Monthly Archives: December 2012

Spring Break

The Spring Break mentality.

That’s what I’m calling it now, I’m not really quite sure if that’s the best name for it. A work in progress.

I don’t think it really started during elementary school for me, but at some point as I was transitioning between childhood and “life after”, I learned that the best way to deal with something horrible happening was to put your head down and wait for it to end. If you waited long enough, a respite period began, and the sweetness of that relief would be so monumental and complete, it would wash the dreariness of this bad shit away. It worked with so many things, in the short term, things would be awful, bullies would be throwing my shit in the shower and pissing on it or somebody would be shooting an impromptu dart into the meat of my leg or the security guard would be harassing me for the fifteenth time because he “didn’t like how my eyes moved” when he asked me about shit, but at some point, all of these shitty people would just be gone and I’d be back in my cave again and everything would taste sweeter. Icy blue cans of Pepsi pulled one handed from a seemingly never-empty drawer in the bottom of the fridge simply tasted better, than tepid Coke bought from a flickering steel caged soda machine situated neatly between the redneck and chicano “free harassment” zones. Carrying my rented cello to the orchestra room past the wrestling gym, for example, was a higher stress proposition than dragging it down the hall to my bedroom, and playing it on the corner of my bed.

For me, Spring Break represented freedom from the world at large. I missed the school work, the schedule. Semesters, quarters, periods and penalties for being tardy, all of this made sense to me. On the first day back to school I’d wake up before my alarm, get ready and sometimes be at school when it was still early morning dim and I’d have to go hit the greenway and ride ten or fifteen miles to waste some time. But after a while, knowing that going to school meant “seeing other humans and the way they treat each other” ground me down. And soon I found myself with my head down, enduring, waiting for Spring Break. When I could wake up and look forward with great excitement to a day where, if I was really lucky, I wouldn’t see anybody my age for a whole week straight. Nobody. None of this confusion and constant fucking harassment and no weird “what do we do with you now” panic like summertime brought along, just a solid week, unmoored. The prospect is so catalyzing, I can barely eat (and in those days I could ALWAYS eat) and Friday before it begins, instead of hitting the snooze button for the fifth time, I’m waking up before my alarm again. The dusty red pink haze over the horizon lases first sunlight to the cicadas and me, jittering our enthusiasm for daybreak in the parking lot.

Waiting for relief works when the problem is too many days of teenage angst in a row, because as I now know, the only cure for being a teenager is to wait until you’re not one anymore, but in most other situations, sitting with your discomfort without a plan is failure by any other name.

I am tired of failure, regardless of how easy it is.

On guns, opinions, and assholes

Right now, there are a million people googling the names of the various rampage shooters we’ve had in this country this year, and the rampage shooters in other countries who have made the news this year. The searches want to know what school they went to, what their parents did, what he did on Facebook. Did he play violent video games? The unspoken question is – how could I tell if this guy were in my life. There has to be an obvious sign, right, nobody just picks up guns and kills people for no reason, there has to be some underlying motivation to make someone do something so unconscionable.

They aren’t even asking the right wrong questions. There’s not a school for psychopaths (aside from the quite arguable para-psychopathic military special forces), there’s not a specific thing that happens to you when you’re a kid and makes you think, “Hey shooting kids ain’t so bad, in fact… sounds fun.” But I can tell you this – there’s a specific thing that happens to you when you are a young man living in despair, and you see the grim specter of age and irrelevance marching toward you. Wealthy people experience this as a time of shaking off the old and exploring the new. People with no options, people who have lived for years and years in the same rut, they experience it like a fucking vise clamping down around their heads. Can’t do this anymore, can’t afford anything else, can’t stop time so maybe I should stop being me and start being a legend. Everybody remembers those names!

In short this is my bio for every American shooter. I don’t have the cultural awareness to make these generalizations about other countries killers but I can say without a doubt about the big hitters in America, 2012 – He was a lazy, privileged American asshole who couldn’t see past the end of his nose and wanted desperately to have a legacy. Just like every rampage shooter, he was a young man whose hepecker and gutsjuice were telling him he was about to become forever irrelevant and he better do something about it _soon_. Guns load up real quick and it only takes a few minutes to drive to the mall. Having been sold all-in-one lifefixes and get rich quick schemes his whole life, he saw the absolute shortest shortcut one-step-plan to people remembering his face and decided to give that a try, because if it ain’t easy then fuck it it’s not worth doing. He was first and foremost an asshole, who spent his life tricking the small and dwindling number of close friends around him into thinking he was fine because he was afraid to ask for help, and once he finally felt alienated enough, he was self-justified into his nihilistic suicide drama. A lazy asshole coward who has conned the television set into paying attention to him, at long last.

Do yourself a favor – Turn off that search box, take that picture of him off your screen and stop searching the face to find violence in it. It’s like staring at the Dali Lama to try to see God or sifting the Pope’s shit to foretell the weather, it just doesn’t work that way.