I had the radio on tonight, listening to Bob Dylan’s christmas song and then jingle bell rock with the lights on. So it was a suitably festive session this evening. A small excerpt from the two pages written tonight. I’ll say it again, this is a first draft so it’s more because I liked writing this segment, which means that it’ll end up disappearing, which it might do if it doesn’t fit. So forgive the clumsiness and the passive voice.
The world tells you things about yourself. Those messages are constant, and most of the time, you don’t listen to them. You carry the wisdom of other people wherever you go, but you also carry their vulnerability and their pain too. As children, we’re copper and we conduct the electricity of the people around us.
When your parents spent time in separate rooms, a static forms in the space between them. You’re constantly in it, and you absorb it. So you might smoothly reinvent yourself and then, one day, you’re caught at a point where you look out and see that people seem to hate you. It’s that energy that determines how much of it you can take and how much you suffer to see it.
Later, I saw it for what it was. Outrage, some of it done for amusement and some of it pain and disappointment. None of those people know you, but the mob allows you to be honest. I always worked with small groups because a lot of our knowledge that if we’re together in groups of over 150 people, things become lost. The mob is where we can go to lose ourselves, and it’s seldom led to anything good.
Especially when you read what the mob has to say about you. Specifically you, and the things that someone has said you’ve done. Or said. An opinion or an action, it seldom matters when you light the touchpaper of internet opinion and stand well back. See that information scrolling downwards and tell you, you’d be ambivalent about it.
In Harlan Ellison’s ‘I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream’, which I read when I was twelve, the last remaining humans are trapped in a hell devised by an artificial intelligence. There’s a sequence where the artificial intelligence tells the narrator how it feels about him. It was an image that stayed with me, a neon column of words that spoke of the scale of it’s hate.
I saw that column and that had my name running through it like a necrotic vein. An insult tells you nothing you don’t already know about yourself, because if you did not understand it, or thought it ridiculous then you are consciously choosing to be offended by it. A good insult is a key that opens up sentiments you thought you’d looked away. It makes you shrill with it’s truth.
After the shock, I found amusement, a bitter sort of medicine but it took away some of the sting about the whole thing. I’d always enjoyed a good joke but being the subject of one took away from that for me.
I read through about three pages, had seen that people were sharing and liking these sentiments enough that there was some repetition. I decided that it was probably enough. I found another nugget of amusement in the variety of people posting about me. The diversity of them. Different nationalities and ethnicities.
I felt a small measure of disgusted pride that I’d managed to unite people around what a disgusting asshole I was, or how I was an, and I quote,
‘Rape apologist who deserves castration.’ I wanted to applaud @FoxInTheHouse91but I held my phone steady because the other alternative was to throw it against something. It was a child’s hurt, and a tantrum of that scale felt almost appropriate.
I logged out and looked up as I watched Andrea throw out a teep kick that pushed Ronnie back a foot despite the thick pad that he held across his chest. I watched and wondered if I was the pad pretending to be the kick and shook my head in self disgust.
Fuck pity, I told myself. I felt someone touch my shoulder and I saw Jesse look down at me.
‘Hey, you ok?’
I will be taking a break for Christmas soon. Time to drink, think and read. I will reach a point that I can break off and recharge, then resume without too much stiffness. It’ll be before the end of the year, of course but a break will be good.