Here is what happens when you admire rebels, weirdos, and recluses at too young an age.
You grow up, but you don’t end up thirty-three and living in a house, like with health insurance and a 401 K, instead you end up thirty-three and living in an apartment next door to an alcoholic who is also a mailman. In literature, you call a man of this stature something like Bukowski, a wonderful lonesome jerk. You read his novels and pour over the truth, the fight. However, in life, your life specifically, you call a man of this stature a grouchy sexist neighbor with too many plants, always smoking outside with no shirt on. You are horrified by his truth.
You feel poor. Super poor.
Why are you living here, like in this way? You weren’t even conscious of the choice, you just grew into it.
You blame the way art mythologizes struggle.
You think that sounds lame and academic.
You pass the same homeless man everyday. He’s curled into the brick corner with a tent and just waiting to die. He masturbates into the curb sometimes, not all the time, but on occasion. He kneels down and does it, sorta shakily. It’s normal. It’s depressing how normal it is. You wonder what he is masturbating to.
You hope it is not you.
You decide to take a new route to the grocery store.
You realize that most people your age have families and don’t need quarters to do their laundry.
You are awake at 1:14 a.m. on a Thursday, late to post your Wednesday Journal entry because you got wrapped up in Lenny Bruce. You feel okay about this, actually, Lenny helps.
“Constant, abrasive irritation produces the pearl: it is a disease of the oyster. Similarly– according to Gustave Flaubert– the artist is a disease of society. By the same token Lenny Bruce is a disease of America.” — Kenneth Tynan (foreword to How to Talk Dirty and Influence People by Lenny Bruce)
Someone has to put their mouth on the line, and generally, if you’re doing your job, it doesn’t taste very good. It never tastes too good.
You are humbled and reminded.