Friday, August 11, 2006

Credit equal$ Credibility

I read and read all that I could. I surrounded myself with beautiful ideas like stones from a prison wall. All the chaos of my childhood stemmed from ignorance, impatience, myopia, and unjustified assurance of opinion. I would not make the same mistakes; I would lift myself from the gutter my family wallowed in. Yet, the paper cuts still found me. At times, I filled with guilt and shame. This path created feelings I did not expect to encounter. I felt like a sham, a fraud, a faker—a little voice always screaming to me in the back of my mind—a gaudy, vulgar, low-class loser eager to show me the reflection of my pretense—a voice willing to bring me back to the jeers, beer, and filth of my heritage. I would never be cultured, dignified, or evolved; it would always be the same—a working class chum feigning decorum. Deep down that voice screamed for satisfaction—for cheap whiskey, dirty sluts, pro wrestling, fart jokes, burping contests, loud cursing rambles, generic coffee, stale cigarettes, donuts, pizza, and sitcoms. But there was another I, the cultivated me, that despised this profane counterpart and in turn read more and more in the hopes it would finally silence his hooting. Damn this education! Instead of enlightenment I have self-reproach. It has left me alone. My deluded, pompous ranting and philosophizing irritates my old friends. They think I’m full of shit. They have no taste for idealism. They know work, stress, and numb. And I don’t help the numb—I only stir things in them they want unstirred lest they end up where I am. Those above me won’t accept me. It doesn’t matter what I’ve learned. My mannerisms and idiosyncrasies reveal me like the mark of Cain. They know where I come from and that’s enough to justify my banishment. I’ve read myself into limbo. I read more so I can paint the ever-stretching walls of limbo with imagined life. I linger and waltz among the darkness carrying the phantom objects of Maugham, Plato, Lyotard, Whitman, Descartes, Baudrillard, Gide, Sartre, Camus, Kafka, Tolstoy, Byron, Keats, Hegel, Kant, Marx, Dante, Eliot, Shakespeare, Voltaire, Beckett, Joyce and the others. I force myself to learn French and developed a taste for espresso. I’ve lost track of what I enjoyed, believed, and was moved by and became lost in another identity game. Sometimes I feel like a hidden sales representative is nestled in the nooks of my brain feeding my neurons marketing plans and buying strategies. So now that I’ve become cultured I know what to buy, what to drink, eat, think, read, watch, and listen in order to truly be cultured, because the culture is no longer in the action, but in the product. I can be cultured, but unless I can buy culture, then I, and not it, is the true simulacrum. Consequently, until I can possess a posh decorated loft near downtown in an affluent, artsy corner of the metropolitan area, the Lexus sedan, a diversified portfolio, the proper wardrobe bought from the proper stores, and, most importantly, an established line of remarkable credit; I am only the imitation of culture—a faker trying to sneak in the back door—a faker who thinks thoughts, ideas, and beauty are still real; a faker drowning miserably in my own inadequacy; a faker whose broke…and has no credit.

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