What is wrong with you?

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The charitable and affable drood posted a journal entry that he perhaps regrets but I prize. But I’m an unsociable cold fish and the two friendships I’ve valued most are with people who’ve been able to calmly clinical about Richard Evans Lee. Years later I can still flinch but the words are important to my sometimes humorless private conversation with myself about myself.

In pursuit of amity or at least to keep the peace it is a prudent policy to not tell people we know what we really think about their confused conduct and failures in judgment. I guess it is for the best since we only know so much and thinking clearly isn’t half as easy as it often seems.

Can I think of any hard words to say to anyone who has ever read my journal? Sure, probably any of us can, some of you do it regularly. Not having drood’s wide acquaintanceship my list is shorter.

1) Your gnomic attempts to evoke depth and wisdom are sad. Sadder still are the people who read your journal and find the illusory depth. Your gibberish evokes equally the banality of photos of kittens looking at sunsets and the pretensions featured The Village Voice’s Arts section.

2) Your pretended sexuality is a lie, a baffling lie. You are lying only to yourself. The spectators are either fooled because no one sells lies better than one convinced of them or kind in their silence. It is one of the oddest rebellions against upbringing I’ve ever witnessed.

3) You’ve almost willfully cultivated vulnerability and the cruelty of indifference. You let your ethical ideals expect acts from others that you know they’ll rarely perform. While your misery makes you attractive to likeminded folks. You really are outside many norms, distancing you painfully from parts of life. Because of this you need to cultivate toughness lest your own virtues damn you.

4) Life can be heavy in disappointment. Somewhere there must be a thousand recorded clichés that accepting this is a requirement of peace and, to use a nasty word, maturity. With luck the mere passing of years will make this more than words but a felt truth whose acceptance makes getting through the day easier. (Damn I hate it when I sound like a self-help book but banality isn’t necessarily a lie.) The trick is to accept ordinary, daily failures without losing the quiet delight of getting through another day and enjoying the successes and treats that your life does offer. (Ditto.)

Two of these are unkind and meant as such. One is specific, the other generic.

I’d wanted to move on to a list of what is wrong with me. But Charles, my daily burden and grace, needed much of my time and attention. Coming soon to a journal near you: How Richard is Fucked Up.

But.

Drood followed his list of the flaws of others with his list of the virtues of others. Likewise:

1) You have skills and talents that will never be mine. You have canny control over a part of your life that I’ve never mastered.

2) You have a freedom denied me. Much in my life constrains me now; you can follow your caprice where you may.

3) You take a charming gusto in many other people. Honestly I can’t say that I’d want it for myself. I wouldn’t be who I am. But I see an interesting path missed.

4) While my sexuality wasn’t inhibited when I was young clearly I didn’t know as much about mine as you do of yours.

Four for four. Now to figure out why someone searching for ’Where can I find the Bedtime 20th anniversary Care Bear for sale?‘ wound up on my website.

Your feelings?

Please share your feelings about What is wrong with you?.
Thanks,
Richard

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