the impossibility of helping anybody do anything anymore...the cold indifference of men who refuse to act brotherly in order to protect their own rights and guard their own interests...the fear behind it all...many are cowardly and base...they cheat everybody, and say it is because "everybody does it."
Yeah, this is all about me, the raw wood of the unvarnished truth.
I wish I had stayed with carpentry. I gave it a few years of the seventies in New York, Virginia, North Carolina, and Texas. I worked for some pretty good carpenters. One guy I worked with could drive nails with his eyes shut. That was before the cussed nail-gun appeared. Ugh. I hate that damned machine. Speed the work up to make more money and drive down the cost of labor. Hire fewer carpenters. The ease of the gun puts excess nails where no nails belong, badly set because of an angle. Because no hammer can swing in that space, the painter can't set the nail either, and has to cut the head off or pry the nail out with sidecutters. There goes your perfect stairwell.
I worked for a fellow who would take a few measurements, go below and without referring to a chart, cut a hip roof on the ground and throw it up to us a board at a time to be nailed in place; compound angles and a perfect fit. I probably could have attained that degree of skill, so at least I could say there is one thing I can do well. As it is, there is no such thing.
No I don't really wish I'd stayed with carpentry. Too many splinters. I wish I had stayed in the Marine Corps. Maybe I'd have been killed in Vietnam with the rest of my outfit, and I'd be a bloody hero now.
At any rate, I'd be out of here.
I wish I'd never left Westlake, La. Maybe I'd a-had a job in the chemical plants there, walking around with a clipboard and a gas mask, seeing how much poison I could safely release into the lungs of Calcasieu Parish that day. I'd be retired with a good pension a house of my own and umpire of the local softball team. I could walk over and see my mother's and my grandparents' graves every day. Believe it or not, I feel pretty good when I'm standing there that near to them. I wish there was room for me.
I wish I'd never met my wife that's for damned sure. Then we wouldn't have had that damned kid and I wouldn't be sitting here worrying about his fucked-up head and kicking myself in the ass for being a bad father and missing her for nearly 40 years.
I also wish I had never wanted to be a writer or an artist. I wish I had given up the thought when I penned those first words in that first notebook in the bowling alley in Harahan, La., in 1963. When those cops showed up wanting to see what I had written because the owner thought I was casing the place for a robbery, I should have just quit it right then. It was probably a warning from God. I probably should have been an over-the-counter salesman and retailer.
I wish I had stayed a newspaper reporter by shrugging off the preposterous hypocrisy of the news media and writing about the antiwar movement the way they wanted it written. I could think of myself as a muckraker while defending the Establishment. I wish I had become an editor "where I really might make a difference." Har har de har har.
I wish I had never smoked a joint, never taken lsd, never heard of the freaking antiwar movement, and didn't give a damn about the civil or human rights of anybody except me. I wish I had kept those suits and ties and worked my way up into the higher echelons of the Cosmodemonic Industrial Complex and kicked some ass in the market place. Maybe I'd be sitting on a nice shady verandah in Brazil right now with a beauty waiting for me on the couch. I wish I had never believed in "the American dream."
I wish I had never met Cindy S., Joey B., Jill W., Madeline H., Ursula W., Margareta N., and Meryl M. I wish I had never loved any of 'em. I loved each of them as well as I could, and each left me with lingering pain and lower self-esteem. None accepted any blame or responsibility whatever for the failed relationship. It was always something I had done or not done. Like a damned fool I accepted the blame and spent years punishing myself for it. At the end of each, deception and dishonesty about their true thoughts and feelings finished us off. They couldn't have hurt me more if they had planned it. The spaces between relationships became longer and wider. I came to feel like a male-reject in a woman's world, where they choose the winners and discard the losers at their whim and fancy, naturally with an eye to prosperity security comfort and above all fun. They decide, making up and changing the rules now and then (today, gentle, womanly men are the rage)
while we pass before them exposing our strengths and vulnerabilities, wearing what they like, smelling how they like, walking talking and acting in a way they like, passing their secret tests, or it is take a hike buddy, there's a hundred more waiting to make a pass. They have so much sex that by 30 many are rather fucked-out and tired of it, but say that men are "obsessed with sex," without regard for the obvious fact that most men are starved for it. The prisons are full of them. So many women take sex for granted, it's so easy to get. They lie their asses off to men especially about sex, because it is their power, their exclusive and guarded power, to give it or not. Of course it's bloody Nature at work, and Nature, if you didn't know it, is a bitch.
The things they said or wrote to me finally in the end hurt my feelings terribly. They couldn't have planned worse words to wound me. I remember every insult. Each of them went on to more successful and satisfying relationships until they either found Mr. Right or gave up on him altogether. One married a super-rich Japanese businessman, another became a successful art dealer, another is living a happy old age in Paris, one is a retired and well-off editor, another is a successful doctor in a foreign country, one is probably dead and the other I have no idea at all but I'm sure she's happier than I am about it.
It angers me sometimes, seeing the wreckage of my life, understanding how much time I've wasted looking for her, doing self-destructive things to numb my pain after I lost her, knowing my unsatisfied hunger for a compatible partner, and making me want just to stay away from them.
But I wish I had stayed in Lake Charles and married that nice blonde tomboy girl whose name I can't remember, who liked me.
Above all I wish I had never stayed with this writing shit. Maybe I would be normal.
Forty-seven years ought to be enough to discover whether you have any talent, don't you agree?
It is possible to go your whole life and fail in every undertaking you ever undertook. It is possible to reason logically from a false premise. It is possible to make one mistake after another until you believe you can't get anything right. It is possible to live in solitude and loneliness your whole life for no other reason than your refusal to give up hope and die. It is possible to study your ass off trying to do something well and never get it right. It is possible to try and try and never succeed. It is possible that persistence will produce nothing. It is possible that everyone you ever tried to know love or help ended in a failed relationship. It is possible to have known so little contentment and happiness that life itself is a misery. It is possible to have never been successful or satisfied. It is possible to be forever misunderstood. It is possible to write for 47 years without knowing you haven't the talent for it. It is possible to conclude that life without success is impossible. It is possible for a situation to become hopeless against your will. It is possible to live a whole life and never meet your mate. It is possible to find her and lose her and never get over it.
It is possible to go 30 years without a massage and never realize how much you needed one, because your body is so tightly-wound in a stance that keeps you standing in a stiff mental wind.
I wish I had joined the Merchant Marine and shipped out all over the world, just another sailor in another port, making money lying on the deck reading and steaming from place to place, the whole freaking human world...the whole nightmare of civilization...out-of-sight most of the time. But not even that would not have satisfied my wanderlust, which became more intense as time went on.
I wish I had gone to Europe in the sixties when everybody else was going. Maybe I'd be civilized now. Maybe I wouldn't feel like a hungry animal chewing his foot off in a trap. Maybe a couple of months around a fire on the beach of a Greek island with a group of educated and sexy Europeans would have matured and mellowed me out and I wouldn't feel like a hunted animal. Maybe I would have married a Swede and would be living in a cabin we built on a fjord or whatever, eating fresh fish and making love everyday.
I'm going to delete this blog pretty soon. I wish I had never started it. It looks like it's moving but it's not going anywhere. I'm going to re-read the whole thing and flush out the crap and see how I feel before I do it.