The other day I was riding the subway and a little boy got on with his father (presumably) and a little brother. He was bi-racially gorgeous, scrawny, light-tan skin, tight curly brown hair with natural blonde highlights. Like JT’s hair in the early N’SYNC days, but darker and far prettier. A familial version of the popular puppy mill dog for Brooklyn’s aging hipsters, who are now breeding. On the crowded train he stood six inches from my face with his head hung low and he cried for three straight stops. He wore a teal blue t-shirt that in Bold caps announced: “I LOVE HATERS.”

I took a breath and thought to myself, Fuck. I know exactly how you feel.

When I was a kid I had this compulsive fear of the power behind my own thoughts. If I happened to think something negative (out of fear) than what if the simple thought of that moved the universe towards manifesting the very thing I was trying to avoid? Even if I was voting against the negative outcome, I feared the mere idea – even as a passerby, would or could force it into existence. Something like, “I wonder if I’ll go to hell…” could very well notch myself one step closer to burning amongst the scum of the earth for all of eternity. And the thing is, you just never know how far you’ve notched yourself already, so each wrongful thought could seal your fate forever.

In this type of mindset you’re left with your biggest possible fear: yourself. Your tiny, little pint-sized ego and the almighty power behind it. Some might say that what the situation is lacking is humility. Or simple faith. I’d like to think that need for faith was the departure point for all these religious nuts. Maybe at jump, they were onto something, the advances and setbacks of ours lives, are better off when humbly considered the reaped consequences or benefits of another being. Then they started negotiating with reality and fucked it all up.

So in adulthood, I fear my actions – sometimes my thoughts. It’s most often when I want something so bad. Or when I have it and I’m consistently experiencing temporary paralysis over loosing this thing I love and now don’t want to live without. I can fathom living with its absence, but in that version of my life I’m well aware of the permanent hole it’s burned. How it’s changed me. And I’m well aware of how much better I am with it. And it is that version that I have no desire to live. But what did desire ever really govern anyway? Nothing? Everything?

I love the tiny greek in a blazer so much it’s slightly excruciating.

When we were kids our parents saved money every summer to rent a beach house. Sometimes we had it for a week, sometimes more – the amount of sloppy joe’s we unwillingly ate that winter was a good indication of how long the summer might be. One summer brought an unusually great migration of jelly fish. It was our version of JAWS. You couldn’t go in the water and if you did, you were on constant patrol for the beasts of prey. I spent a lot of time watching my sister’s back and rising out of the water with swelled skin the color of tuna steaks. Early on we decided to do something about it, on behalf of the entire beach community – if not the entire American East Coast. From this day forward we woke up early, each grabbed a plastic Osh Kosh “fishing” net, marched ourselves down to the shore and immersed our untried, pale bodies into the Long Island Sound. Then, acting as live bait: we lie in wait. As the jelly fish would drift by, we would pluck them out of the water one-by-one, rushing their baleful, lifeless bodies to The Jetty where we would spread them out like butter on stone toast and let the sun dry them out. The next day we would check on the success of our carnage and poke their now flaky remains with the end of a reed, confirming our felony.

I’ve started loading my pockets with pennies and treating New York City’s sewer systems like a wishing well.

When to be willful and when to take heed? Maybe we force things to couple that shouldn’t or wouldn’t or have time and circumstance set up against them. And maybe all great things are met with initial resistance because greatness is so rare that it can hardly be fathomed. Most often you can’t see what you don’t already know. How would you recognize it and fulfill this petty need to stick a flag in it and call it by name?

– JT.


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