I'm unhappy with life, as I've known for some time now. What I don't know is why. Why the **** am I so discontented with my existence? At no time in history could I have it easier. I have an easy job, a relaxed life, as stress-free as I could want -- where does this ennui spill from? What the hell do I want to do with my life? I know I want to write, but what have I to write about? I've learned no life lessons worth knowing. I love Melville, but truth be told, that hack's formula barely rang true with him, and god knows he's had much more experience with life than I have.
I'm in the prime of my youth, at the crossroads of possibility in my life -- the choices I make now determine the course of the rest of my life. And goddammit, I'm not ready to make those choices. I'm not prepared to decide what I want to do with my life, nor how to go about doing it. And while I hem and haw about the establishment of value in my life, my youth, beauty, and strength slowly seep from my already-aging body, losing me the respect I demand, the power and confidence earned by beauty and given freely to the young.
I feel old. Not my young body, but upon these shoulders rests a heavy head, ridden by a hoary spirit. I'm tired, before my time; so damnably tired. And while I wander, chased by demons Responsibility and Legacy, I find no satisfaction in life. No pleasure but ephemeral illusions of love, strength, and power. No rest but that won by a frantic scramble away from my life, no matter where I am in the world, no matter what status I hold in the greater society. I find I dislike myself no matter whom I become. Not so much myself, no, I'm the only company I tolerate for extended periods of time, but I despise whatever weaknesses I hold. Not even hold; the attention I bequeath those flaws serves only to flaunt them, and thus exacerbate them, and serves only to deepen my disgust with my all-too-human frailties.
I've been truly beautiful only once in my life, to my recollection. When I was sixteen, and coming of age, I had a beauty I had never experienced before, nor, I think, I've experienced since. I had gained my height by that age, but my developing bones were still growing, and still delicate -- my cheekbones and jawbone were strong, but the delicate bone structures around my eyes were thin and visible, giving my head a streamlined appearance. I had played football that year, and my jaw muscles were well defined from constant chewing of the mouthpiece -- similarly, the rest of my body was ridiculously developed by morning weightlifting training. In the afternoon, I ran long-distance track, and from it won a brief, exaggerated phase of nearly absent body fat. No doubt I wasn't as attractive as I remember, nor do I have any illusions of being among the top ten most beautiful sixteen-year-olds I knew, but jesus, for me, it was freedom. I grew up overweight and awkward, more a bookworm than a runner, my few skills in sports won by my tremendous advantage in size and strength than actual athletic ability. I was the boy the girls never kissed in cootie tag -- I was the boy invited to only those parties in which the entire grade was invited. In short, I grew up awkward and miserable, only augmented by troubles at home in the miserable one-bedroom apartment I grew up in; I had just started puberty when my fourteen year old brother first started using steroids, and our series of fights gradually destroyed the shitty remains of the apartment. I don't know how many doors we had at the time -- eventually, we destroyed all of them save the front door and the one in front of the toilet. The others we destroyed by punching through them, throwing each other through them, yanking them off their hinges to throw at the other...
It was a miserable time. But here I was, the lonely loner, gifted for a time with beauty. Oh, jesus, there's no more seductive power in the world than the power granted by beauty. When you're beautiful, you're everyone's friend -- nobody thinks to distrust you. When you're beautiful, you have the invaluable gift of knowing you, you are what women think of when they think of sex appeal, when they're horny and need to think of someone attractive. There is no sweeter joy than that of knowing you can make others do what you want thanks to the power in your arms or the slimness of your waist. Even men, yes, there's no creature more eager to be your friend than the beta male. Charm is granted to the beautiful, no matter how uncharming they are in return; also friendship and love, no matter how undeserving. Beauty is wasted on the beautiful. I was as awkward as a teenager can be, but awkwardness in the beautiful is appealing. With that newfound, sweat-won power, I quickly grew arrogant and angry, as spoiled children often do. And spoiled I was. Not by the soft caress of a mother's love, which I grew up scarcely knowing, but by the seductive delight found in the glorious massage of compliment and companionship; never realizing that what can massage a spirit can break it, just as a stroked throat can too easily become the broken neck of a proud corpse. I still found reason to be unhappy in that time that should have been happiest, just as I still do today. No matter how slim or defined my body was, my spirit remains today what it was yesterday and probably will be tomorrow, the sad, restless pacing of my discontent in the limited expanse of my mind, its tread scarcely measured by my too-slow heartbeat.
But time went on, and my body grew out of its startling beauty. My bones developed, thickened. My body grew more powerful, true, and I grew ever larger, but I'm now of such size and proportion as to never be mistaken for beautiful again. Powerful, yes. Even handsome, when in absolutely perfect shape. But beautiful? I'll never have that again. If I ever had it -- it was a virgin experience for me, and no doubt exaggerated by the novel rush of power experienced for the first time by my immature self. But inside, I know I did. Or at least, I had the confidence stemming from the self-assuredness of beauty, which led others to mistake my body for beauty -- no matter what the means, the outcome was the same. The outcome I'll never experience again. Was that it? Jesus, was that all?
This is why I feel so damnably old, despite my relative youth. I've now lost a part of my life I'll never have back. It's hard to recognize that the pride I took in being mistaken for twenty-two when I was fifteen is now undeserved. That the looks and gasps of surprise by adults upon learning my age are gone forever, now that I've joined their ranks. If I were to discover the cure for cancer tomorrow, there may yet be some slight raise of the eyebrows -- I'm still young, after all. But tomorrow? The day after? In time, my age and intelligence will remain unremarked upon should I ever make such a discovery. Jesus. I'm not yet old enough to have miracles expected of me. Are there such things as twenty-year-old prodigies? Thirty-year-old? Forty-year-old?
