November 29, 2010

I'm Not You

Somewhere along the way it must have become obvious that I was going to be a little different than you. I never liked crowded rooms or a lot of boisterous noise in those crowded rooms. And you guys loved to pack yourselves into rooms until you couldn't walk in them, and then everyone would proceed to laugh with their mouths full and shout at the top of their lungs in seventeen separate conversations. Because you couldn't hear. Because everybody was shouting. And Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas let's do it again as soon as possible.

I don't know. What was I seeing when I looked at you all? I know I should have been able to differentiate. To separate the faces, this one a different person than that one. But it was hard in all that smoke and noise and mass.

There was always a lot of beer. There were whispered jokes. There was a lot of exaggerated belching noises made for fun. There was all that beer-driven racial philosophy because, you know after all it's true what they say about them. They all have these big lips, funny hair, they talk goofy, they're lazy, they smell bad. Hell everybody knows that.

And here I was. The kid you made me. You sent me to Catholic School where we were taught there was a justice in heaven for those who are despised and hated and taunted for no reason. And you don't hit people because it's a sin. And you are polite. And you never know when that stranger you're treating badly is actually Jesus Christ.

I didn't realize the nuns and priests were full of shit and that it was OK to ignore them once you got in a family setting. All that catechism stuff was a lot of junk. There's the boy you are in school and church, and the boy you are out here with us, right? Same guy / different venue. And it's all good. I'll catch on eventually, right?

The ideas I took away from this learning experience you all sent me through were that not only could you be bombed by the evil Communists at any minute, but the stuff they taught in church was actually bullshit and ignorance is not only bliss, it's like the whole goal.

How could you miss what was going to happen to me?

It was all backwards, right? Nothing was ever really serious. Truth depends on the crowd you're with at the time. It's pliable. Malleable. So nobody owns it.

You should have figured. That's going to make me suspicious of anything you like. Because you like your religion, but it only exists over there. Not in real life. So when you were for something it was suspicious. And what you were suspicious of had to be okay somewhere else.

I ended up with jazz, radical politics, the Qu'ran on my bookshelf, the White Sox instead of your dumb Cubs, parties of four, supportive of gay rights, admiration for Malcom X, and a voting record you would never believe in a million years.

And you ended up with... well... whatever.


sybil law said...

I wouldn't even be here if you were THEM.
Yep. We all know 'em, though.

Trish said...

You could have been writing about me. I have always felt 'not of the herd'...different.

flask said...

i totally love you.

Gino said...

we had similar families and experiences, but different outcomes in some ways.

Brian said...

I love this so hard.

RW said...

Thanks everyone, but there's entirely too much luvin' goin' on around here! You're all starting to really WORRY me!

Like is good. I LIKE like.

Gino said...

does that mean its too late to throw my love into the pile,too?

Faiqa said...

let love rule.

Also, I'm pretty sure my brother could have written this. Substitute 'Funny hair" with 'cheap' and 'politically well organized'. Hint? Rhymes with Shmew.

I think I was able to see the value in my parent's religion because I started viewing it separately from who they are... I recognized how much of what they taught us was them and not God.

I don't blame those that choose not to do that, though. I get it.