Sunday, June 03, 2007


There’s an old saw about becoming bitter and more discouraged as you get older: something about having seen it all and done it all and suspecting that nothing new is coming up on the horizon.

It was a place I never wanted to be. In fact, I can remember at one point thinking that the worst thing about dying would be not getting to see things play out, see where mankind goes from here.

There’s a famous line some critic wrote about the work of Nathanael West. I’m paraphrasing, but the gist was that there was nothing to root for in his books, and what is worse – no rooters.

I always wanted to be a rooter. Truly.

I wanted to be an encouraging sort, someone who’d try and convince you that it was all worth the effort.

Because they’re out there. I’m jealous of them when I find them.

They’re well-adjusted types who generally have a good focus on things and aren’t easily disturbed by small setbacks.

They’re generally successful, as well. I think that sort of disposition is a real help in making one’s way and creating a good social and support network.

But I can’t help it. There’s just too much evidence that supports the opposite attitude.

Now, I’d rather not see the endless ways that mankind will continue to repeat its mistakes, or see the fakes, phonies and poseurs that will continue to be rewarded for thievery and mediocrity, or watch every decent impulse get slapped down and spat upon as the next generation of kids learns not to be too clever or smart or original.

And towering over it all, the almighty dollar bill: weapon, solace, endgame.

Well, sure. What else is new?

But I only suspected it before, in a callow, youthful way. Now I’ve watched it all happen, a lifetime of it.

There’s something else, though: there’s knowing that my turn is over and now all I get to do is watch what the next bunch do with theirs. No age lines, no responsibilities. An endless weekend of parties and promises.

I’m not going to tell them the truth about any of it. Why ruin it? They’ll find out soon enough.

Unless, of course, one of them manages to escape and become happy and successful. You can bet I’ll be there in a flash to sit them down and tell them where they went wrong.

Hip hip hooray.


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