Saturday, September 14, 2013

800 Words: The Joy of Picking Fights

A friend of mine once described the ‘artistic temperament’ to me as the desire to tell the world to go fuck itself and be loved for it. He also told me that I may be the ultimate proof of that axiom. Personally, I think there’s no ‘may’ about it. If the world has ever come up with a better definition of me (for surely that is the world’s responsibility), then I have yet to hear anything that comes close.  

I’m the precise result of what happens in a family where you’re given all the love in the world and no approval. I was supposed to be the “illui of Pikesville,” the shiningly secular Rabbinical sage whose Krell-like intellect would set the world alight in a new Golden Age of Reason and Understanding. I know, I know, it all sounds like self-delusion. It probably is. But that massive level of self-esteem is only possible because a surprisingly large population of familiar people believed in me so much that I internalized it all into self-belief. And the self-loathing that accompanies said self-belief is only possible because I disappointed those people who believed in me so spectacularly. Somehow, that shining era of worldwide happiness never occurred. The world was not warmed by the rays of my golden gifts. Instead, it first labeled me a learning disabled student, and over the years transformed me into a ‘depressed’ kid, an adolescent with ‘deep character flaws’, a college near-dropout, a longtime unemployed twentysomething, a self-deluded musical entrepreneur, and now an ‘idiot son’ businessman. So whatever half-dozen of you deign to read this blogpost can bask in my fairly secure knowledge that I’m more intelligent than you. You can also bask in the still more secure knowledge that you’ve done far more with less than I’ve done with far more.

I am, without a doubt, the most combative person I know. I know this because there always seem to be so many pretenders to that title. Considering how many of my hours are spent in various states of bickering, it frankly amazes me that I have friends who clearly take some kind of joy in watching me do it - joy perhaps still more perverse than mine, because they’re simply unequal to the task of matching me bicker-for-bicker. There are very few things in my life at which I feel I’ve been successful but bickering and all its various hues - argument, bile, calumny, denigration, disapproval, disparagement, defamation, deprecation, derogation, detraction, and all the other letters of the alphabet - are my greatest accomplishments. Gore Vidal once claimed that his veins were made of ice. Mine are made of vinegar and bile. No doubt, there is a kind, benevolent, gentle soul aching to free himself from this body poisoned with negativity, but he is unable to free himself because he is so convinced that the world will stomp upon his gentle good humor and freely bestowed approval. In the meantime, an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind, but at least it will be equal again.

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