During the holidays, old friends and people that haven’t talked to you in years come out of the woodwork. And I don’t want to talk to many of them. Perhaps I’m an elitist!? Okay, that might be a bit harsh of me to call myself, but I definitely think I sometimes suffer from an over-inflated sense of ego. I’m not saying the sun shines out of my incredible ass; but I do hold myself in quite high regard. For the life of me, I’m not entirely sure why or when it started to happen. All I do know is that it doesn’t take more than one little half-compliment to get my head climbing towards the stratosphere.
I remember the days I used to suffer from delusions of mediocrity. Were they good days? Possibly. But I do remember them fondly. I was quite happy to not be living up to any potential I knew I had or hadn’t quite tapped. It took me 5 years to graduate from high school such was my unguided dedication to anything remotely educational and rational. You would think a person would only have to be kicked out of school once for something called “insufficient attendance” before learning a lesson. Nope, not me. I did it again the next year, although to top the previous year’s effort I had a higher GPA when it happened and had missed more classes.
When I finally decided I was smart enough to get a high school diploma, or that it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing to have one, I moved to a new city and lived with a friend’s family and had to rely on my math teacher rounding up my grade to secure enough credits to graduate after I, again, decided that I didn’t need to attend math class to pass. Thankfully, and I’m not sure why, she saw failing me as pointless because it was obvious I was never going to become a mathematician. Although she did say she would triple-count any change I gave her should she run in to me and I was working as a cashier at a gas station or something like that. I owe that family and my friend a big debt of gratitude for taking me in and feeding me so I could accomplish something. I haven’t talked to any of them for more than 10 minutes in 15 years.
The guy was my best friend growing up, and now, I guess I still see him as a teenager chasing girls, spelling every second word wrong, and wondering how we can raise money to buy slurpees from 7-11. I was with him when I saw my first pair of breasts in real life. We were walking back from the store in the middle of the afternoon and we passed a house, heard a thump, turned, and saw a naked woman leaning over a table with her lover going for broke behind her. We were 13. Of course we stayed to watch. When she was done she gave us a jiggle and we clapped. Twenty-six years later, I think he is still there. And her tits weren’t even that good. Having seen a handful since then, and even touched a few pairs bigger than a handful, I can honestly say I’ve seen rounder, firmer, perkier, and just plain better. I’ve moved on, grown up (yet maintained my immaturity as the previous sentence can attest to), and the chasm between us is un-navigable.
Just before I moved out here, in the space of one week, his mom died and his wife left him. I left a comment on the online comments section of the obituary page of the local paper and he tracked me down. The first time we had spoken in going on 10 years. He has three children I’ve never met. The last time I hung out with him was at his wedding as his best man. Granted, it was arguably the single-most humiliating day of my life having to suffer the taunts and insults from his new wife’s family and watch him sheepishly cower with his balls in her hand and his tail tucked between his legs. After I got off the phone with him, instead of feeling sorry for him that his mom and wife were gone, I felt sorry for him because he was still the same guy he was in 1984. And I didn’t have time to baby sit.
I thought I would take a few weeks and let things settle and see if my opinion changed. It didn’t. It hasn’t. Every time he sends me an email on Facebook and signs it “love you man (but not in a fag way)” I’m reminded just how far apart we really are. He was my best friend for the better part of a decade, surely that should count for something? Instead, I end up looking down my nose at him because I find him Wheel of Fortune smart and I’m Jeopardy smart. I look down my nose at him because I can’t be bothered to revert to our Cro-Magnon man language of years gone by. It was a simpler time back then, sure, but with adulthood comes the need to adapt. I’ll revert to pubescent potty talk for other friends, friends who like me have moved on, but I won’t, sadly, for him.
What gives me the right to want to exclude him from my life because I think I’m better than he is? What gives me the right to think I’m better than he is? Am I? Okay, people grow apart, and I understand that, but shouldn’t someone who thinks so highly of himself and has others heap praise towards him be more lenient and receiving to friends when they are in need? Surely, someone who half-jokingly thinks his friends are better off in his presence would want a friend who is suffering in his presence because it would make the friend feel better? And if that last sentence made sense to you at the first time of reading, I’m clearly not intelligent enough to be in your presence.
I was on two other blog sites before this one and got bored of the first one because I was tired of most of the people on the site writing about their gardens, their cats, or other trivial things. And they wrote in such boring prose. I just felt my work was being wasted there. Not that anyone else ever said my work was that great, it’s just what I felt.
But why do I feel this way? I look around WordPress and see dozens of writers more talented than I am (and these are only the ones I know about). I look around the site and see dozens of writers with more interesting things to say and with more eloquent ways of saying them. I see writers who read my blog who should be looking down their noses at me. One published low-distribution non-fiction book does not give me the right to parade around like Shakespeare. I don’t know if I have the right to feel at home here as I do. I am proud that work is read, even if at times I wish more people would leave comments – good, bad, or downright nasty. I am honoured that I get to read such wonderful writers as well. Perhaps I’m still riding the high of receiving a very positive comment on a post a year ago and my head is still in the stratosphere. Perhaps I’ve been relying on my not-so-serious shouts of awesomeness for so long that my psyche won’t let me suffer delusions of mediocrity again.
Whatever it is I’m here, I’m not going anywhere, and some days, I hate to say it, I’ll probably think too highly of myself. And on days that I don’t, well, there’s still that great ass to fall back on.