ger was he concentrating on selling the greasy sticks of spoiled potato; with this break of precious concentration he had allowed himself to be conquered. Her reply, as expected, was aptly and justly spoken: "No thanks." It was all his fault, no one else stood ready to take the blame, no one else would bear the consequences which would vehemently erupt within a matter of moments. Even though her response was blanketed by a cultural curtsy, her message was loud and clear, regardless of what rationalization techniques he employed. Had she really been longing for French fries, and had he, in raising his voice, in twisting the truism into a distorted blob of shameless doubt, convinced her otherwise? Sweat beaded at his forehead and at the dirty palms of his overworked hands. His respiration quickened, his pupils dilated, and his blood pressure rose drastically. He came to the great actualization that he alone was to fault for convincing an ordinary, grease 'n' potato loving customer that she, in fact, did not have to bend to her inward, suppressive desires. He had been defeated, and she now stood victorious on the battlefield staring down with a look of pity at his wounded flesh, and he was quite aware of the fact that she could, hence forth, say no, NO! Perhaps the customer was clairvoyant, or perhaps it was just his acute case of schizophrenia, for he heard a voice command, "Do not give up!" Trying to regain the advantage, he stuttered uncontrollably, trying to assert something authoritative to once again regain his fraudulent supremacy over the supposedly helpless customer. "You sure you don't want fries with that?" he pleaded, forcing a fake smile at the end of the sentence in a vain attempt to add humor and relief to the dire situation. The customer, he would later note, was most definitely a veteran, for she, with the skill and ease of a pro, feigned a hopeful reply. "Well..." she trailed off hesitantly, knowing to herself that she was cueing him. Inexperience and anticipation debated with his common sense and his immense hours of training. She is fabricating her desire! She want fries, dammit, just convince her! Italy is shaped like a boot. Watch your step, or she will annihilate you! SELL THE DAMN FRIES. He blinked severa l times as a gory fight raged on within the boundaries of his cranium; only a thin plate of bone held back the forces within, which left him tormented, but protected society from the fiery depths of hell. Then, in what seemed like a nanosecond, she said, in some language from a foreign land, "J'adore le chein," turned around, and left, leaving no order, showing no sympathy, having no compassion whatsoever. A look of disbelief on his face was the only thing that remained from their confrontation. In a daze, slightly hallucinogenic but still mentally sound, he turned around and stuck his head in the greaser.
posted by Erik Erikson 8/6/2000 6:56:37 PM