Gut Rumbles
 

June 09, 2006

who am i?

I've been doing a lot of existential thinking lately. I'm trying to figure out who I am.

Oh... I know my name, social security number, home address and I have a passport that's been stamped by several different foreign countries, but that crap doesn't define ME, at least not to MY satisfaction. Who am I?

I really don't know. I'm 54 years old now, and the older I get, the less I can define MYSELF by my own rules. I tried to do that self-defining thing once before, just by living my own life, but I got beat with a baseball bat for having the unmitigated NERVE to try THAT SHIT today.

I've gotta find a category that I fit into, because THAT'S what defines a person anymore. I can't BE Rob Smith. That ain't enough.

I've gotta be a VICTIM, owed something for my suffering. Or a member of a grievance group DEMANDING something. I've looked around... hey---I'm a smart guy... and I should be able to find an avenue to cry GIMME here, somewhere.

Damn near everybody ELSE in this country is doin' it.

But I can't. I had good parents. They loved me and my brother and they did the best they could to raise us right. They never had much MONEY, but they gave me something a lot better than THAT. They gave me food on the table, a bed to sleep in and a work ethic that has served me well in life.

They're both dead now. And I would give EVERYTHING I HAVE for a chance to talk to them again. Just ONCE. You never fully appreciate what you HAD until it's gone.

Ain't gonna happen for me. I need to crank up my pissed-off quotient and be like Cindy Sheehan, or Jesse Jackson. I could make a damn good living and tour the world on somebody else's dime if I learned to whine like the professionals do.

But that's not who I am, whoever that person is. I may whine and piss and moan on this blog, but I PAY for that platform all by myself. In the end...I ain't asking nobody for nothin.'

And that's a stupid way to be today.

I don't know WHO I am, but I know WHAT I am. Maybe I should just settle for that.

Comments

Rob, I'm sorry I have to be the one to inform you that you are a WHAM (White Heterosexual Able-bodied Male). We are victims of a culture that classifies us as being responsible for all the ills of the other victim groups. We have no advocates to speak for us and get special government handouts! Oh, the Horror of it all. Now you know.

Posted by: Larry Kephart on June 9, 2006 12:19 PM

Substance over surface anyday. Would that I had a mouse's ear worth of your best qualities, ya goofy bastid. Maybe then I could write coherent sentences instead of twisted emotions. Add compelling to the list of what you is.

Posted by: richard on June 9, 2006 01:56 PM

You wouldn't enjoy being like $heehan or Je$$ie. They all turn into bitter worthless pieces of shit, or maybe that started that way and never changed.

Posted by: Scrapiron on June 9, 2006 02:20 PM

"But that's not who I am, whoever that person is. I may whine and piss and moan on this blog, but I PAY for that platform all by myself. In the end...I ain't asking nobody for nothin.'
And that's a stupid way to be today.
I don't know WHO I am, but I know WHAT I am. Maybe I should just settle for that."

Sounds like you could use a really stiff drink.
A nice, tall, with crushed ice high ball will do the trick.
Try it, you'll like it.

Posted by: Terry on June 9, 2006 02:50 PM

Terry... I tried that and I LIKED IT. Way too much.

Posted by: Acidman on June 9, 2006 03:15 PM

Existential thinking will give you a headache..I think it's A-Okay to settle with knowing WHAT you are....sounds like you're fine to me.

Posted by: Sandy on June 9, 2006 04:13 PM

Indeed you should. The reason a lot of good countries are going to shit (not just yours!) is because there aren't enough men like you left. (and women, too!) We live in the "Age of Entitlement": everyone feels they deserve or are "owed" something. We are studying the Age of Enlightenment quite a bit in University; I wonder if, in 20 or 30 years, they will be studying the "Age of Entitlement"...

Posted by: Lisa on June 9, 2006 04:34 PM

A man is defined by his enthusiasms. A lucky man is enthusiastic about his work. What one does matters but enthusiasm defines us.
Look up the etymology of "enthusiasm." It has all the existential weight you could want in a word.

Posted by: BlogDog on June 9, 2006 05:30 PM

sounds like you are having a middle age crisis although it seems to hit most of us before we hit fifty. I had it..looked back at all the years when I should have been doing more with my life and didn't and then said hell with it because it is too late now. But it wasn't and once I sobered up I realized it and went a head with a goal in life..mostly to live to be 99 years old and get shot be a jealous husband and catch all the fish I could in the meantime. I may make it too.

Posted by: GUYK on June 9, 2006 06:01 PM

It reminds me of that song from the 60s I can't remember enough of it to find it on google. The lyrics went something like,

Who am I
to sit and wonder
and wait...
While the wheels of fate
swiftly spin the time away.

I wish I could remember who did it. It may have been Country Joe and the Fish.

Posted by: Libby on June 9, 2006 08:05 PM

Oh, it was Country Joe. Depressing song but a hell of a hook....

Who am I
To stand and wonder, to wait
While the wheels of fate
Slowly grind my life away.
Who am I ?

Who says you can't remember the 60s.? I was close . Personally I like my version better.

Posted by: Libby on June 9, 2006 08:14 PM

Settle for knowing what you are? I would think with that kind of honesty within, a person is way ahead of the game. Most people never think deeply enough to realize what they are, much less face it for more than a few seconds. I think it reveals a lot about 'who' we are when we first deal with ourselves in such a principled way. Very difficult to do though.

Posted by: Tessa on June 9, 2006 08:27 PM

You are Rob.

Posted by: Kelly on June 9, 2006 08:42 PM

you are manny....

from the moon is a harsh mistress.

Posted by: leo on June 10, 2006 09:02 AM
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