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"I've had the feeling all day; a feeling of despair. I see that every day I get more and more alone. Meanwhile, I get more and more needy as I become more and more incapable. There's no escaping any of this.
"The cat was lying on top of me earlier, and I realized she was going to die some time in the next ten years. There's no escaping it. How do you bury a cat? I haven't the faintest idea.
"My mother had a stroke recently. She's not supposed to die before my father. What could be more cruel?"
"Once you get to a certain age--say, forty--there are so few options left. There's no way to get another job, and in any case if you got another job you're simply too worn out to do it properly. All
want to do is lie on the couch. Disgusting, isn't it?
"I've mistreated my body so much, and there's no repairing the damage. My urine smells bad, there's a pain at the back of my leg that won't go away, I can't remember to zip myself up anymore; I've destroyed myself so much, so stupidly, so arrogantly."
"Where exactly did I go wrong? I can barely talk to anyone. Just the other day, two people I knew were talking about television shows, Season Four this, Season Five that. I felt I had nothing to say. How I envy them! Like I said, I can't remember enough anymore....
"How do they do it, how do they manage to go up to someone and talk to them? I've been told that I was very friendly when I was a little kid; but all that's so long ago; that little boy is dead and buried, he's returned to ash."
"I barely talked to anyone today. There was a Hello first thing in the morning, then nothing til the middle of the afternoon, when J- dropped off a tape. I said something to him, but he didn't stop.
"And I know it's because I've treated him shabbily in the past, I know that's the reason why. I'm guilty of a willful and selfish unreliability. Because of it, people never know where they stand with me. This is another thing I've got to be guilty of.
"There's a lot of other things I feel guilty about; there's not space here."
"I'm an expert at cruelty. I try to hurt people by ignoring them in one way or another. I even do it to M- sometimes. I even ignore disaster. There's a perennial question one asks oneself: would you rescue children from a burning building? I'm certain I wouldn't. I'd stand and watch, sure, but that's about it.
"And I'm so cruel to myself I don't try to fix any of this. I've considered going to empathy training or something like that, but I'll never go. I'll just go on being cruel, getting more and more lonely, that's about it."
"Last night, as I was going to sleep, I noticed how bored I was by going to sleep; and I realized, how pathetic to be bored going to sleep. In other words, I have become so bored by everything, I'm even bored with going to sleep.
"Sleep, wake, sleep, wake, repeat twenty thousand times....
"I've completely run out of possible experiences. There are, of course, some things I would like to do, but I know I'll never do them. I'm too old and decrepit. Have I reached the point where I can say the only novelty left is death?"
"I've closed down my Facebook account. It had all become too painful. I'd do something stupid, say something stupid to someone, and then I'd be hurt when they didn't respond. It's all so dumb of me to try to be involved in something like that. It's not something for someone who'd forty-three. I'm supposed to be responsible, with kids, even. I'm a retard, that's all.
"I should stop using the internet altogether, except for work.
"To get out of Facebook, you have to give a reason. I chose the most appropriate one - it was causing me emotional distress."
"I'm getting more and more hateful the older I get. I mean, I seem to be surrounded increasingly by stupidity. I know rationally that's because the people who are smarter than me are dying off while the people who are stupider than me are created every day, but still, I feel it irrationally, and I take it as an affront.
"The language I hear every day, it's getting stupider. 'Hopefully,' 'begs the question,' 'like-like-like,' 'hey,' 'I'm good,' the list goes on and on.
"It's starting to make me feel crushed. I wish I could just 'go with the flow.'"
SOLITARY ALONE LONELY
"My thirst for being alone is starting to bore me. But I don't know how to approach anyone any more, and old dogs can't learn new tricks. You know what? When M- and I worked in the same office, you know how often we had lunch together. Never. Not once.
"So I go out and get coffee alone, and I have my lunch alone up on the eighth floor, where it's all so painfully hopeless it's all I can do to not chuck myself over the ledge.
"It requires a miracle, and there's no such thing, miracles."
"The situation appears to be that it's all in my head. All these people don't really hate me; it's all 'in my head.' All I need is some kind of an attitude adjustment, that's all, and then I'll be able to learn some new tricks (even though these pains won't ever go away).
"But what if's a metaphysical condition? What if, on a higher plane, I am destined to be hated by everyone? And my substantiated existence merely requires me to think it's all just 'in my head?' That physical laws are responses to metaphysical truths?
"Food for thought."
"I overheard today some of my fellow workers. They are planning a trip down to Puerto Vallarta. Yes, several of them are heading down there. I wasn't asked. Of course, I would have said no; but still....
