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Monday, May 28, 2007


Here's the Thing

Getting older is not all that bad. Sure, there's the grey chest hair and the increasing difficulty ridding oneself of that sad, sad layer of back fat. But there are pleasant things about the aging process, too.

One of said pleasant things is a greater understanding of who you are and acceptance of that person. My college years and early twenties were marked with a loathing of who I am and a desperate yearning to make myself more interesting. Which is why I went through a series of moronic and inorganic attempts to cultivate a "thing".

Because cool guys so often had a "thing", y'know? That guy carries his guitar everywhere and plays spontaneously. This guy has a deck of cards with him at all times and practices shuffling them when he's bored. The other guy dresses like Jimi Hendrix. That's their "thing".

But all of those cool guys had "things" that probably evolved over time and came from the depths of who they were. Their "thing" said something about their history and was as much part of them as their right hand.

Not fully grasping that these things can't be forced, I went through a series of ill-advised attempts to basically graft on a new right hand. From about age eighteen through about age twenty-three, I tried to make each of the following my "thing", to varying degrees of utter failure.
  • The leather fedora-- I begged my parents for this one Christmas, in the hopes that it would make me look more like Indiana Jones. I was so self-conscious about how out of place it looked on my head that I wore it maybe twice.
  • The coin-- For reasons that I can no longer recollect, I took for a time to carrying a fifty-cent piece in my pocket and flipping it. Maybe I was trying to look like Warner Brothers gangster, I don't know. Whatever I was going for, I usually ended up looking like The Schmuck Who Has to Pick His Coin Up from Beneath Your Chair.
  • The yo yo-- I actually spent about three months carrying a yo yo with me all over the place. I never got better than sub-mediocre at it and I also never got laid while carrying it.
  • The buttons-- There was a period of time when I sought the assistance of "funny" buttons to express my individuality. At the time, it seemed to make sense to express my individuality through the purchase of something that every other customer of Stan's Novel-T's could also use to express their own individuality.
  • The perm-- I don't really have anything else to say about that one.
In the end, I wound up making a black cardigan sweater my "thing" and grew, after a time, to realize that none of us actually need a "thing" to make us who we are. Who we are comes not from the things we carry, it comes from the stupid, stupid shit we say and then wish we could take back. And that, I've got in spades.

Oh, how I hated that thing. Ugh. Let us never speak of it again.
I know what you mean. My "thing" was being extremely intelligent, witty and attractive. I nearly died of exhaustion from getting laid so frequently, so I had to take up running to increase my stamina, which in turn made me even hotter, and so the cycle continues to this day.

OK, so my "thing" is actually pathological lying. Unless someone out there believes that a 6'2", 150 lb, big-nosed scarecrow was drowning in pussy? (Ladies, I'm 165 now!! *eyebrow raise*)
Girls had "things" too, though very often less obvious than a leather fedora.
We're stealthy like that...

I think my current "thing" is to be a tipsy, clumsy, social retard with a really nice purse and impeccable table manners.
O.k, I may be exaggerating about the table manners.
I eat with my fingers.

Works for me.
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