by J.D. Salinger
today i am 15 years old. everything is all bullshit, as usual. i can't believe how fucked everything is around me. like i'm surrounded by zombies. i can't talk to any of my so-called friends, i can't talk to jamie, i can't talk to my parents. who would bother listening anyway. i cannot wait to leave orange county! this place makes me fucking sick. everyone is a hypocrite. everything is so goddamn bright and shiny and sunny and meaningless. FUCK, life is so full of crap.
there is one good thing in my life though. just read this book Catcher in the Rye. blown away! i don't know how a book written decades ago could say exactly what i would say. it is like the author was reading my thoughts and put it all down in this book. things i didn't even realize i felt were right there on the page! I LOVED IT. i think this is my favorite novel of all time. which is not saying a whole lot because there is a ton of pretentious bullshit out there and i bet mrs. durham will force us to read it all. man i hate that bitch.
today i am 20 years old. life is great as usual. just enjoyed my wednesday morning wake-and-bake session with j-p, the sun is shining, the san diego weather is beautiful, and tonight i'm off to rob & gregg's to destroy them at bullshit. love that game! gregg says that joelle will be there (yes!) but she'll probably bring that prick pete with her. one of these days i'm going to lose it and kick his ass. "i'm in a band"...fuck you, pete! i will never spin your records.
all i have on the agenda today is to go to the gym and then off to keracik's american lit class. it is not a bad class, although it is nowhere close to gender studies with halberstam. or davidoff's survey of modern postmodernism last semester. now that was a class! it blew my mind. so many things to think about. the reading in american lit has been okay. but we've been assigned to read Catcher in the Rye and it is terrible. can't believe i ever liked this book. caulfield is a whiny little bitch. the book has no depth. there is literally nothing going on with the narrative, style, theme, characterization, it is just one rote cliché after another. he thinks he is such a rebel-without-a-cause but in reality he is just another tired representation of rootless, stereotypical masculinity and gender essentialism. completely inane and without meaning. i think my essay will use some acker-style postmodernist techniques to show how simplistic this trite "classic" truly is. i'm going to deconstruct the shit out of this novel, baby!
today i am 25 years old. another gray, drizzly san francisco morning. i wish christopher would wake up, i really need to talk to him after all that shit last night. notes on my pillow, really?? time to grow up dude, i will never "complete you". well actually i'm glad he's still asleep, my throat is too sore to get into it right now with him. plus Food Not Bombs is happening this morning and i have to get the kitchen ready. john is probably hard at work already, typical over-achieving behavior. i bet the wisconsin kids are still crashing on our living room floor. it's time for them to leave! they've seen The Vindictives at every single Epicenter or Gilman show now and it is time for them to hit the road. or learn to take a shower. this apartment is not the world's crashpad!
i woke up early this morning and thumbed through A Catcher in the Rye. i remember hating this book in college for some reason. probably wasn't po-mo enough for me. or "challenging". feh. what a pretentious idiot i was. this is a beautiful book. it changed my life as a kid, i'm not sure how i would have survived orange county without it. just re-reading parts of it brought back all that old angst about all the fucked-up shit in the world that kids have to deal with. i'm not sure there is another book as insightful or as meaningful. or funny! that part with the clipping-of-the-toenails is hilarious. ackley is such a douche. this book is the foundation of every zine that i have ever loved. a perfect novel. it is so...."human", i guess.
today i am 30 years old. man my head hurts...so hungover! my birthday party last night was awesome. even got to spend some time on the turntables (thanks kraddy for actually relinquishing a tiny bit of control for once). i must have made out with a half-dozen people. sadly, no real action. i think last night's party will be the last big party i will ever throw. things have got to change. no more partying like the world is about to end, i still have my entire life ahead of me! tomorrow i am going to go into AIG and hand in my notice. i am not an entertainment insurance underwriter, that is not me. fuck them. if erika can get me that job working with homeless kids at Hospitality House, than i am set. although moving from the biggest room in the flat to the water heater closet will be no fun. i'm 30 years old now for chrissakes! still, i've got to do something meaningful with my life. it cannot all be about booze, drugs, hooking up, and paying everyone's rent when they're broke. things have got to change.
i cracked open A Catcher in the Rye yesterday before the party and read some of my favorite parts. what an inspiration! seriously, that is a classic novel. it is packed with meaning. i'm twice caulfield's age but i still somehow connect with him in a very direct way. my life is going to change and the attitude expressed in that book is at the heart of that change. i love you, holden caulfied. it's not too late for me to learn from you, to find some meaning in life.
today i am 35 years old. another intense, sad, but deeply fulfilling week has passed. every day something meaningful happens, something so emotional and real. sometimes i find myself just losing it in a fetal position because of the things i've seen. working with people who are drug addicted or who have been abused or who are dying is HEAVY. but it is also beautiful. it's hard to believe i am dealing with all of that and supporting my folks too. thank God i have good friends to talk to about these things. anyway. so now marcy wants to have a kid. i just don't know how i feel about that. this is such a fucked up world, do we really want to bring new life into it? i dunno. it seems....selfish, somehow. she should just quit her job with the d.a.'s office and get back to her roots in the public defender's office instead. does she think that having a child with me will bring more meaning into her life? my life has meaning enough already. and i really am not sure i can handle that responsibility on top of everything else.
i skimmed A Catcher in the Rye yesterday, after an awkward talk with marcy about having a baby. it was not an inspiring read. caulfield is so full of misplaced angst! i'm not sure i even understand him anymore. why is he so pissed off? he's seen nothing of the world and what the world can actually do to people. i want to like him, i want to re-capture that feeling of affection i had for him, but now his contempt and his anger just seem so meaningless, so naive. he really does not have it so bad. there is so much worse out there. i don't know how i would handle a kid like that. i hate to say it, but i constantly rolled my eyes when reading it. oh the emotional self-absorption of youth! just you wait, caulfield. it sure gets a hell of a lot more complicated once you grow up.
today i am 40 years old. when did i become a boss? it is like i woke up one day, mysteriously transformed into an old man. am i really a "leader"? what does that even mean? sometimes i feel like i am just faking it all and someone is going to figure it out and blow the whistle on me. last week i made a huge play on the Council, i had all my ducks in a row, and all the votes came in just as i had planned. everyone has their own agenda and the way to get things done is simply to recognize and engage with that disappointing fact. some folks got up and started clapping and then the whole room joined in, even council members who voted against my motion - feh, phonies. the experience was sort of amazing but it also made me feel very odd, almost disconnected from myself. is this who i am now, a public policy figure, a community advocate, a mayoral appointee? ugh, i can't stand the mayor. i don't feel like me. there is accomplishment there, and some satisfaction...but i am missing something, something visceral, something real. sweet Jesus, is this what a mid-life crisis feels like? it is a weird feeling, like i know everything that i need to know about the world, about the people around me, how everything connects, but yet i still feel like i know so little about life. oh, such angst, mark. surely you've outgrown this?
i've started re-reading A Catcher in the Rye. it's so strange, during different parts, i felt like crying. a wonderful and moving novel. i feel like i really understand holden, like he is my guide, my son, my brother, my friend...myself. i think of him and i know that change in the world and changing myself can still happen. it just has to happen. that's life after all, right?