Sunday, May 27, 2012

RELAX — THIS WON'T HURT

Someone asked me the other day about the name of this blog. All praise and credit go, of course, to Hunter S. Thompson, who coined the phrase "act your old age" as part of the last thing he ever wrote.

In addition to being one of the best writers of the last century, Thompson was one helluva smart guy. Unlike most mouthbreathers shuffling on this planet. Thompson knew when it was time to let go. In February 2005, he wrote:
No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun.
He complained about being boring and bitchy, about being no fun for anybody. After 67 years of living — much of it high-octane and hilarious — Thompson steeled himself for what he needed to do:
You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won't hurt.
And then he ate his .45 Smith & Wesson.

Thompson didn't want his life to fade into the vanishing point. "Pitiful" was a word to describe his enemies; it was not the way Thompson was going to go out. Rather than let his mad writing skills atrophy — instead of buying into that bullshit phrase "aging gracefully" — Thompson went out while he still had the chance. Again: helluva smart guy.

After the nonsense of last night and the crazy-ass dreams of the past couple weeks, I see the brilliance of Thompson's way.

No, that doesn't mean I want to put a gun in my mouth. I abhor a mess.

It does, however, mean I understand the wisdom in giving up. Some things last a long time, some things last a lifetime, and some things ... well, sometimes the best parts of life just die. They wilt from the heat, they wither from inattention and indifference. Only an idiot keeps watering a dead rose.

I may be many things, but I am not an idiot. A fool, perhaps, for believing my own hype for far too long. But there are facts I must face today:

•I can walk until I drop, exercise until I'm imposing, and I will still not be the same person I was before May 5.
•The only happiness that exists in my life is in the form of memories in my head, and wishful illusions of a future that will never be. And I'm not talking about any one specific person when it comes to the past. I have great remembrances of many grand people who've graced my life. But that's all now just a known memoria, as Kurt once sang.
•I need to quit bitching and whining and do what's right by the people I claim to love. Burn out or fade away: the answer is easy.

Because I'm an introvert it's all good; I will just retreat further into my brain and wall off the rest of the world. Because I'm a writer I'll escape into the torrent of words. I'll start typing about the joys of Yakisoba and how great the new Kanye album is going to be. "Cruel Summer" — such an appropriate title. It's already been a ruthless spring. And with autumn closing in, 'tis the season to finally be brave.

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