I’m Irish, I’m partial to the Irish. I like their cold sense of things. The almost tangible darkness that feels truthful and thus trustworthy. I like their self-destructive streaks. Their staunch and stubborn ways they navigate relationships. The way life documents itself into their faces and results in this abiding expression of austerity and will. We’ll stick around for ages, through any dystopian hellscape and then, as a colleague recently put it, “Every punch I throw is my last.”
There’s this Siberian switch. Forever and ever amen peace be with you.
But the self-resentful truth is most people can just look at me in the eye and make me go weak in the knees.
Amongst my many obsessions as a child, lived my own personal and ritualist game: Witch-Hunts-for-Liars. Appropriate punishment would have been government-backed executions. It left me suspicious and fearful, constantly catching my balance on shifting grounds. And like all investigative roads to Oz, I had hoped of emerald cities, found the path littered with hoards of monkeys, too many people named Zeke and the occasional Dorothy. Most of my time was spent successfully pillaging for curtains to pull.
I’ve been on antidepressants for the past 6 months or so. I will say it again, they are saving my goddamn life. It’s not for everybody but it’s sure as fuck is for me.
Last week I was riding the subway home to Brooklyn at 5 o’clock rush hour and someone reached out to catch me. Typically for the solid 45 minutes on the train I’m reading and not paying attention. I like to try to ride the subway like a skateboard, just to test my balance, see if I can do it. Once I get good at it, I get cocky and stop paying attention. In about 10 seconds I fall to the ground. This specific train was really crowded and as it came to a halt I had my hands on the bar above my head and the momentum swung every part of my body from my wrist down in a slow motion wave across the car. I never let go of the grip above my head so for a moment I ended up stuck in this awkward, bow and arrow type position that I couldn’t get out of. In the blind sea of sweaty New Yorkers came this gentle shove on my back, tossing me back to a standing position. I turned to see who it was and to thank him but it was so crowded I couldn’t tell and seemingly no one was eager for the recognition. It was probably Jesus.
Sometimes people are good, sometimes they’re bad. Sometimes bad people are good and sometimes good people are bad.
When I was eight I loved my teacher. She was smart, kind, caring, and gave me special treatment which has always been my favorite kind of treatment. Some point throughout the year she happened to suggest that the class should really consider behaving when she’s out of the room because, “…there is a camera in there”, she said as she pointed to a heating vent on the ceiling. The horror I felt as I laid witness to not only a lie purging out of her mouth but also such a weak attempt at fabricating that lie, left me silenced and stunned.
She brought it up pretty regularly and each time I cringed with an unwanted loss of respect for her. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Why would she lie? I thought she was better than that. Is everyone else believing this bullshit? This school is so poor we can’t even afford a real bell or books – there’s no way in hell there’s any kind of security system.
After months of personally absorbing her repeat kicks to my balls, I left her this regretful note: