Aftermath of Weekend Gratification
I’ve been thinking very much lately about life. The struggle of it all. How very rare it is when I’m happy and how very amusing it is that I keep on keepin’ on for those few moments. All of the things that keep me going, the illusion that my job is anything more than trading time for money or the sadness I get from watching a movie and relating it to my own life. My obsession with eating right and getting healthy and watching my stomach disappear, and my equal obsession with getting out of this dying little dock I live in and back to a world of friends and foes where I can adequately drink and smoke myself into laughter.
When I was a child, no older than maybe 8 or 9, I fell in love with a girl two years younger than me. I would be out running through the woods or mounting an epic attack on the evil forces of Cobra when suddenly I be would overwhelmed with the thought of her and I remember thinking how I would never get over her as long as I lived. At a skating party once I asked her to come behind the coat racks because I had something to tell her. It took me fifteen minutes, and I never said a word, but I finally kissed her, sequeled quickly by an escape on both parts. It was a wonderous giant rush and I swore I’d only ever find happiness with that one girl.
I don’t really remember what she looks like now.
As a teenager I ran away from home. It was such an intense situation, walking through the Pennsylvania midnight blue sky, my silhouette cutting into an otherwise peaceful skyline of tree and mortar. I had a pack of cigarettes in my pocket but no fire to join them, and I was just walking and walking for miles through pitch black back roads where they hadn’t bothered to put street lights as no one road on them during the day let alone…
Homeless at fifteen and feeling like hell but certainly more alive than middle class and 25.
Once during the middle of the winter, I was 19 at this point, I had nowhere to sleep so I just started walking around in the woods and happened on this little shanty/cottage, a one room thing with a fireplace. I started burning all of my poetry to keep warm, two months worth of writing that I’d done while without house or hearth. Something so gratifying about that night.
Now I just want to let my toes slip into the grassy forever unknown of middle America, or sink into alien Asia or disease ridden Africa, truly fear for my own life whether from some wild toothed beast or a corrupt government with an eye for American pocketbooks.
But instead I can see myself, sixty five and rallied round by several of the more upstanding members of whatever corporation I’ve dedicated 20 years of my life to, toasts in my name: “Nathan Swartz is a name that will be remembered as one of Erie, Pennsylvania’s most influential advertising men.” “And this year, the Erie Marketing Committee’s award of outstanding lifetime achievement goes to – Nathan Swartz!” My wife of fifteen years will smile and look around to see who’s smiling back and I’ll even almost believe that it’s all worth something because just as I tell myself that what I do is making some sort of impact on our world, I know it’s all just fodder for the meatmen, butchering up television and branding and advertising onto the youth so that they’ll grow up with a similar pursuit of unattainable greatness.
Negativity is not the point of all of these stringy syllables though, but more of a reminder to myself that I’d best be rising up out of this chair and into the wild uncertain before any of the aforementioned becomes better suited as my eulogy.
Up Next: A Message from My Favorite Memory