This was a sort of open letter I wrote to my friends during this recent school vacation that is mercifully drawing to an end. One could say this is a rant, and they'd be right. But I think this kind of touches on some important things for people my age and as we are "the future" as cliche as it sounds, it is important for the world. Let me know what you think I'm incredibly curious.
The Effects of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
All throughout this vacation I have had absolutely nothing to do. The amount of time that I have had had on my hands is simply staggering and the need to fill it with something worth while has become somewhat of an addiction. I have been trying to pass said time with gratuitous amounts of reading, writing, and reflecting on my life up to this point in time. Until as of late, I had no means, or reason for that matter, to connect them all.
Then came the bats.
This a reference to the masterpiece work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The all too true tale of the "savage journey into the heart of the American Dream" has brought together so much of what my life has been and so much of what I've been trying to understand in one simple word: excess.
As many of you know I am a staunch straight-edge. I have never touched any form of drug and have never imbibed a single drop of alcohol, and thought myself better than other people for it. Throughout high school I laughed at all the people who said they "got hammered" the night before and came to school with a headache but had never been in the vicinity of such people until college. When that time came and I actually saw people getting red-faced and stupid I thought them swine, base, and all together a lower form of intelligence because of their need to "relax". Odds are if I've ever been with you while you were drinking I thought this of you. My mind wanders to one particular evening where I witnessed a game of strip black-jack and was infuriated and disgusted at the bestial nature of the people around me. And don't even get me started on the mass amounts of people who have asked me if I wanted to light up with them or simply told me stories of such times. Of course I smile and put on a happy face, but inside I have always been livid with disappointment.
But now, something has changed. As I look back on those times in comparison to the mescaline, LSD, cocaine, ether, amyl, weed, alcohol, and god only knows what else fueled madness of Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo as they tore through Sin City taking its name to new heights, you people were nothing. Looking back on those times I was livid now with the bats looming in my memory, I was flying off the handles for nothing more than mere child's play.
Don't expect me to change my ways due to this new found revelation of everyone I used to look down one’s inadequacy, however. The way I see it now is kind of an all or nothing deal. Either you stay clean because you know you can't play with the big boys or as Thompson would have said "Buy the ticket; Take the ride." And how many of you who have taken part in these so-called "vices" of yours can really live up to that. So I will still be mocking you and your petty addictions, not because I think I'm better than you, not any more, but because you can't handle the big roller coaster and thus are on the merry-go-round.
But the revelations haven't stopped there! This new wisdom was sent careening into other areas of reflection through the same vein that sent it into excess: college.
Since I have been at the University of New Hampshire I have had to deal with drugs (which I have already expounded upon), religion, conformity, politics, and sex more than ever in my life, which isn't all together surprising.
Religion had already been bugging me before I stepped onto campus. I found myself not struggling not over whether or not I believe in the Catholic Church, which I am forced into visiting every once and a while, that faith died long ago and was buried with a friend of mine. More recently I have been struggling with the question of whether or not there is even such a thing as a "God". And I can tell you I have very recently come to my conclusion.
And it wasn't even the normal thought processes that I frequent that lead me to this conclusion. It wasn't the whole "it's an opiate that represses individual thinking" or the "man created a God in order to not feel alone in the world” or even the” I can't believe in something where the 'Devil's' sin was thinking for himself” I wasn't any of those that brought me to this conclusion. It was the death of a man, and the impending death of another. Mr. William Gibson was the music teacher at Kingswood Regional High school for a good amount of years and has had legions of adoring students. He also had two sons, on e who is a friend on mine, and another who is a friend to my sister. He recently died of cancer, and left them all behind. Would a God do that? And even now a man by the name of George Hamm is lying in a hospital bed about to die of a cancer the doctors told him was long gone. He had received a "clean bill of health" as he put it. Now he is about to die. He was the priest of the church I mentioned earlier. Apparently it's not enough for a good and kind God to take a father of two sons’ but he also had to take one of the men who have devoted his life to Him.
There is no God, only death and the fear of it.
And religion is the ultimate conformity, which I have a terrible fear of. Often times I have refrained from taking part in some activity or something along those lines just for the simple fact that I didn't want to play along. My friend Amy once told me of the Rocky Horror Show that travels around and how people dress up in all manner of drag and lingerie for the simple need to not be out of place while they scream, in unison, various abuses at the actors who are putting on the show. She then said one day she'd like to have me go along. This scarred the shit out of me. Not that I would be dressed up in girl's clothing but that I would be forced to dress up in girl's clothing is what scarred me. And recently my girlfriend told me that newcomers to the show must wear a lipstick "V" on their foreheads to signify that they are "virgins". This also scarred me because of the level of conformity involved.
And conformity is rampant in the air this year as the Presidential race slowly and dully sloths it's way across the country and people from all walks of life give up their valuable time on this earth to support some self-serving megalomaniac who doesn't even know they exist. At UNH the mail room has been clogged with these sheep asking if you have the time to support their candidate and want to join the cause. I got roped in by one of the Obama people for exactly 3 minutes (I timed it) and the bullshit propaganda pilled up so fast I needed wings to stay above it. Adam once asked me if it was a bad thing that "Sheep" by Pink Floyd started playing in his head every time he saw them. I replied, "No, it's appropriate." I voted for Obama, but not under any circumstances do I "support" him.
Another thing that actually angered me about the Rocky Horror Show is how it portrays sex as a sideshow event to be looked at with mirth and whimsy. Then I stopped and thought for a moment. That's just a reflection on how society looks at sex. Sex is used to sell things, get your attention, piss you off, get you on its side, etc. Essentially sex is used to get things from you today. It's no longer about a connection between two people, and it long ago ceased being about making babies. Sex is now a means to an ends and that saddens me greatly because I was once the token virgin of the group who was told he had no right to speak on numerous occasions just because he hadn't "done the deed". Now here I am no longer a virgin and have decided that the grass isn't as green as people said it was. And as I look back through the embers of that bridge I left burning behind me, I see the grass isn't much greener over there either. So in short, who really gives a shit?
So there you have it. As you were all out working, carousing with your friends, going to school, or god only knows what else this vacation, this is what I have been doing: reflecting. Trent Reznor once asked "When you look at your reflection, is it all you want it to be?" I can say a true and firm no. I never wanted to become this cynical person who sees the world as nothing but a pile of lies and mindless follow the leader. To say I'm not happy though, would be a lie. I am. Because as someone very astutely pointed out to me in not an ill meaning way, I am a hypocrite. I damn this world and all of its ways, only to live the life I have just detested.
And I like it.
"We can't stop here! This is Bat Country!"-Dr. Hunter S. Thompson