“Doesn’t mean much / doesn’t mean anything at all”

It’s such a simple word:  Enough.

So hard to define, to pin down.  Regionally it changes meanings drastically, much in the same way as “pop”.  My mother spent a good deal of her youth in Colorado, where “pop” was used to refer to soda pop.  Upon moving to Texas she had a small altercation in her new school and was sent to the principal’s office.  As she continued to mouth off to the authoritarian (now I know where I get it) he asked her “Would you like a pop, young lady?”  She responded, almost too happily, “I sure would!”  In Texas, in elementary school, “pop” refers to a disciplinary spanking.  And yes, people in your twenties, schools used to “pop” the naughty children.  Even in my time.  Now they just make them watch “Jersey Shore” until their brain “pops”, I suppose.

As an American, I have a very foggy notion of enough.  The only thing I know for sure is that I will never achieve it.  I will never do enough, I will never be enough, I will never have enough.  I am watching everyone slide away from me, like Kate Winslet in that iconic scene from The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  I am spiralling out of the life I want to live, like Christopher Reeve in the chilling climactic scene of Somewhere in Time.  I am defining my life by the films I watch, like DeNiro in Taxi Driver.  I am getting off track.

I will never be enough:  I have budgeted my finances so that I can donate to charity every month.  I’ve quit smoking.  I’ve started writing again.  My band is doing well.  Work is going well.  I am doing well… but it’s not enough.  I still don’t have a car.  I still have no savings.  I still haven’t been to a doctor to get a check-up.  I still haven’t gone to the dentist for a cleaning, or for that crown I need in the lower left quadrant of my mouth.  I still haven’t gone to see a Nose, Ear, and Throat specialist to correct my snoring.  I am not thinking about my future in my career, only that I keep my job and stay out of trouble.  I am not thinking about upward movement.  My band isn’t on the cover of anything.

I am not doing enough:  I still haven’t hung things in the apartment.  I haven’t worked on a song for Macy in almost a year.  I haven’t been to the gym in even longer than that.  I am not going out of my way everyday to prove to my wife how loved she is.  I am not calling my mother enough.  I am not calling anyone else, ever.  I am a terrible friend.  I am trying so hard to purge my soul with charity because for 99% of everyday I feel an uncontrollable contempt for almost every human being on the planet.

I will never have enough:  I have contributed ambitiously to my 401(k), but I have no money.  I pay my rent and get myself whatever I need without difficulty or compromise, but it’s never enough.  I will always want more.  It’s the American Curse: we were told we could be and have whatever our hearts desired as children and we believed it.  That’s why we’re always miserable, now.  Because I’m not a Space Cowboy.  I’m not a Millionaire Volunteer Firefighter.  I’m not a Male Model Paleontologist.  I’m not a Creative Writing Instructor at Harvard who owns a baseball team and plays bass in a Smashing Pumpkins cover band.  I will never have enough.

And everyone is slipping away from me.  My uncle Jeff had always been my best friend, but I texted him to wish him a happy birthday today.  Yeah, texted.  I couldn’t be bothered to speak with him.  And his return text seemed cool and disaffected; he doesn’t give a shit that I don’t give a shit.  We’re all letting social media turn us into nobodies.  We’re all so special and important that we don’t care that no one cares.  This blog is a perfect example: I type this all here and hope that someone reads it, but I don’t care who doesn’t, because they have their own blogs to write.  In a world where everybody is important and special, no one is special.  We’re all shopping at Hot Topic to buy edgy t-shirts and stand out amongst all the other disaffected douchebags with edgy t-shirts.  We’re all the elite; we’re all douchebags.

The reason I texted Jeff is that the past few times I’ve talked on the phone with him he’s seemed thoroughly unenthused to hear from me.  And why should he?  Who the fuck am I?  Someone who claims his friendship and familiarity and yet rarely bothers to check in on him.  I don’t know his daughter.  At all.  She’s the most important thing in his life and I don’t know a single fucking thing about her.  I couldn’t even tell you how old she is.  Why should he care about me if I don’t bother to give a shit about the most important thing in his life?  And that’s the problem, but I can’t fix it.  It’s too late to take an interest, now, and I’m thousands of miles away.  What could I offer her even if I knew her?  Cousin Eric is nobody.  “Eric” is a name on a “friends” list on a computer screen.  There is no family for me, anymore: just more social networking links.  My mother is a picture that shows up next to my Gmail that I can hover over and click “chat”.       I don’t.

At this point in our lives, can any of us ever be enough?

About ericmcclanahan

I am completely average in every way. Average height, average weight, average intelligence, average ethnicity, average American standard of mental illness. Hell, I think I might even be average-aged. I am exceptionally average, and I lead an average life. Why, then, am I incapable of seeing it as anything other than a Fractured Fable of unlimited beauty and horror playing out before me?
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2 Responses to “Doesn’t mean much / doesn’t mean anything at all”

  1. Meredith says:

    I am nearly in tears…because I get it. So, so much. I get it, I understand, and I love you. I don’t know how to help, but I’ll do my damnedest to try. Someday, we’ll figure it out. I love you. xox

  2. Pingback: I’m alright, I’m alright, don’t worry I’ll be fine. « I’d rather be elsewhere, most likely

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