I'm coming to terms with my newfound responsibility, as painful as it may be. Should I die without creating anything of value in this oh-so-brief passage of creative power granted to me by arbitrary and cruel Fate, what of it? Others have led insignificant lives as well, serving no purpose but consumption of the resources of the world and reproduction with another historically worthless bitch to leave spawn with no legacy but repetition of that worthless consumer existence. My own worthless existence will fade with, at best, an epitaph of disgust from oh-so-superior ****s like me; at worst, my existence will fade away unremarked and unnoticed.
What is this fixation on attention, anyway? I should be perfectly content to eat, shit, and die all in good time, with little more than the remnants of a previous ejaculation to mark the final falter of my footsteps and bury the sagging, too-old corpse I leave to, for once, feed the earth rather than consume another's share of it. I should be. God knows the rest of this goddamn world is. Better men than I have died without a whimper, marked only by the scrape of shovels and a lifeless, monogrammed gravestone. I'm not good enough, smart enough, influential enough to deserve the attention of the world, let alone to deserve the honor of delivering inspiration to it. But if that's unattainable -- if it's what I want at all -- and I'm unhappy with my life of shit and sleep, what do I want? What could I get from the world that would satisfy this raging ego of mine, or my lust for power? For it is power I lust for, make no mistake about it. I long for the power of influence and legacy, for the power of beauty and love, for the power of dominance and achievement. The power of becoming king and, for a brief moment, knowing satisfaction.
But I'll never be king. My passion will, no doubt, be quieted in time by my aging and ailing wit, by my elderly, cautious self, limited by my frail and weak body. My youth and power will die quickly -- I have all of a decade or two to attain my goals before settling down to die, if that. How soon before I buy a house? Before I give up my tentative touch on the pulse of life to focus on barbecues or sitcoms, football or cars, or whatever equally empty pasttimes I adopt to distract me from the omnipresent fact that I'm no longer beautiful, I'm no longer powerful, I've no more future to look forward to but that which I've mapped half a life ago?
Come, death, but come quickly. Let me leave, if nothing else, a corpse fit for a funeral.
Posts: 3293 | Registered: Jul 2002
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quote:I appreciate your patience as the Committee on Admission has been evaluating nearly 22,500 applications for the 2,250 openings in Boston College's next freshman class. We were deeply impressed with the intellectual prowess and personal accomplishments of this year's candidates who have honored us with their interest in the University.
With the review process now complete, acceptance letters have been sent to those students we hope will comprise our Class of 2008. They have until May 1 to let us know whether they will accept our offer of admission.
Due to the extraordinary competition for admission this year, we were not able to admit many students who would have enriched the quality of our learning environment. This is a painful reality in any highly selective admission process.
Because you presented such strong credentials, you have the opportunity to place your name on a waiting list for admission by sending back the enclosed response card as soon as possible. While this option further extends the anxiety of the college admission process, I did want to provide you with the opportunity for possible further consideration.
Tuition: $27,080 Freshman Residence Room Rate: $5,650 Mandatory Board Plan for Freshman Residing on Campus: $3,650 Mandatory Health Services Fee for Students Residing on Campus: $340 Student Activities Fee: $102 Freshman and Transfer Orientation Fee: $305 Identification Card Fee: $20
Billed Costs for Freshman Students Residing on Campus: $37,147
quote:Congratulations, and welcome to Boston University. From a highly talented and remarkably competitive group of applicants, you have been admitted to the College of Arts and Sciences. The Board of Admissions believes you will be an excellent addition to the Boston University community and will take full advantage of the wide variety of academic, cultural, and extracurricular opportunities that await you here.
Tuition: $29,988 Room (depending on type of accommodation): $6,180 Board (most dining plans): $3,500 Fees: $414 Books and Supplies: $721 Local Transportation (average): $342 Personal Expenses: $1,155
Total Cost: $42,300
quote:Congratulations on your acceptance to Brandeis University and welcome to the Class of 2008! You have been selected from a pool of highly talented candidates because of your academic achievements as well as your personal accomplishments. The Committee on Admissions extends its warm and sincere congratulations to you and your family and hopes that this letter will be a source of pride and happiness to you.
Full-Time Tuition: $30,159 Residence Contract (Standard Double Room): $4,862 Board (14-Meal Plan): $3,794 Student Activity Fee (mandatory): $302 Technology Fee (mandatory): $182 Health Services Fee (mandatory): $427 Health Insurance Premium (can be waived if student can certify that he or she is covered by a valid health insurance plan): $1,033
Total Cost: $40,759
quote:Congratulations on your admission to Fordham University! Your application to Fordham College at Rose Hill has been approved by the Committee on Admission.
quote:On behalf of the faculty, staff, and current student body of Loyola University New Orleans, I am pleased to inform you that you have been admitted to Loyola University for the 2004 fall term. The admissions committee feels that not only will you meet the expectations of Loyola's rigorous curriculum, but that you will also contribute to the academic betterment of the Loyola community as a whole. You are among a select group of students chosen to join the Loyola University New Orleans class of 2008.
