You know when people say, “I turned 40 a little while back, and it got me thinking…”? and how you just want to smash ‘em one in the face?
Well, I turned 40 a little while back, and it’s been f–king with my mind.
I don’t think my only problem is the artificial midlife milestone hanging millstone around my neck, though. And I don’t suppose — much as I admit to being overfond of myself and much as I am wont to declaim while in my cups in a way that would lead you to think that my problems are unique in this world — that I’m alone in this.
I think your mind is probably twisting in the wind, too, dear reader, and there’s cool piss dripping from your boots, too, and that rope is creaking above you too in the coming dark. I hope not, but I guess so. It’s one of the few things we all share; we share the knowledge that we’ll die, and we all fabricate elaborate strategies to face it, that or we turn our faces away from it. We dangle on the gibbets we build out of the decisions we make, until the sun sets on us.
You know the drill: cowboy, steel horse I ride, all that shit.
I used to say to people, people who often regretted asking me whatever innocuous question it might have been that launched me into my rant about death and taxes and the ineluctability of extropy or whatever rocks that evening’s torrent had been bouncing over, I used to say that the biggest guiding principles by which I had lived my life thus far were two-fold. I’d say it just that way, too: “…they’re two-fold…” Maybe I’d throw in a ‘hellshitdamn’ or two for spice. People must have really hated me, sometimes.
Anyway, this hand was that in some geriatric future I’d rather regret something I had done than something I hadn’t, and that other hand was that I always wanted to have as many choices before me as possible, because once the game becomes a rail-shooter, it just isn’t much goddamn fun anymore. Knocking those two rocks together with my two strong hands struck off the sparks that lit the fire in my belly every morning, huzzah!
And both hands, of course, were just heaped with prettyword bullshit. The first was a way to justify living always like a 22-year-old on a tear, and the second was a way to justify the ‘external locus of self-control as a result of childhood bereavement’ I’d self-diagnosed myself with back in university, and sumo’d out of the ring only to watch the f–ker waddle back again, pulling up its diaper and grimacing intently.
I love those old declarations of mine, I do. They still sing to me, sirens luring me limbs akimbo onto the rocks of rye, cocaine, hookers and tropical isles. I deftly navigated those shoals when I was young and clear of eye, but I’m not so sure I’d make it through safe this time. No, I’ve tied myself to the mast, have I, and it’s the first mate who steers the ship these days. She’s immune, you see. And she mostly steadfastly ignores my shouted commands, my entreaties and panting demands to be set free when the siren songs call me again. In this way, she keeps me alive, and I know that my struggles against my bonds are carefully gauged to be almost but not quite violent enough to free myself from them.
And so it goes, as the cliffs seem to rise around us, as we sail onward, me bearded and wildeyed calling for mead and wenches, bound to the mast, her drawn and sympathetic to my madness, but unshaken.
The death of some my convenient lies about myself has not in itself been enough to f–k me up. Barely enough to write about, to be honest, much as I lie about the awe with which I regard my magnificence. There’s got to be more. But I guess I’ll figure that out later. For now, it’s good to be stringing words together again.
I hit post, now, dear lost readers in their thousands, not sure if this is resurrection or coda, but hoping a few diehard outliers of the wonderchicken army are still out there, and when their newsfeed ticks over from that limp and dusty (0) over to an erectile (1), that they’ll put the word out: ‘Wonderchicken returns, brethren and sistren! He returns! Dance dervish, and spill the blood of politicians in tribute and walleyed joy!’.
But having turned my back on the webs and the logs, on the adsense whores and their corporate pimps, having peed in the pool and pooped on the flag, having committed the unpardonable sin of dissing the digerati, I’m probably on the ignore list again.
Update : special reopening offer! Here’s a poultrycast™ of this post, in user-friendly shrinkwrapped mp3 format. One per customer; available for a limited time only. Act now!