“Thank God you’ve arrived,” said the atheist to his brother, “I’ve been surrounded by believers for weeks.”
The brother replied: “A dying man is silent and thus have I recorded his final words.”
We’re drunk again and soon we’ll fuck. That’s the order of things these days. We meet in the evenings after work, make a dinner of inconsequential size and of indiscernible tastes, then go out for drinks at one of the locals until we’re so lit we can finally be honest with each other. We fight like Burton and Taylor as we crawl home. She shoves me into bed and we fuck until we pass out. It’s an o.k. life but I keep thinking there must be something more.
She wants a baby but I want a dog.
Neither of us reads very much but we watch a lot of TV. She watches crap. Me, I watch nature shows. The kind that show the lives of animals all over the world. And under the sea. The ones on sharks are my favorite.
Everything I ever learned in school turns out to be bullshit. My job is a joke. I spot-test circuits on an electronic motherboard with two cables and a detector. The hardest part is showing up.
I file reports and go to meetings. People talk slowly about insipid things which mean as little as possible to anyone in the room. The more meaningful the conversation becomes the faster it goes until the most important thing, the reason why the meeting was held in the first place, is blurted out and discussed at a barking, rocketous clip so there’s no time to blame anybody for any fuckups and no time for anybody to complain when they’re given an assignment.
My work is not meaningful to me in any way except that I receive a check for exactly $1843 every two weeks. After taxes.
I have health insurance. My girlfriend is covered, too. She makes as much as me at her job and has a full health plan also (mental to dental).
All of our friends are incredibly boring. But they use us and our resources to have a good time. So we all get drunk together and laugh at things which only we can possibly think are funny because the language we speak is incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t spent at least a year in our circle of friends. We have developed this language as a method by which we can keep undesirables out. Our friends’ girlfriends and boyfriends who do not check out don’t last long because it is especially hard for people we don’t like to keep up with our language.
We quote obscure lines from movies and television shows as a method of relating. We see mostly mainstream films, not because we like them, but because they are easiest to make fun of. We do not discriminate on the basis of sex, color, creed or race, only on the ability of others to keep up with our language and contribute to it.
We have no culture and no history because we are mostly made up of mutts. Part European, part whatever but none of us has a cultural background of any measurable depth because we are Americans.
I play a lot of computer games because they are easily accessible to me at work. I also use my computer to send e-mail to all my other friends who also have jobs with e-mail. We are never out of touch because most of us have cell-phones and beepers as well. Sometimes we fuck each other. But mostly we get along because it would be boring otherwise.
We own a lot of things. Most of these things are things we have read about in magazines or seen in movies. Rarely do we buy things we have seen on television because the ads on television are stupid and we make fun of them. We buy what we are sold but rarely do we buy what we want.
Sometimes we travel to other places. Usually we only travel for a reason – such as family or friends’ weddings or funerals. However sometimes we travel so we can say we have been places.
We can say we have been many places and our recollection of them is manufactured in such a way that we can relate stories to one another about the places to which we have been. This allows us to all go to the same places at different times and always have the same experience of them.
We rarely leave the continent. But Mexico and Canada accept our money so we go there from time to time to get away from it all. Mexico is barbaric and uncivilized. We avoid its nontourist destinations. We use it to get things we want cheap and to be treated better than we deserve for very little money. This is fun.
Canada is intellectual. We go so we can say we have been there and have conversed with Canadians on a wide variety of topics. We quote Canadian facts and figures about our own country. Then we make fun of Canadian mannerisms, accents and figures of speech.
We’ve each been to Europe once. Mostly after graduation.
We are Americans and as such we vote regularly but rarely in elections; only in surveys and opinion polls. Still we follow the polls and watch CNN and other news programs. We quote soundbites which are filtered to us through the media. There is no time to learn anything about any of it and even if there were we are cynical and know that it is all a crock of shit anyway so we would never bother. We believe that surely people who do bother are already working on it and so we have the information presented to us. Our own lives are not affected adversely by most changes in policy and so we are willing to wait for injustices to be reconciled by the efforts of those they affect.
We trust apathetically that people who are unhappy will eventually be made happy by the system in which we have been raised.
Today, I left work and went to meet a friend at a coffeeshop. He was a friend of a friend, or maybe three friends away, who was supposed to bring me a resume because my friend said he might be a good employee for my company and I knew if I helped this guy out it would score points for me with my friend.
I ordered a coffee and waited for the guy to show up. I was sitting outside and several people came and asked me for money. I gave some money to a few of them because I always feel bad for people in a bad way.
One guy got really aggressive with me because I wouldn’t give him any money. I refused to give him money because he was rude to me. I gave money to someone else nearby and pointedly told the guy to leave me alone. It reminded me of feeding pigeons at the park.
My friend’s friend never came. I had time to kill so I went to a bookstore. They had comic books and I bought one and decided to read it in the park. The comic was an illustrated remake of a short story written in the 1800s by Anton Chekov called “The Bet.”
I read the comic and went home. We ate. Then we went to get drunk. I came home early. Now I am sitting at my computer writing this entry. I will e-mail it to all my friends and leave it saved here on this computer screen just before I pick up the .45 I bought last spring with Ernie and Ellen at the flea market in Marin and scatter my brains across the keyboard, the monitor, my desk, and the window here, which looks out onto our backyard and several rows of calla lilies, California poppies and jasmine.
Tonight the jasmine will bloom and our yard will be graced with a delicious tangy scent. My girlfriend will have to fuck herself.