"Boy do ever hate this situation! And, by extension, I hate
For moments, I hope their plane crashes, I hope they all get weird Mexican diseases. Of course, nothing like that is likely to happen, no miracles here; but still....
"I hear them talking, over there, making their plans; I hear them not caring about me; I hear every word."
"When I was walking to work this morning I thought, 'I gotta get a new job.' Because it's destroying my soul. I mean, the work is just so wrong and so anti-life. It's just one little piece of the puzzle supplied after another, and in the end, when it's all put together, the product's junk.
"But then I realized that there's no chance anyone would hire me, because I'm lazy, I'd not want to really work. Plus, I could never think straight enough to learn anything. I'm going senile.
"So I decided to stay, and eat my heart out."
"I called my mother. At the time, I felt sincere about it. But, while we were talking, while she talked about her myriad tests, her increasing hand mobility, my father's growing imbecility, the showdown they all had with him to get him to stop with the hair-trigger anger, through all of the conversation, I was surfing the web with my right hand.
"I was just putting up with it. I didn't care about what she was telling me. This selfish child merely wanted it all to go away.
"M- asked what drug they put him on. I didn't remember."
"Most mornings I read the newspaper. These days, I'm an indefatigable scoffer about most everything. The book reviews make me angriest. These people, the writers and the reviewers, they can't write! They're ghastly! They're all in each others' pockets! And I'm sure the government's giving them tons of money only to keep the pulp and paper industry going!
"Any hint of praise of anyone sets me off. I groan about musicians, I groan about filmmakers, I groan about plays, I groan about artists.
"I groan as my rotten guts empty themselves. There's no way to repair my rotten guts."
"I expect to be found dead and partially consumed by animals some day. At the rate I'm going, it won't be long from now. I sleepwalk through my life, no initiative, no desires, and I'm slowing down, getting deader and deader with each minute.
"If I was to be even more rotten about it, I could say this whole life of mine is an experiment measuring how long one can last without doing anything at all. It's massively insolent, hugely vengeful, and ultimately risible.
"Why do I try to hurt other people so much? Honestly, I don't remember why."
"It takes me a very long time to trust someone. For example, consider this: with one exception, I've only had women whom I've known for at least eighteen months.
"If someone treats me nice, I immediately try to figure out what they want from me. They must be up to something; they must
something. And purely out of spite I will turn my back on them, or treat them coldly. I'd rather be alone than let someone get what they wanted.
"I judge people have characters as mean as mine. I'm too dead to know if I'm right."
"I'm a cold person, and getting colder. Once upon a time, perhaps, I was a pleasant person; now I'm poisonous. I am slipping in my ability to communicate with any other person. Everyone else seems so free, so easy, so capable of speech. I, on the other hand, am a disgrace, never to be improved.
"I've built myself a little cage, with thorns on all sides. The thorns sharpen with age.
"How do they do it? As I said before, I'm certain that all of the gay men I know have accidentally screwed more women than I have intentionally."
"When I was in high school, I spend a lot of time typing lists of all the songs I had on records, in alphabetical order. This deed accomplished many objectives. I got to be away from people. I got to obstinately waste my time. I got to violently bang away on something. All in all, the deed showed how much I hated my life, everyone else, and life itself. Page after page I typed, re-typed, and typed again.
"These days I waste my time writing pointless and uninspired things and putting them up on the internet. Same difference."
"An earlier memory: when I was seven I met a girl, two years older, at summer camp. We were friends there; I had a crush on her. A year later she showed up at my school to perform (with others) a play. I recognized her immediately.
"At recess, I was sitting (alone, naturally) on the school's dumpster bin. My sister came over, with her. When the girl was within range, I kicked her in the head, jumped off the dumpster, and ran away.
"For the most part, that's been my pattern; that's been my vicious, insensitive, and self-destroying pattern."
"I see the people I know--I daren't call them friends--going off in groups, to lunch, to coffee, to the subway, whatever. I am going there too; but I daren't 'tag along.' They don't need me; I'd just be 'in the way.'
"I don't mean to justify my horribleness, but, being the youngest of siblings, isn't it normal for me to feel like the most immature in any group? the extra wheel, always?
"Sure; but that doesn't explain why I have to dart another way and avoid. I'd rather avoid because they won't let me be
"There's someone at work I have difficulty with. C-. I know her mother has been sick.
"I was working late last night. C- called. C- asked if the boss was there. The boss wasn't. C- asked for the boss's phone number.
"In the shower, just now, I thought,
maybe the call was because C-'s mother is dead. And C- had to tell the boss she wouldn't be in for a couple days.
