I sometimes wonder about defeat. As in, “Did it defeat me?” I don’t mean this in a “I’m gonna go off myself way,” because that’s dumb, so don’t, like, worry, Mom. I mean it more as a statement than a question. Yes, it won. There was no chance it wasn’t going to win.
This has to do with life, of course, but of course life is a pain in the ass. And to the extent that we all die, of course, life — whatever we wanna define that as — wins. Even if we blow this place to kingdom come, life’s probably on Mars or something. There’s water there. I dunno. Space is big. Look it up.
I took a walk in Greenpoint today before my meeting with my psych. I sat at a Superfund site and probably got even more cancer than I’m already smoking my way into. That’s not true. It was pretty looking at Manhattan and I didn’t go swimming or drink the water or anything. I just got a little sunburnt.
Or cancer, or whatever. Sunburns and cancer are pretty much the same.
It’s nice there. The first time I went I was on my bike-that-didn’t-get-stolen with a woman I was seeing on and off at the time. It was early winter and windy. Night time. I don’t even think we kissed, that’s how on and off it was.
Today, after my walk, I ate a chili kielbasa and had a beer and went to talk to my doctor. He’s basically just this chill dude who I hang out with once a month, and he gives me drugs that make me able to function. So that’s cool. Thanks, modern medicine and doctor who answered the phone that day when I was desperate.
He asked me how things were going, and I said, Oh, you know. Oh. Fine, great, everything hunky-dory as per usual. Because I don’t think I’ve ever answered that question honestly in my life. He’s in kind of a rush, and we’re just like, oh so you hooked up with your neighbor, and he’s typing, and I’m like, is that on my permanent record now? That I hooked up with my neighbor? Because that’s weird. And he’s all talking about his trip to Croatia, and I’m like, dude, are you getting a side piece while you’re in Croatia, because that’s kinda what it sounds like you’re saying to me? Because he’s all like, oh it’s this lady I met at a conference — also a psychiatrist, and she’s going to take me around the countryside and shit. And he’s also like, no no, I’m going to Vienna afterwards to see my partner and our daughter. And I’m like, internally here, heh, okay, probably none of my business, pal.
But that dude. One thing I like about him is that he’s crazy, too. We all are, of course. The amount of crazy shit enacted by so-called dignified people on a daily basis should be enough evidence for that claim. He simply isn’t afraid to hide it, and maybe encourages you to embrace your own. Of course, I’ve known him for almost two years. We have a rapport. I’m biased.
But you’re crazy.
They say there are five stages of grief. But that’s not right. There are five stages of life. From Wikipedia
- Denial — One of the first reactions is Denial, wherein the survivor imagines a false, preferable reality.
This is called childhood. Possibly parts of early adolescence.
- Anger — When the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue, it becomes frustrated, especially at proximate individuals. Certain psychological responses of a person undergoing this phase would be: “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”; “Why would God let this happen?”.
- Bargaining — The third stage involves the hope that the individual can avoid a cause of grief. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Other times, they will use anything valuable against another human agency to extend or prolong the life. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek compromise.
Late adolescence through… Many people will stay here their whole lives.
- Depression — “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die soon so what’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one, why go on?”
During the fourth stage, the individual becomes saddened by the certainty of death. In this state, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time mournful and sullen.
Here I am.
- Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”
In this last stage, individuals embrace mortality or inevitable future, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event. People dying may precede the survivors in this state, which typically comes with a calm, retrospective view for the individual, and a stable condition of emotions.
When I mentioned this to my doctor — not verbatim, of course, but in broad strokes — he was writing my scrips and I didn’t really care if he listened. But he perked up a bit and said that he didn’t think I was depressed, actually. I asked him why I cry almost every day, and he told me that it was because I enjoyed it. Which I guess I do.
I watch a lot of stand-up comedy, too, guys.
At one point you either accept that you’re just as crazy as the rest, or you doom yourself to a life of smug satisfaction. A good friend of mine and I met this Spring in Portland for the first time in years and years — and this is a guy who used to work at a group home for a developmentally disabled community with me — and I think we both recognized that we were both batshit insane, no more stable, perhaps less so, than the people we used to take care of at work.
The important part about step five, above, is the implicit idea that just by playing you’ve already lost. You cannot lose if you do not play.
I think I stole that from The Wire. If so, gratitude to David Simon. Or whoever he stole it from.
Yeah, I just Googled, that’s totally stolen from The Wire.
Can you deal? I cited my source.
Here is the paradox of losing, which is also the paradox of life: Losing is the only part that makes winning worthwhile.
Here is the paradox of winning, which is also the paradox of life: You don’t.