Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Please Like Me or: I May Be Wrong (But I Think You're Horrible)

A friend writes, concerning the story of the "Please Kill Me" hat:

I am making you a hat that says "In many ways ... I am my own worst enemy!"

Which is funny. But also, unfortunately, true.

He boiled it down and I can't not admit it. The story itself is a pretty good indicator that the narrator tends to make unwise decisions at times, decisions that seem to be coming from someone who's only too willing to throw everything away for the sake of the moment. Someone who acts without thinking and doesn't consider the consequences.

If we are the sum of our decisions, then I'm exactly where I deserve to be. My history is basically a long list of terrible decisions, involving alienating people, cutting friends dead, ending relationships with anyone who might be interesting in helping me and sabotaging my chances for success at every opportunity.

Compromise is a word I can spell, but I have no grasp of its meaning. Anything I have ever done has been on my terms, which is great in the sense that I've always enjoyed a certain amount of freedom, but I've neglected to form any sort of connections with anyone.

Eventually, you have to turn the telescope around. For example, instead of wondering why it is I seem to have no friends and asking why I have trouble making people interested in my friendship, it might be wiser to consider the possibility that the reason may lie with me, not with other people.

It can't be merely a coincidence that so many people have fallen away through the years, that so many friendships ended badly, that so many grudges have been held, especially on my end.

Have I made the price of being my friend too high for most reasonable people to bear? Part of me, though I'll admit to a certain amount of shyness and solitariness, doesn't understand it.

I seem nice enough to me.

Approaching the age of 50, my life feels like a corner that I have painted myself into.

They say there's always hope if you can understand what the problem is.

Which is why I like to be greeted by that quote of Howard Stern's at the top of the page. It was a throwaway joke he tossed off one morning, poking fun as usual at his inability to improve himself, and he just grabbed "horribly" as a way of comically demonstrating how vast he felt the gap was between the man he is and the one he'd like to be.

Some of it was in the delivery, of course, but part of it was Howard just instinctively reaching out for what would be funnier than saying "two different people."

But I also loved the fact that the line simultaneously says that there's room for improvement while, by introducing the word "horribly," implying that the improved version may be just as awful as the original.

Of course, I don't think Howard was thinking that hard about it. The show moves pretty fast.

I thought it was a great, if inadvertent, way of describing that distance between a person's reach and their grasp, another way of saying that there's always room for improvement, even when you think you've already gotten to where you need to go.

Because that's partly why I'm here every day. I may be horrible. I may always be horrible.

But I'm not going to stay horrible without trying to be better, even if it's only a little bit.

I can't see it.


Anonymous Cleetus Santana said...

Brother Screwlooseum:

You have friends- don't forget that! We all have moments of self-doubt but tomorrow always brings us the possibilities of something better. Just need to keep on keepin' on...

And then then there is always tequila when things get really unbearable - Dos mas cerveza!!!
(just kiddin')

Wednesday, August 03, 2005 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Count Screwloose said...

I appreciate that, Brother Santana. I do, of course, appreciate the long-suffering friends that I do have.

My larger point, though, about those of us who set up roadblocks in their life almost automatically, is the real problem.

Maybe I should give Tom Cruise a call? Perhaps he could help me get rid of some of these pesky engrams and help me discover the truth about our ancient insect overlords.

Thursday, August 04, 2005 1:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Cleetus Santana said...

Roadblocks? Yes, I know them all too well. Me & a million other folks like yourself. Find out what makes you happy! Set goals, surround yourself with positive people, ditch all the childhood baggage and full steam ahead.

I get the Tom Cruise/Scientology joke...Religion?? To quote Mr. Lennon: "God is a Concept by which we measure our pain."

Try taking a trip to experience the great outdoors! Mother Nature has the ultimate healing powers. Do a Henry David Thoreau for a week- it will help to clean out the mental rubbish that clogs the brain and enable you to have those elusive "Ah ha!" moments. It works...

Thursday, August 04, 2005 3:21:00 PM  
Blogger Count Screwloose said...

The only problem there is that my Walden would have to include an ice machine and free HBO.

Friday, August 05, 2005 1:44:00 PM  

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