"Thus, I wouldn't have to deal with C- for a couple days.
"Reader, isn't that the most heartless response to a mother's death you've ever read?"
"My friend T- didn't make the date we'd set tonight, so I was on my own. I went to Queen Video, intending to get some British Hitchcock DVDs.
"I was looking through what they had. They had
The 39 Steps
I wanted a third, and looked again.
"And then my guts seized up, I felt nervous, I felt like I was going to shit myself. I blamed it on the lousy weirdo music. I had to leave immediately.
"(My existence is so abominable to me. I'm watched, and I'm very bad.)
"PS. Midnight. Haven't shit."
"In this mood I'm in.... So I know there's something planned, some social event, I hear the buzz about it, I know it's going to take place. I want for someone to mention it to me, but no-one says a word. It's like I'm socially invisible. Last I heard, they were going off bowling, can you believe it? Bowling. I can bowl. I used to be pretty good at it. But no.
"I simply want to ask someone, Why haven't I been invited? but I know the answer would be, Who would want a disagreeable person like you there?"
"In the sex columns, Dan's, I see the sentence, 'Over a year ago, I met another man who I was attracted to and wanted to fuck.' I stop there. I don't want to hear about people with their perversities, choices, and bad grammar.
"Where do all these confident people come from? Where are the real letters? These are so far off from my experience, I can't believe they're authentic. They sound like they're from people in movies to other people in movies.
"Surely these things don't happen in real life. Please, God, let these letters not be real."
"This depression I've been in for so long is hard to sustain. I know I have to keep it, this dirty feeling, for another week. And then maybe I'll be free of it once and for all. But really, what guarantee could I possibly have for that? I won't be suddenly changed; I'll still be silent when I should speak, I'll still be dying.
"Here I am, sitting alone at a bar. I've finished my calzone. I'l going to leave soon. A woman has sat down at the next table. She's pulled out a notebook. She's writing. I'm leaving."
"I know it's unlikely, but couldn't it be the case that at this very minute I am the most abject critter in all existence? Okay, it's really unlikely, but still not impossible, and since I'm wallowing in disgusting self-pity, it feels not at all impossible. Let me say it again: Everything has gone wrong, seriously wrong, and there's no way to turn back. Check out the kittens and puppies, y'all: They don't know what's to come, so they cavort merrily. I, too, used to cavort merrily, but that was before my leg, my guts, my memory, went so sour."
"Is there anybody still reading this shite? Well, in case there is, let me tell you about another method of idiotic and pointless revenge I use. You see, I make no effort to remember anybody's name. Really. I go completely blank from week to week, forgetting names. Of course, the fact that I'm losing my memory helps to make this look entirely authentic. I feel that when I forget someone's name, I'm taking them down a bit, down closer to my vile level. I'm saying, 'You're forgettable.' Ain't that cruel of me? Ain't it the most pathetic thing?"
"I wonder--I wonder what it'll feel like when I'm finally fired from my job? when they finally notice that I do as little as possible, that I don't like the place, that I don't like what it stands for, that I'm not in the least a
When I'm asked into the office and told they're going to have to
let me go?
Will I break down and cry? Will I go catatonic? I could very easily simply refuse to move, imitating a slug. That's the most probable. I'll simply become like an inert sea slug."
"Look at this, look at what I wrote in my notebook: 'There's an illusion of fungability.' Yes, that's what I wrote: 'There's an illusion of fungability.' I'm not even sure I spelled it right, for God's sake. But besides that, what the hell does it even mean? My memory is shot, along with everything else about me. What am I supposed to do with a sentence like that? There must have been an idea behind it, but it's gone forever.
"I wonder if I should give up now. Take this as a sign.
"I can't fool you. I'll continue."
ECZEMA AND HYPER-CALLOUS
"I've forgotten a couple nasty things about my body, and I just have to mention them here. For the last couple winters, I've had a spot on my right arm that gets scabby with eczema. The tissue just flakes off. It goes away in the Spring, but it's here now.
"The other thing is this callous on my right heel that grows and grows no matter how much I pick it away. I almost break fingernails on the damn thing. It's so big, it alters the shape of my shoe.
"I didn't want to leave anything out."
"Well, here we are at the end of this rough and tumble month. I can't say I've enjoyed it, and, if I've done my job right, neither can you.
"Tomorrow's April, finally, April. A nice month. The trees start to bud, and the grass awakens. Everything becomes pretty.
"There's a Kafka story about a man trying to find his way to a particular address in a strange town. He stops a cop and asks the way. The cop starts laughing. 'Give it up! Give it up!'
"I'm not giving up. I'll go on. I swear I'll go on."
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