(originally posted: 09/30/2006: www.myspace.com/chief_reindeer)
So a friend advised me on Friday to be self-destructive because it will allow for the opportunity to rebuild. Destruction for the sake of reconstruction. Curious. Interesting. Random. I love it.
Don't get him wrong. It wasn't like he was saying go out and rain chaos and malice on the population. It was more like go have fun and forget the crap that's bringing you down.
But I just like the concept of "destruction for the sake of reconstruction". Is it bad? Is it necessary? Let's see if we can work it out.
So the first question is, how far down must we go before we throw in the towel, set the charges, and wipe-clean the debris? What is our criteria for self-condemnation?
We are very self-destructive creatures. We research, develop, and create our temptations. We then package them in shiny boxes and cellophane and put them on-sale to move faster. To beat-down quicker. The beauty of this system, and there is beauty to be appreciated here, kids (there is always beauty in such an efficient thing), is that we pay, usually money on the counter, for the temptation.
We can drink ourselves silly. We can eat ourselves sick. But we'll still have the same issues that drove us to the liquor and to the box of Dove. We know this. But we do it anyway. Shoveling cake frosting in like it is the body of Christ and drowning sores in liters of Stoly as an obvious stand-in for absolution. A cry for help that we purchased an hour before at the all-too-convenient store.
Then there are the other teases. The 27-year-old thing in cargo shorts and a beaming smile. So full of optimism. So not completely slapped by life yet. On that cusp. So eager. So very… Ok. Wow. Yeah. Those sort of temptations. If you have them.
Or the relationship we have now. The one that we can't shake. We can't tear away from our body. Like some symbiotic infection that has turned to the dark-side, we just can't seem to medicate enough. So will it be death by brownie, Kirin, a bad co-dependent relationship we can't seem to end, or the sexed one we definitely shouldn't begin?
But still. Where is that line? That point we say, "Enough. I'm through. I'm spent. Let's start over". Can it be the day after a binge? Or must it be the day after the 100th binge? How far down must we fall from the grace of our own self? How much must we hate ourselves before we have earned the right, been punished enough, to return, all-American style? Bigger. Better. And stronger.
There is a certain enjoyment in always being in a remodeling mode. That's the real truth here. And we all know it. As much pleasure as our descent provides, what with his beat-up copy of "Notes from the Underground" strategically-placed in his side-pocket, we often get more enjoyment out of our redemption.
Scoot in closer kids, Kristy is going to tell you a little dirty secret about ourselves. About yourself. You see, the gratifications we incur on the way down, well, they can be awesome. Boy howdy awesome. But yet they are fleeting. They are of-the-moment. And the overall sensation is singular. It is derived from ourselves. We get only as much as we put into it. Actually, we get less. But the ride back-up, well that is another story. We take pleasure in our struggle. "Look at me. I've fallen and I'm getting up". But we also get it from others. "You go, Joe!!" They'll shout as you turn your corners, and then, quickly whisper aside, hand on heart, sounding out each syllable for proper respect and effect, "he was at rock bot-tom, I tell you, and look...at…him now. Such an in-spir-ation". And we know the whispers are there. We don't need to hear them. We seem them. In the twinkle. In the nod. People love an underdog. People love the struggle. It let's them feel good about themselves without having to destroy themselves. Plug-and-play destruction and redemption. Everyone wins.
So back to my friend's 'destruction for the sake of reconstruction' advise (though, admittedly, I've turned it into that). Where is that bar for us, huh? Well, I guess it depends. Depends not on how far and fast we want to dive down, but how far we want to climb back up. Many, quick tailspins equal many, quick erections back to the top. Or are we looking for a Big One? Something grand that will inspire legions and make us a legend? Quantity versus quality. Which are we looking for?
Another friend wrote and used the terms of credit/debit to sum up life. The theory being, you just want to come out a little ahead in the end, no? So maybe that's all we are trying to do with our self-destructive paths. All those selfish, selfish debits. But maybe when we're a pretty pretty Phoenix, ablaze in our own righteous redemption, well maybe then, we get a few more credits out of the deal. Maybe, in the end, the beating we unleash on ourselves isn't so very destructive, but part of some human barter system hidden in our genetic-coding. We know the payment plan. We know the interest rates. We know the agreement.
I step-up to the auction-bloc and draw your attention. I stretch my arms, tilt my head, and offer up the sincerity sitting, heavy, in my eyes. The dramatic Messiah effect not lost to me or you. I explain the terms of an already sealed-deal, "Here I am, world. I'm gonna be the one today. I'm gonna take one for the team of Man," I say, pointing at a few in the crowd. Letting them know I'm doing this for them. Sneaking in a little ego-stroke for myself. Winking at the cute guy up-front. We'll hook-up after, baby. "I'm going to do stupid things for the sake of doing stupid things. I'm going to bruise. I'm going to bleed internally. There might be a concussion or two. You'll watch in horror through the spread fingers as you cover your face in anguish or ecstasy. I care neither. You'll pray and light candles. But it'll all be my own self-destruction. My very, very own. But when I come back, you'll fight over the front-row seating." I pause and put on my sexiest smirk, my most come-hither gaze and actually lean out to them, willing them in closer. This is when the fun starts for us both. "The lights will go down, the curtain will rise, and we'll all come together in the theatre of self-importance. It'll be an orgy for all the senses," I promise them. I mean it, too. I love them all right now. "You'll be reminded how much better than me you are. I'll bask openly in your adoration and attention. Validating myself back into the fold with a retelling of my debauchery and suffering. On bended-knees, eyes screwed up watching your faces contort, under my breathe, I'll hate and loathe you, as I pleasure and entertain you. This, my friends, this is our covenant. I'll take out a loan of destruction. Pay the high finance charges myself. But you'll cover the rebuild. And it'll be better than before. I win. You win. We all get off a little."
Yes. We can be very self-destructive creatures. But we can also be very, very clever ones as well. The complications of the spirit. Of the mind. Tease and titillate. Cast down and rise up. So yeah. I'll take the hits. But you'll be the one paying my tab at the end of the day. Until next time. When it'll be your turn to get yours. That's cool. That's how it should be.