Tuition: $22,812 University Fees: $866 Residence Hall Room: $4,864 Meal Plan: $3,070
quote:Congratulations! You've lost the letter informing you that you were waitlisted by New York University. We are extremely confident of your eventual acceptance, however, given the strength of your application and New York University's history of accepting, on average, 200 of 1000 waitlisted applicants.
Tuition and fees (two semesters full-time): $30,095 Room and board: $11,390 Books and supplies: $700 Transportation: varies Personal expenses: $1,000
Total Budget: $43,185
quote:Congratulations! On behalf of the Office of Admissions and the campus community of the University of California, Santa Barbara, we are pleased to offer you admission to the Pre-Business Economics major in the College of Letters and Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara for the fall 2004 quarter. Your selection from among a pool of thousands of qualified applicants recognizes your extraordinary academic accomplishments and exceptional personal qualities.
Student Fees: $ 5,639 Tuition: -- Books and Supplies: 1,279 Room and Board: 9,236 Health care, Transportation, and Travel: 1,452 Personal Expenses: 1,520
Iíve been accepted at various other colleges as well, but these are the few that interest me. All of them have their various appeals -- UCSBís known as both the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of Casual Sex and Beer; prestigious, but it lacks any truly strong programs in any field I intend to study. Brandeis is prestigious as all hell, but too small and remote for my tastes. Boston Universityís too much money for too little degree, and Boston College is a long shot, given my GPA. Loyola of New Orleans boasts Pearce and, well, New Orleans -- however, despite stories my friends tell of spending a week down there and remembering two days, Iím strangely hesitant to commit to the college. I have until Friday to make my choice. I post this to once again receive your help -- which college should I attend?
Some of these are obviously out of the picture, unless they offer significant scholarships. I didnít bother replying to USCís request for my semester grades, for example, since I know their tuitionís impossible for a man of my limited means. Surprisingly, though, my motherís offered to pick up half the tuition for whatever college I attend -- Iím grateful, but I still canít support a 20k bill per year. And with our debt, despite her recent promotion, I doubt she can, either.
So this is my confession, of a sort. Few people here know who me for who I am -- most, in my experience, assume Iím a twentysomething man with a big mouth and an empty wallet. In truth, Iím an eighteen year old man with a big mouth and an empty wallet. Iíve never explicitly lied about my age, though I freely admit to never openly clarifying the issue.
I came to Hatrack on March 10, 2001. I was a dazed freshman in high school at the time, a tender fifteen years old, led to Hatrack by a URL in my newly read copy of Enderís Game. I came in search of sequels, I believe, but then I noticed the small ďForumsĒ button at the top right; I clicked it, and thus began my long, slow transformation.
Iíve changed drastically over the years, but one of the few rocks in my sea has been Hatrack. The Cards donít know what they have in this place. I owe a great deal more than simple friendships and clever debates to them -- Hatrackís become a rather disturbingly prominent aspect of my identity. In Meatspace, Iím called Eddie, but my name is Lalo -- next year, whether I go to college or not, my identity will both be and be known by the name Lalo.
I didnít keep my age secret when I first arrived -- jkkirk was the first to find a post of mine confessing my age, and, in shock, demanded an explanation. I told her, then asked her to keep silent on the issue, so my newfound and much-enjoyed ability to argue issues in political and religious threads wouldnít be compromised by my age -- I wanted then as I do now, for my arguments to be judged by the strengths of their points, not the age of their author. Back in the days of Baldar, this was a particularly important issue with me. But as time wore on, and the more vitriolic posters passed away from Hatrack existence as my body aged, and the issue became of lesser and lesser importance.
Jeni, no doubt rightfully so, disliked me immensely upon my arrival -- within the year, we became fast friends, as we are today. She was the second to learn my age, beyond those who read and forgot my earlier post. Slash the Berserker, nndraa, Ralphie, Frisco, TomDavidson, Papa Moose, Irami, Kasie H, all now know who I am. Many found out explicitly when I asked for help with my college applications -- but I have no doubt several, like Tom and Moose, knew already. Toni gave a very flattering performance when she found out I was sixteen, as did Ty when he refused to box me until I came of legal age two years later (he did, though, very kindly offer to get in a ring with me and let me beat the crap out of him). Poor Eddie was coerced into reading impossible amounts of crappy college application essays, most written within an hour of the deadline for submission, though of course Tomís and Mooseís inputs were also impossibly invaluable in fooling these colleges into believing they had an intelligent man on their hands.
I wish Iíd listened to them more, to be honest. Had I followed Eddieís advice, I may be in Columbia today -- instead, I never bothered even to submit a complete application. Had I listened to Tom, I might have attended Berkeley next year -- instead, I insisted on harping about one particular troublesome period of my high school career, and the girlfriend involved in it. I wish I had a compelling reason for my lack of interest in the quality of my applications -- I could say, perhaps, that I wanted to be accepted by colleges that knew my quality, not Tomís or Eddieís. But itís not true. I just didnít want to put the effort into writing another essay Ė and apparently Iíve won the set of colleges as befits my motivation.
My consolation is that, my fits of idiocy aside, I believe I have cause, thanks to Hatrackís influence, to consider myself a man worthy of standing beside such men. I respect you more than you could know -- a great deal of my guidance has come from reading your words and laughing at your jokes. Not to depress you -- Iím not saddling responsibility for my sense of humor on your shoulders -- but I wouldnít be the man I am today if not for your friendships. This gratitude isnít limited to Tom and Eddie. I canít possibly list everyone here I owe in one way or another; the best (or worst) I can offer is to admit that all of you, from the lowliest Frisco to the highest Jeni, from the nearest Phil to the farthest Feyd, youíre all an aspect of my identity, a facet in the flawed gem that is my soul.
