This is a version of a writing exercise that I threw into a notebook.
An essay emerged...Any thoughts and feedback are
This week, I found myself in a room full of lawyers
talking shop. They were cordial, well-dressed, and
inhabiting a world that I seldom visit. The world of
the respectable adult. So it got me to thinking...
I am caught between two personae.
One is the rebellious teenager. The other is the
respectable, responsible adult.
The youthful rebellious teenager enjoys the romantic
myth of being sullen and misunderstood with rich veins
of melancholy resting just beneath the surface, an
unspoken backstory of pain and hard-won street-cred
that is hinted at opportune times. No one can FULLY
understand me. I am the eternal wayfaring stranger in
search of SOME truth in a cold, uncaring world of
plastic smiles and artifice. The pathos! The drama!
The responsible adult wants to let go of the toys
somewhat. He wants to dress in khakis or the
occasional suit and tie and be reasonably dapper in
his appearance and demeanor. This is the half that
can have a barbecue and a beer with the neighbors,
chatting about innocuous subjects such as weather,
local news, and sports(if I knew what the hell I was
talking about). This is the half that would wear
pleated, perfectly cut trousers, a bowtie, and a
waistcoat, taking out the gold pocket-watch with a
flourish. This is the part of me that puts an arm
around my shoulder and looks at me over his glasses
and says, "Son, isn't it about time you GREW UP a bit?
Think about your prospects, maybe?" This would be my
equivalent of the guy who advised Dustin Hoffman's
character in THE GRADUATE that the (financial) future
lay in "PLASTICS". The practical, hard-nosed,
play-by-the-book guy. The pragmatist without passion.
The SQUARE, basically...
And even as I type these words, I come to the
realization that the teenager is closer to my
personality than the stiff. While I may have become
more cynical and less wide-eyed with wonder, I feel
more at ease in jeans, t-shirt, and a mischievious
post-modern sense of EFF U attitude...without too much
bile, of course. Which doesn't always work. The trick
is to find the balance, not to let the cynicism
override the wonder lest I become insufferably
pessimistic, bitter, and nihilistic. It can weigh on
you like the lid of a stone-coffin.
But there are times when I would LIKE to fit in with a
more adult crowd. A mode where I WOULDN'T feel out of
place in a room full of lawyers or the denizens of
academia dressed in their suits and ties; where I
could pull off the pretense of respectability,
infiltrate their world.
Listen to me. "Pretense". "Infiltrate". I'd be
playing a ROLE, wouldn't I? The respectable adult
wouldn't be ME.
So will I ever find a balance? In my own good time, I
expect. As my hair gets thinner and greyer, as the
lines on my face grow deeper and darker, maybe I WILL
look the part. My body will ache as parts wear out
and functions fail. As my flesh-suit begins to
disintegrate, my mind will still be somewhere in its
teens and twenties...Enjoying comic books, sci-fi
movies and television, the regular buzz of coffee and
alchohol(not at once, though),searching for cool
action figures in the toy-section of Wal-Mart, writing
letters, browsing in bookstores and card-shops...
I want to think that I will still have passions as the
years progress. A passion to communicate original
ideas, a passion for humor and absurdity as dark and
twisted as it may sometimes be, a passion for that
which is REAL in this vapid culture of glossy
surfaces, cross-promotional demographic marketing, and
nauseating reality-television aritifice. Whatever I
experience, be it happy or sad, ridiculous, or deeply
profound...I want it to be REAL. Devoid of the
time-filling chit-chat that we slather our lives with
to convince ourselves that we are """"normal"""".
REAL is normal and that's what I want to be. And if I
achieve this by seeing the world through the eyes of a
halfassed misfit teenager, the so be it. Bring it on.
However, as a concession of maturity, I don't think
I'll be using that sound-bite from KILL BILL VOL.1
which would make a PERFECT answering-machine message.
Goes like this: Lucy Lui exploding with:
"Now if ANY of you sons-of-bitches have ANYTHING TO
SAY, NOW'S THE F--KING TIME!"
Sigh...Would have been perfect.