Thursday, November 29, 2012
My Match Bio
This is a work in progress, but it's about time I put my best foot forward. I'm giving online dating a shot. Here's what I've got so far. I expect to be flooded with date requests from a horde of admirers any moment now.
I like exotic cuisine, mass market paperbacks, and MSNBC. I cook frequently with great enthusiasm but little skill.
I am not goal oriented. In fact, I am a listless castaway lacking ambition. I have no direction in life, about which I am ambivalent. I am not funny, interesting, or engaging in any fashion. I am cheap furniture. To put this in a positive light, I am somewhat tolerable.
Punctuality is not my strong suit. If we meet, lie to me about the time, otherwise I will be thirty minutes late.
I do take responsibility for my decisions. That's a plus. Unfortunately, my decisions are rarely correct.
I am also honest to fault. I stress fault. Hence the self-indictment you've read so far.
My sense of style? No. That's an oxymoron. I wear t-shirts with visual puns, political candidates, or musical act logos upon them. I should have stopped dressing like a 24 year old hipster years ago, but apparently these garments serve as an identity substitute for me, and like a wailing child who will not relinquish his pacifier, I continue to purchase these abominations. I wear black jeans year round, which fortunately requires no imagination. Yes, I own more than one pair. Four, in fact. I am not scummy.
I've quit smoking three times now, for four months each time. My dedication to anything even slightly challenging is practically nil. I'm awfully young to be running out the clock on life, but I just don't have any passion for anything. I should probably take up heroin, but those dealers don't deliver, and driving to the west side involves traffic. Too much hassle.
If I was rich, I would never, ever, leave my house. Groceries and supplies would be delivered. I would stay in, criminally over spice all my food, read pedestrian contemporary "literature," build jigsaw puzzles, and drink myself stupid every Sunday of the football season. I'm not rich, but I already accomplish a lot of these, which may strike you as impressive.
I live alone, thankfully, and find both cats and dogs supremely annoying, although dogs are much, much worse. I used to own a tarantula, which constantly got tangled in my hair (It's short now, obviously) when I let it crawl on my head.
I have no tattoos. I have no objection to them, I just want to wait for prison before I make any life-altering decisions.
I drink four or five tall energy drinks per day. I tremble constantly. My hands are like hummingbird wings.
You are smart, informed, and opinionated. Nerdy is good. I like activists and feminists. I'll tag along for a good protest. If you need somebody to listen as you spew bellowing tirades and righteous indignation (about any subject important to you) I will gladly listen and respond, hopefully in a manner that is not mumbled and monosyllabic.
Drop me line. After our date, all the other guys won't seem as terrible. 5:39 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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"I hope you die cold and alone."
Whenever I was insulted, or even gently teased, this was my canned response. I'm not sure where I picked it up, but I enjoyed the pairing of hateful spite and casual dismissal. Nobody I knew feigned shock upon hearing this charming quip. After all, I was the guy who could fill the better part of an afternoon with dead baby jokes, several of which involved a microwave.
I don't use it anymore. Now, when the verbal hammer is dropped upon me, I generally reverse engineer the criticism to determine whether it has merit. Does this person know me well? Any axe to grind? Is there a valid point here that may lead me to introspection and eventual self improvement? I'd like to say that any negativity rolls off me like water off a duck's ass, but we both know that's horseshit. It sticks. I just can't bring myself to answer with bile any more. Biting sarcasm no longer floats my boat. I have one less defense mechanism in my arsenal, and now I'm reduced to manufacturing a look of pained grievance intended to elicit guilt in my attacker. This, sadly, is mostly ineffective.
You may mistake my evolved approach as a symptom of growing maturity and improving emotional health. Do not be fooled. I keep the gun in the holster not because I am wise, but because I am exhausted and demoralized.
People die cold and alone all the time, and it just isn't funny.
I've seen it.
My paternal grandmother, once a proud mother and stern educator, devolved into senility during her final few years. A clean home carefully decorated with books, paintings, and ornamental finery (that's where I got that trait) became a filthy swamp of cat hair and dirty dishes. A sharp mind became a dense fog. One son became a raging alcoholic while the other hid in her basement reading art books for forty years. Vultures took advantage of her degraded state and tricked her into handing over her home for pennies on the dollar. She was unceremoniously bundled off to a nursing home, where she received the minimum of attention from her family as she faded from life. I went to see her only once, on a Thanksgiving, and couldn't wait to leave. My sisters went more often, and were better people than I, but I believe that no patchwork of attention from any of us could've possibly filled her empty hours waiting for the end.
My maternal grandmother carries on. She visited last July, and most of our conversations consisted of her detailing the indignities of elderly life. She's tired and lonely. Everything hurts. Her trip to see her offspring was a success, not only because she got to meet her great grandson, but because she felt she needed to say goodbye to all of us. Now she can die in peace, whatever that means. She writes me the occasional letter now, but I can't read her handwriting.
My father acquired a college degree, gainful employment, a wife, four kids, and plenty of hobbies. By all appearances he was a well rounded guy with a happy, successful life. He managed to tease out the threads of self destruction, however, and elected to become a dedicated lush. During his final three years, he bounced drunkenly between homeless shelters and cheap hellholes stocked with parolees and deadbeats. Basically, he was one step above a freight train bum huddled around a trash fire. He was delivering auto parts for minimum wage when he suffered a fatal heart attack.
Don't get me wrong. I realize that life is about far more than brutal endings. I'm not attempting to cheapen any of my relatives' lives. All of them had many glorious years ripe with beautiful, happy moments. I just can't ignore that for every single person alive, an ugly ending of one sort or another awaits.
Due to poor decisions and behavior on my part, my life has become a meaningless slog at a far younger age than any of theirs. I could blame the economy for my mediocre income and lack of financial stability. I could blame the educational system for my failure to advance my prospects. I could blame my parents and their twenty year long cold shoulder marathon for my aversion to romantic relationships.
There's no point to that, though. The buck has to stop somewhere. Some wise sage once said "your environment was responsible for making you this way, but you are responsible for staying this way." Ultimately, I must create my own reality. I have to change into a better person. I would like very much to fall in love, start a family, own a home, and experience all the joy life has to offer before my clock stops. That's the point. Right?
I think I'm taking baby steps in the right direction. Small goals achieved are minor miracles for me. It's time to give myself a report card. I still haven't quit smoking, despite a few aborted attempts. Failure. I haven't gone on a date in five years, and the notion fills me with trepidation. Failure. Saving money? Not yet, but paying off debt steadily. Pass, average grade. I dropped thirty pounds and have kept it off for six months now, and I know a lot more about cooking and nutrition than before. Grade: Incomplete.
Who said "You're only a failure if you never try?" That person knew. That person was talking to me. I am listening. But damn, metamorphosis is really hard.
I want life. I want to matter. I want meaning. I'm reaching for those things, though all I've grasped (so far) is empty air. As time and hope dwindle, I hope I get different results sooner rather than later.
Dying cold and alone isn't so bad, I've decided. It's dying with regret that really frightens me.
8:26 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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