If I ever develop MPD, I know Iíll be in good company.
I love you people. We may disagree on every issue known, but I still laugh at Patís jokes, still laugh at Sweetcheeks, and still owe Myr that sloppy kiss. Iíve grown up with you by my side -- you are, in ways more important than blood, my family. Those of you who know me know Iíve never had much of one myself. Iím damn grateful for everything youíve done for me, especially given your utter lack of motivation to do it -- I can only hope for the chance to return your constant favors someday, though thereís nothing I can do that could ever possibly match the love youíve given me. Thank you. For everything. Your friendships and your love have already rescued me from the ignoble life of shit and sleep I so fear.
Posts: 3293 | Registered: Jul 2002
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You know, Eddie, I've always held you pretty high on my list of Admirable Hatrackers. Everyone has faults, of course, and some of yours happen to correspond with mine; after reading this post I realize that even more than before.
Don't do anything self-destructive. Be truly ambitious and claw your way to the top. I've spent a lot of time wondering, can a fifteen year old ever become a prodigy? Can I ever gain the kind of recognition that is pretty much the driving force in my life? I think you and I, and the people like us are too stubborn and ambitious to give in to the world, but who knows when the stalemate will be broken, and we'll finally get what we want?
EDIT: You posted a second time while I was writing. Evidently we are yet more alike: I joined the forum at twelve. I don't know what to say about college, since at the moment that seems like a distant reality to me, except to encourage you to go and acquire experience in whatever way you can. College seems like a great way to do that.
You ended your first post on a distressing note; it seemed almost like the suicidal words of some of my friends, and I was worried. I'm glad you feel welcome here, and hope we can all make each other feel that way.
I am not the person I was at 18. Heck. I'm not the person I was at 20. I don't know how interested you are in advice, and I don't know how capable I am of giving decent advice. But here it is?
I see discontent and frustration. But this fall, there is nothing stopping you from becoming Real and Who you Want to Be. It's easy to slip away and fall into a rut even before you hit the ground running. But it's such an incredible time to take advantage of the enormous Change. Amazing changes await you, if you dare.
I can't be of any help with the colleges themselves. Is Financial Aid impossible for you to obtain?
and thank you for sharing. You're quite a part of hatrack.
So there I go and lose my entire post. *starts over*
Right -- I know exactly what you mean about feeling old, past your prime. I remember when I was thirteen, I was on top of the world. I was indestructable. I got perfect grades, won every art contest I entered, every race I ran, and the boys loved me. Course it all mean jack when you didn't realize how good you had it. Lucky thing is.... there still is time. Now there's the knowledge that reaching that perfect balance is possible. And the wisdom to know when you've got it... what to do with it.
I'm tellin ya... the next decade of your life will be the best. No matter what you do, you will make the most of it and rise to the top and won't give in without a struggle.
Wherever you chose to go...they won't know what's hit them
Hmmm, and honestly, I never thought about your age. I tend to assume that everyone is older than me, being a thirteen year old anime girl with purple hair and all. Age is just a stupid number, it doesn't tell you who you are or what you can do.
Yup, I'm groggy, dunno if I made any sense at all. Just really -- good luck with the choice, follow your heart and all that.
Posts: 3634 | Registered: Oct 2001
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Wow. Don't worry about what you didn't do. There are always opportunities, and you miss out on the new ones if you concentrate too much on the ones you missed in the past (but from your thread, I think you figured that out already).
There are plenty of people here willing to give you a spanking, I'm sure.
Just remember, this isn't the end of the world. I'm a lot older than you, but I remember what you're going through. I remember being being beautiful. My friends are constantly telling me I still am, but it's because they see me with eyes of love ((CT)). Having people who really see YOU in your life is worth more than you realize.
And, Dude, you have us here, and we like you sight unseen (even when you piss us off ).
Posts: 1664 | Registered: Apr 2004
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Ah, Lalo, you have so much promise, as you have from the time you first came to hatrack as Daedalus. You can become whomever you want to be. The hardest part is in deciding who that is.
From my advanced dotage I must clue you in, though. There is much about life as one grows up that the young do not forsee. Stick around and you'll see what I mean. It's very cool. You will like it.
Had you submitted the above for your essay, no doubt you could have gotten in anywhere. You have so much heart and passion, and so much intelligence. Choose well how you apply these in your life. (I very much hope that you will not spend them on idle dissipation, for instance.) They will serve you well always, and even more as you gain in experience and self control. Dream good dreams, dear Lalo, and go on to lead a full and happy life bringing them to fruition.
I understand exactly what you are saying about Hatrack. It's had a transformative effect on me as well. (And I was a mere child of 39 when I came here.) Three cheers for our Lalo, citizen of Hatrack. Make us proud.
Posts: 2843 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!
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That essay is what I would write if I had the eloquence to do so.
I don't know you all that well but I can relate to that feeling of being old before my time. I also have grown up here, starting out at the young writers forum and eventually venturing over here where, unwittingly, so many people have changed my life.
(ak is right, if you'd submitted that you'd have gotten in anywhere. However, even if you didn't make your top choice schools the ones you've got aren't half bad!)
