April 24, 2005

From Gerald R. Lucas


Why is it that the older I get, the more dysfunctional I and those around me seem to become? I mean, since we are adults, shouldn’t we be able to discuss our particular difficulties with one another in a logical and calm manner? Shouldn’t the urge just to throttle someone be replaced with a sagacious attitude of respect for difference? Am I really becoming as ossified as all those others I discuss in class: the older I get the more unable I am to allow for variation, difference, dissonance? I am just becoming an old fucker, along with all of those around me? Shouldn’t life be getting easier for us all rather than more complicated?

I mean, like everyone else that society has enculturated—i.e., made neurotic enough to doubt ourselves before we do something that we might regret (the irony here is that it might also spark a rewarding and much-needed change in our all-too-quotidian bump-my-fucking-knee-OUCH!-against-the-table sort of days)—I seem to want people to like me. I understand that this doesn’t much matter, from a young, ef-you perspective. Yet, as we age and things like health care, job security, and financial independence obfuscate our earlier carefree days with Atlas’ worldly weight, we seem to need to become more political. But, is that the same thing as being rigid? I mean, really? Is this ego of mine now a brown shirt that suppresses any wanton and—dare-I-say?—immature thought that might twist my mouth in an evil grin or have me chuckle sardonically in a faculty meeting?

Why can’t we just, ugh . . . hmmm—communicate?! It’s really not so hard. You’d feel better afterwards, I promise. Yeah, it might hurt like getting a tooth filled, but that discomfort could be mitigated by a glass of bourbon and Coke, and—even if you can’t bring yourself to drink—it won’t last long. It just seems the older I get, the less people like me. Am I more of prick these days, or are people just getting tired of trying? Am I really that bad of a guy that I’m easier just to walk past without acknowledging than to squeeze out a hello?

Maybe that’s why I want a new BMW: something I can get on and get the hell out of town with, faster than that guy can in his pick’em up truck. Maybe I have it wrong: maybe I’m becoming a child again? Really, isn’t 35 middle age? Is it all regression from here? I already can’t remember things that used to be easy for me, like names, titles, phone numbers. Does it just get worse?

Anyone else want to share his or her dysfunction? I know some people won’t talk to me—eh, Robert—but isn’t it healthier to let it out?