I’m tired of nostalgia. If I remember that one episode of Mad Men correctly, the literal Greek definition is “pain from an old wound”. Why do people insist on trying to relive supposedly “happier” times in their lives? I think they just want to go back and do everything differently. Really, what they seem to be looking for is closure, some concrete reminder that an era is ending and another one is beginning. It’s never that neat and even for me. Last weekend, I tried to host a gathering at my house for a bunch of old friends to watch Doctor Who with me before I leave the West Coast for good. Of the five invited, one showed up. Everyone else just had shit to do, I guess. Yeah, I get it—we’ll meet again, and it doesn’t mean they don’t love me. Blah blah blah, yada yada yada. A couple years ago, I remember taking BART out to the middle of nowhere to celebrate the graduation of a friend who was leaving for India. Attendance for that was more or less mandatory.
I never get nostalgic for the outstanding moments in my life. I’ve only had a couple, but they were so satisfying that I feel no desire whatsoever to return to them, as they are fine on their own. Nostalgia is for people who can’t move on, who can’t shake the feeling that they’ve done something wrong and if they could just go back, knowing then what they know now, it would somehow be even more awesome. I don’t buy that. Nostalgia, for me, is more about perceived missed opportunities than real ones. Most of the things that haven’t gone right for me seem to have done so in spite of my best efforts, not because of them. That’s why I’ve never had much use for anything that portrays children as innocent. Children are younger people. They have desires, insecurities and weaknesses just like everyone else. They are complicated. I really don’t think that, deep down, they want to be coddled. They’re curious. They want to know what lies beyond their cul-de-sacs and white picket fences. Don’t tell me you’re still a child at heart. That’s nonsense. Children are adults at heart.
I don’t have most of what I want. I’m learning to live with that. My life is shitty, always has been, and mostly likely always will be. What has changed since my childhood is that now I have (slightly) more control over just what shitty things happen to me and how I deal with them. Honestly, little else has changed. There, that’s my contribution to the It Gets Better project.
Earlier today, I revisited my college town. It was nice, but nothing super-special. That’s probably for the better. I didn’t need a fireworks show to feel like I was getting an appropriate send-off. Just the knowledge that five or six people will give a shit that I’m gone is enough. That said, if anyone would like to give me a check for a million dollars, a date with Taylor Lautner, or maybe just a bit of traffic, that would be nice. I don’t think I complain enough about how few hits this blog gets. I know there are a million jackasses out there with WordPress accounts, but few are anywhere near as awesome as I am, and none of them can work Taylor Lautner and Doctor Who into a touching, bittersweet essay about letting go and moving on. (Incidentally, “Doctor Who” is by far my most popular tag, edging out “LGBT”, “masturbating”, and “Ayn Rand”. If it becomes any more of a part of my thinking, it will eclipse sex.)
A couple weeks ago, I watched The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 with Rifftrax. Rifftrax, for those of you who don’t know, is the website offering downloadable commentary tracks by most of the people responsible for Mystery Science Theater 3000, one of the greatest TV shows of all time. If there are any movies more deserving of endless mockery than the Twilight films, let me know so that I can start mocking them. The experience was, in short, a gut-buster. These films are absolutely godawful. Setting aside their icky gender politics, horrid acting, plotting, and characterization, they’re just boring. Without the Rifftrackers to remind me of how desperately padded they are, I would probably have thrown my computer through my window. With them, I can marvel at what a talentless fraud Stephenie Meyer is in peace.
Someday, I will read Wuthering Heights. I mention that because Stephenie Meyer apparently labors under the delusion that Twilight heroes Edward and Bella are the Katharine and Heathcliff of their generation. That may be true, but only because they’re such horrible people. The main characters in Wuthering Heights, from what I’ve heard, are either sociopaths, bipolar, or the spawn of Satan. That’s why I can’t wait to read the book. By sucking so hard, Stephenie Meyer has indirectly turned me on to the magic of great literature. Thank you, Twilight.
I don’t care much for inspirational rhetoric, so I’ll close with something that I find inspirational. It takes a while to recover from abuse, but the nice thing about abusers is that once you see through them, there is nothing more that they can do to hurt you. One of my best friends growing up was a truly terrible human being. He was selfish, manipulative, and fickle to the extreme. His family wasn’t much better, with a mother who was basically a Stepford Wife and a father who, while genial and good-natured, let her have way too much control over other people’s lives. I haven’t spoken to any of them in years. Someday, I might write a book about a family based off of that real-life one. Until then, I’ll live with the knowledge that while I may have spent far too much time and energy trying to turn my friend into a decent human being, he will have to live with being a terrible one for the rest of his life. Don’t be too distraught by the fact that Kim Jong-Il never had to face punishment for his crimes and we still don’t know who Jack the Ripper was. They lived, died, and wasted their lives. With any luck, you won’t.