Posts: 3420 | Registered: Jun 2002
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I would be shocked, but Narnia told me what your age was when I met her last week. I was SO surprised. But I'm glad, because the fact that you're the same age as me means that I can give you a hug. (flying tackle glomp)
Eddie, it's difficult for me to tell you that everything's going to be OK, because really there's no way of knowing. I can tell you that I've already gone through what you're going through and that there's no benefit in worrying about it. Things eventually work themselves out. My only stress saving advice: Do your homework.
By the way, that first post... Was really really well written..
Posts: 4812 | Registered: Apr 2003
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I don't know you because I'm fairly new in the Hatrack Kingdom, but if you write with such love, passion, and feeling, as you did in this thread, your future seems very promising to me. I wish you the very best in your endeavors. Happiness can be yours. You have more to give in life than death.
Posts: 277 | Registered: Apr 2003
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Eddie, I view you like a white, hot flame. You seem like the sort of person that bends the world to your will. You do have such power, charisma, keen intelligence. I hope you use your power to build up rather than tear down. You certainly could do either.
You have the arrogance of youth. Your prime is yet ahead of you! To feel like you have already hit it and that everything is downhill from here... well, I hope you find renewed energy and passion in your college years. And by the time you really are past your prime, I hope you will have found purpose and contentment in your life that you will not resent its passing.
You write better than I do; my love of semicolons seems to have gotten the best of me. Your writing is clean and expressive. Even when you're writing about pain it's a guilty pleasure to read.
Ironically, I currently find myself on the reverse end of the same situation Ė i.e., with a degree but no job. To make matters worse I'm reading J.M. Coetzee's Youth, a faintly existentialist ramble of a book that I couldn't be reading at a worse time.
So I empathize with you, and if I may offer a piece of advice: don't read Youth. Please.
Posts: 10886 | Registered: Feb 2000
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Eddie, can I just tell you...that I love you in spite of myself (meaning there have been times when I wanted to box your ears, but those aren't as frequent as they once were.) You really have such wonderful gifts and I've come to know different ones in the time we've both been here on the forum. I'm really proud of you that you're planning on going to college and that you have so many choices. I know you'll do great work and I respect your drive to be a better person.
Good luck picking your institution for higher education. It seems that you're a wanted man. Well, you're wanted HERE too, so stick around.
Posts: 6414 | Registered: Jul 2000
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quote:Even when you're out saving the world, there's time for a decent brat and some slaw.
Actually, without the latter, you don't deserve to accomplish the former. Life is too long to not take advantage of those things, and too short to expect the whole world to change because you demand it.
Posts: 779 | Registered: Dec 2003
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quote: So this is my confession, of a sort. Few people here know who me for who I am -- most, in my experience, assume Iím a twentysomething man with a big mouth and an empty wallet. In truth, Iím an eighteen year old man with a big mouth and an empty wallet. Iíve never explicitly lied about my age, though I freely admit to never openly clarifying the issue.
I assumed you were a very opinionated, but not really a big mouth so much. You and I, we have had a few disagreements. While I still even now disagree with you on a few things, you at least never let yourself do what a normal 18-year old does in an argument. Insult flinging, ect ect.
So I have to say, now that I know you're a year younger than I am, you made for a very convincing "20 something year old". Good luck on colleges. I'm still in JC myself. I can't afford a university. I hope you succeed in satisfying your ambition.
Posts: 4215 | Registered: Dec 2002
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Yeah, I have to say, you present yourself a million times better than most of the 18 year olds out there. I never would have guessed. I really am shocked.
Posts: 13123 | Registered: Feb 2002
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mack, i'm pretty sure he told me that once as well.
nice to know i've been justified in calling you kid for so long.
much as i whine about my apparent vs. actual age, at 17 i felt older than any time in my nearly quarter of a century life. it's something about having all those decisions to make, i think. something about knowing it's all about to change.
i hope you make it to chicago; you're so on my list of people to slap.
Posts: 3956 | Registered: Jun 2001
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I hope he comes out to school on the east coast so I can kick his ass.
But seriously, I'd love to hang with you, Lalo. You're definately invited up here anytime, and I plan on dragging your ass on a hike in the Whites if you do come to school out here.
Posts: 14745 | Registered: Dec 1999
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Daed, Eddie, Lalo, as you say, you have changed over the years.
We may not agree on things (though there is some that we do,) I would like to meet you. Glad you are around. Glad that you have finally come out with much truth as to who you really are.
Posts: 2102 | Registered: Dec 2000
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I thought my life was over at seventeen, too. Heck, I'd already dropped out of college by then.
I'll be thirty next year, and I can't say that I feel like my life's even particularly started; I've come to feel like I'm on the cusp of finally being where I want to be.
Posts: 37210 | Registered: May 1999
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Stop reading if you think I'm being preachy or bitchy: You know that I've always been a big fan. I suspected you were young. Your unrealistic expectations/anger at what you should have already done were the only clue I had of your extreme youth. ::laughing:: Goodness, what did you want to be, a childstar who only had his genetic qualities to offer the world? You are greater than your genetic make-up. If all you had to offer was the combined sum of your parents DNA, what impact would "you" be having on the world? As you mature, you are becoming more you and less the sum of your DNA. Be pleased that each day that passes you have more of your own ideas to offer the world.
