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11:38 am - 03.22.2013
Me Against Me: Winner Take All

Me Against Me: Winner Take All

Couple years ago, a fellow tenant left a bunch of John D. MacDonald "Travis McGee" novels in the lobby of our apartment building.

I'd never read John D. MacDonald before, but was a knowledgeable-enough reader to know he was one of the top guys in his genre, so I grabbed them up.

And they are really good.

One thing I've enjoyed about the "McGee" novels is that MacDonald drops in stuff like this:

I seem forever on the edge of expressing the inexpressible, touching what has never been touched, but I cannot reach through the veil of apartmess. I am living without being truly alive. I can love without loving. When I am in the midst of friends, when there is laughter, closeness, empathy, warmth, sometimes I can look at myself from a little way off and think that they do not really know who is with them, what strangeness is there beside them, trying to be something else.

That's "McGee" in a moment of self-reflection (From The Scarlet Ruse), the kind of self-reflection I wouldn't typically expect from a tough-guy hero in a genre novel.

(When "McGee" shares this sentiment with his friend "Meyer", Meyer responds by saying "But we are all like that! That's the way it is. For everyone in the world. Didn't you know?")

I tried to believe him. But belief is a very difficult feat when you crouch out here in the night, too far from the fire to feel its heat, too far from the people to hear the words of their songs.

I bear little-to-no-resemblance to the fictional "Travis McGee"...but I'm pretty sure I've expressed that sentiment, albeit much less artfully, in this very journal (Which leads credence to his friend's "We all think that" sentiment).

That's something I like in general about books and movies and tv-shows and what-all; that recognition of myself and how I see the world in a fictional character's words or actions, especially fun when that character otherwise doesn't resemble me at all.

(The "flip side", of course, is the pleasure of being surprised, by experiencing how differently other people see the world...but that's stuff for another entry.)

That whole "Everyone thinks they're an outsider" sentiment is definitely borne out by Facebook; I feel like I'm always reading about all the "haters" who are getting our protagonist down because they're just too awesome or something (Yesterday one guy said, regarding the army of people who apparently are vexed by him, "You don't dislike me - You just can't figure me out, and it's driving you crazy", which I thought was a nice bit of self-mythologizing...and by "nice", of course, I mean "ridiculous").

Or reading someone's borrowed sentiment about what a crazy rebel they are (If you use a cute graphic off the Internet that says, "I'm such a hell-raiser the Devil is worried what he'll do with me when I get there", it's pretty clear you are no kind of "hell-raiser").

Those Facebook posts annoy me, because I genuinely feel like an "outsider" - for just one example: I'm not the only guy who's ever come out to Hollywood at 40 to try to become a successful actor...but I'm the only one I know - and it's tough.

The actor in me "gets" the appeal of having a bunch of "haters" who are against you because you're so beyond their understanding or something - It makes your boring-ass, pointless life more...cinematic. You're the hero of your own Oscar-wining movie.

For myself, I'm not really feeling it.

I don't think I have a bunch of "haters" in my life - I don't really understand how that sort of thing would naturally happen - but instead, feel like I have a handful of people who are personally invested to some degree in my happiness and success, a larger group who like me well enough, and generally don't wish me harm (And who might enjoy seeing me on tv occasionally because I'm "someone they know"), and everyone else who doesn't give a shit one-way-or-another.

I might have "haters" here and there, maybe, but if I do, I'd guess they are from my past, when I was interacting more with more people, and didn't always handle said interactions as well as I would have liked.

I'm envious of those people who seem to have crafted some narrative of their lives they can put some stock in. I really am. Cause I find my own life somewhat resistant to it.

In any case, I don't think the story is "Me Against The World", and it certainly isn't "You And Me Against The World" ("You" has never hung around long enough for that).

It's pretty much "Me Against Me".

I don't really think "The World" gives a fuck, by and large.


Well, while my natural tendency is to "stew in my own unhappy juices" during times of (mostly self-inflicted) turmoil, and this time is proving to be no exception, it would be unfair to myself to say I'm not trying at all; called a friend to try and arrange a lunch-date today (It didn't work out), I followed up with my former standup comedy teacher, Gerry, about the location of an "open mike" on Sunday nights (After running into him and talking about my over-before-it-began standup career), and I...I...can't think of a third thing.

But I know I did something...

I've made more of a point of walking the past couple days, which theoretically should help with my weight and mood and such.

And as I've said before, I tried to deal with my sleeping issues and sore back issues (By buying the supplement at GNC, and the arch-supports at Ralphs). And that stuff matters, because it's hard to "look on the sunny side" when you can't sleep and your back aches.

Haven't taken any new actions on the "financial front" since finding that my tax refund has already been direct-deposited to my checking account (which means I'll make next month's rent...but it doesn't "kick that can" that far down the road).

Still don't have a better plan than "Hope for the best", which I guess is less masochistic than "hoping for the worst", but still seems a little weak, as far as "plans" go.

If need be, I could drop cable - ("He said, shedding a single, manly tear at the thought of such a thing") - and reduce my cell-phone plan (I don't have a smart phone, but I can currently access email and the Internet with my $50 a month plan; for $25, I can get unlimited talk and text. Which means I have to consider whether it's critical that I be able to get email on my cell).

Another thing I've thought about is making the 99-Cent Store a more regular/systematic part of my grocery shopping.

For example, I buy tons of canned pineapple, which I typically buy at Ralphs for $1.19 a can, and which I can get at the 99-Cent store for...well, for 99.9 cents.

Ditto with bags of steamed vegetables - At Ralphs, even on sale, a bag goes for $2-2.50.

And the last couple times I've gone, they've had Healthy Choice chicken soup (For whatever reason, canned chicken soup has become a dinner-time staple) - And the best sale they ever have on Progresso soup at Ralphs is 4-for-$5.00.

They often have pretty decent fruit, sometimes they have WW desserts...the point is, I can probably do better than I'm doing, grocery-wise, without it having a big impact on having the things I like/the things that have worked for me in terms of my weight-loss/maintenance.

Though yesterday's visit, to the store in Santa Monica (On Pico blvd) didn't go quite the way I'd hoped - I got a $64 ticket for parking on a "permit only" street.

But again, the "issue" here is not whether my efforts meet with immediate success, but whether I'm trying to "take control" of things or not.

One of the bitches of being me is I'm either never doing enough, or never thinking I'm doing enough - And I struggle to know the difference - but I can't "build" on my efforts if I don't acknowledge those efforts.

So...three cheers for me.


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