Wednesday, March 18, 2009


You should have noticed it, lurking as a black subtext. It's not everywhere in these pages, but it's prevalent. The parody has just too sharp an edge to it. Certain themes are pushed almost to the point of incomprehensibility. Clearly something is going on. But my protection is that you just can't be sure. I'll admit the rage. But even sharp as it is, it's unfocused. Or maybe just too generalized.

I count it as a protection, the fact that I can mix truth and fiction here, and you just can't be sure which is which. Truth: my father has two sons named Jack. Fiction: that I am or ever was a parking lot attendant. Truth: I am tall and blond and pretty fit. Fiction: that I was ever arrested for living in strangers' attics -- I have never lived in an attic or any analogue, and I have never been arrested for anything. Wrapped up within these various truths and fictions are, however, powerful sources of rage.

Two Jacks? This is, still, a source of dismay to me. I avoid the word rage, because it was 24 years ago, and shouldn't I be over it by now? But it is rage. Blond? Yes. It was used to torment me when I was a child. And so on. I amuse myself with subtext, revealing myself the way James Joyce did -- not even symbols say what it really is.

I have a friend who reads this blog. (Hi! How's it going?!?) What must he think? He's a straightforward guy, and the difference between Jack H, and J, and the person he spends time with will be pretty stark. That's a problem, for me, because I am aware of the meaning of the word integrity. And I am not the same here, as there. That's not honest, and I like honesty. But I have to protect myself.

He asked me tonight about some detail of my life. My first instinct was to protect myself. Was it an attack? No, it was just a friendly small-talk inquiry for information. I understand that, but there was an instant internal danger-response, nothing at all to do with him, not physical, not entirely conscious -- yes, the word is apprehension. That's no way to live. It's just that I can't let anyone get close. Saying it like that makes me very sad. I'm comfortable with ideas. I'm comfortable with grief, and rage, and some degree of fear. I am not comfortable with intimacy. Sort of makes it hard to get to know me, eh? Not so much a double-bind as a perfect defense. Man I'm clever.

Truth: I'm clever.

I know that when I made the mistake as a child of saying what I'd like to do when I grew up, I was mocked and ridiculed, and it was made explicit that I could never do that, or anything, and I could never be happy. I wonder sometimes, vaguely, offhandedly, if I was fucked as a child. Yes, I most certainly was. The doubt is to whether it was also physical. That's just unthinkable, and I have no memory or evidence of it save the fact that there needs to be such a question at all. If it didn't happen, it would only be because the repression was too powerful, and the dehumanization didn't manifest sexually.

Fiction: that I'm comfortable with grief.

So all this recent talk about testosterone. I strive for gentleness, and I've become very passive. So there's a lot of tension, between hormones and rage on the one side, and human decency and weakness and fear on the other. What I think, deep down, is that when people get to know me, they will hate me and betray me and attack me. Truth. I've opened up a fair bit with my friend, and there's the peculiar phantasmagoria of FP for him to color in some of the outlines, but trust is hard, and feels dangerous, and communication is always a random combination of faith and luck. That has to be enough, eh? Because if we were ever to feel any meaningful part of the full burden of someone else's soul, we'd crumple like Job onto ashes and forget that God is love.

What's important to me, in a general sense, is helping people be happy. Physically, emotionally, intellectually. Whatever. By happy I mean excellent. But I'm pretty lazy and selfish, and there's not a lot of easy opportunity to do much good. I'm an interesting enough guy, and decent enough, so that some people might feel benevolent and want to help me be happy and excellent. It's only fair. But who has the patience? And even if they did, I'm awfully clever.

My conscience if bothering me. I don't want to think of it as a lie, but I said something that was not entirely true tonight. It was automatic, unthinking, reflexive, and there's a way that it can be made to be true, but, no. So I have to take a risk, and clarify a personal question with some specificity, and reveal something of myself -- otherwise it's a lie, and I just can't have that. Because friendship has a cost, of trust and trustworthiness. And because honesty matters, and honor, and courtesy. And because I am not a liar.

Yes, I know. Repent of my rage, it is a sin, and ask for the same forgiveness that I should give. Gee, thanks for that. You're very wise.

Truth: rage.

Fiction: rage.

Fiction: that I like honesty.


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