When I was much a young teenager, I realized that the world around me was just madness stained with the blood spilled by our violent, greedy, and ignorant history. That epiphany haunts me still.
I had no idea why humans behaved like this. I could not understand why common sense was rare to find. I did not get why compassion and humanity were dying concepts and why apathy was snuffing empathy out of reality. It doesn’t make sense to me even today. I mean, we know we must rely on one another to survive and continue our existence, but we spend all our time doing things that will eventually kill us all off. I could not explain why we had the ability and the knowledge to do so much more for the environment and to help all other forms of life on this planet, yet did nothing but convince ourselves that we were somehow superior to both and tell ourselves that “nature must simply run its course.” And, what of our true nature? We spread like bacteria and act no differently. Makes me wonder what kind of species we really are.
But, before I trail off subject, let me get back to where I was going with this. See, back in those days, all of that deeply scarred me. And all I wanted to do was try my damnedest run away from it all.
When I hit my twenties, I was a raging lunatic. I realized that one day while at a recreation center up the street from my house. For some reason, I found myself engaged in conversation about urban legions with some kids I had never met before. Then it happened. One of them started telling me a tale about this madman who led people into the woods by the cemetery, strung them up, slit their throats, and, with a bucket under them, bled them dry. Then, this kid went on to tell me that is guy drank the blood while watching his prey dangle in front of him. Of course, the story assumed me some. I mean, after all, this kid was telling me a story about me.
No. I did not do those things… not even in the slightest. But, the guy he was telling me about, he kept referring to by using my real name. And, trust me, no one else had that name. I mean, I have only heard of two other people in my entire life who have my first name. It’s not a common name at all.
And, that’s when it hit me. It wasn’t just my name that had made its way into a local urban legion, but my actual behavior as well. See, I was, like I said, a raging lunatic. I made a name for myself as one. I had been expelled for this from a few different schools and ran with crowds just as radical as I was – well, probably not as bad as I was, but…
Point is this: enough people knew of me that tales like that were easily spawned. That’s when I decided to leave town.
From Largo, I went to Pinellas Park, then to St. Pete, Ybor City, Tampa, and elsewhere. Eventually, I ended up back in Largo. By then, I was rapidly approaching my thirties, in college, and still struggling with life and society. I had a library filled with stories I’ve heard about myself along with another filled with tales about things I actually did. I had been many different things to many different people – none of which were good.
As it is better not to summon the devils in the details, let me just say I wasted a lot of time running from something I was actually succumbing to. I had become how I saw the world: madness stained in the blood of the past. Funny how shit like that works out, huh?
When thirty came, I was not ready for it. I had lived as if there was no tomorrow for so long, I had ran into the problem of having no true plan for a future. I mean, sure… I was in college trying to form one, but I was about to graduate with a few degrees in a field which has died while I was learning about it. Again, I was crushed. Just like I was when the Cold War ended, crushed! There was a future ahead of me and I was not at all prepared for it. I was prepared for a future that was not going to exists instead.
Mind you, my parents did they’re best to raise me “right” and I had always carried those tools with me – even when I was racing down the road of self-destruction. And, now that I am looking down the barrel of 40… where am I? Ha. I’m still just as lost as I always was… and just as unprepared. Of course, it’s different now, somehow. I mean, I’ve lightened up a lot over the years, first off. Hell, mentally, I’m the healthiest now then I’ve even been. (Try not to laugh.) And, I’ve got plans now… plans that just might be crazy enough to work. So, what will the future bring? Who knows? But, at least the world seems to be calming down along side me.