You may assume your beauty was your power, but your writing has always held this idea as a cocky, tongue-in-cheek concept. You know that beauty isn't power, it's just a tool in your arsenal. Your power is your drive to do something to better this world. If you're not using that power, then you have a right to be peeved at yourself.
You're not going to get anywhere making excuses. People with less money, less smarts and less heart have made it through college; if they can figure out a way to get a degree, so can you.
IMO, you are the person on this board most in need of input. You need to get away from what you know before you get mired down. Wasn't it about this time last year that you went through a pretty serious bout of depression? Get moving- please don't let it catch you again.
Your writing was amazing when you were in So America. Get a degree, any degree, and start putting some horsepower behind all that potential.
Posts: 2425 | Registered: Jan 2002
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Heh. You had me fooled. I would have been happy to help, if you'd asked. I love talking to you, and I consider you something of a friend. And your age is irrelevant to that.
If I may be a bit presumptious . . .
I believe you have a mistaken idea of what greatness is. The problem is, every time someone tells you this, what you hear is "Accept mediocrity." And nobody is telling you to do that.
You seem to believe that if you're not reaching millions with your writing or curing cancer or taking over medium-sized countries, then all your life is about is sitcoms, sex, shitting, and sleeping. (Keep in mind that those who cure dread diseases or change the world with their art are beneficiaries of luck as well as their talent and hard work. Society has to be ready to appreciate what you do, the state of existing knowledge in your field has to be such that you have the right tools and the right insights to stand on. We'll never know how many brilliant and motivated people never had their breakthrough or never were recognized.)
What is greatness?
It's making the world better than it was before you came along.
We all take. We all give. Nobody can live without at some point leaning on other people and using the resources around them. I'd like to think that, similarly, nobody can be so debased as to never bring anything positive into anybody else's life. I know you have brought some virtual friendship into mine. The difference between greatness and mediocrity is in the net balance. Is the world a better place because you are in it. You seem to think you have to be famous for this to be true. From working with wealthy families, I have come to know a lot of famous people, including some who, as far as I could be, were not Makers or Adders. (Certain politicians come to mind. ) Clearly, there are a lot of people who take more than they give. After all, if everybody made the world a little bit better, wouldn't it be a wonderful place by now?
By all means seek out the vision of greatness you desire. Are you really seeking it out, though, or just being discontent because it hasn't landed on your lap? Fame can land on your lap, but greatness cannot.
But don't be so busy wanting your name to be on everybody's lips that you don't have the time to make the world better. What people think of you doesn't give your life meaning. If all you accomplish is noteriety and fame, but you take more than you give, to me, that is a life that means nothing more than shitting and sleeping, sound and fury.
Posts: 1001 | Registered: Dec 2002
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I try to make a point of not responding in these sorts of threads, given that there's no possible way for me to do every reply justice, and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.
But I must protest, here. I've never explicitly lied about my age, even when under interrogation. Old habits die hard, and my fear of having my arguments invalidated by my sixteen years of age has carried on through the years -- I've come to rather pride myself on the sleight-of-hand I've needed to play to allow people to continue their assumptions without validating them. It's every bit as dishonest as an outright lie, and for that I apologize, but I can lay claim at least to the relative high ground of never explicitly lying about how old I've been.
Also, despite my admitted dishonesty about my age, I've never lied about who the man behind the mask is. On every other issue possible, I've been open and forthright -- too forthright, some might say. I don't consider myself a boy, nor have I for years -- my silence on my age has been born from fear of prejudice (in the literal sense of pre-judgment) and unthinking dismissal of my opinions based on the length of their existence.
And jesus, people, thank you.
Damn. I don't say this often enough, but you are what family I have. Don't expect to hear it from me often, but I love you for everything you've given me, all the crap you've tolerated from me, and the fastness of your presence in my life when I had so little else. Not to depress you, but I owe you much of who I am.
Posts: 3293 | Registered: Jul 2002
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Eddie, dude. You're a good guy, and I'm glad to know you (though I'm one of the ones who didn't know your age was a secret; I've always assumed that you were around my age. *grin*).
I believe I told you my thoughts on your first post on LJ, and I'm not informed enough to really help out on your second, seeing as I'm a college drop-out myself. But good luck in everything you do. You're a great addition to Hatrack, and I know what you mean about this place being family.
Plus, if we're ever on a moonlit beach in Costa Rica at the same time, I'm jumping you. But then, you already knew that, didn't you?
Posts: 1588 | Registered: Feb 2003
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I came to hatrack the same time as you but I never had any idea about your age at all. I always assumed you were in your mid to late twenties and even at that age, I thought your debating abilities were extremely praiseworthy.
I am only a year younger than you, but I have always avoided debates at hatrack because I knew that I would crushed against the opposition. I do well in academics, sure, but in the case of debates and politics, I am just not intellectually up there.
I have always left the debates up to people like you and Kasie because we share identical views on issues. In your case, I am not surprised that you and I are so politically similar- after all, are we not both atheistic minorities who hail from Los Angeles? Heh. You can't live your life in LA without adopting certain left liberal views.
Your age comes as a huge surprise for me. The people here at Hatrack are far from stupid so the simple fact that you can hold yourself up and so well, against people twice your age in debates speaks volumes for both your writing ability and your debating skill. Great job, man.
Posts: 35 | Registered: Feb 2004
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That post was awesome the first time I read it, a week ago, and is even more so now that I read it again. You already know what I think, dude. I have a hell of a lot of respect for you, and I love you to pieces.
