Yours Truly: The Manifesto
“I watched Atlantis sink below,
hung out with Bowie at the Alamo,
I didn't like being Edgar Allen Poe,
I was sick a lot when I was Rimbaud,
I could write a book about my past lives.”
- Too Much Joy from “My Past Lives”
“I don’t believe in reincarnation
because I refuse to come back
as a bug or as a rabbit!”
“You know, you’re a real ‘up’ person”
- Video for New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle”
I am a pathological liar. Actually that’s not true. My autobiography is disorganized because I am disorganized. I have almost no short term memory, and I have no idea how things I couldn’t remember yesterday make their way into the long term permanent memory.
Last night I couldn’t sleep because I was thinking about Elvis’ identical twin brother, who died at birth. Something that seems as inconsequential as that, a fact that most people don’t even know, kept me awake. If he had lived, the world might be a very different place. It reminded me of Art Spiegelman’s older brother Richieu in Maus, who even though he didn’t exist anymore, constantly competed for the attention of their father. I know that Elvis originally started in music by recording a song for his momma, and it must have been hard to try to erase the memory of the brother who barely was. What would music, culture or the world be like if Elvis had just remained a goofy truck driver? It’s hard to imagine. Maybe we would still feel sexually repressed, or maybe rock’n’roll would have just taken a little longer to germinate, the thing is that we can never know.
It’s like when I was younger, I thought that every decision that I made changed the course of my life, but the choice I didn’t take went off into its own parallel universe. I also used to think that I did really stupid things and then I would ask that they be undone. My wish would be granted, but the price was that I was unable to remember the bad thing and the repercussions of it. No one could tell me that I was wrong, but it was a little hard to take. If I was watching television and imagined that I had just stood up and kicked the TV in, I would then imagine getting in trouble for it and then wish that it had never happened. Then it hadn’t happened, and I could barely remember ever having done it.
I am a victim of television culture, it was my friend, my babysitter, my teacher, my god. That’s probably why I have the attention span of a horny gnat. I also abhor the victim mentality, I take full responsibility and blame for everything I have ever done and everything I will ever do.
I am very good at holding grudges, but I need a good reason. I always try to resolve things, but if I have been wronged, I remember it. I can admit when I’m wrong, but I try real hard to not be, and if I don’t know something, I’ll shut up.
Sometimes I think that I am lesbian trapped in a man’s body. I hate sports, my brother loves them and we used to argue for hours about it. He just likes them, he gets a vicarious thrill out of athletic things. I don’t get any vicarious thrills, I have to do everything for myself. To me rooting for one team or another is like rooting for IBM, since essentially all sports teams are companies, paying their employees exorbitant salaries, licensing products, competing for merchandising and commercial airtime and endorsement dollars. If I like soccer, I play; watching it on television strikes me as being kind of pointless. I like to quote comedians, so I saw one that talked about watching bowling on TV and he did an impression of the announcers, whispering their commentary. “So, Jim, he’s ready, what do think he’s going to do?” In a different voice, “Well, I bet he’s going to try to knock down those pins.”
About abortion I think Dennis Miller said it best, “One cock, no vote.” I think that men have absolutely no right to even open their mouths, because if men could get pregnant, abortion would be free, hell they’d probably have beer and ESPN at the clinic.
I used to be able to do all kinds of drugs, but now they don’t do anything to me. When I was a freshman in college I could easily drink a fifth of vodka, smoke a couple of gravity bongs and people would still ask me if I had done anything. I once took six hits of acid and went to sleep. Sure I had some of the strangest dreams ever, but when I woke up, I was fine. I went through a stage where I believed that I was indestructible, I never got hangovers, never got sick. If I didn’t have any drugs, I simply didn’t do any and didn’t miss it. Once when I was bored in an anthropology class my friend Brett gave me some acid and took some himself. Since the class was four hours, we spent the last two hallucinating and playing hangman. The class had like sixty people in it, no one noticed, and I think I got a B for the class. Now alcohol makes my nose stuffed up and I get nauseous, pot makes me hungry, tired and stupid, coke never did anything to me, good, bad or indifferent, I’ve never even seen heroin nor have I ever wanted to. I think that X is great, but it’s too expensive, and if I want to do it I can’t eat the whole day and I have to dissolve it in my mouth, and this has caused me to vomit a few times, ’cause it tastes like formaldehyde. It’s just not worth the trouble, even though I don’t mind throwing up. There have been many times when I wished that I could throw up. I was in bed for two weeks almost a year ago and every doctor I went to couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I threw up everything that I ate and lost ten pounds. It was pretty grim. Finally a doctor told me that it was a stomach virus, and it would eventually go away, which it promptly did.
