On a message forum where I often spend way too much time wasting far too much of my days, I disclosed one of my bad but waning habits in a dolorous but tongue-in-cheek “how-to” posting about deftly creating your own misery. In short, I suggested Googling past friends and associates or them on Facebook, comparing your life to what theirs appears to be, and using this information to reasonably conclude that you’ve fallen short in every meaningful goal you have ever set.
This set in motion a thread in which various people demanded that I accept who I am, “get over myself,” or take various unspecified steps toward self-acceptance. A few people understood that my original post wasn’t a self-pitying complaint about how bad my life compared to other people’s or a request for assistance, but an acknowledgment that certain online mining operations are best abandoned in advance. That didn’t stanch the flow of bullshit, so I’ve decided to get honest and describe the genesis of my terrible feelings of inadequacy.
Two mornings ago, I left the house to go for a run. Soon I was in an exclusive part of town, pleased at the view of various million-dollar homes but a little envious that I could never afford to buy such a place myself. Padding up the street at my usual pace, some guy startled me by blowing past on my left, probably clipping along at 4:50 a mile or better without seeming to breathe hard. “Penguin!” he snapped over his shoulder as he disappeared quickly over a hill. Normally I don’t let such things bother me, as I’m used to this, but I was feeling a little down, so I brooded a little as I struggled up the same hill.
Within a few minutes, a Lamborghini Countach in mint condition came blowing up the road in my direction. It came to a screeching halt beside me. Startled, I looked over to see some guy in an Armani suit behind the wheel and a ludicrously attractive woman in the passenger seat. “Loser!” the guy barked with glee, flashing 32 perfectly white teeth at me as his woman friend sniggered. Then the dude peeled off amid his and his companion’s derisive laughter.
At this point I was feeling a little pissed off. Like I said, these kinds of displays aren’t as troubling as they once were, but I just wasn’t in the mood.
Five minutes later I rounded a turn and there was a guy who looked like Napoleon Dynamite practicing some free throws in his driveway, with a person I assumed was his wife watching from a chair several meters away. I like a good friendly game of one-on-one and have a pretty good hoops game, so asked if I could join in; no way could I lose to a dork like this, right? “Sure,” he said, and ripped off his shirt to reveal some improbably huge pecs and a major six-pack to complement arms like you only read about. He let me take the ball first, and when I faked left and went right I was sure I’d burned him. I rose for an easy lay-up, and the next thing I knew I heard–or felt–a KABOOM! and was flat on my back. He’d swatted down my shot so violently that it had knocked me unconscious as it caromed off my forehead (later I’d see that it had left a “Spaulding” imprint there). As I opened my eyes and groaned, I looked up to see the dude standing over me, waggling a phallus that was at least 11 inches long flaccid. “Pussy!” he sneered as his wife nodded approvingly. They left me and went inside, and before I could even regain my feet I could hear them slamming away at each other, him groaning like an animal and her wailing like a banshee, her screams undeniably those of a woman who will never know greater heights of undiluted ecstasy.
A short time later was headed back the way I’d come, utterly defeated. I was walking now, too morose to run, my head hung as low as it could go. Then: “Sir?” Across the street, a pretty woman was waving at me next to a parked Audi. “Could you help me?” She appeared to be trying to change a flat tire. I have no clue how this is done, but I ambled over anyway. For a few minutes I struggled to get the tire jack in place while the woman prated on about the perils of single life in the face of intractable nymphomania. Just as she seemed to be losing patience, she said “Sir?” again. I looked up, but she was talking to some movie-star handsome guy who had materialized out of nowhere. He seized the jack from my bleeding hands and, working quickly, had the donut on the car in less than 90 seconds. “Wow!” the woman said, fluttering her eyes at the guy, who thrust his powerful jaw at her in a show of chivalrous acknowledgment that would have been goofy on any mortal specimen. When the woman turned to me and sputtered, “Um, you can leave now, skanky-man,” I can’t say I was exactly surprised.
When I got back home I just wanted to watch TV, but the remote was all screwed up and I had no idea how to fix it. Also, my wireless network had gone down. As I was struggling with these things, I heard a shrill cry of “need some help, mister?” It was the eight-year-old kid next door standing at my bedroom window. “It’s just my computer and TV and stuff,” I muttered. “No shit!” the kid blared, and leaped deftly into the house through the window, which has no screen as I can’t get the thing to stay in right. Moments later, my network was back up and the TV was humming to life. “You’re an idiot!” the kid chortled as he jumped back to safety, not that I could have bested him in a physical confrontation.
Anyway, that’s the story. I hope that having disclosed these details that you’ll all grant me some slack.