You also know you're on my limited list of Hatrackers that I have to meet one day, and I'm honoured to be on yours. *laugh*
Eddie, even when physical beauty fades (and I'm not saying yours has ), you will still be left with the beauty and strength of your mind. And that is one awesome mind you've got there. You have incredible potential, use it well.
Not that this surprises me but excellent landmark post. Also, I'd add that I don't think you were deceptive about your age here - this is a place where assumptions cannot be made about ages very well, and if people did, it ain't your fault.
However, I'd like to add that there are some ideas here that I don't agree with - first and foremost of which is the idea of taking pride in your percieved adulthood. The truth is, I am 22 and yet I think of myself as a child. In fact, I view everyone as a child. There are small children, big children, young children, and adult children, but at heart they are all children. An adult is more or less a character they create to justify themselves, not so different from how younger kids will play superhero, only adults take it far more seriously and are far more unwilling to leave their character. It's playing cool. I think it's a mistake to take too much pride in that character, as it is just that - a character - and it's not truly under your control. It exists at the whim of the forces of the world, including the forces of time and aging, and those forces can take it away from you just as easily as they give it to begin with. Take it only with a grain of salt. But then again, take me with a grain of salt too, as I come at this issue from a very different perspective - after all, I'm 22-year-old that has been known to be confused for a 16-year-old (a trait that suits me I think.)
I wouldn't worry too much though. In my (very limited) experience, I'm under the impression that there's not really just one eden in life. There's a series of them. You go from character to character, and what makes you "great" changes from each to the next. I can say with certainty that I'm not the same person I was when I first went to college, and the things that I find valuable about myself are completely different. I suppose it's possible to get in mode where you are stuck looking back at "glory days" but I think it's far from necessary, and I don't particularly think you're likely to be one who falls into that problem. Just wait and see...
Ah, Lalo. You've always been beautiful to me. I am a Late Bloomer - here I am 30 and still haven't started my career (subbing doesn't count). But I've found the secrets of my happiness lie in the pleasures of the senses that arise each day - the smell of wet earth, the taste of bread, the texture of bark. And from doing all I can to be the person I want to be. When I lose sight of those things, I slide into my own varieties of depression. I'll never be one of those people who changed the world in her youth. All that time I was struggling to Become Myself.
You know who you are ever so much more than I did at eighteen. You know who is there for you, and what makes you restless. These are blessings.
I have always appreciated your honesty and fierceness. I never thought of you as any age in particular, though I knew you were younger than I. You do emit that particular cockiness I find extremely attractive but which tends to be tempered as one grows older.
I wish you good fortune as you make decisions and choose your next stepping-stones. Choosing a college is difficult. I remember that my parents wanted me to go to a Christian college, and I didn't know how to tell them I didn't want to be sheltered any more.
More than anything else, your college experience is going to be shaped by what you bring to it. If you can visit the campuses before deciding, that might help. Where do you feel at home? Do any of them give you an uncomfortable feeling? Can you imagine yourself living and working there? Also consider what the academics are like in the fields that interest you. It would be pointless to study drama, for instance, at a school that only offered limited courses and didn't have much talent. Good luck, and we'll be excited to hear all about the decision you've made - especially if you move closer to any of us!
Posts: 3141 | Registered: Apr 2000
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Your posts have sparked controversy and inserted excitement into a lot of threads that would have been a lot more boring without them. Thanks for entertaining us.
A few thoughts that occurred to me because of your posts, and I have added them here.
quote:Nick wrote: ...you at least never let yourself do what a normal 18-year old does in an argument. Insult flinging, ect ect.
This isn't true. But Eddie's young and perhaps his behavior will change.
[The rest of the quotes are by Lalo.]
quote:I'm unhappy with life, as I've known for some time now. What I don't know is why. Why the **** am I so discontented with my existence? At no time in history could I have it easier. I have an easy job, a relaxed life, as stress-free as I could want -- where does this ennui spill from?
Life is not about a stress-free existence. The point of the journey is not to arrive. You need a challenge, a stimulant, a change that requires more than a minimal response from you. Rats live healthier lives when their environment is changed every once in a while - so will you. But you don't have to. You could remain in your safe, stress-free world, getting more and more bored. And the boredom could lead to depression. And torpor. The "tiredness" you feel becomes more understandable. As Chris Rock might be paraphrased as saying, "I don't condone what you're doing...but I understand."
quote:I've been truly beautiful only once in my life, to my recollection. When I was sixteen, and coming of age, I had a beauty I had never experienced before, nor, I think, I've experienced since.
I slightly envy this. Maybe the memories of your beauty then can help you make it through the rest of your life.
quote:...I have all of a decade or two to attain my goals before settling down to die, if that.
I'm really sorry you said this. I hope someday you can realize that youth is not necessary to enjoy life or even to accomplish something.
[edited for snarkiness and unlandmarky feeling. I'll state what caused me to change my post in the next edited post on the next page]
I'm breaking my rule, again. Jonny, I don't know where this anger's coming from -- would you like to, for one, name an instance where I "insult-fling"? It should be fairly easy. I mean, this is Lalo you're talking about.