I want to be a writer because it is the only thing that I enjoy and I think that I’m good at. I don’t care if no one else likes my work, I know my mom will always read it and tell me how good I am. I also liked being a photographer, but the only work that I could get was doing weddings and kids. Ever since I was in second grade the teacher would usually tell my parents that I “do not work well with others.” When I took wedding pictures I got a lot of grief because the brides always thought that they looked fat. Kids would never behave and the parents thought that it was my job to turn their monsters into little angels. I wanted to stab them in their annoying little heads.
With my photography I always liked to experiment, I liked to make things look completely unreal. I would stay in the lab for hours without any negatives, just trying all kinds of things, and my belief was that there was no such thing as a bad experiment. I decided that I couldn’t do it for a living because I didn’t like the commercial and fickle nature of “ART” and the marketplace. I still do it, but only for myself. If no one wants to pay me to stay home and write, I don’t know what I’ll do. My family always tells me that I need to have “something to fall back on” but I think in a small way that is an admission that I am not as good as I should be. They may be right, but because they’re related to me I tend to ignore them. Hell, they’ve been chin-deep in the cult of Amway for the past year, dreaming of quitting their day jobs to suck other people to the bottom of the pyramid scheme.
Everyone believes what they want to believe and to an extent I believe that. I think that Bigfoot is a fraud. If it was real, we would have found the remains of one by now. I never wanted to be an astronaut. When I was a kid I wanted to be a radiologist, because I thought it was easy and it paid well. I never wanted to be a policeman, only because I never wanted to get shot at by strangers, and I don’t look good in uniforms. I used to work in Toys R Us, but I refused to wear the orange vest with the giraffe head on the back. My older brother Ben worked there with me, and we used to have all of our friends come in and get cartloads of stuff. We would ring up a sale of $1 or so and then go to other stores, claim they were gifts and return them for cash. I know that it was wrong, but I felt I was worth more than $3.40 an hour to clean ash trays and deal with the public.
I had a computer when I was twelve and was a proficient hacker. I would break into all kinds of networks, but the most fun was TRW, the credit bureau. Back when I did this there was no such thing as computer security, and it was easy to alter anyone’s credit rating. It taught me that nothing is secure, no matter how hard they try to keep people out. I called myself Jack Frost and devised a symbol for it that looked like a combination of a cursive "j" and "f" fused into one letter.
My brother called himself Captain Copy because he specialized in breaking the copy protection on a program and then distributing it freely to anyone who wanted it. After a year we became involved in credit card fraud and phone phreaking. We built a black box which generated tones through the modem that would make NY Telephone computers think that we were operators checking lines. This gave us unlimited free phone calls. We stopped doing all of these things when our friend Adam was almost arrested. We would order things by mail order and have them sent to houses that were vacant, where we would go and sign the UPS slip and they would leave us the package. My friend Adam had a moped delivered to a vacant house and when he was on his way to pick it up, he noticed six unmarked FBI cars waiting in his neighborhood. He knew they were FBI because the prefixes of the license plates gave them away. He locked himself in his room and called me and after that we stopped doing stuff like that. Even if he was caught he wouldn’t have gone to jail because he was only twelve, and I don’t think that the Juvenile Delinquent people would know what to do with him, hell, he could have destroyed their credit if he wanted to.
I have gotten most of the bile out of my system, but I have reserved some for the generation of my parents, the baby boomers. I hate the sixties, I think the whole thing is a huge shallow fraud. Every ideal was sold out, every dream auctioned for a position in middle management. Sure the Vietnam war was wrong, and they all had the courage to say so, stopping communism is nice in theory, but it’s not worth dying for. These people were the first in line to send people my age to die to restore an unrepentant, sexist monarchy to power in Kuwait. They were even killed with guns that we have the receipts for. So for all the hype and mounds of bullshit, really what did the sixties get us? The 70’s. And the first generation in the history of this country to do worse than their parents, have less hope, less future, less opportunity and a pervasive cynicism that makes us doubt even ourselves.
I think that when you drop a word on the ground it should make the sound, “onomatopoeia.” I think the word palindrome should be one. Alliteration is absolutely and always annoying. I can write similies like a flying monkey, heck maybe better than a flying monkey. My metaphors are bricks, they just sit there. Exclamations! don’t get me started.
Yes, I’m bitter, sometimes a bit nasty and quite cynical, but someone’s got to do it. And like I said, I’m a pathological liar.