Solid metal is cold. In my palm it has heft. This is, by far, the second scariest moment of my life. And I am brave enough to look this decision in its quarter-inch pupil.
The scariest moment of my life has been 22 years. Maybe 20 of them I’ve been old enough to remember; subtract a few additional years for copious substance abuse. This is okay, though, it was a coping mechanism, and every night in a dilapidated drunk was every morning decent enough to go to work.
I drive a ’95 Grand Marquis held together with after-market welds and duct-tape. It runs well enough, and the Audi’s and Lexus’s are shiny smudges every morning on my ten-minute commute on the outer-belt, capsules of brightly-reflected light that zap past me and leave wakes of space-time distortion, wondering what I am worth.
The radio station is telling me that Giant Eagle super-markets are staffed by my neighbors who know my name and are there to make my community a better place. I change the radio station. The radio is telling me, from a rewind of a similar commercial, that Giant Eagle super-markets bring neighbors together. I change the station.
Giant Eagle super-markets are providing my community with in-store pharmacies, optometrists, banking, psychiatric evaluations.
I will forever shop at farmers’ markets. I will only buy my rum from the only immigrant-owned corner-store in the county. Which just sold its liquor license to Giant Eagle.
I will only ever drink beer from the corner store every night to forget the fact that I will always be Federally recognized as poor. I will wake up every morning without remembering my nightmares and I will sweat ten hours in the August heat-stroke reseeding the lawns of 4,000 sq. ft. houses because the owners didn’t like their previous lawns. But at least I have a job.
At least my toddler eats well and I know he’ll grow up to resent me because he isn’t going to get his own car to celebrate his driving permit. He will never have his own laptop or Xbox. Because I’m going to spend that money instead buying inflation-priced produce from farmers’ markets and only food from Giant Eagle that hasn’t been basted in glyphosate and the Agent Orange chemical known only as 2,4-D.
But my wife grew up on the Disney Channel and so of course my kid is going to. Grow up watching kids living on ostentatious cruise-liners, in luxurious hotels, in NYC flats geared with the latest high-tech iterations of entertainment. All of the Disney kids gaudily dressed. What is that? A Prada dinner-jacket on a twelve-year-old?
What happened to Pete and Pete? When did Hey Arnold stop living in the inner-city with his poor working-class grandparents?
How many square feet did Clarissa live in?
My wife resents our lack of vacation-time. Why are all of the lights on in the house? Why is the AC on 61? The Kia has four extremely bald tires and monthly payments and we both know we aren’t getting anything on the tax return because I can’t afford an extra $350/month to keep paying my own health insurance.
Because I refuse to work in an office. Because I refuse to have four different bosses complaining I am not properly dressed. Because I do not pride myself on commercial success… I will always be a dead-beat.
We share a garage with the neighbors and the Grand Marquis has enough gas to idle for a few hours. But I don’t want to offend the neighbors.
This is the second scariest moment of my life.
The first scariest has been this entire existence of disorientation.
If you do not understand the direction called Up, you will forever be falling down.
It is a dread that scales your skin. Helplessness, unable to ward-off the head-long rushing familial death of unavoidable debt. There is nowhere to go.
I don’t understand why I should want a five-bedroom house with a three-car garage in a sub-division. I don’t want to wear suits. I can’t find any pride in owning a $90,000 car. I would hate my wife if she got fake tits. I can’t stand television. I don’t know what a 401k is or what dividends means or why the radio talks about ways to get the most money from Social Security.
For this I am known as weak.
What I do know is that by not understanding any of this, by not understanding why I should want annual vacations at the shore and the newest obsolescence-engineered tablet, smart-phone, laptop – I will forever be categorized as poor.
I will be the unsuccessful loser. I will not be able to save myself. Or my family. My wife spends too much time at the bar, after work, with her boss. Who owns four other Giant Eagles.
What I do know is that being strong means moving up in the world. It means climbing the corporate-cliff; success is determined by how many people are beneath you.
I do not want to be over people.
What is weak is not succeeding.
But what I don’t get is how many people can sit here and slip .45 caliber bullets into a revolver that is pointing at their skull. Show me courage.
What does it mean.
Put your thumb on the trigger. You’re looking into a small diameter and you aren’t pissing yourself.
Tell me how strong you are. I don’t own a Porsche SUV.
Show me strength.
Show me courage.
High-speed crash your Ferrari.
You don’t have the balls.
Lord over others.
Show me how strong you are.
Left is Right and Right and Right and Right is Left.
I am not unstrung.
I am capable of ending.
Show me your courage.