I'm rather ashamed that I reply to challenges but not to praise -- Jose's declaration of me as something of a friend melted me, and Jebus' post made me laugh my ass off. But when you criticize me -- and accurately -- I don't have the strength of character to let it pass. I post this in fear of giving insult to everyone else in the thread.
quote:quote: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I've been truly beautiful only once in my life, to my recollection. When I was sixteen, and coming of age, I had a beauty I had never experienced before, nor, I think, I've experienced since. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ah, this is classic Lalo. Self-involved, a bit shallow. Wouldn't someone who grew up "overweight and awkward" know better? I have no idea if you really mean what you say here or if it's just part of the bravado image you project out, romanticizing your life, inflating the melodrama.
You must share the gift of easy, natural beauty with Jenny Gardener. I've never been so lucky. Growing up "overweight and awkward" simply means that any small modicum of beauty you come to grasp becomes the world to you, treasured all the more for its absence. Beauty's importance lies not so much in how others treat you -- though that change alone is astonishing -- but in how you treat yourself. All you've said is true -- I am shallow, I am melodramatic, and I am weak. I lust for the power granted by beauty, all the more for its looming extinction from my life -- as I said before, I have maybe a decade, possibly two, before I lose what small advantages I have to age and fat. My body's not naturally slim, nor is my face easily handsome. I've won some few advances through constant, consistent, painful exercise, but I don't expect its effects to last forever -- hell, I don't expect them to last a week without maintenance. I'll soon lose my fight against the entropy of my body, but before I do, I'd like to take full advantage of what time I have -- the problem being, as you may have noticed during your careful perusal of my writing, that I have no idea what to do with my fleeting youth, nor any idea how to wring full advantage from it before it leaves me forever.
I truly hate life as an ugly man. Call it shallow -- it is. Call it weak -- it is. But I dread my inevitable return to pasty skin and puffy cheeks, to the swelling of my belly and the shadowing of my eyes. Through damn hard work I've attained a body I love, and in truth, it's this self I love. The self that is given respect without trial. The self that flirts with women and is flirted with -- do you think I had that as a fat man?
I don't know your body type, but I'm guessing you're either offended by my rejection of age and entropy or disgusted with my weak will and shallow self-esteem. Both are right. Both show me for who I am -- a man terrified of opinion, most of all his own, and lustful for the ability to empower his own unnatural strength. Weak. But I make no apologies, least of all to you. You're right insofar as I desire a romantic life, but is it a crime to be young and passionate, if I can call myself that with a straight face? For if little else, I am a passionate man. I'm passionate about my terror of time, passionate about my anger against my deteriorating body. Even my immature thrill with successful wooing is passionate, all the more so for its unexpectedness -- life in a body that's varied over 120 lbs. just last year alone pushes my emotions to extremes. Every rejection stings all the more for the lingering hope that I'm still attractive; every success carries an air of disbelief given my doubt of my own beauty. Sixteen was the age I first knew beauty, then unblemished by a lack of confidence in its permanency, and thus my wistful remembrance of what should have been the happiest period of my life since I played in the sand with other kindergarten students.
You're wrong when you declare I'm trying to make my life melodramatic, though you're absolutely right when you say I view my soul with the excesses and romanticizations that rightfully belong to the term. What excuse can I offer? I'm as uniquely average as everyone else out there. I'm no knight, nor any hero -- I'm no great beauty today, and uglier men have lived in the annals of history than my own flawed self. But not in my mind. In the limited confines of myself, I am the hero of my own story -- I am the man struggling against his own competing desires for sanity, power, and happiness and makes his outside world as stress-free as possible to ease the rigors of his battle. Of course I'm sweepingly romantic in my understanding of myself -- who else would I be in my own movie but protagonist and villain both? The blank-faced extra in the background?
Now, no doubt this understanding of myself as a hero rings falsely in my own mind, and no doubt that same insecurity in my head causes me to project my inner struggle on the outside world; thus my desire to accomplish something worth accomplishing, if only for public affirmation that yes, I am the man I don't believe I am. That I'm not doomed to the life of mediocrity and ultimate silence my rational, logical side knows is inevitable.
Melodramatic and romantic and weak I may be, but I don't know that I prefer the alternative. I'm not gifted with the lifelong beauty Jenny (and yourself, no doubt) was born with, nor the brilliance of Tom, nor the easy charm of Eddie. I'm not as level-headed as Moose and I'm not as talented as Geoff. But what few strengths I have, I cling to, I do all I can to empower those rare creatures -- if that means wasting your time reading the angst of yet another insignificant man who will live yet another insignificant life, forgive me.
Posts: 3293 | Registered: Jul 2002
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I -knew- you were younger then me. Not that it matters, but I knew it from some conversations we had in aim Not that I blame you at all for not telling people- except when people out right ask me I never volunteer my age- too many questions come from it and disbelief, etc. *Shrugs*
At anyrate, I've always enjoyed your posts (even when I walked away going "gosh he can be an asshole").
You aren't past your prime. You're probably just past that stage where you think you can do anything and everything came easily/easier. Get over it. You're a good guy, you can work hard and your inteligent.
As far as universities, I'll say the same to you as I do to everyone. Don't ignore Canada!!! We have some damn fine universities. And we're frequently quite cheaper then your silly American universities
(sorry this is so badly written, but you understand what I'm trying to say... right?)
Posts: 944 | Registered: Jun 2001
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You know, the much easier alternative is to learn to enjoy life as an ugly man.
There are downsides -- like, say, having to remember not to stand anywhere you can be photographed -- but I find that actually being glad to be alive more than makes up for it.
Posts: 37210 | Registered: May 1999
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